Sorry for the delay on the post…I’ve been up in West Virginia visiting family the last two days. I thought I’d offer a little insight on last week’s poll and what you all thought of our now second year receivers. First of all, let’s get a little more voting in next time! I’ll try and have a little variety to cover all of your favorite teams over the next few months. If you feel strongly about your answer or don’t feel like your answer is there, tell me why I’m wrong in the comments section. It will help when the time comes to look at the results.
Before we predict where how many catches Messrs Davis, Thomas and Kelly will haul in 2009, let’s take a quick look at each of their individual 2008 campaigns.
Thomas had the best season of this group in 2008…that’s not saying much. Thomas finished 20th in the NFL for all rookies in receptions (15), 24th in yardage (120), and 38th in average yards per catch (8.0). This was not exactly spectacular for someone who was expected to have a quick impact on the outside for the Redskins. Thomas had only one touchdown on the season, which was on an end-around and didn’t manage to make a big impact in the red zone or on third downs (only 46.7% of his catches were first downs, good for 33rd among rookies). Overall, Thomas showed a few small flashes of talent but had little to no consistency whatsoever.
Sleepyhead Fred had a dreadful 2008 after getting everyone’s hopes up on tape. In his defense, Davis often found himself with limited snaps and limited opportunities with the presence of Chris Cooley on the roster, but not beating out Todd Yoder for the 2nd spot is inexcusable for someone with his skill level (and don’t get me wrong, I love Yoder). Davis hauled in 3 balls for 27 yards on the season with no touchdowns. It’s not even worth listing his rankings among NFL rookies.
Kelly rarely dressed during last season, and when he did, he failed to make any impact. For the guy that was supposed to help the diminutive Redskins receiving corps the most in terms of size (6’4”, 227 lbs), Kelly came up small. He only found himself dressed for five games after a prolonged bout with knee problems (as a result of poor offseason conditioning), and caught 3 balls for 18 yards. Kelly managed to catch one ball that amounted to a first down on the season.
Analysis of the Poll: Where do we go from here?
Considering that these three totaled nine first downs, one touchdown (not even receiving), and no stats in the top 20 among NFL rookies, it’s pretty safe to say that last year was a bust. I was a little surprised to see that half of the voters thought the guys would total between 60-79 catches next season, considering that they would all fall somewhere between 10 and 30 catches each. I was among this group, but I felt like I was being extremely optimistic. The only way I believe that this group reaches this milestone is if one can crack the starting lineup and rack up at least 35 catches. I do believe that Thomas is perfectly capable of this, but I’m also not hedging my bets on it. I don’t look for a lot out of Kelly with his reputation to slack a little, and Davis has an uphill battle ahead of him while playing second fiddle to fan-favorite Chris Cooley. Davis’s numbers were obviously affected a little bit by Cooley’s career season last year (in yards and catches), and you’d better believe that Johnny White Guy won’t back down next season. Cooley only caught one touchdown last season (five less than his previous low), and racked up a career high in fumbles (3), most of which took place during key possessions. That’s not favorable for a guy like Davis, who has a reputation for being a practice wonder and a game spectator. A guy like Cooley is going to outwork him any day of the week, and it will continue to pay off on the field. If I had to make a prediction right now, I’d guess that Thomas will fall somewhere in the 25-35 range, Davis will grab 10-20 and Kelly will probably get about the same. Let me know what you think!
Next Week’s Poll: Where is Tech most likely to fall in-conference this season? Vote in the right-hand column.