By: Alex Fleming
It’s difficult to compete without one, if not two, receivers in the NFC South. If you know the history of the NFC South you can’t get far without producing points.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints bring an all-pro at running back while feeding you a healthy dose wide receiver Micheal Thomas. Adding Jared Cook as a security blanket only makes the Saints offense more potent; assuming that third-year man Tre’Quan Smith catches on and improves.
The Atlanta Falcons return to the 2019 campaign healthy and seasoned with superstars and bright new faces. Calvin Ridley is a problem for opposing corners, as the then Alabama rookie posted 10 touchdowns his first go around. Mohamed Sanu is arguably the best #3 wide receiver in the league. And Austin Hooper has shown flashes of potential from the tight end position. Devonta Freeman is poised for a “don’t call it a comeback” season. Running back Ito Smith has carved out his own little role since the departure of Tevin Coleman.
The Carolina Panthers enter the 100th season with a lot of questions to answer. Where’s the respect for Christian McCaffrey? And the insane numbers he’s putting up? The health of Greg Olsen is imperative to success in Carolina success this year. And some would like to know if he’s ready to pass the torch to Ian Thomas. The Maryland Terrapin who has to emerge as the Steve Smith 2.0 in D.J. Moore. The controversial quarterback who people love to hate, but most definitely have feared, Cam Newton. Surgery and quarterbacks are never good together. The insurance policy in rookie Will Grier will make for an interesting push for the Man of Steel.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One aspect of a potent striking offense is always through the numbers acquired through the air. The aerial assault that Jameis Winston provides has him consistently at the top of the league. Each coin has 2 sides, however, and his bad decision making complemented with his lack of wins on the field, doesn’t give him the proper credit that his production actually deserves. His 22 to 14 touchdown-to-interception ratio has to be improved, but with the quarterback Whisperer known to be betrothed as Bruce Arians, the change in mechanics should cause the quarterback to blossom. If Jameis’s production of touchdowns stays consistent, while decreasing the interceptions due to a lack of a running game, Arians believes that better opportunities due to logical decision making will bloom to success for the Buccaneers in the future. Winston’s completion percentage is only increasing, improving every year.
And although he missed five weeks last year, due to a suspension and a coach’s decision, his production has been off the charts consistently. His rookie season he threw for over four thousand yards. In 2016 he followed it up with another four thousand yard performance. While missing five games last year, he threw for 3500 yards. So the consistency has always been there for Winston, but now it is the fifth year for the quarterback out of the ACC with so much promise. If he can’t produce under Bruce Arians playbook and knowledge, he never will. With the plethora of college quarterbacks to choose from in next year’s 2020 draft, it would behoove Winston to have a stellar season. With basement expectations, the sky is the limit.
Portions of this article originally appeared in the Florida Sun Review.