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Targeting the WRs

11/4/2009

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

Steve Smith is the league leader in being targeted by quarterbacks. Problem is, it’s the wrong Steve Smith.

The one who is tied for the league lead with 77 targets plays for the New York Giants. The one with the Carolina Panthers has been somewhat forgotten. Carolina’s Smith, who has been the victim of inconsistency just about everywhere else on offense, hasn’t been targeted nearly as much as he usually is. But he still ranks among the league leaders. Carolina’s Smith has been targeted 62 times.

That ranks him second among NFC South receivers. Atlanta’s Roddy White has been targeted 64 times. Here’s a look at the league leaders in targets:

Now, I’m going to share a chart that doesn’t list any NFC South players, but I think it still is significant. This is the list of league leaders in dropped passes. Several thoughts here:

Kudos to New Orleans’ Devery Henderson, who has put his early-career drops way behind him. Next, it should be noted that drops are not an official NFL stat. These are determined by ESPN Stats & Information, after the breakdown of tape. Looks like -- like a lot of people -- they haven’t been watching Tampa Bay’s games because I could swear Michael Clayton and Antonio Bryant have combined for about 47 drops.