Late last night after the pain of suffering through Buffalo's birthday party (or, so I began to believe it was - with all the gifts and such) began to subside, I began to think of some of the positives that were possibly overlooked (and some down right hidden) in the heat of the moment.
With that, I realized that Carolina put up 325 yards through the air. It's wasn't that I hadn't already observed the number, but the inability to get into the endzone, coupled with the three painstaking interceptions, quickly cast dirt on what was otherwise a decent number. Obviously, most everyone is in agreement that Delhomme should be benched in favor of Moore, some even believe Feeley, but this isn't about quarterbacks, it's about wide receivers.
receivers players actually caught over 300 yards worth of thrown balls! That's only the second time this season, and Smith was just one yard shy of breaking the century mark for the second time as well. Other than Smith, though, our receivers were non-existent. Those other 200 yards had to come in the form of our running backs and tight ends. Don't get me wrong, it's fine if it just so happened to be that way but, as we all know, it HAD to be that way in order for us to achieve those numbers. What works, works, but at some point we need to look to fix the issue at hand. Barring a break out year from any of these receivers, none of them should be too difficult to grab next off season to compliment any picks used on receivers.
We all know (excluding the coaching staff, it would seem) that our bread and butter lies in our running game, there's no need for me to get into that aspect. So, let's first look at what we have at WR...Steve Smith - 27 Receptions / 358 Yards
Muhsin Muhammad - 24 Receptions / 219 Yards
Dwayne Jarrett - 3 Receptions / 26 Yards
Kenneth Moore - 3 Receptions / 25 Yards
Carolina, first, needs to learn how to put more than two receivers on field at one time. Even if Moore or Feeley steps up to fill the void, they're going to need more than two receivers. Our tight ends are doing a great job given the position that we're in but that's not going to work forever, nor are passes to our running backs. They're good change of pace passes, but we're turning them into all of our passes.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Moose call it quits after this season and Jarrett doesn't appear to be developing into anything special all too fast. With that said, what I am getting into, here, are five receivers from around the league that I would like to see in Carolina, that wouldn't (shouldn't) be too difficult to get.Brandon Tate (NE) - 1 Reception / 11 Yards
At 6'1, 195lbs he's a nice sized rookie out of Burlington, North Carolina that suffers from a deep pool of talent at wide receiver in New England. He played in the first game and received the first catch of his NFL career against Tampa Bay coming off of a knee injury from his senior year. He may not find his name mentioned much this season thanks, once again, to New England's depth but that may just mean they're willing to come off of what, I consider, a rookie with a bright future ahead of him.Mario Manningham (NYG) - 28 Receptions / 439 Yards
Mario Manningham may seem like a stretch at first, given the performance he his displayed through the Giant's first seven games, but, like Tate, Manningham deals with a deep pool of talented receivers, each emerging in their own time. The Giants have five receivers that could each break out into a star receiver on any given Sunday. Without seriously debating every receiver on every team, I would likely give the Giant's the benefit of doubt when picking the team with the best group of receivers. That makes it all the more likely, to me, that the Giants would be willing to come off of one of their receivers to, perhaps, fill a gap somewhere else. I choose Mario because of his Smith-like elusiveness (Yes, our Smith) in the flats. If we don't find a star in Moore or we get a draft QB that needs time to blossom, these elusive receivers could be our saving grace.Josh Morgan (49ers) - 17 Receptions / 264 Yards
Ok, I'll admit that this may be the toughest of the five to acquire, but nonetheless possible. There's a see-saw of possibilities here. With the signing (and hopeful) emergence of Crabtree, Morgan may be of less value. However, with Bruce likely looking to retire sometime soon (and Morgan out performing him thus far) that brings the value back up. The fact that they have two solid, not terrific but solid, options in Brandon Jones and Arnaz Battle could slightly damper that said value. However, the thing that gives me the idea that we could possibly swindle Morgan away is the fact that the 49ers have two first round picks (I'd assume, unless they've done something with their's that I am unaware of) and, at this rate, at least one (ours) of them will be a very high pick. One of these could be used for "another" Crabtree, to replace Morgan.Kenny Britt (TEN) - 19 Receptions / 289 Yards
Although yet to register a touchdown, Britt has been the most productive Titan receiver this year in terms of yardage. He competes with Morgan as one of the tougher two to bring our way. Carolina would have to do a lot of buttkissing negotiating and probably give up something big to bring Britt over. He's probably the least likely of the group that we'd see but still someone I would like to see. He's big at 6'3, 218lbs and could potentially take over Moose's spot (as Jarrett doesn't look like he will be filling those shoes as the 'big guy').
I think any of those four could prove to be a huge difference maker in Carolina but, now, onto #5...Kenneth Moore (CAR) - 3 Receptions - 25 Yards
Kenny Moore is a bright, young receiver that has shown signs of elusiveness, that I would love to actually see play at wide receiver! He currently resides on the Carolina depth chart behind Muhammad. He is being utilized by returning punts when the game is on the line without really warming up prior. What it would take for Carolina to get this young receiver some playing time and experience, no one knows. When Carolina decides to go 'extreme' and actually play more than two receivers, we might see Moore shine.