Chicago Sun-Times

Catching on: A look back at play time vs. production for '08 receivers

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After discussing two remaining options at wide receiver on Wednesday night in Plaxico Burress and Matt Jones, let's take a final look back on the wide receiver corps of 2008 and its production.

Matt Forte
led all NFL running backs in receptions and Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen proved to be a solid combination in the passing game but the Bears struggled to get consistent production from their wideouts. The problem was more acute down the stretch when Kyle Orton was playing with an ankle injury. How much that factored in the lack of production by the wide receivers is anyone's guess. But five times over the final eight games the wide receivers combined for five receptions or less. What that means is the Bears were not having much success pushing the ball downfield and as offensive coordinator Ron Turner says, it's difficult to consistently mount 70- and 80-yard drives without big plays.

Week 10 Tennessee--5 receptions by wide receivers
Week 11 at Green Bay--4
Week 13 at Minnesota--5
Week 15 New Orleans--5
Week 16 Green Bay--3

Here is how the playing time broke down during the season followed by the statistics:

Rashied Davis 667 of 1,012 plays, 65.9 percent
Devin Hester 631 of 1,012 plays, 62.4 percent
Marty Booker 376 of 1,012 plays, 37.2 percent
Brandon Lloyd 376 of 1,012 plays, 37.2 percent
Earl Bennett 16 of 1,012 plays, 1.6 percent
Brandon Rideau 11 of 1,012 plays, 1.1 percent

Hester 51 catches, 665 yards, 5 TD
Davis 35 catches, 445 yards, 2 TD
Lloyd 26 catches, 364 yards, 2 TD
Booker 14 catches, 211 yards, 2 TD

Lloyd and Booker remain unsigned. The plan right now is for Bennett to start opposite Hester with Davis returning to the slot where he should be a more effective contributor. Of course, if general manager Jerry Angelo goes out and brings in another wide receiver, that will change everything and the club will not be relying so heavily on unproven players in Bennett and rookie Juaquin Iglesias.

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davis was on the field more than hester? wow. i think i know the first thing that needs to change this year.

i'm not so sure we need another WR, bennett, iglesias and knox should all be involved with cutler back there. i would take matt jones on a cheap one year deal though.

Brad: Great stuff as always.

What I would like to know if there are any official numbers on targets or intended passes to the RB's, WR's and TE's.

That can help give an indication as to how effective the eligible receivers were with their opportunities.

In addition to knowing the intended for the pass, I'd be curious to know how many of the play were actually pass plays. That way you'd know whether or not they were even on the field, trying to get open, or if they were just blocking.

i don't even need to know this to know we need another big target

I don't have the official stats, but here are unofficial numbers for targets (from ):

Hester - 92
Davis - 67
Lloyd - 49
Booker - 49

Olsen - 82
Clark - 73
Forte - 76
McKie - 15
Peterson - 10

It isn't always about numbers. It is about clutch. Who comes up big in big time plays. T.O. is no longer in Dallas because he disappears in the playoffs. Let them play and we will see how good they are. Before we throw lots of money at someone let us see how good they are. And if we do want a free agent isn't Marshall a free agent next year?

how bout we take a look at how many times the receivers ran the wrong route and when Kyle would look for the receiver they weren't where they were supposed to be so it ennded up in an interception or sack.

How about a stat on throws off target or miss reads??? All this talk about our weak receiving group, I blame the terrible QBing!!! You all watch, with Jay Cutler here, we will have one of the deepest and best receiving groups in the NFL!!! I can't wait to watch our new wide open passing game, not this game managing dink and dunk crap with that scrub Orton!!!!!GO BEARS!!!!

Dustin - or are you really Orton? You really think it was the receivers fault that Orton blew so badl? Was it Hester's fault that he kept out running Orton's arm? Did you not notice the whole bar hold their breath when Orton tried to throw a quick sideline pass just waiting for the CB to step in front of the weak throw and take it to the house? I realize that you probably weren't alive when McMahon played never mind Luckman, but you'll see something your not used to, a real honest to goodness QB in the Bears backfield - goodbye clam neck!!!

@ Peter:

Terrell Owens Averages

Regular Season
Rec/Game: 5.03
Yards/Game: 74.72
Yards/Rec: 14.85
TD/Game: .74
Games: 189
TDs: 139

Rec/Game: 4.91
Yards/Game: 68.27
Yards/Rec: 13.91
TD/Game: .36
Games: 11
TDs: 4

Sure, his TDs/Game drops off, but considering how close the rest of his stats are to his regular season averages, I think it's just flat out wrong to say that T.O disappears in the Playoffs.

Dustin's comments are spot on, not to denigrate Brad's good work on this. As I've said before, you can overdo it with statistics. Just watching Bear receivers fail to get separation and drop passes is all you need to do in order to know how poor they are. Even a national TV announcer made comments last season about the Bear receivers failing to get separation. "Production" from receivers does not necessarily mean catches; it means running the proper route, getting open, and hanging onto the ball when it's thrown to you, in addition to blocking and reading blitzes. There are no stats that I know of that would show any of that.

@ Peter,

You're dead wrong about TO. If anything, Romo is the one that doesn't show up. He's been a choke artist for the past 2 years. TO is a headache, but he does show up day in and day out.

On the article, I really don't think the Bears need another veteran. Our WR corps are pretty decent with the exception to Davis. I'm interesting in seeing what they can do. When the season starts, our depth chart should something like #1 Hester, #2 Bennett, #3 Iglesias, #4 Knox or Riddeau, #5 who cares.. .

numbers guys.

How many tds does T.O. have for the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs? In basketball Robert Horry has a lot of rings because he shows up. In the superbowl the 49ers won because Jerry Rice always showed up. Also critical catches in third and long how many does T.O. have in the playoffs? Anyone can pad their stats and look good. Now two questions....would you vote for T.O. for the Hall of Fame? Does T.O. not catch the ball because of being hit after the catch? you want him now? Is he clutch now? Numbers are great but hey Dan doesn't have a ring and how many does Joe Montanna have? How many rings does Hines Ward have and how many does T.O. have? How many rings does Randy Moss have? In the end the only number that matters to me is how many rings are on your finger after how many years? Can you come through when it matters most? the film doesn't lie. The problem these days is we live in a culture where no one wants to say a spade is a spade. T.O. is a crybaby who doesn't come through. If he did he would have a ring by now. I think he is just about him and his stats and he wants a ring for him....not for any team. A team guy is Marvin Harrisson, or Tory Holt....I despise people who are all about them. It takes a team to win and no one, not even Jordan won by themselves. And I have seen T.O. run from catches because of the hit. One of them is when he saw Brian Urlacher's shadow. I read about that one. If you want a good receiver get a team guy not a stat guy. I want clutch not someone who puts up great numbers year in and year out but in 10 years on some Super Bowl caliber teams has no ring. If numbers won games, the Giants should not have beaten the Patriots. This isn't fantasy football, this is football. What would George Halas have said if he saw you comparing numbers? He would ask about the most important thing a player has....heart. I'll take the player with the most Heart. If you don't get that then you have never played or just don't get it. Tom Waddle has heart. Walter Payton has Heart. Ron Rivera has Heart and Mike Singletery has Heart. If you don't have heart stay home. The fact that Chicago Bear fans defend T.O. makes me sick.

slot or not, davis dropped some very catchable balls in VERY big spots last season. how does putting him in the slot improve his grip on the ball, especially when the ball's coming at him ten times faster this year?

It's a sad state of affairs when Rashied "Stone Hands" Davis gets the most playing time of any WR.

I also find it interesting that the play time of Clark and Olsen beat any of the WRs. Clark had 791 snaps, Olsen 776. Not too hard for the defense to cover when your WRs can't stretch the field. Forte did well to manage the yards he did. It also explains why the defense is always weaker late in the game. This playing time screams 3 and out....

Cutler should help this, but we will get more benefit out of improved offensive line play. If we can get over 4 yards a carry, then the defense has to respect the running game. Once Cutler starts throwing missiles around the field, the defense won't be able to focus on the running game. It is an offensive coordinator's dream to have a solid running game and a dynamic passer at the helm of your attack. It all starts up front. The other pieces are in place. Trent Green threw up consecutive 4,000 yard seasons with Tony Gonzalez, and not much else in the passing game. Eddie Kennison was his leading receiver in a couple of those years, so that should tell you what a solid TE and a good running game can do for an offense. Hester is capable of being better then Kennison, and between Bennett, Iglesias, Knox, Kinder, Davis, and Rideau, we should be able to get 5 decent receivers to complement Cutler, Forte, Olsen, and Clark.

Intended passes would tell you nothing besides how many times the qb went to a wr. It won't tell you the WR's efficiency or the qb's efficiency. Just because the qb threw to the wr and didn't connect doesn't necessarily mean it was the qb's fault, it could have been the wrong route or dropped ball, and it doesn't mean it was the wr's fault, it could have been a bad throw. I would make the case Orton missed more throws than the wr's dropped balls. That's why they had 1 completion for over 30 yds all year. If you watched the games you would remember wrs getting open and Orton missing badly. And it wasn't just after the ankle injury. He missed Booker on two occasions that he was wide open on touchdowns. You also can't use intended targets on the plays Hester drew pass interference because he had to slow down on underthrown balls and let the db run into him. That stat is useless when grading wrs efficiency. If you had a more accurate passer, it would hold more weight.


T.O had one TD catch for the Cowboys in the playoffs. Tony Romo has 2 playoff TD passes.

Absolutely I would vote T.O in the hall of fame because I judge him based on what he does on the field.

No Heart? T.O is the guy I see blocking 50+ yards down field for his teammates more than any else in the league. T.O is the guy who had 9 catches and over 100 yards in the Super Bowl on a leg that was still broken. Those yards don't count because you don't like his attitude? How many rings does Brian Urlacher have? How many rings does Mike Brown have? I guess those guys just don't have heart?

Granted Rashied Davis had a really bad year last year, lets examine what happened last
year on offense. Rashied played out of his normal position (slot) a lot last year. When a WR is placed in a position that they are not as familiar it becomes a situation where players are thinking rather than reacting.

Don't forget that for a few years in the past Rashied made some pretty big plays in big games and had good hands prior to last year. Remember the NFC Championship game for one and against the Queens in Sota in the last few seconds for a TD. Give the guy a break, lets see what he can do this year in the slot where he should play. Maybe, Knox will unseat Rashied Davis and take over the slot because of his speed etc. but until then lets not give up on Rashied Davis.

T.O. is a bum!! Oh yeah, forgot about T.O. what a loser he is. He is a pure cancer, give him a year and I will bet that by next year the Bills will have to rebuild like the Niners, Eagles and Cowboys are doing after the bad apple (T.O.) ruined the bunch.
Yeah I loved him crying on national T.V. about the press not respecting his Qb and then stabbing anyone in the back including any QB he has worked with the following week.
Best thing that could happen to T.O. is for him to catch the ball over the middle against the Bears or any team for that matter and some angry middle linebacker or two to clean his clock. He is an ARS!!

Terrell Owens runs from passes if he is going to be hit. Look at the film. He shys from hits. So you buy the hype all you want to. He doesn't have heart. I'll go over the middle and be hit because I give it up for the team. It isn't about me. Is it or isn't it about T.O. "I love me a whole lot of me?" If Terrell Owens is voted to the Hall of Fame I will never watch football again. He is an insult to the game. Would Dick Butkus vote for him? George Halas? Vince Lombardi? I love football and it is bigger than T.O. or Brett Farve.

Peter, not to debate you but what type of WR playing right now in the NFL is worthy of the Hall of Fame? Just about anyone you can pick probably has stats comparable to T.O.s Most probably never won a championship and if they did they probably has a quality QB. If not most of them are relatively unknown commodities. I don't think that Davis is anything special. My comments about him are similar to the ones people make about us not having good judgment about what a QB can do because we are not used to having one. His stats are so pedestrian. Not just counting 2008. Hester who was an understudy of sorts in 2007 had stats that were about even with Davis'. we should've moved along without him before 2008 and invested in someone who had the goods. I said last off season that he was just the kind of WR that Bear fans liked who kept us in the dark ages. We didn't want high caliber because we equate that with prima-donnas like T.O.. We have to stop that mindset and we will be a better team

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 28, 2009 3:23 PM.

Voting stations open: Should Bears seek help at wide receiver? was the previous entry in this blog.

Toub: Increased role as WR did not impact Hester's return ability is the next entry in this blog.

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