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 Post subject: White wants to be go-to guy
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 8:18 am 
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Steve Wyche - Staff
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Flowery Branch --- There's a confidence in Roddy White now, much like there's a swagger in his gait and some newly formed mass to his chest and arms.

After a slow start to the Falcons' three-day minicamp that ended Monday, the second-year starting wide receiver emerged as the star of the show.

"His confidence level has improved tremendously," quarterback Michael Vick said. "He wants to be the guy, the go-to man. He knows that every team needs a go-to guy, and watching all the other teams have a go-to guy has motivated him."

Said White: "I feel that's my spot, as the No. 1 receiver. That's what I want. That's what I'm after."

White said he doesn't want to just show flashes, like he did his rookie season, when his talent and an occasional nice catch were overshadowed by dropped balls, a lingering ankle injury and a training camp holdout.

Through twice weekly offseason workouts the past two months, the 2005 first-round draft pick developed a chemistry with Vick that was evident during minicamp.

Vick regularly threw to White during team drills, having faith in him even after he dropped a few passes early. The trust resulted in several connections between the two that drew cheers from spectators.

"I've been getting with Mike and [Matt Schaub], telling them to throw me the ball and I'll make some plays," White said. "Hopefully they'll keep throwing to me. The more opportunities I get, the more plays I'll make."

Besides getting a feel for Vick and Schaub, White has immersed himself in film study and the playbook, something his coaches wished would have happened more last season.

Among his other adjustments, White said sleep management was an issue. Instead of always getting enough at home, knowing he had to arrive before the sun rose to get medical treatment on his ankle, he occasionally dozed off in meetings. That's a cardinal sin in the NFL, one that has landed players of lesser import on the waiver wire.

"[Special teams coach] Joe [DeCamillus] threw him out of a couple of special teams meetings for nodding off," coach Jim Mora said. "Instead of going south and copping an attitude about it, he learned his lesson. I think he really said I've got to be more responsible, and he has been. It's good to see."

Said White: "My train of thought has changed. I get a lot more sleep at night because I know I've got to go through long meetings. Now I get there and I understand what's going on. I can answer questions when [offensive coordinator Greg Knapp] asks me."

White has been pushed by fellow starting wideout Michael Jenkins, whose work ethic is praised by team officials and whose progress might be greater than White's, but less noticeable because of his less spectacular, blue-collar style.

With the team addressing its defensive personnel shortcomings during the offseason, uncertainty has returned to the wide receivers. Veteran Brian Finneran is a reliable third wideout, but Jenkins and White haven't proved themselves.

Jenkins had 36 catches for 508 yards and three touchdowns in 2005. White, who joined the starting lineup midway through the season, had 29 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns.

"So far we've been hitting on the same page," White said of the quarterbacks and receivers. "We've just got to make sure we keep working at it and keep getting better."


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 9:21 am 
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If you look at White and Jenkins totals last year as starters and project them over 16 games you get these figures:

Jenkins: 39 catches, 579 yards (14.8 avg), 4 TDs
White: 40 catches, 710 yards (17.8 avg), 4 TDs

My expectations for them this year aren't super high. I think many expect Roddy in particular to turn into this all-world WR and come close to Pro Bowl production. I disagree. Some think Roddy has the potential to be one of the top wideouts in the NFL. I disagree. He perhaps can be a very good wide receiver, but if you ask me his upside is similar to that of Antonio Bryant's or Terry Glenn from last year. He can be a guy that is an effective go-to player and will make big plays, but he's not going to be a guy that is like a Marvin Harrison or Santana Moss that is so dangerous, consistent, or dynamic to defenses.

Although I believe both capable, I don't see both guys catching more than 60 passes this season. I'd be disappointed if either didn't, but I think if things go right, the Falcons are going to be running the ball as much if not more than they have done the past two years, therefore we aren't going to be seeing this team air it out all the time.

To be honest, I believe Jenkins will catch more passes this year than Roddy.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 10:16 am 
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Pudge wrote:
If you look at White and Jenkins totals last year as starters and project them over 16 games you get these figures:

Jenkins: 39 catches, 579 yards (14.8 avg), 4 TDs
White: 40 catches, 710 yards (17.8 avg), 4 TDs

My expectations for them this year aren't super high. I think many expect Roddy in particular to turn into this all-world WR and come close to Pro Bowl production. I disagree. Some think Roddy has the potential to be one of the top wideouts in the NFL. I disagree. He perhaps can be a very good wide receiver, but if you ask me his upside is similar to that of Antonio Bryant's or Terry Glenn from last year. He can be a guy that is an effective go-to player and will make big plays, but he's not going to be a guy that is like a Marvin Harrison or Santana Moss that is so dangerous, consistent, or dynamic to defenses.

Although I believe both capable, I don't see both guys catching more than 60 passes this season. I'd be disappointed if either didn't, but I think if things go right, the Falcons are going to be running the ball as much if not more than they have done the past two years, therefore we aren't going to be seeing this team air it out all the time.

To be honest, I believe Jenkins will catch more passes this year than Roddy.


with respect to your opinion, thats all speculation. Roddy could be the second coming of T.O. (who had 35 catches, 520 yards, and 4 tds in 16 games his rookie year) for all we know at this point. All I know is Im glad to have some guys who really work hard and want to be stars. If they didnt want it...we wouldnt even be having this conversation.


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 11:45 am 
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I personally think that Roddy White could become a top tier wideout. The big question coming out of draft was how dedicated was Roddy White? I saw many draft reports that mentioned him with the likes of Chad Johnson, Lavernous Coles, and other big name receivers. They all had an asterisk in that they weren't sure if Roddy wanted to work hard enough to become those types of players. It appears that he might very well be that dedicated.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 7:22 pm 
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ether3917 wrote:
with respect to your opinion, thats all speculation. Roddy could be the second coming of T.O. (who had 35 catches, 520 yards, and 4 tds in 16 games his rookie year) for all we know at this point.

That too is speculation. If he develops into that type of player, hooray for us. But I'm not going to put that type of expectations on him. He and Jenkins IMO are two No. 2 wideouts that can be "No. 1s" by default if the void is there. Examples of similar types of receivers around the league are: Plaxico Burress, Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison, Antonio Bryant, Muhsin Muhammad.

dirtybirdnw wrote:
I saw many draft reports that mentioned him with the likes of Chad Johnson, Lavernous Coles, and other big name receivers.

I didn't see those same draft reports.

By the offense this team runs, we don't necessarily need a Chad Johnson-caliber player to be successful. We are going to run the ball as much if not more than every team in the league, so we don't need a guy that is going to be able to haul in 100 passes and score 15 TDs. Would it be nice to have? Defintiely, but not necessary. What we do however need is a player that can be a threat on the outside that can keep defenses honest. A guy or a pair that are capable of making plays down the field, and also coming up with the much needed grab on 3rd and 7. Someone(s) that can make opposing defensive coordinators think twice about committing an 8th or 9th player into the box.

It may be an argument of semantics when it comes to determining who and what is a No. 1 receiver. I think there is a difference between a true No. 1 guy and someone that is your go-to guy. I would argue that in a given season or group of seasons in the NFL there are no more than 15-20 players that are true No. 1 receivers. But almost every team has a go-to guy. Some teams are lucky enough to have more than one player that would fit either bill. Terance Mathis in his prime IMO was an example of the latter, not a true No. 1 receiver. A No. 1 is a guy that a defense practically has no alternative but to try and double team, because there's only a handful of corners around that can match up with him one-on-one.

IMO, Roddy White does not have that sort of upside. But could be the go-to guy for this team? Certainly, and I hope he is. Could Jenkins be that player? Yes, but again, I don't see him being the type of player that is considered a No. 1 by my standards.

It's a wait n' see situation, but again I don't have these huge expectations for these players this year. They are working with Vick, so they should be significantly better than they were last year. But will it show on the stats sheets? I'm not sure. Back in '98, Martin and Mathis combined for 130 catches and about 2300 yards and 17 TDs. In terms of yardage and TDs, only a few duos in the league were in the same class (Rod Smith-McCaffrey, Moss-Carter, Keyshawn-Chrebet among them). I think down the road we could see that type of production from Jenkins-Roddy, but not so soon.

I think for either of our receivers to have that sort of impact, whether its on the stat sheets or on the actual field, they would have to play in a different offense with a different QB than Vick. Even if we had a receiver as good as CJ or TO, they would at best be the third option in our offense, because we are a running football team. As long as Vick is healthy we're going to run the football. As long as our defense is somewhat competitive, we're going to run the football. You might think of Hines Ward as a good reciever on a running football team. If you look at Ward's production when Pittsburgh was running their offense over the past 5 years, which means they were running the ball at least 55% of the time, you see this yearly average:

81 catches, 994 yards, 12.3 avg, and 6 TDs

But when they weren't running their offense, meaning they were passing the ball at least 50% of the time, his production swelled significantly:

104 catches, 1246 yards, 12.0 avg, 11 TDs

If Jenks or Roddy had an 80-catch, 1000-yard season, that would be magnificent. But I don't think either player is as good as Ward is. Could they have that type of production/impact? Of course. But I don't think it would be their average.

My point is not to say I think Roddy or Jenks stinks or that they won't be able to fill the role I outlined above of being the go-to guy for this team. But being the type of receiver that is widely considered to be among the best in the league like a Owens, Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Steve Smith, etc. I don't think is in their future. You don't reach that status catching 60 passes a year, which IMO is what they most likely will be doing throughout their careers if they remain in Atlanta with Mora, Knapp, and Vick as their supporting cast.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 1:30 pm 
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I think Roddy has the capability of being a top tier WR, but I don't think he will ever see that status with this team. We are not a passing team, and as long as we have Vick plus 2 or 3 good RB's we will never be a passing team. We just need Roddy and Jenks to keep defenses honest, and that's something I think both of them are capable of.


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:40 am 
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Some see it as negative, I see it as realistic. I'm just laying out realistic expectations from my own perspective of what players will do this year.

I think we're going to see improvment from our team across the board, but improvement doesn't automatically mean that everyone is going to be a Pro Bowl player. I think Vick, Crumpler, possibly Dunn on offense are our only players that will be lookng at a Pro Bowl season in 2006. Defensively, I could see Kerney, Abraham, Coleman, Hartwell, Brooking, and Hall making it. As for the other 13 starters, they will range from okay to good but probably not spectacular.

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 12:35 pm 
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My evaluation lies somewhere in the middle. True we are a running team first. True the chemistry between Vick and Jenks appears to be better than with roddy. True that Roddy needs to hold onto the ball. He will however have another year under his belt, will have a little more beef on his frame, and will understand how important it is to have a complete Training camp. I see a 750-850yards, 70-75 8-10 TD year from him if he stays healthly. It is imparitive that Vick has improved throwing the long ball for this to take place. If Vick is injured, and misses more than a couple of games i see Roddy then breaking the 1000 yard mark.


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 10:29 pm 
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BB, you really think Roddy is going to average 10-12 yards per catch? I think this sounds a bit low. While his catch totals may be down, I think he will easily average 13-15 yards simply because he is going to get opportunities to make big plays down field. I could see him having a role similar to Terry Glenn. If Crump and the running game keep the safteties honest, Roddy could see some single coverage which will inlfate his YPC.

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 1:14 pm 
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Like I said John , to me it all depends on how much Vick has improved on throwing the slant, where Roddy could do some damage across the middle, and the moderate to long ball (25-40 yards)...I think teams will still play a lot of man to man against us, and Roddy struggled last year due to his frame. However now that he has "bulked up" he could break off the initial hits and go crazy. I think Schaub has better chemistry with Roddy for some reason, and Vick has better chemistry with Finn.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 4:37 pm 
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despite all the talk of the WCO, I think i could count the number of slants we ran last year on one hand. I'd love to see it become a fixture in the game plan as i think Roddy and even Jenkins could really make a good deal of YAC.

Where I am pleased is in the red zone. We have four big targets for Vick to work with. i really hope we can find the right match up and work it to death.

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