Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Andre Johnson....Still Unappreciated

The best WR in football.
       Since starting this blog there hasn't been much to write about in regards to the NFL or my favorite team, the Texans. Sunday night's conclusion of the NFL's top 100 players gave me reason to blog. In the players' poll, Andre Johnson came in at #7 overall. A very respectable spot and the highest position given to a wide receiver. However, let me take some time to explain why this was still WAY to low for one of the all-time greats.
      Since joining the Texans in 2003 Andre has twice led the league in both receptions and yards. No player in NFL HISTORY has EVER averaged more yds per game(79.7) than AJ! He brings it every single game. The one knock on Johnson is his low touchdown numbers supporting those impressive receiving stats. He has never finished a season with more than 9 touchdowns, by comparison Randy Moss had 23 touchdowns in 2007. However, talk to any fan of the Texans and one of the first of many complaints is likely to be the team's lack of targeting AJ in the red zone. For some inexplicable reason the Texans conveniently forget they have the NFL's greatest weapon and one of the finest physical specimens to ever play the game as soon as they cross the 20. The season the Texans realize this Johnson should have 13-17 touchdowns. Watch the video below to fully understand my man crush on #80. (Notice score and time of game)

       Most wide receivers in the league would be happy to stop right there, but Johnson takes his passion for the game to more areas than just his yards and receptions. It's widely known that Andre is a rarity among the NFL's position of prima donnas. He chooses to let his game talk more than he does, and because of this he isn't in the public eye as much as T.O., Ochocinco, Moss, or even a Larry Fitzgerald. But ask one Courtland Finnegan if that silence should be seen as a weakness. My Dad always told me the ones who talked a lot usually couldn't back it up, but be careful of the strong silent types. This guy takes pride in going hard on every play. You want him to run a slant over the middle for first down? Done. You need a key block to spring a run play? He does it. You want him to clear two defenders out by selling the deep route? Fine. This guy runs EVERY route well and blocks like a tight end. The bottom line is Andre Johnson is the BEST WR on the planet AND a great teammate who will do anything to win football games.
      So where should Andre rank? I don't disagree with Brady and Manning being top 2. Those are the only two guys who surrounded by a decent team will guarantee you playoffs every year. Adrian Peterson number 3? He is a great talent, but has already hurt his team in key situations with the ball. Then there was a run on defense with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Troy Polamalu. All these guys are impressive but we're talking about two who are in the twilight of their careers and one who can't stay on the field. Also, those three guys play for GREAT defensive squads that allow them to shine without feeling too much individual pressure. Name Andre Johnson's best #2 receiver. He has had David Carr, Sage Rosenfels, Matt Schaub, and Dan Orlovsky throwing him the rock. Not exactly the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks. All 6 players ahead of Johnson do have one thing in common. They have all had deep runs in the playoffs. Looking at the fans vote for top 100 makes this fact stand out even further. Andre finished 10th in the fans ballot behind recent Super Bowl champions Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. In fact all 9 players who finished ahead of Johnson have had multiple playoff games in their careers. So AJ was the #1 rated player on both the player and fan ballots who had never been to the playoffs. I think the only thing separating Johnson from being top 5, and for my money #3 overall, is a deep playoff run. Texans fans would love to see the team go far this season and finally get Andre the National attention that one of the greatest wide receivers to EVER play the game deserves.

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