Things I Learned About … Receivers & Tight Ends

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Jonathan Stupar and his fellow tight ends had to help with pass protection frequently this season.

The receivers – both the wide receivers and the tight ends – may have been the toughest unit of all to evaluate this past season. At first glance, there was plenty to criticize. Upon further review, things are not always as simple as they seem. With that said, there is a lot to talk about with those groups. Here are Things I Learned About The Receivers and Tight Ends.

A Difficult Unit To Grade For 2006. Looking back at the 2006 season, I do not think there is a tougher unit to evaluate than the receivers, particularly when you consider all of the issues impacting the performance of the receivers. A revolving door at quarterback, with three different starters by midway through the season – one left-handed, and all throwing very different balls and playing with very different styles and timing. The loss of the leader of the unit, and its one established playmaker. The constant injuries to the slot receivers. The offensive line issues, impacting the receivers in a variety of ways – from forcing the TEs to stay in and block more often early in the season to forcing young receivers to try to make hot reads play after play. Inconsistent play-calling.

But despite all of those excuses, if you want to call them excuses, a devil’s advocate position remains: “Well, that doesn’t explain the drops, does it? If the ball gets there, you have to expect the receiver to catch it, right?” Of course. No argument there. And there certainly were games in which the drops were a key factor in a loss.

Think back to the ECU game, for example. Quarter by quarter, an important drop impacted UVa’s ability to mount any kind of consistent offensive attack. Kevin Ogletree ‘s drop on 3rd down on the first drive of the game. Tom Santi

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