Denver, CO….It’s been almost four months since Peyton Manning dwindled his choices of destinations down to three, ultimately choosing the Denver Broncos to call home to finish his career. The Rocky Mountain region has been full of excitement since that day back in March, and will really get jump started in two weeks when training camp begins. A question I have heard many fans and critics ask is, “Who will be Peyton’s go-to guy?” In Indianapolis, he and Marvin Harrison had some outstanding chemistry for years, and as a result Harrison will probably end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day. In recent years, his on field relationship with Reggie Wayne has made that combination one of the best in the NFL. So who will Manning form that chemistry with here in Denver? There are some options. Brandon Stokley was brought in as a veteran slot receiver who Peyton has had success with in the past. Demaryius Thomas is a big target with explosive capability in the coming years. My hunch tells me it will be Eric Decker, though. Decker, after being drafted from the University of Minnesota, has done nothing but get better and better. He has everything Peyton seems to like in a receiver….great hands, precise route running, and a strong work ethic. These two could definitely develop into quite a combo for several years to come, beginning early in the 2012 season. Although this QB-WR combination may one day be great, there are some around the NFL right now that they can shoot for. We, as fans, are currently in the midst of watching the greatest overall QB play in the history of the NFL. I like to call this the “Golden Age” of quarterbacks that we are in, as several current signal callers will one day be in Canton. So who are the best QB-WR tandems in the league right now? Without further adieu, here are my “Top 7″ combos in the NFL today…..
7 – Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings - Rodgers is arguably the best QB in the game today, as his accuracy, timing, and mobility are top notch. Jennings has been his top target for a few years now, and they have some very explosive potential every week. Last year, Jennings caught 67 balls for 949 yards and 9 TD’s. He also missed three games due to injury, so a season with 80+ catches, 1200 yards, and 11 TD’s would have been possible. This tandem is one of the best going, and will be a force in 2012 as well.
6 – Drew Brees to Marques Colston - Drew loves to spread the ball around, but his main man to chuck it to is Colston. Marques caught 80 balls for 1143 yards in 2011, even though he was out for 2 games. Brees finally signed a long term deal today to remain in New Orleans for the next five years, so this combo should do some more damage in the forseeable future.
5 – Eli Manning to Victor Cruz - Victor Cruz? Nobody even knew who he was 12 months ago. Talk about bursting onto the scene, because he did that in 2011. He set a New York Giants single season record for receiving yards with 1536, while reeling in 82 balls. Hakeem Nicks is also extremely dangerous on the other side of the field, but this Eli to Victor tandem is just getting started.
4 – Cam Newton to Steve Smith - What a rookie year from the Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn. It’s pretty safe to say it was the best rookie season from a QB in the history of the NFL. At times, he looked like a man among boys, and his talents are already freakishly amazing. After a brutal 2010, Steve Smith quickly got on the same page with Cam, and had quite a resurgent year in 2011. Smith caught 79 balls for 1394 yards, and showed he is anything but an over the hill wide receiver.
3 – Matt Ryan to Roddy White - Well, Atlanta can’t seem to figure out how to win in the playoffs yet, but they have the regular season mastered pretty well. Ryan to White has been deadly for several years now, and 2011 was no exception. Roddy had 100 catches for 1296 yards, and is simply one of the top 5 WR’s in the game today.
2 – Tom Brady to Wes Welker - Everyone will remember the missed connection these two had in the Super Bowl, which probably cost them the trophy. But this tandem is just about unstoppable, as last year Wes had 122 catches for 1569 yards. This is now the fourth time Welker has gone over 100 catches in a season as a Patriot. His precise route running and Brady’s perfectly timed passes should mean another monster year for this duo in 2012.
1 – Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson - I don’t think I have ever seen a WR with more raw ability than what Megatron possesses. He is the closest thing I have ever seen to a receiver who is impossible to cover. He has speed, ridiculous athleticism, amazing leaping ability, and great size. He is the total package, and the best WR in the NFL today. In 2011, he caught 96 balls for 1681 yards, and at times simply made defenders look foolish. If Stafford can stay healthy, I predict one of these years, Johnson will crack 2000 receiving yards in a season.
Denver Sports by J Simp