Johnnie Lee Higgins: Where For Art Thou?

Keilyn EllisCorrespondent IJune 1, 2010

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 27:  Johnnie Lee Higgins #15 of the Oakland Raiders makes a catch over Eric Wright #24 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Statistically speaking, Johnnie Lee Higgins is the Best receiver on the Oakland Raider roster today. We all remember at the end of the 2008 season how the media would sarcastically poke fun at the Raiders' leading receiver for the year with a meager 22 receptions.

What the media forgets to point out is that JLH only started three games for the Oakland Raiders in 2008 and only five in 2009. Higgins runs the best routes on the team and always seems to be open, regardless of the Quarterback as you can see here: http://www.nfl.com/players/johnnieleehiggins/profile?id=HIG233023

Johnnie Lee has a knack for getting open and seems to always be in position to make a play, whether it be on special teams or at receiver. Unfortunately, much like with Michael Bush, Raider politics get in the way of this being a Pro bowl caliber player. Many would argue that if had been on a better team that he would have made the Pro Bowl in 2008 with three game altering punt TD's to go along with his four receiving TD's(The Raiders only had 13 all year).

Despite being the Raiders' leading receiver coming into 2009, JLH sparingly played throughout the first nine games of the season, and most of the time not at all, languishing behind players like Todd Watkins and Jonathan Holland, who famously got b*tch slapped by Darrelle Revis for a catch-able ball in a mid-season match-up with the Jets in 2009.

Mysteriously, Johnnie's playing time increased with the change in Quarterbacks late in the season and Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye benefited greatly from his presence as the Raiders' offensive production began to improve dramatically.

According to stats and seniority, Higgins has earned a right to start for the Oakland Raiders; however, the Oakland Raiders, despite the rapport built in 2008, decided to start two rookies who struggled mightily in their rookie season amassing an absurd amount of passes which would normally be caught by a veteran like Johnnie.

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The most confusing part to me about the Oakland Raiders is the way that playing time has been doled out over the last few years. I dont see why JLH, *Chaz Schilens, DHB and Louis Murphy can't be on the field at the same time. Seems to me that would help the Quarterback out greatly.

*Chaz Schilens missed most of 2009 with a contusion to his lower ovary.

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