Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens are always headline-grabbing acquisitions for the teams who bring them on, but these big-name receivers usually also come with big name side-shows.
While each are sure to be on their best behavior as they try to revitalize their individual careers, we look at which one will have the best season in 2012.
Most Stable Quarterback
1. Randy Moss
(Alex Smith): Yes, in possibly the only quarterback contest Alex Smith will ever win, he is the most stable signal caller any of these receivers have going into this year.
After a bunch of up and down seasons in the Bay City, Alex Smith came back in 2011 and threw for 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns, and seemed to find a comfort zone with the new Niners’ offense. While no one should confuse Alex Smith with Tom Brady anytime soon, the 49ers' quarterback situation is currently the most stable it has been in years.
2. Chad Johnson
(Matt Moore): Can anyone name the quarterbacks who had better quarterback ratings than Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Joe Flacco last season? If you could, you would have to include Matt Moore’s name on that list.
This NFL journeyman quietly had a solid season last year as he threw for 16 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Although Ryan Tannehill was drafted to become the eventual starter, Moore should still be the one throwing to the receiver formerly known as OchoCinco in 2012.
3. Terrell Owens
(Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson or Tarvaris Jackson): T.O. could actually have the most talented quarterback of the three if Matt Flynn proves he is really the quarterback who set the Green Bay Packers’ all-time, single-game passing record when he threw for 480 yards against the Detroit Lions last season. However, Flynn has not even been named the first-string starter yet, and as we saw with Kevin Kolb’s less than stellar move to the desert, a few bright moments from a backup does not a career make.
1. Terrell Owens:
All of Owens’ side antics have made a lot fans forget just how good a receiver T.O. is. There is a reason the name underneath Jerry Rice on the yards and touchdown leaderboard is Terrell Owens.
At 6-3, 224 pounds., Owens is a physical freak of nature. Aside from the fact Owens just ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds at age 38, T.O. has the luxury of being a complete receiver. The reason he gets the No. 1 spot in this category is because Owens can go deep, is not afraid to go across the middle, is great at running after the catch and is unquestionably the best run-blocker of the three.
2. Chad Johnson:
At age 34, Chad Johnson is the youngest of the three receivers. When Owens was 34 years old he had a 1,052-yard, 10-touchdown season for the Dallas Cowboys, so Johnson should still have good years left to offer. Johnson has seven 1,000+ yard seasons in his career – the last from which he is only two seasons removed.
The reports suggest Ochocinco had a tough time understanding the complex New England Patriots’ playbook, and if that’s all it was, then Chad Johnson should find a much easier go of it with the simplified system the Miami Dolphins run.
3. Randy Moss:
Like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss has not played since 2010, but the difference is that Moss was not at all productive whereas T.O. had a great year. The last we saw of Moss, he got traded twice during the season and totaled just 339 yards.
Although Moss may have the best hands of these three receivers, he has the most to question from a physical standpoint. As basically just a go-route specialist, Moss has never been the receiver to go across the middle or take on contact.
If his speed and leaping ability are not what they once were, Moss is not the type of player who can help a team in other areas the same way Owens and Johnson can.
1. Randy Moss:
The San Francisco 49ers are by far the best team of the three. San Fran was a fumble short of going to the Super Bowl in 2011 and have their eyes set squarely on making it to New Orleans this season. The Niners had the No. 4 ranked defense and No. 8 ranked rushing attack in 2011.
2. Terrell Owens
: The Seattle Seahawks are an odd team to peg. With a top 10 defense, Seattle is just looking for those offensive pieces to put them over the top. T.O. should help, but it will really all depend on Matt Flynn making good on his $19.5 million contract and Marshawn Lynch having another season like his 2011 campaign for the Seahawks to become a contender.
3. Chad Johnson
: The Dolphins are awful.
1. Chad Johnson:
While the Miami Dolphins might be in line for the No. 1 pick in next April’s Draft, Chad Johnson will get plenty of opportunities to put up stats – no matter how meaningless they might be.
Chad goes into the 2012 season as the Dolphins' No. 1 option through the air. Davone Bess is certainly a capable slot receiver, but other than Bess underneath and Reggie Bush out of the backfield, no one on the Dolphins is going to cut into Johnson’s number of targets.
2. Terrell Owens
: Although Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin should immediately start the season ahead of T.O. on the depth chart, neither of them have the credentials that Owens can boast.
Rice has been plagued by injury his last two seasons which, statistically, do not even come close to eclipsing Owens’ 2010 season of 983 yard and nine touchdowns.
Baldwin put up a solid rookie season with 788 yards of his own, but at only 5-10, he will not be able to do everything the 6-3 Owens can. T.O. should get more than his fair share of looks this season, as well as having the potential to take over the No. 1 receiver spot.
3. Randy Moss:
The Niners will surely try to get Moss catches this season, but the reason he finds himself in third place in this category is because of the 49ers’ other options. Vernon Davis is still going to be the No. 1 target for Alex Smith through the air. But the 49ers went a little receiver crazy this offseason by adding Mario Manningham and then drafting A.J. Jenkins to go along with the already established Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn.
Moss’ season should look similar to the 2011 year of Plaxico Burress in New York when the Jets used him a lot on the goal-line where he was able to pull down eight TDs. And I did not even touch on the fact the 49ers are a run-first team with Frank Gore in the backfield.
1. Chad Johnson
should be the winner from a merely statistical standpoint. The number of opportunities which should come his way, coupled with the fact there is no other real offensive weapon for Johnson to have to compete with suggests he will have the best season of the three.
Johnson’s Season – 68 receptions, 875 yards, 5 touchdowns.
2. Terrell Owens
finds himself in a decent position to become a playmaker for Seattle. Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin may cut into his targets, but the three could easily become a potent set of receivers and make the Seahawks a borderline playoff contender. I'd really like to see what Owens does against the oppositions third best defensive back.
Owens’ Season – 55 receptions, 750 yards, 7 touchdowns.
3. Randy Moss
is on the best team, so he is the only one of the three who could be thinking Super Bowl, but that also means he could find himself lower down the depth chart. Moss has never been a complete receiver, so anything more than a few deep competitions and a handful of goal-line, jump-ball touchdowns may be asking a lot. His stats might be worse, but the ones he does get may matter more for the contending 49ers.
Moss’ Season -- 35 receptions, 580 yards, 6 touchdowns.
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