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The NFL's best and worst offensive arsenals: Barnwell's 32-1 ranking

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by Rock Strongo, Jul 11, 2019 at 1:48 PM.

  1. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo My mind spits with an enormous kickback.

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    The NFL's best and worst offensive arsenals: Barnwell's 32-1 ranking

    top 10

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    10. Atlanta Falcons

    2018 rank: No. 3 | 2017: No. 4

    If I was making a list of the scariest wideout sets in football, the Falcons would rank in the top five for a third consecutive campaign. Calvin Ridley slowed down after a hot start, but he became just the fifth wide receiver over the past 40 seasons to top 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in his rookie campaign. The other guys in that group are Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Mike Williams (Tampa edition) and Randy Moss. Mohamed Sanu, overqualified for third wideout work, racked up 838 receiving yards as what amounted to Atlanta's third target. You know Julio Jones, and his bizarre touchdown-less streak dissipated with eight over his final nine games. Jones has also only missed two games over the past four seasons.

    Austin Hooper caught an 88-yard touchdown in Week 1 of 2017 and hasn't topped 80 yards in any of the ensuing 31 games; he has averaged 34 receiving yards per game and scores once a month. Devonta Freeman signed a big deal after an impressive pair of seasons under running back whisperer Kyle Shanahan, but the past two years without Shanahan have been underwhelming. Freeman saw his average drop to 4.0 yards per carry and he fumbled four times on 232 touches in 2017, then missed 14 games in 2018 with various injuries. It's possible that an improved offensive line and the departure of unloved coordinator Steve Sarkisian help Freeman return to form, but when you consider that Atlanta lost Tevin Coleman this offseason, running back isn't projected as a plus for the Falcons until Freeman rebounds.

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    9. New England Patriots
    2018 rank: No. 8 | 2017: No. 1


    No team has suffered a bigger drop-off at any one spot than the Patriots, who go from arguably the most impactful tight end in NFL history with Rob Gronkowski to Benjamin Watson. The veteran Watson is already suspended for the first four games of the season, which means the Week 1 starter at tight end might very well be Matt LaCosse. With Josh Gordon likely unavailable and Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Pattersonand Dwayne Allen all gone, more than 52% of the passing yards Tom Brady posted a year ago went to players who are no longer on the roster.

    N'Keal Harry and signed Dontrelle Inman and Demaryius Thomas, though the latter might not be healthy enough to play as he recovers from a torn Achilles. No team in the league is deeper at running back, where the Patriots can run out some combination of Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead and third-round pick Damien Harris from snap to snap. It won't look the same without Gronk, but let's be honest: This offense is going to work just fine.

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    8. New York Giants
    2018 rank: No. 2 | 2017: No. 20

    It's strangely impressive that the Giants managed to be so uninspiring on offense a year ago with one of the best arsenals in football. Obviously, trading away Odell Beckham Jr. is going to make any team's weaponry worse, but the Giants at least have a short-term solution in Golden Tate, who should help soften the blow of willingly trading away a franchise wideout for ... reasons. Both Tate and Sterling Shepard rank in the top eight for receiving yards out of the slot over the past three years, so Pat Shurmur will need to find a way to get both of his starting wideouts time on the inside.

    Evan Engram struggled to stay healthy last season but averaged 9.0 yards per target, which was just ahead of guys like Travis Kelceand Jared Cook. And though Saquon Barkley's rookie season was less impressive under a microscope, it's fair to say that the offense was almost entirely dependent upon Barkley for stretches in 2018. With a better offensive line, Barkley could be the most productive back in football in 2019.
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    New Orleans Saints[/paste:font]
    2018 rank: No. 11 | 2017: No. 14

    After adding Jared Cook at tight end, the Saints can boast seriously dangerous weapons for Drew Brees at all three skill-position spots for the first time since the Jimmy Graham days. In Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, the Saints have two of the most devastating players in the league at their respective positions. Including the postseason, Thomas was just the 10th player in NFL history to post three 170-yard games in a single season, including a 211-yard salvo against the Rams in midseason.

    Ted Ginn's late-career renaissance has been fun to see, but the 34-year-old averaged just under 42 yards per game when healthy a year ago. Tre'Quan Smith flashed as a rookie, but it's not as if he had a Calvin Ridley-sized debut campaign, and guys like Keith Kirkwood and Cameron Meredith aren't likely to move the needle. Latavius Murray is also likely a step down from Mark Ingram as New Orleans' power back, given the 29-year-old's middling production in Oakland and Minnesota. This group will go as far as Kamara and Thomas can take it.

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    6. Dallas Cowboys
    2018 rank: No. 30 | 2017: No. 5

    Talk about a swing! The Cowboys headed into 2018 with Ezekiel Elliott and a laughably bad receiving corps, but one year later, there's a lot to like for Dak Prescott. The trade for Amari Cooper revitalized Dallas's passing game; Prescott posted a 104.6 passer rating with the star wideout on the field and an 86.8 rating with Cooper sidelined or in Oakland. Michael Gallup got better as the year went along, finishing with a 119-yard performance against the Rams during the postseason.

    Jason Witten might not have much left in the tank at age 37 after returning from a year of broadcasting, Dallas' starting tight ends last season posted a combined line of 38 catches for 345 yards and one touchdown. Even a limited Witten should be a comfortable upgrade in offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's offense.
     



  2. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo My mind spits with an enormous kickback.

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    5. Minnesota Vikings
    2018 rank: No. 5 | 2017: No. 21

    How far can two star wide receivers take you? The Vikings have the best one-two punch in the game with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, and though the eight consecutive 100-yard games Thielen posted to start the 2018 season probably won't pop up again this season, the 28-year-old has topped his receiving yardage total four consecutive times. Mike Zimmer still insists on Minnesota running the football -- a curious emphasis given that the Vikes have these two wideouts and are paying their quarterback $28 million per season -- but don't bet against Thielen making it five in a row.

    Kyle Rudolph on a restructured deal and drafted Irv Smith Jr., though the Alabama product will likely be a part-time player until Rudolph eventually moves on. Rudolph's injury concerns have faded, as the Notre Dame product hasn't missed a game in four years. We can't say the same about Dalvin Cook, who has missed 17 games in two NFL seasons. If Cook can't stay healthy, the Vikings would have to turn to rookie third-round pick Alexander Mattison as their starting back.

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    4. Philadelphia Eagles
    2018 rank: No. 7 | 2017: No. 17

    I don't think anybody is deeper at the skill positions across the board than Doug Pederson's team. If you took away their best player at each position, you could still roll out a starting five of Miles Sanders, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Dallas Goedert. You would probably prefer that to the Jags' starters. Down the stretch last season, the Eagles started Josh Adams and then Wendell Smallwood at running back; it's not clear whether either back will make the active roster. No team has this sort of depth.

    Zach Ertz, though, it's fair to wonder whether there's the sort of top-level talent we're seeing from the other teams in this top 10. Alshon Jefferyhasn't been healthy for a full season since 2014, though he did make it through the full 16-game season in 2017 with a torn labrum. Jeffery is unquestionably tough and has been a brutally tough out in the playoffs -- aside from the drop against the Saints -- but he also hasn't hit 850 receiving yards in a season in four years. The running back rotation has plenty of interesting options, but there's no guarantee that Miles Sanders steps in and hits the ground running as a rookie back. The sum adds up to more than the individual parts here.

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    3. Cleveland Browns
    2018 rank: No. 13 | 2017: No. 30

    It's hard to believe that we're only two years removed from a Browns receiving corps whose leading weapon was 395 yards of Seth DeValve. No duo is going to be more fun to watch than Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who should challenge Diggs and Thielen as the league's best wideout pairing. The only blemish here is Beckham's injuries, as the three-time Pro Bowler has played just one 16-game season in five tries and missed 16 games over the past two seasons.

    Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson and a half-season of the suspended Kareem Hunt. Counting on Hunt to make a meaningful impact given his abhorrent off-field behavior and the looming suspension seems naive, but the Browns don't need him to dazzle offensively. The weakest point in this chain is tight end David Njoku, but the Miami product showed signs of delivering on his freakish ability a year ago with a 639-yard, four-touchdown season. I don't think Njoku's numbers will leap again in 2019, but that might be because the Browns only get to play with one football.

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    Kansas City Chiefs[/paste:font]

    2018 rank: No. 1 | 2017: No. 27

    The narrowest of margins separates the Chiefs from the top spot. On paper, though Damien Williams looked fine as Kareem Hunt's replacement in December and January, it's hard to believe that the former Dolphins backup and Carlos Hyde are an upgrade on Hunt and Spencer Ware, who were Kansas City's two leading backs this time last season. Andy Reid should be able to draw up a bunch of receiving yardage for his backs on screens, but that's more a function of Reid and Patrick Mahomes than it is these backs.

    Tyreek Hill, who might be suspended by the NFL after the league completes an investigation into his alleged child abuse. If we assume Hill will be suspended for three games, there's likely going to be a significant drop-off between the star wideout and rookie second-rounder Mecole Hardman. Fellow starting wideout Sammy Watkins is a perennial injury risk, with the former Bills standout missing 18 games over the past four seasons. Travis Kelce is on the short list for best tight end in football, but the chance that the Chiefs will have to replace their starting wideouts for eight to 10 starts with Hardman or Demarcus Robinson is enough to push them to No. 2 here.

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    1. Los Angeles Rams
    2018 rank: No. 6 | 2017: No. 29

    Indignant Chiefs fans are likely yelling about Todd Gurley and Cooper Kuppright about now, and indeed, there are reasons to be worried about two of the Rams' stars. Kupp is returning from a torn ACL and should be active for Week 1, but it's impossible to say whether he will be the same guy who was on pace for 1,132 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns before blowing out his knee.


    Gurley is a scarier proposition. The reports suggesting he is suffering from arthritis in his knee seem to be accurate, and everything the Rams have done and said suggests that the days of Gurley taking 90-plus percent of the offensive snaps are over. Los Angeles is enthused about third-round pick Darrell Henderson, and ESPN college football guru Bill Connelly raved about Henderson's explosiveness before the draft, but Gurley was the best running back in football when healthy over the past two years. It's tough to imagine the Rams will get that sort of volume and efficiency from a combination of Henderson and an arthritic Gurley in 2019.

    With that being said, this isn't a binary problem. Gurley probably isn't going to average nearly 23 touches per game or average five touchdowns per month like he did from 2017-2018, but he could still be a very useful running back in the range of 15-18 touches per week. That's less exciting for fantasy football, but it's probably better for the Rams, especially if Henderson delivers on the preseason hype. There's not much at tight end here, but when you think about just how deep the Rams are at wide receiver with Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, even 85% of the old Gurley is enough to propel the Rams to the top of the weaponry charts.
     
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  3. Battlelyon

    Battlelyon Rams are NFC's best

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  4. CaptainStubing

    CaptainStubing Well-Known Member

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    having the giants in the top 10 must mean the QB position wasn't even considered for this list?

    they have some pieces at RB and WR but they have one of the worst QB situations in the league.
     
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  5. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo My mind spits with an enormous kickback.

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    yeah its odd to me too.
     
  6. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo My mind spits with an enormous kickback.

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  7. Dr. Strangelove

    Dr. Strangelove Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention, Oline issues.
     
  8. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo My mind spits with an enormous kickback.

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    no, they put a ton into their line for barkley.
     
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  9. jarntt

    jarntt Well-Known Member

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    Yeah and even ignoring QB there is no chance they are top 10. That's crazy. I like Sheppard and Engram but both have been inconsistent and Tate is good, but nothing special. Saquon is legit, but his hype train is getting out of control. He will make that Offense dangerous, but top 8??? I didn't think about who I would say should replace them, but that seems high. One man's/writer's opinion I guess and as good as any at this point in the year.

    Funny his comments on the Cowboys are pretty much exactly what every Cowboy fan has been saying happened once Cooper came on board.
     
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  10. Across The Field

    Across The Field Oaky Afterbirth

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    With Zeitler in the fold along with Hernandez and Solder, who played much better in the second half of last year, it wouldn't shock me if they had a top 10-15 line in the NFL this year, maybe higher.
     
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  11. Across The Field

    Across The Field Oaky Afterbirth

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    It did say they take into account receivers for this case more than QBs, which explains it. I think it also takes Engram's production into account when he's actually healthy, which is pretty decent. That said, definitely not top 8 overall, or even top 15.
     
  12. rmilia1

    rmilia1 Well-Known Member

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    This top 10 is awful
     
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  13. jarntt

    jarntt Well-Known Member

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    Agree. I'm a big fan of what Engram could be and watched him shred Dallas live. He could have had 15 catches if they threw to him each time he was open. They just couldn't cover him. But, he needs to do it week in and week out. He is a guy that has taken plays off and like you said been injured a lot. I think he could be really good this year if they get good QB play.
     
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  14. Judge Fudge

    Judge Fudge Spearmint chewing, Troll smacking, SOB

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    29....

    Vastly underrated
     
  15. Southieinnc

    Southieinnc Ravens will miss his ass!

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    #1 Rams thinking that Gurley is going to carry 18 times per game is ignorent.....
     
  16. Battlelyon

    Battlelyon Rams are NFC's best

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    So you're saying you stayed at a Holiday Inn
     
  17. rmilia1

    rmilia1 Well-Known Member

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    So they took receivers more into account but Atlanta is 10th?? Lol
     
  18. Southieinnc

    Southieinnc Ravens will miss his ass!

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    I think the expectation that Guley is going to average carrying more than 14 times per game is unlikely.

    If he does he'll be unavailable for playoffs. He carried 256 times last year, devided by 16 games, that's an average of 16 carries and he was almost useless in SB. If he carries more times this year, your team is throwing away his career.

    Do you disagree?
     
  19. Schmoopy1000

    Schmoopy1000 When all else fails, Smack em' in the Mouth!

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    I dont understand the how they are doing the rankings.
    If the Cowboys were 30th in offense last year. I am super stoked about the team this year.
    Figure if we won that much with what they called a 30th ranked offense. I cant wait for this year.

    So I know I am not understanding something in that article.