By Rich Levine
Standing Room Only
Theres no No. 1 receiver.
But thats how Brady likes it, right? Isnt he at his best when, as they say (and by they I mean everyone), his favorite receiver is the open receiver?
Personally, I thought he was pretty great the year he had a bonafide No. 1, set an NFL record for touchdowns, won 18 straight games and came within three or four fluke plays of winning the Super Bowl, BUT yeah, hes also pretty damn good when a No. 1 receiver isnt in the cards and for the second straight season, its not.
Welkers still the security blanket, and no one would be surprised if he grabs another 100 balls. The closer the Pats get to the goal line, the role of binky will shift to Rob Gronkowski whos in line for another double digit touchdown season (and thanks to the arrival of his brother, another 15 or so locker room rat tails). At this point, Aaron Hernandez is essentially a receiver a transition thats only enhanced by his adoption of Randy Moss old No. 81. (Oh man, what are they going to do when Randy comes back!?) Deion Branch will still be Deion Branch, for better (sure hands, clutch plays) or worse (injuries!). Julian Edelman will get one more chance to prove hes the next coming of Wes Welker before we resign to the fact that hes actually the next Tim Dwight (comparison only works with white guys, right?).
Can Taylor Price step in andor emerge as a deep threat? Is special teams captain Matt Slater only worthy of targets in the preseason? And what about Tiquan Underwoods Kid n' Play high top?! (OK, I know he was cut, but just wanted to talk about the hair one more time.) Those are all questions were asking right now, but since the start of this abbreviated training camp, the biggest questionstory at receiver has been, and will continue to be Chad Ochocinco.
Anyone who tries to tell you they know whats about to happen with Ocho is lying. No ones in his head. (Man, I just want five minutes in there.) And no ones sure of exactly how much he has left in the tank. Some say that hes been slow to pick up the offense, but with the amount of time Ocho spends studying, I have a hard time believing that will continue to be a problem and it still doesnt explain the drops.
At the end of the day (OK, preseason) the one thing we know, is that theres no No. 1.
With some QBs that might be a problem, but with Brady its an advantage.