NFL 2010 Preview
Eagles WR De Sean Jackson
In today's NFL, it's clear that small receivers are becoming big contributors in the passing game.
Last season, Pro Bowl wide receiver WES WELKER of the New England Patriots caught a league-leading 123 passes, tied for the second-most receptions in a season in NFL history (HERMAN MOORE). He leads the NFL with 346 receptions since 2007.
New York Giants All-Star STEVE SMITH led the NFC with 107 receptions in 2009, setting the record for most receptions in a season for the 90-year old franchise. Smith was also the NFL's most productive receivers on third down in 2009, collecting a league-best 29 first-down conversions.
"He is very good and decisive, and his maneuvers are deceptive and very sharp and very sudden," says Giants quarterback ELI MANNING of Smith. "He can go from one point to the other after making a move with good suddenness."
DE SEAN JACKSON of the Philadelphia Eagles led the NFC averaging 18.6 yards per reception en route to making the 2010 Pro Bowl, and the Carolina Panthers' STEVE SMITH, a four-time All-Star selection, has led the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards per game for at least one season over the course of his career.
Even the newcomers are getting in on the action
Vikings WR Percy Harvin
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver PERCY HARVIN tied for the lead among all rookies with 60 catches (a team rookie record) and 790 receiving yards. He also set the club single-season record with 2,081 combined yards. Fellow 2009 rookie JEREMY MACLIN of the Eagles was second among NFC rookies with 773 receiving yards and 34 first-down receptions, trailing only Harvin in each category.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie MIKE THOMAS set the team record for rookie receptions with 48 and young wide receiver DAVONE BESS became just the fifth Miami Dolphins wide receiver with more than 75 receptions in a season (76).
"A lot of us are out there playing with that chip on our shoulders," says 5-11 wideout GREG JENNINGS of the Green Bay Packers, who has over 3,300 receiving yards since 2007. "A lot of us are saying, 'I can go up and get the deep ball. I can go up and get the fade route. I can make any catch a 6-5 guy can, and then I can give you something after the catch.'"
There is a mutual respect amongst the smaller receivers, and now that respect is starting to come from around the league as well.
"In this league, you'll see three and four receivers, one running back, and in many cases, four or five receivers with no back – or if you've got a capable back, you're splitting him out," says Eagles offensive coordinator MARTY MORNHINWEG, who coaches sub-six foot stars Jackson and Maclin. "The game has changed that way a little bit so that the smaller stature players have a place."
Jackson, who set an NFL record with an average of 52.6 yards per touchdown (with a minimum of 10 TDs) in 2009 is making sure that the teams that passed on him in the 2008 NFL Draft because he was too small for the position are regretting their error.
"There are a lot of people eating their words right now."
NFL KICKOFF WEEKEND 2010 schedule
Thursday (September 9)
Minnesota at New Orleans
Sunday (September 12)
Cleveland at Tampa Bay
Miami at Buffalo
Oakland at Tennessee
Detroit at Chicago
Green Bay at Philadelphia
Indianapolis at Houston
Arizona at St. Louis
Denver at Jacksonville
San Francisco at Seattle
Cincinnati at New England
Carolina at N.Y. Giants
Atlanta at Pittsburgh
Dallas at Washington
Monday (September 13)
Baltimore at N.Y. Jets
San Diego at Kansas City
- Back To Football
- Two Of NFL's Finest QBs Meet In Thursday Night Kickoff
- AFC QBs Flacco-Sanchez and Rivers-Cassel Wrap Up Kickoff Weekend On MNF
- Receivers Making A Splash
- Small Wide Receivers Make Big Contributions
- Most Targeted Wide Receivers
- Offensive Lines Protecting The Quarterback
- All-Purpose Players
- Quarterbacks of the Future
- Saints & Vikings Kick Off 2010 NFL Regular Season
- Player Records and Milestones to Look for in 2010
- Peyton Manning Pey Days
- Brett Favre - Simply Favre-lous
- Quarterback Success - 2009 Year of the Quarterback
- Clutch Performers
- Young Quarterbacks on the Rise
- La Dainian Tomlinson Closes In On More TD Records
- Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Keeps Running Up the Yards
- Chris Johnson - Titanic Performance
- Double Trouble Running Backs
- Top NFL Superlative: Run the Ball
- Fourth-and-One Conversions
- Safety Position Continues to Evolve in NFL
- Turnovers are Key to Victory
- Tight Ends Making Bigger Impact
- How Super Bowl Winners Fare the Following Season
- Who Dat? Saints Aim to Repeat
- Colts Look to Keep Playoff Streak Alive
- Tandem Backfields - Good Things Come in Pairs
- NFL History: 90th Anniversary of the NFL
- NFL History: Anniversary of the NFL-AFL Merger
- NFL History: 1925 - Red Grange Puts NFL on the Map
- Currently Retired Numbers
- 1940 NFL Championship: Chicago Bears 73-0 Title Victory
- NFL History: 1960 Pete Rozelle Elected NFL Commissioner
- NFL History: 1960 - Johnny Unitas Sets TD Streak
- NFL History: 1985 - Chicago Bears 'Super Bowl Shuffle' Gets America Rapping
- International Series - San Francisco 49ers vs Denver Broncos
- Bills Toronto Series - Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears
- Starting Records of Active NFL Quarterbacks
- Total Miles Traveled & Notes on 2010 NFL Travel
- Player Movement - Same Faces New Places
- Winning on Kickoff Weekend Makes a Difference in the NFL
- Kickoff Weekend Best Teams
- Full of Excitement, Surprise and Unpredictability
- From Worst to First
- New Rules for NFL 2010 Season
- Enhanced 18-Game Regular Season Gaining Momentum
- 2010 NFL Teams Strength of Schedule
- Giants and Jets Open New Stadium
- Chiefs to Open Renovated Arrowhead Stadium