Ranking The 10 Best Supporting Casts In The NFL

Ranking The 10 Best Supporting Casts In The NFL

Which quarterbacks have life the easiest?
2
views

I’m forever annoyed with how people evaluate quarterbacks. Just as important as the value of their skill-set as a signal player, is the talent of everyone else around them being utilized in an intelligent manner. We look at the production of these players and decide what we think of them, when in reality numbers are a result of a well-executed system with a wealth of playmakers at their disposal. Last year, we saw Andy Dalton rewrite his own narrative thanks in large part to everything else around him. On the other side of the spectrum, Aaron Rodgers struggled in the absence of Jordy Nelson while Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, and Davante Adams didn’t perform up to their usual standard.

Here we’ll look at which teams are positioned to make their quarterback look better than they are based on their receivers, running backs, tight ends, and offensive lines.

1. Arizona Cardinals

The stars of "All Or Nothing" have the look and feel of an offense that could set records. Bruce Arians has never been afraid to play bombs-away football and has the talent to boot. They feature the most complete receiving corps in the league, with fun-sized receivers John Brown and JJ Nelson having enough juice to blow safeties off of the field and with living legend Larry Fitzgerald and former first-round pick Michael Floyd to move the chains. After setting the league ablaze last December, David Johnson looks poised to enter the discussion for the league's most complete running back. It’s just so rare for a 230-pound physical running back with 4.4 speed who can run routes and catch like a receiver.

2. Dallas Cowboys

It’s 2016 and we may be seeing the second coming of the Cowboys offense of legend from the 1990’s. We all know about the historic line that they feature, headlined by All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. It seems almost unfair that they added another first round talent in La’el Collins as an undrafted free agent. They’ll be able to play the ball control football that leads them all the way to Divisional Round in 2014 again with a stacked backfield headlined by electric Ezekiel Elliott, a prospect touted as a more complete prospect than Todd Gurley. When they do eventually have to throw, Tony Romo will have his pick of the underrated trio of an angry Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley, not to mention Jason Witten.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

If not for the year-long suspension of Martavis Bryant and the possible absence of Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers would have topped this list. Big Ben Roethlisberger is enjoying a late career breakout thanks to a scary good offense around him. Antonio Brown is the perfect partner in crime for Roethlisberger, a savvy, polished route runner who moves like a punt returner after the catch and is always on the same page with his freelancing quarterback. He’s joined by a buzzy group of pass catchers in Markus Wheaton, speedy Sammie Coates, and Darrius Heyward-Bey, and offseason acquisition LaDarius Green. Even in the late stages of his career, Deangelo Williams can do more than keep the running game afloat in the absence of Bell.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

Across the division from those Steelers, the Bengals feature a high-powered offensive nucleus of their own. Andy Dalton broke out in a major way last year, thanks in large part to a receiving group bursting at the seams with talent. Even with the departures of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, big-bodied weapons AJ Green and Tyler Eifert give Dalton more than enough at his disposal. They’ll like lean on the thunder and lightning attack of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, a pair of second round picks who will run behind a top tier offensive line, who seamlessly slid last years first round pick, Cedric Ogbuehi, at right tackle opposite of stud blindside protector Andrew Whitworth.

5. Oakland Raiders

With the resigning of Donald Penn and arrival of Kelechi Osemele, the Raiders have put together a front five that could be in the conversation with the likes of Dallas and Cincinnati a year from now. Derek Carr will have plenty of time to throw to an exciting nucleus of pass catchers on the outside. Amari Cooper came out as crisp and complete of a route runner as advertised, but what got lost in the shuffle was the high-end speed that allows him to stretch the field vertically. He’s joined by the now steady presence of Michael Crabtree and underrated third option Seth Roberts. The only thing holding this young group back is whether Latavius Murray is up to the task of carrying this ground game for sixteen weeks.

6. New England Patriots

The Patriots may well feature the best coach, quarterback, and tight end ever to step foot on the gridiron. Rob Gronkowski is the ultimate matchup nightmare, a 6’6 giant with 4.5 wheels who can run routes like a receiver and catch any contested ball. He’s utterly uncoverable by any linebacker, corner, safety, or creative combination a coordinator can scheme up. He’s joined by a quick, physical group of receivers in Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Chris Hogan, who are perfectly suited to Brady’s surgical dink and dunk game. Dion Lewis adds another dimension to this offense. In eight games with the Patriots, he flashed rare elusiveness and good hands out of the backfield. The offensive line remains a red flag, but Brady gets the ball out so quickly that it hardly matters.

7. Green Bay Packers

In 2015, we saw an offense that was supposed to break records derailed by injuries and disappointing performance by core players, showing the first signs in the armor of the league's best quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. They should be back this year. Jordy Nelson should add a much needed vertical element to the offense that was missing last year and draw attention away from Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. A slimmed down Eddie Lacy should return to Pro-Bowl level form after a humiliating 2015 season. The offensive line features two bookend guards in TJ Lang and Josh Sitton, although the tackle position remains a potential weakness.

8. Carolina Panthers

After Kelvin Benjamin went out last preseason, analysts wondered if Cam Newton had much anything around him. They were proven wrong last year. With Benjamin returning, the receiving the group that also features the likes of Corey Brown, Tedd Ginn, and Devin Funchess looks like one of the more complete in the league. Greg Olson is a perfect inside the numbers playmaker for Newton, with the size and speed to be indefensible on seam routes. The once maligned offensive line often kept Newton clean last year. Michael Oher’s extensions suggest that the front office thinks that he can do it again. This all goes without mentioning the talents of star running back Jonathan Stewart.

9. Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones is really, really good. Let’s start by saying that. He’s the prototype for the modern receiver: big, twitched up, and explosive who can take over any game and overwhelm and cornerback. Last year, he was the entire Falcons' passing game. In 2016, he’ll at least by joined by Bengals defector Mohamed Sanu, who will replace the ghost of Roddy White and give the team a legitimate number two receiver. Behind Matt Ryan, speedy touchdown machine Devonta Freeman and second-year Indiana star Tevin Coleman make up one of the more exciting backfields around. For the team to justify this ranking, the offensive line will have to step up. Alex Mack will have to live up to the hype and Jake Matthews will finally have to play like a top ten pick.

10. Denver Broncos

Like the Falcons, the offensive line in Denver limits them from landing in the top half of this list. Three spots should be occupied by new starters this year, with only one of them, left tackle, that could be considered an upgrade. Even though the quarterback situation remains unsettling for the defending champs, whoever is behind center will have an embarrassment of riches at their disposal. CJ Anderson is one of the more underrated backs around, with an excellent combination of patience and vision paired with between the tackles physicality. On the outside, they’ll be able to throw to the best two outside receivers in the NFL. Demaryius Thomas is like Antonio Brown, light with a dropping problem, only he’s five inches taller. He’s joined by Emmanuel Sanders, a do-it-all run after the catch specialist with underrated ball skills and more reliable hands than his counterpart. The two bailed out their two scattershot quarterbacks a year ago. Expect them to do the same in 2016.

Cover Image Credit: Revenge of the Birds

Popular Right Now

If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
505441
views

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

622
views

On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments