Roddy should be playing with a chip
One guy who should come out this year with a massive chip on his shoulder is a guy that has received for over 1100 yards in 6 straight seasons, amassing nearly 8000 yards and 50 TDs in that time. While his teammate is being pegged as a superstar blossoming before our eyes, forgotten is the man who still remains the best receiving option on his team - a team that includes a 13-time pro-bowl TE. Yes, Im talking about Roddy White, who was snubbed from the pro-bowl last year, while Julio Jones was voted in. While it's true Jones is a phenomenal talent, White still is a better route runner with better hands. White can't compare to off-the-charts athletes like Jones and Calvin Johnson, he is still one of the best size/speed/athleticsm/ball skills combos in this league. He is a savvy veteran still in his physical prime, and he came up huge in the clutch for the Falcons last year - a team that owned the league's best record for the entirety of the season, and did it by closing out tight games.
It's hard to say there is a go-to guy in the Falcons offense because they simply have too many great weapons (Jones, White, Tony Gonzalez, Steven Jackson, Jacqizz Rodgers, Harry Douglas), but it somehow feels like Roddy White is the go-to guy when the chips are down. Gonzalez is their first down and redzone menace, but he isn't nearly as effective of a downfield weapon as he once was. Throw enough balls in the direction in Julio Jones direction in a game and he will undoubetdly make some big plays, but he can't yet be counted on to get open and make the tough catches in clutch situations. When the game's on the line, Matt Ryan will make his reads, but Roddy will be the guy Ryan knows he can count on to get to the right place and make a big play. Richard Sherman, the self-annointed best corner in the league, has come out and publically called White soft, the product of a system, and not difficulut to stop. For whatever reason, White is not getting the respect he deserves as one of the top receivers in the league. It should matter that he has led his team in receiving six straight years, and that his team has made the playoffs in four of those seasons and had winning records in 5 of them.
Then again, the whole Falcon team doesnt get enough respect. Theyve been one of the leagues most consisently winning teams since they drafted Matt Ryan and hired Mike Smith, but get dumped on for their poor playoff record. In reality, this team didn't have the talent or experience to win in the playoffs a few years ago. They should be proud of overachieveing and making the playoffs those years, not bagged on for getting beat by superior teams. But things are different now. This team has had major upgrades in talent and are now battle-hardened. They consistently showed the ability to close out tough games and came very close to making the Super Bowl last year. Yet, they just dont get the same hype as the 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots and Packers. This whole team should be coming out with a chip on their shoulder this year, eager to prove they are an elite team. Roddy White should be leading the charge in this department, playing hard to prove to everyone that he is an elite receiver.