Okay, now we'll look at WR. In 2010, the group showed a little promise. Santana Moss had one of his better seasons, and Anthony Armstrong showed some promise. In the offseason, Mike Shanahan traded Jeremy Jarmon to the Denver Broncos for Jabar Gaffney, signed Donte' Stallworth, drafted Leonard Hankerson out of Miami and Niles Paul out of Nebraska. The group got younger, faster, and Mike Shanahan hoped better.
Santana Moss: Moss missed several games this year due to a broken hand. When he returned, it was obvious he drew double coverage which freed up the other receivers a bit, but Moss wasn't quite himself when he returned. He dropped a few passes, especially some critical ones in the redzone (one which was intercepted to seal a loss rather than contribute to a win). Many fans turned faith into frustration with Moss, who seemed overly frustrated himself, as he let himself commit a couple uncharacteristic moments, one a penalty where he removed his helmet costing the team field position for a possible touchdown. Overall, this was a lousy year for the veteran receiver, and if he's still around next year, one would hope he corrects his mistakes.
Jabar Gaffney: Jabar had a career season, and oftentimes showed a very firm grasp of this offense and being able to make plays. There were also times when he was in a slump, although part of the blame goes to Grossman (the first Philadephia game, for instance). Gaffney's one of the guys who found a way to have fun when the team was on a losing skid, and it rubbed off on the other receivers who found a way to make the most of what they were given late in the year. Gaffney also had some downside as well though, as he failed to show anything amazing after the catch minus a huge play every other week. Part of that was also having to adjust to make catches, which puts emphasis on pulling in the catch rather than just catching in stride and making a play. Gaffney definitely appears to have earned another year in this system.
Donte' Stallworth: This was a very crazy year. At one point in the season, Stallworth was cut for depth purposes elsewhere, but a slew of injuries (particularly to Leonard Hankerson) along with coaches being upset with Anthony Armstrong, resulted in Stallworth being brought back and able to make plays. Early in the year, Stallworth looked off. But when he returned, Stallworth came up big, particularly on 3rd downs to help move the chains and keep drives alive. Logic would suggest the initial cut would imply Stallworth won't be brought back next year, but he may have earned the right to compete for a spot on this team in training camp.
Anthony Armstrong: This might be one of the most disappointing players on the offense this season. Armstrong really struggled against press coverage, which negated his speed, which negated the deep threat on the long ball. Coaches thought benching Armstrong would light a fire, but it didn't appear to work. There were times late in the year where he showed the ability to get off the line, but he didn't do much with it. This is a league where you have to adjust play-to-play, quarter-to-quarter, half-to-half, week-to-week, etc., and Armstrong didn't appear to get it done. I'd be shocked if he was let go without a chance to compete in training camp, but Armstrong will have to fight to make a roster once again.
Niles Paul: Paul started off the year in the lineup, but didn't make a huge impact other than solid blocking in the running game. There were a couple very good catches early on, but he failed to get separation or manipulate his way through zone coverage. He was injured for a couple weeks in the middle of the year, and came back to contribute to the team's best stretch in the run-game, but didn't register much in terms of receiving. There was promise shown, but not a lot in the air, and that's where the grade for the young rookie will drop a little.
Leonard Hankerson: Hankerson struggled a lot early on, especially in preseason. Drops, which weren't a problem in training camp, reared their ugly head and hindered his shot at early playtime. Hankerson eventually got back into the lineup (during the Beck-era) and struggled his first game as a miscommunication resulted in an INT. But his second performance, he came up with some huge catches, focusing, making plays instead of TRYING to make a play. He showed a very great ability to run routes, beat press coverage, good speed, but patience, and focused. His third game, he looked like he was continuing to build on what he started the week before, but he was tackled awkwardly and injured his hip, ending his season on injured reserve. The verdict is still out on whether Hankerson is a real deal #1, with supporters using his consistent success in his 2 starts to support the notion, while skeptics still feel they need to see more before they crown him (logical). In reality, potential says he's well on his way, but skepticism is the safe call here. Also worth noting he was a solid run blocker even when the run wasn't working.
The group's overall grade? C-, and a low C- at that. This group struggled, whether it be because of Grossman/Beck, or themselves... I think it's safe to say it was a little (or a lot) of both. Mental mistakes were apparent in this entire group from time to time, but other times, mental toughness prevailed and helped make this group look legitimate. One thing I noticed in this group, also brought up by @MrDCsports was that someone was always open in this offense, which means this group must have been doing something right, and perhaps it is the QB who is responsible for some of the struggles of these guys. There's definitely a bright future for the young guys, and this group has the potential to provide comfort to a QB who is competent.
Next up: Running Back
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