The moment the season ends, many of us immediately turn our attention to free agency and draft prospects. I am no exception. Most of McKenzie’s focus should (and likely will) be on improving that sieve we call a defense, but a few minor tweaks on offense could put the score out of reach quickly. Forcing opposing QB’s into a shootout means Mack and Irvin can pin their ears back and play to their strength of moving up field, which ultimately will generate turnovers (which both players have proven adept at).
In any high scoring affair, I’m going to take Carr, and if that’s the formula, we will continue to consistently put check marks in the win column. So how do we do that?
For the most part, the Offense is going to remain in tact, but one position that should be up for grabs is the #3 receiver spot. In 2016 Seth Roberts was simply atrocious. Spin it however you like, we’ve heard all about the big plays, and TD’s, those are the things most fans like to remember, but the real issue is drive killing drops. Anyone who’s being honest with themselves right now will think back to the dozen or so, drive killing, horrible drops that bounced off Seth’s ping pong paddle hands. The TD’s are great, but they are less a product of Roberts, and more about Carr’s elite ability to spread the ball and go through his progressions. Credit also to the Offensive Line, which protects Carr and gives him the time to scan the field and find that #3 WR get open. A QB who can do what Carr does is rare, and another player inserted into that #3 spot, would also benefit from those big plays from our elite QB.
I won’t relentlessly bash Roberts without mentioning the good he provides, and he’s an excellent run blocker, one of the best you’ll ever see at the WR position. I’m not advocating that we should get rid of him, he has a role on this team, but his role needs to be much less prominent. With Cooper and Crabtree (two players who have also suffered at times to cases of the dropsies), we just can’t afford having 3 WR’s on the field who lack trust to consistently catch the football. This team was tied for 9th in pass attempts, yet led the league in drops, and that’s got to change moving forward. Crabtree and Cooper won’t be part of that change, but Seth Roberts should be.
I have some ideas on who I’d like to see in that role next season and I’ll be writing about one of them in the coming days, but until then, I hope Seth is working daily with the jugs machine. His position as #3 WR on the depth chart will be up for grabs this summer, and entering unrestricted free agency in 2018, it could be his costliest drop yet.