Former New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson had a great NFL career, following by a talking head position with ESPN. He is no longer employed by ESPN, so he has to get his #hottakes in somehow; Johnson joined Atlanta radio station 92.9 “The Fan” to share ridiculous statements about the New England Patriots wide receivers.
“When you see guys that fail and play for other teams at the receiver position, they can go to New England and excel and everybody goes, “Oh my God, Oh my God, these receivers are top of the game,’” Johnson said. “Well, they couldn’t excel with other teams because of the system. If they were on other teams right now, they probably wouldn’t be on the 53-man roster.”
Ah, the old system argument. It’s a system that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the league. It’s the system that has led to WR Julian Edelman averaging 100.3 yards per game over the past ten games. It’s the system that allows WR Chris Hogan to average a league-best 18.73 yards per reception in his 17 games this year. It’s the system that makes TE Rob Gronkowski the most dominant tight end in NFL history. It’s the system that led RB James White to rank 3rd in the NFL running backs in receiving yards and receptions and to lead running backs in receiving touchdowns.
Or maybe it’s just their undeniable talent.
Johnson went on to further explain his stance and dig a deeper hole.
“It is the system and it is Tom Brady,” Johnson continued. “As long as they are precise and are doing everything they are supposed to do, which is the reason they are there for the Patriots, because they don’t make the mistakes, that is why they excel. You get a high caliber wide receiver with the Patriots, typically they probably aren’t going to do what they are supposed to do. They are going to freelance a little bit because they have that luxury to do that because of their ability.”
So, let me get this straight. So long as the receivers run precise routes, don’t make mistakes, and do “everything they are supposed to do,” they can fit into the Patriots “system”? The type of receiver that fits into the Patriots “system” sounds an awful lot like, I don’t know, a great wide receiver.
A receiver that doesn’t do what they’re told sounds like a terrible wide receiver, no matter the talent. How else is a non-backyard offense supposed to succeed if the quarterback doesn’t know where his receiver will be at any given moment?
Perhaps that was Belichick’s problem all along when he was scouting wide receivers in the draft. He was looking for “high caliber” wide receivers that don’t “do what they are supposed to do.” All he needed to do was find receivers that couldn’t make any other 53-man roster.