With the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new series. I’ve spent hundreds of hours (not an exaggeration) enthralled in game film sessions, reading player profiles, scrounging through stat sheets and scanning the histories of all the NFL franchises. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Welcome to One Team, One Jersey.
As a jersey collector and connoisseur, I am constantly expanding my repertoire and so I thought I should probably expand my search to all the teams of pro football. Buying every jersey I want would be too expensive though. Picking one for each team is reasonable and so became the idea that is One Team, One Jersey.
If you could only have one jersey from each NFL team, who would it be? There are a few ground rules:
The player you choose must have played for that team more than any other AND must have been on that team’s roster during the 2017 season.
Aside from that, it’s up to you what you prioritize: character, statistical production, championships, a combination of the three. Your call.
Who will you choose?
The trend of sad franchises continues as we transition to the Miami Dolphins. Their fan base is still parading their undefeated 1972 squad whilst forgetting that they wasted the career of one of the greatest players to ever pick up a pigskin, Mr. Dan Marino. The mere concept you had a top-ten quarterback on your squad for 17 seasons and could only get to one Super Bowl is quite a damning statement on your management. Perhaps it is like it was with Peyton or Aaron Rodgers. Perhaps he was just on a choke job team or maybe he never performed well in the playoffs.
Yup, I have come to the conclusion your franchise is a choke job. For God’s sake, the last game you had Marino, you lost 62-7 to the Jaguars. That’s hard to believe actually.
*pulls out film*
My Lord, it happened.
What a perfect summation of the state of your franchise. Since drafting Ryan Tannehill, the first time in almost 30 years you’d taken a quarterback in the first round (guess who), you have been on the cusp of the playoffs only to fail to make the playoffs by faltering against mediocre opponents. I’ll admit I was a Tannehill supporter for a little there because it felt like he was one rung away from success but he never made it over the hill and has in fact fallen down it with Jill.
His best year was 2014 when he broke 4,000 yards and carried a 27/12 TD/INT split with a 66 completion percentage. His numbers in 2016 were actually slightly better but the team overall played its best during that 2014 season. The Dolphins would be smart to move in a different direction at the quarterback position but we know how NFL executives are with basic quarterbacks. They’d rather stay put than take the risk to get better.
We could take Jay Ajayi, who was traded midseason to the eventual champion Eagles. However, I’ve never really seen anything crazy about Ajayi. He’s got top-end speed and his acceleration and cuts are fine but he doesn’t have the explosiveness that I love in my running backs. Other than “I’m faster than you” plays, he isn’t doing much on highlight reels.
He has big play ability but lacks the size (5’11”) to make plays vertically. Odell Beckham Jr. is also 5’11” but had an insane 38.5 vertical at his combine. Landry’s was 28.5.
Landry is the quintessential slot receiver and the embodiment of a returner and a running back at the receiver position. He’s a crisp enough route runner to create space and then use that space to put defenders in a blender. That playmaking ability makes him a magnet for target shares, which has no doubt helped him reach milestones in receptions.
Still, at his size, you have to wonder if he has a ceiling. There may be inherent bias with me but when I watch AB, Julio or OBJ, I feel like those guys could do anything at any moment. Landry is simply not in that tier. He’s a top-ten receiver and definitely one I wouldn’t look forward to gameplanning against but he’s not a probable HOFer. He doesn’t have that consistent fear factor. Last year, he averaged 8.8 ypc. Most elite pass catchers average 14. Yeah, Landry was getting thrown to by the corpse of Jay Cutler but Landry has never had a season where he averaged more than 12.1 ypc, which tells you Landry runs a lot of short digs and slants and works for every yard on the stat sheet. It also means he isn’t the type of guy to win a 50-50 ball during a two-minute drill in the fourth quarter. He doesn’t have the speed (clocked at 4.77 at the combine) to take the top off defenses.
Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, only 32 NFL players have ever accumulated 100 sacks in a season. With Cameron Wake sitting at 98 after this season, he has a legitimate shot to become #33. Before starting his NFL career, Wake went undrafted and up north, winning Rookie of the Year, two Defensive Player of the Year Awards and became the first player to win TSN’s Gladiator of the Year in the Canadian Football League. To accomplish that, Wake had 39 (!) sacks in two seasons. It seems fair to say Wake would have already hit the century mark if his time in the NFL had started sooner.
And so despite the playmaking ability of Landry, I’ve got to take the game changer in Cameron Wake. Gotta respect a self-made man.
My pick: Cameron Wake. My jersey: Home Green.