As the new guy to the ATL All Day staff, I thought I would start things off with a new series I am calling Fan Favorites. I am going to go over one player and his recent stats to include the statistics from the last eight regular season games and post season (as seen on Pro Football Focus), off-field behavior, future with the team, and possible roles they may play on the team in this upcoming year. Now let’s get this started.
Whether you are a fan of the Atlanta Falcons or just a casual NFL fan, you probably know the name, Roddy White. The long-time Falcon is a staple for the Falcons offense and has been a go-to guy for Matt Ryan for the entirety of his career. On top of all of that, he is one of the few outspoken players on an otherwise domesticated team. Roddy has lived through the team wide purge of the old locker room by showing incredible resilience early on in his career. Thankfully, the team stuck with him because he now stands as one of the most reliable and prolific receivers, not only the team, but in the NFL.
Recent Regular Season Statistics:
Week 9 New Orleans Saints- 7 receptions for 114 yards, making it 16.29 yards per reception.
Week 10 Arizona Cardinals- 8 receptions for 123 yards making it 15.38 yards per reception.
Week 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 5 receptions for 57 yards making it 11.4 yards per reception.
Week 12 New Orleans Saints- 1 reception for 20 yards making it 20 yards per reception.
Week 13 Carolina Panthers- 9 receptions for 117 yards making it 13 yards per reception. He also scored a touchdown ending his dry spell.
Week 14 New York Giants- 2 receptions for 16 yards making it 8 yards per reception.
Week 15 Detroit Lions- 8 receptions for 153 yards making it 19.13 yards per reception. Adding another 2 touchdowns.
Week 16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 5 receptions for 42 yards making it 8.4 yards per reception.
Recent Post Season Statistics:
Divisional Round Seattle Seahawks- 5 receptions for 76 yards making it 15.2 yards per reception. Scoring a touchdown along the way.
NFC Championship San Francisco 49ers- 7 receptions for 100 yards making it 14.29 yards per reception.
What can be gathered from these games is that Roddy White is going to contribute each and every week. The least amount of receptions in a game was against New Orleans and he only recorded one reception for a healthy 20 yards. He did follow that up with nine receptions for 117 yards the very next game. The reason for the up and down nature of the statistics can be contributed to a mixture of who is lining up against Roddy ,and who Julio Jones or Tony Gonzalez is matched up against the same week. The thing that caught my eye was how he obviously was putting his best foot forward in the post season. I don’t have the stats broken down by halves of the game, but on the whole, Roddy White was out to win in both games and definitely pulled his weight.
Off Field Behavior:
What can be said that hasn’t been said before? In Roddy’s defense, he is the epitome of keeping it real. He says what’s on his mind and is unapologetic about it. To me, it’s a breath of fresh air, but not everybody agrees. Just in case you have been under a rock for the past couple of years, Roddy has used his Twitter account to let the citizens of New Orleans know exactly how he feels about their team and stomping grounds, let his critics know that following him on Twitter is a choice (which is funny to me), he is vocal about his political affiliations, responds to fans quite often, and the list goes on and on. What a lot of people don’t know is his other ventures outside of football. He has also addressed it on Twitter but in a nutshell it is called Roddy White Meridian Star Merchant Services and it is a loan service through which Roddy helps small businesses receive small loans to jumpstart their business. The guy did go to college after all.
Future with the Team:
Roddy White has a very low chance of becoming a free agent in the near future. I say low chance instead of no chance because in this day and age of football you just never know. Roddy is owed $9,125,000 in 2013 and a slightly more modest $6,325,000 in 2014. That is quite a bit of money but after setting franchise records for career receiving yards, yards in a season, yards in a game, receptions in a single season, most 100 yard games, and consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, as well as being the eighth receiver in history to have five consecutive seasons with 80 catches and 1,000 yards, it seems fitting. According to his contract, he will be an Unrestricted Free Agent in the 2014-2015 offseason but I am inclined to think the team will try to resign him long before that happens. The only way I can see Roddy not suiting up in the red and black in 2015 is either a catastrophic injury or an unexpected/severe decline in productivity.
Possible Roles Next Year:
Roddy’s role should stay much the same as it did last year. Last year did see more of a shift toward Julio Jones being the TD machine while Roddy was looked upon to get the critical first downs and short to mid-range throws using his second-to-none route running skills. The team’s strategy for the offense shifted from a more ground-and-pound approach in 2011 to the vertical passing game in 2012. The emergence of Julio Jones gave the team a true X and Y tandem of receivers and this strategy is the keystone to this offense. I can foresee a slight drop in receptions for all receivers with a revamped run game now that Steven Jackson is taking over for Michael Turner. However, this should open things up downfield making it possible to see equal or more yardage/touchdowns at the same time. Also, Roddy has an ever important skill that not many people acknowledge: He is an incredible blocker for a wide receiver. He does not shy away from contact and this is actually very useful to the team for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that when other receivers catch the ball they have one less man to worry about downfield and the run game should get a boost for the same reason.
Roddy White is easily a Fan Favorite and that is why I picked him to kick off my series and time with ATL All Day. To me, Roddy is the epitome of what this team represents and deserves every ounce of respect for walking the walk and talking the talk, not a lot of people do that these days. I hope you enjoyed it and I am eager to hear what anybody else has to say on Atlanta’s sure handed man, Sharod “Roddy” Lamor White.