Perhaps the biggest spring focus was that two of the best receivers on the team (not necessarily the two best) didn’t even play this spring in Bradley Marquez and Eric Ward. The both sat out this spring, for the most part, nursing injuries or just taking it easy. So we really only got to see some of the other receivers in action and I think that the players backing up Ward and Marquez probably needed the repetitions.
I wanted to do some of the same thing, which is to take a look at the cumulative spring statistics for the players. The numbers underlined at the end of a line for a player are the cumulative stats for the spring games. If there are only two games listed, then that player didn't catch a pass in a particular game.
It appears that Grant and Amaro had the biggest springs as well as Brad Pearson. I don’t know if a lot of that was garbage time for Pearson, but he still got it done and was pretty darned consistent through all three spring games.
It also appears that Edwards and Corker may be some pretty decent deep threats and I think that’s a good thing. I know that Davis missed a ton of catches in the spring game, so I know that the coaching staff probably wanted to see what he could handle. I wish he would have caught some of those passes, but he’s still quite young, so I have to put that sort of pressure on him. It’s really early in his career.
I don’t think we got to see Williams during the spring game, so that somewhat stinks. There was some thought that Williams was impressing during practices. Mitcham had a huge day during the spring game and J. Davis impressed enough to have one significant game, while Pearson is actually a pretty big guy and not your typical 5-8/170 slot receiver, he's actually 6-3/215, which is a bit different and good.
But back to Grant and Amaro. They had the most significant impacts on the spring, but perhaps that is to be expected in a sense. Without Marquez and Ward, they probably should have been the two players that should have stepped up their play. I am also still holding out hope that Edwards can really start to push this next year as well.
I think this may be more about me than anything else, but with only one senior receiver, I think that two things need to happen. The first is that some of these younger players that have lagged or been moved around a lot need to step up their play. That window is about to be open and the time is now. I’m talking about Edwards and Corker, but R. Davis and Wheeler are about to have real opportunity if no one else wants these spots.
I have no idea what Marquez and Amaro are going to do after this year. For Marquez, baseball could come calling and more than anything, I want him to pursue his dream. For Amaro, it’s all about maturity. The NFL doesn’t want headcases and right now, given the extreme talent, he’s best served if he’s a model citizen AND he stays healthy all year. No unwarranted personal fouls or long stays on the injured report. Play football.
The other thing that I think is vital, but incredibly simplistic is for this team to catch everything throw their way. Everything. There were way too many drops for this team during the spring game. Or at least that was my recollection. With so much emphasis on having a new quarterback and a shaking offensive line, this group of receivers need to catch everything thrown their way.
The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the depth and eligibility remaining for returning players. Any year marked black is a year that the player has available. A true freshman has five years of eligibility to include a possible redshirt year.
|Receiver Eligibility Remaining|
KEY TO 2013
That’s a long group of receivers, a lot of them walk-ons. I don't know what to do with the players after J. Davis. I try not to guess, but essentially the first seven receivers are the top outside receivers while the next four or five receivers I'm not sure about. I'm really intrigued about where a guy like Pearson might play, a pretty big receiver and wonder if he fits in that mold that they envision for Cantrell.
Overall, I very much like the depth and available players for this team. The keys to having a successful 2013 are pretty obvious. Get the ball to your best players. And right now, I think the best players are the players that are projected to start, Ward, Marquez, Grant and Amaro. I don't really want to complicate things, but if those four players are healthy and receive a large portion of the snaps, then this offense is going to be pretty good.
I don't know if I see much, if any, room for freshmen to impress, although if I had to pick one player to play immediately, it would be Cantrell. I think he's probably the most physically ready.