NFL

Which NFL Teams Are Devoid of Weapons

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One of the biggest schematic advantages that an offense can have is a wide receiver that constantly demands a double team. This opens up a ton of avenues for the offense to attack the defense in a variety of ways. It causes two defenders to be worried about one offensive player, which means that the offense has a personnel advantage of 10 to nine on the rest of the field. Furthermore, it means that the rest of the receivers and tight ends will like be in one-on-one situations, which drastically improves their ability to get open.

However, if a team doesn’t have weapons that can consistently win those one-on-one situations, it drastically limits how effective that offense can be. If the defense can double team or bracket the No. 1 receiver, the offense as a whole and especially the passing game will be drastically limited. This is why teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers have invested a considerable amount of resources to acquiring supplemental weapons who can take advantage of those types of situations.

Some teams haven’t allocated those resources or haven’t been lucky enough to have those types of weapons outside their No. 1 receiver.

This problem reared its head for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. With Victor Cruz out with an injury, the Cowboys bracketed Odell Beckham Jr. and drastically limited his effect on the game. For most of the game, the Cowboys put a cornerback back on Beckham with a safety bracketing him over the top and dared the Giants to beat them with their other weapons, which they were unable to do. Beckham finished with just five catches for 44 yards and Eli Manning failed to pass for more than 200 yards.

The Giants have to hope that Cruz will be back in the near future or their offense could put them in a huge hole to start the season.

The team that will likely be affected most by this conundrum is the Baltimore Ravens. Outside of Steve Smith Sr., the Ravens don’t have a single weapon that can consistently win versus one-on-one coverage. Furthermore, at this point in his career, Smith isn’t the type of receiver who can consistently beat double coverage; therefore, it will be easy for opposing teams to take him out of the game.

Even though Joe Flacco is a very good quarterback, he still needs his receivers and tight ends to get open for the offense to be effective. The Ravens have to hope that either of their talented rookies, wide receiver Breshad Perriman or tight end Maxx Williams, can quickly develop and become a great No. 2 option.

The No. 1 target for an offense doesn’t always have to be a wide receiver, sometimes it is a tight end and in the case of the Carolina Panthers, they don’t have a great No. 2 option outside of Greg Olsen. With the season-ending injury to Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers are severely devoid of passing threats on offense. Cam Newton is severely hamstrung by the lack of weapons and it will be apparent during this season.

Defenses are going to key on the running game and bracket Olsen in the passing game, which will force the Panthers to try and move the ball with other targets. Corey Brown and Ted Ginn Jr. will have a ton of pressure on them to take advantage of those opportunities, even though neither of them have shown an ability to do so in their careers.

Whatever the case may be, all these teams are severely hampered by their lack of weapons on the outside and at tight end on offense. Moreover, each of those teams has capable quarterbacks that are capable of taking their teams deep in the playoffs with an adequate array of weapons; however, none of them have enough weapons to actually accomplish that feat.

These teams, especially the Ravens and the Panthers, have the defenses and coaching staffs to go to the Super Bowl, but each of them will likely fall short because of their supplementary weapons inability to win in favorable situations.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com