Over the course of this season, I have been musing over whether or not I believe Mike Sims-Walker to truly be an NFL number one level receiver. Occasionally, like in weeks one and four, he is completely invisible. An absolute non-factor. But in other weeks, like in weeks eight and two, he can post over 100 yards and look utterly dominant against any back covering him. And while he is quietly accumulating yards (418 thus far), his number two counterpart, Mike Thomas, is amassing 536 yards and oozing explosiveness every time he touche the ball. Not to mention that Marcedes Lewis is outright dominating his matchups and gliding through opposing defenses as though they are nearly non-existant (Lewis has 379 yards thus far).
Learn More, and have your opinion known after the jump!
While David Garrard has obviously been spreading the ball around (All of them have over 30 receptions), MSW appears to be the odd man out. Sure, he only has 9 catches less than Mike Thomas (Thomas has 41); sure, his average of 13.1 is the same as Mike Thomas’s (implying that if he got more balls he could do as much damage as Thomas). But, how does it feel when he’s on the field. Is he drawing attention? Is he appearing dominant? Is he always open and David just doesn’t find him? Has he become David’s go-to guy like last year?
These are all important questions.
The commentators on Sunday mentioned MSW as Garrard’s go-to guy before the game started and quickly flashed his stats. When they said that, despite being alone in my room (I was watching the game on Monday via NFL Rewind), I said “No he isn’t, do these guys even know Marcedes Lewis or heard of Mike Thomas?” But, while not a go-to guy, I believe that MSW is, in fact, a true number one receiver. Sure, he doesn’t get the attention that people like Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Andre Johnson, or Terrell Owens get, but who are the other receivers on those teams? How many receptions, proportionally, do they have? Ochocinco and TO balance each other out. Moss is replacing Kenny Britt who has been stellar. But the number twos on those teams and their TEs aren’t thriving like Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis.
For example, Owen Daniels (TE, Houston Texans) has a mere 16 receptions when compared to Lewis’ 30. In fact, combining Joel Dreesen (TE #2, and fumble man from last week) and Owen Daniels’ reception totals you only get 31. And the Texans are a passing team! The Bengals, out of this group, have done the best job spreading the ball around. Ochocinco and Owens both have 47 receptions and their tight end has 40. Granted, the TE average is a mere 7 yards to Lewis’ 12.6. But, only the competitive nature of Owens and Ochocinco keeps them battling to get more balls than the other rather than letting one of them dominate. Moss is the most similar to MSW. Holding a mere 23 receptions this year, Moss has always allowed other players to succeed in the offense by being a deep threat that the defense must notice. He always has the potential to be open and averages very high numbers (14.7 yards this year). MSW, likewise, is always a deep threat. The defense knows that he can break it open. He has the potential to score when targeted by Garrard. For this reason, I believe that MSW is, indeed, fulfilling his role as the number one receiver of this team.
What do you think?
– Luke N. Sims