There are plenty of defensive coordinators around the NFL that can scheme against one great wide receiver and completely take him out of the game. That receiver might have a couple of catches for a few yards, but never threaten to change the complexion of the game. They feel confident that they can handle the number two receiver, the tight end, etc. However, if you have a playmaker on the other side of the field opposite your alpha receiver, that creates stress on a defense, and can make it a long day for them.
Let’s look no further than the Miami Dolphins for a great example of what pressure can do if you possess a dominate number one and a productive, consistent number two. Everyone knows that when you play Miami, Brandon Marshall is someone that you must try to slow down. You must keep his run after catch ability in check, but also try and limit his touches by rolling the coverage his way and keeping a safety over the top of him. When teams do this, it really opens up opportunities for others to make plays, and the defense is betting that you can’t win enough times with other players to ultimately win the game. That’s where Davone Bess can make an instant impact and why he played a major role in this success last season. Davone’s abilities to move from the slot to the outside gives people problems. I’m looking for forward to the Dolphins new offense this year because I expect that Marshall and Bess will line up all over the field, in different formations, creating match-up problems for opposing defenses.
Their numbers really complemented each other last season, as well. Marshall had his usual 1,000 yard receiving season (1,014 and 86 receptions) and did this missing two and a half games. Bess had career highs in receptions (79), yards (820), and touchdowns with a team-high of five. If both of these productive players can produce stats like that again, the Dolphins will be hard to slow down, but two specific areas will need to change. They will need to create the big play by either stretching the field or making a reception and making someone miss. Marshall’s longest play from scrimmage was for 46 yards and Bess only had a long of 29 last year! Secondly, if they can improve in the red zone, everyone will be much happier.
Marshall and Bess are a terrific duo and their numbers match up favorably with some of the other top tandems around the league. Here are just a small sample of some of the best the NFL has to offer:
Dallas: Miles Austin (69 for 1,041yards, 15.1 avg, 7TD’s and long of 92 yards for a TD) & Dez Bryant (45 for 561yards, 12.5 avg, 6 TD’s and long of 46).
NY Giants: Hakeem Hicks (79 for 1,052yards, 13.3 avg, 11 TD’s and long of 46 for a TD) & Mario Manningham (60 for 944yards, 15.7 avg, 9TD’s and long of 92 for a TD).
Green Bay: Greg Jennings (76 for 1,265yards, 16.6 avg, 12 TD’s and long of 86 for a TD) & Donald Driver (51 for 565yards, 11.1 avg, 4TD’s and long of 61 for a TD).
Indianapolis: Reggie Wayne (111 for 1,355yards, 12.2 avg, 6TD’s and long of 50 yds) & Pierre Garcon (67 for 784yards, 11.4 avg, 6 TD’s and long of 57 for a TD).
NY Jets: Braylon Edwards (53 for 904yards, 17.1 avg, 7TD’s and long of 74 for a TD) & Santonio Holmes (52 for 746yards, 14.3 avg, 6 TD’s and long of 52 yards).
Pittsburgh: Mike Wallace (60 for 1,257yards, 21.0 avg, 10 TD’s, and long of 56 for a TD) & Hines Ward (59 for 755yards, 12.8 avg, 5TD’s and long of 43 yards).
Baltimore: Anquan Boldin (64 for 837yards, 13.3 avg, 7 TD’s and long of 61yards) & Derrick Mason (61 for 802yards, 13.1 avg, 7TD’s and long of 42yards).
Philadelphia: Jeremy Maclin (70 for 964 yards, 13.8 avg, 10 TD’s and long of 83 for a TD) & DeSean Jackson (47 for 1,056yards, 22.5 avg, 6TD’s and long of 91 for a TD).
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.