New high-speed connections: Plummer and Co. just one of many
July 17, 2003
Michael Vick isn't the only quarterback who will be throwing to fresh hands this season. There are many new combinations worth watching closely at camp.
Jake Plummer to Rod Smith, Ashley Lelie and Ed McCaffrey, Broncos. Plummer has the mobility and playmaking ability to succeed in his new digs, but he can't try to do too much as he often did with Arizona. Plummer needs to rely more on the skills of his top three receivers and put them in position to make big plays.
Drew Brees to David Boston, Chargers. Boston has ample downfield speed, but Brees is better suited to making short and intermediate passes. So look for the Chargers to rely on Boston's tight end-like strength to break tackles on slants and other quick throws, much as the 49ers do with Terrell Owens. This much is sure: Chargers opponents will have to account for more than LaDainian Tomlinson.
"'Martyball' now packs a punch," says Texans director of pro scouting Chuck Banker.
David Carr to Andre Johnson, Texans. If Houston's line can give Carr more time to throw, his options will run deep. None is more intriguing than Johnson, the third overall pick in the draft, who should develop into Carr's go-to guy for years to come. The offense will continue to struggle, however, unless newcomer Stacey Mack makes the running game respectable.
Joey Harrington to Charles Rogers, Lions. Like Carr, Harrington had a year to settle in before his team brought in a franchise receiver. Steve Mariucci's experience working with quarterbacks and dealing with explosive wideouts will help bring along both players quickly.
Kordell Stewart to Marty Booker, Bears. For Stewart to rebound from his struggles last season with Pittsburgh, he needs to get into a rhythm with Booker, who has proved he can be productive no matter who's throwing him the ball.