Quarterback analysis; most 1,000 yard receivers --
This is a long one, but I believe very interesting and different from the average off-season post we've been seeing on here.
Yesterday after the Broncos signed Wes Welker, I was hard pressed to come up with logical reasoning as to why that team would spend money at the wide receiver position when they have such holes in their secondary. I figured they would be able to draft a guy in the mid to late rounds, like the Colts did all of those years with Peyton, and he would be able to turn them into a serviceable player. This original thought further pushed me into wondering something that isn't often discussed within media outlets. It is assumed that the likes of Peyton and Tom Brady can turn ordinary receivers into quality receivers, so why doesn't anyone ever do any research into exactly how many 1,000 yard receivers the presumed top-notch quarterbacks have produced over the course of their careers? Now this isn't to say that a receivers success is only measured by 1,000 yard seasons, but it is a common plateau number.
With the help of pro-football-reference.com, I developed an interesting list of who I believe are some of the better quarterbacks over the last decade (and a little longer in some cases). I know I had to have forgotten some great current quarterbacks that should be included (Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco come to mind), but just roll with it. If the quarterback started at least 12 games during that season, I counted it as a full season, and gave them credit for the thousand yard receiver. The main purpose of this research was to see how many DIFFERENT RECEIVERS these quarterbacks combined with for 1,000 yards receiving. I was interested in seeing who over the duration of my football-watching life was most capable of producing with the resources given to them, with no regard to the talent around them or system they played in.
For instance, Marvin Harrison had eight 1,000 yard receiving years in a row, but he would still only count once towards Peyton Manning's stable of 1,000 yard receivers. I included an overall amount of 1,000 yard guys with every quarterback as well (example: Harrisons eight 1,000 yard seasons plus Reggie Wayne's seven, plus etc. etc.), but is not of much interest to the basis of this.
Not surprisingly, the list starts with:
1.) Brett Favre. He played nearly twenty years, with three separate teams. Meaning he had plenty of opportunities to work with a lot of different guys during his long tenure in Green Bay, and then with a quick shuffle of receivers with the Jets and Vikings during his last three seasons. (7 different receivers, 16 overall).
2.) Peyton Manning (6 different receivers, 19 overall); Kurt Warner (6 different receivers, 11 overall).
3.) Tony Romo (5 different receivers, 9 overall)
4.) Tom Brady (4 different receivers, 10 overall); Eli Manning (4 different receivers, 7 overall); Donovan McNabb (4 different receivers, 4 overall); Drew Brees (4 different receivers, 9 overall); MATT HASSELBECK (4 different receivers, 6 overall); Ben Roethlisberger (4 different receivers, 6 overall)
5.) Aaron Rodgers (3 different receivers, 6 overall)
6.) Phillip Rivers (2 different receivers, 4 overall)
- Tony Romo has the third most 1,000 yard receivers to his name, with only seven seasons under his belt. One of those seasons was predominantly started with Jon Kitna as the Cowboys starting quarterback. I didn't count any 1,000 yard receivers during that injured season.
- Tom Brady and Troy Brown connected for over 1,000 yards during his inaugural 2001 season, but Brady did not have another 1,000 yard receiver until 2007 (Wes Welker and Randy Moss). Most interesting is knowing that the Patriots won 2 of 3 of their 2000-era Super Bowls during years where Brady had no 1,000 yard receivers. Yet no sports talking head has the stones to say Brady shouldn't throw the ball as much as he currently does.
- Donovan McNabb is the only quarterback on the list to have four different guys be his only four 1,000 yard receivers (Terrell Owens, Kevin Curtis, Desean Jackson, Santana Moss). He is the only quarterback on the list to have more seasons without a 1,000 yard receiver in his stable, than seasons with a 1,000 yard receiver (6:4).
- Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are the only quarterbacks on the list to throw consecutive 1,000 yard seasons to three different receivers. Eli: 2009 Steve Smith, 2010 Hakeem Nicks, 2011 Victor Cruz/Nicks; Roethlisberger: 2008 Hines Ward, 2009 Santonio Holmes/Ward, 2010 Mike Wallace.
- Kurt Warner and Tom Brady are tied for the most consecutive seasons between 1,000 yard receivers (5; although Warner couldn't find a job during these seasons, while Brady started every game during those years).
- Marshall Faulk is the only 1,000 yard receiving running back on the list (1999).
- Matt Hasselbeck is most likely the one that made the most of what he had. His four 1,000 yard receivers included: Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson, Bobby Engram, and Nate Washington.
- Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner are the only two quarterbacks to have three 1,000 yard receivers during one season on this list. 2004 Manning: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokely; 2008 Warner: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston.
- Drew Brees' final season in San Diego was his only one with a 1,000 yard receiver with the team that drafted him (Antonio Gates, 2005). Seven of his last eight seasons with the Saints have included at least one 1,000 yard receiver.
- The San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers are the only teams to have two quarterbacks qualify for this list (Brees/Rivers; Favre/Rodgers). San Diego has only had two 1,000 yard receivers since Brees was drafted in 2002, and five overall (Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson); the Packers have had four 1,000 yard receivers, and twelve overall during that span (Donald Driver x7, Javon Walker, Greg Jennings x3, Jordy Nelson).
- Jay Cutler was originally thought of as a candidate, but wasn't included upon finding out he has only passed for 1,000 yards to one receiver, three times, for two separate teams.
- Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning have the most consecutive years of 1,000 yards, as a tandem, with 8 straight years (1999 - 2006). Interestingly, Harrison's teammate, Reggie Wayne, had 7 consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards receiving with Manning quarterbacking (from 2004 - 2010). Wayne came up short of 8 straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons; he accumulated 960 yards from the likes of professional backups Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky.
- Four tight ends are included on the list: Dallas Clark (2009 Colts), Rob Gronkowski (2011 Patriots), Antonio Gates (2005, 2009 Chargers), and Jason Witten (2007, 2009, and 2012 Cowboys).
So what do you think? Do you think this establishes the common saying that certain quarterbacks in this league make their receivers? Or does this not showcase that at all? The only two that really surprise me on here are Tony Romo and Matt Hasselbeck. Other than that, it's more interesting to me to put these numbers in relation to overall team success, or lack thereof.
I love that this helps document how Tom Brady's Super Bowl champion Patriots are so far removed from the style of play that helped them be championship-esque. In my opinion, there are so many parallels between Brady and Manning early on in their careers. Brady was never asked to shoulder the load, or be the absolute voice and leader of that team. He put up some really bad games, but seemed to give his team a chance to win every week. His intangible efforts in the closing minutes of those Super Bowls demonstrates that he is a master of his craft, and at his best when it matters the most.
Now, the thing that ticks me off when reviewing the Patriots schematics here in relation to their previous Super Bowl success, is how after we beat them in 2007, most of New England would refuse to give any credit to Eli Manning, while commonly saying our defense won the game for us. I can't be the only one that believes our 2007-08 Super Bowl team was a mirror image to those Patriot Super Bowl teams of the early 2000's, while our quarterbacks' play resembled that of a 23-year-old Tom Brady more so than any other quarterback to come into the league since 2001. People don't think of 2001 - 2006 Tom Brady when the comparison is made. They only think of the 50 touchdown pass Tom Brady. Not even five years before our 2007 Super Bowl season, those same Patriots that we beat used a similar timeless and ugly game plan of a balanced offensive attack, counteracted with a strong defensive unit full of veteran leadership all over the field.
Even more interesting now is that Eli and the Giants offensive game plan seems to be running the same evolution and taking on a semblance of the current Patriots offense (as are most other teams in the league). The 1,000 yard receiver stats indicate that we have thrown the ball more since 2009, as Eli has had at least one 1,000 yard receiver in each of his last four years, in contrast to just two times during his first five years. However, we are able to win Super Bowls while depending on the pass. The Patriots aren't
To comment on Romo, and subsequently your study here, this wasn't surprising to me at all, but of course I'm a Cowboys fan who has seen every game he's played in.
Originally Posted by greenca190
But I don't know if this study definitively proves much. Romo has had some tremendous talent to work with... Owens, Bryant, Witten, Glenn, and to a lesser extent Roy Williams. Perhaps THEY are the reason why Romo has been able to produce. The only outlier would be one, Miles Austin-- a fellow UFA who would probably not have had the success he has outside of this organization.
Still interesting stuff though.
Yeah, honestly it's not much of a "study", just couldn't develop a better name for it. I understand how misleading any of this information can be when you don't take into account coaching, or the system they play in. The original goal was spelt out clearly - to see exactly how many individual receivers amassed the 1,000 number with said quarterbacks. Establishing a start year would have been more effective, and maybe concentrate on quarterbacks who have only been with one team. Of course a quarterbacks opportunities to throw to more receivers will rise if they switch teams at some point in their career.
Originally Posted by Ntegrase96
The system/coaching argument is legitimate when you look at Drew Brees' line, or how there seemed to be no drop off between Favre and Rodgers tenures with Green Bay. This could also just be an argument for team depth. Maybe guys like Blair White, Austin Collie, Edelman, etc. are just solid receivers that know how to ball.
I believe one important part of this that I can take away is consistency amongst varied receivers, year-to-year. I think it's a telling sign that a teams quarterback is the leader when his leading receiver fluctuates annually, such as Eli the last three years, Roethlisberger from 08 - 11, Aaron Rodgers with Driver, Jennings, and Nelson during various years, and Tony Romo With Terry Glenn, Jason Witten, Terrell Owens, and Miles Austin all taking turns leading their teams in receiving yards. To me, that says your team has a quarterback that can make everyone around him better.