GD, did you own with this post, nice job.Pierre Garcon
2010: 67 catches, 784 yards (11.7 ypc), 6 TD
2011: 70 catches, 947 yards (13.5 ypc), 6 TD
Pierre Garcon is a really good receiver. This is something else that happens to good receivers that play with great QBs: The QB gets all the credit.
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game. It's not a disservice to him to say that he has played with a number of very good to great receivers, and for a time played with arguably the best running back in the league.
Look at Manning first 3 years. Steady progression through year 3, big regression in year 4. What happened? Edgerrin James got hurt and defenses were able to key on Manning, who only had 1 great receiver at the time, as Reggie Wayne was just a rookie (another reason not to expect much from Hill this year). And the Colts still had a good running game: Dominic Rhodes ran for 1100 yards on 4.7 yards per carry. But he wasn't the same receiver and didn't command the respect from defenses that Edge did. James was coming off of consecutive seasons of 1,500 and 1,700 yards (while also catching 62 passes for 586 yards and 63 passes for 594 yards out of the backfield).
In Manning's record breaking 2004 season, the Colts offense consisted of:
Marvin Harrison: 1st round, 19th pick (1996)
Tarik Glenn: 1st round, 19th pick (1997)
Peyton Manning: 1st round, 1st pick (1998)
Edgerrin James: 1st round, 4th pick (1999)
Reggie Wayne: 1st round, 30th pick (2001)
Dallas Clark: 1st round, 24th pick (2003)
Between 1996 and 2003, the Colts went offense in the 1st round 6 out of 8 times, and hit on every one of those offensive picks. They also got lucky with Jeff Saturday, who was a UDFA.
2003-2006 Manning was the greatest statistical regular season run a QB has ever had. Manning averaged a 105.9 passer rating over those 4 years. Other numbers: TD rate of 6.6%, INT rate of 1.9%, ypa of 8.2, ypc of 12.3, comp% of 66.7%.
James left via FA after 2005. Glenn retired after the 2006 Super Bowl Season. Marvin Harrison missed most of 2007 with injury and wasn't the same guy in 2008 (2006 was his last All Pro year). Manning from 2007-2010 averaged a passer rating of 96.0. Other numbers: TD rate of 5.3%, INT rate of 2.5%, ypa of 7.4, ypc of 11.1, Comp% of 66.9%. Which is still phenomenal, but I think you get the idea: decline of surrounding talent = decline in Manning's level of production.
Tom Brady had a significant jump in production between 2003 and 2004.
The Patriots signed Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon, who came in and ran for 1600 yards in 2004. Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk averaged 3.4 and 3.6 yards per carry in 2003. Dillon averaged 4.7 yards per attempt in 2004.
Tom Brady had a significant drop in production between 2005 and 2006.
The Patriots elected to let Deion Branch and David Givens, their 2 top receivers, walk in free agency. They were replaced by Reche Caldwell and a 35 year old Troy Brown, who moved back into a starting role. They had drafted Chad Jackson, but everyone know that didn't work out (Why didn't Brady just "elevate" him?). Seattle thought they were signing "Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch," when they were really just signing "nice receiver Deion Branch." He was only a disappointment because they got caught up in his Super Bowl performance (doesn't that sound familiar?). Branch has eclipsed 60 receptions once in his career, he's never had a 1,000 yard season, and has never caught more than 5 TDs in a season. His career averages are 4 catches and 50 yards per game, and that's exactly what he averaged in Seattle.
Brady had a dramatic increase in production between 2006 and 2007 (passer rating increase of 30 points )
Patriots acquire Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth. Koppen makes first Pro Bowl, Mankins makes first Pro Bowl, Matt Light 1st team All Pro (Brady had a sack rate of 3.5% in 2007, 2 full percentage points lower than his career average to this point).
**Let's be clear, I used examples from the careers of PEYTON MANNING and TOM BRADY.
The point is that no matter how good the quarterback is, their level of play is still tied to the quality of their teammates.
A QB may "elevate" (though I wouldn't call it that) others around them, but it is at the cost of their own production. Surrounding a QB with quality teammates will "elevate" the play of the QB in a similar manner.**
A last, anecdotal, example. Some people consider John Elway to be the greatest QB ever. There is no evidence to support this statement found in his career statistics, at least not until late in his career. Not coincidentally, Elway never had what anyone would consider to be a very good supporting cast until late in his career: when his numbers took off.
Think about it like this. The output of an offense is the product of an equation where the quarterback is a multiplier applied to the sum of the parts of the rest of the offense, with no quarterback having a value equal to or greater than 1 (The idea being that no quarterback can cause another player to produce more than their talent is capable of producing).
That part was a little out there, it's past 2AM, I've been typing for some time, and I'm more than a little tired. I better stop now.