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NFL Lines - Bouncing Back

Posted by Elio Masi on 7/10/2012 6:03:57 PM

Bouncing Back

In what was a truly spectacular NFL lines season, many players had increased work ethic in the offseason to thank for their brilliant performances. However, just like every other NFL lines season, some players’ performances fell under par and were left with nothing but question marks by their supporters and the media come season end. With a number of big name stars under performing in 2011, their teammates, coaches and cities were left hoping for more next season. Due to different circumstances and a year’s experience, the three bounce-back players of 2012 to watch out for are Philip Rivers, Chris Johnson and Josh Freeman.

Rivers Re-Charging
Although his 2011 campaign was by no means terrible, it was far from what many expected. His 2011 quarterback rating of 88.7 as well as his 62.9 completion rate were the lowest he’s posted since 2007. He also managed to throw for 20 interceptions, a career low, and added 5 lost fumbles to his long list of regions needing improvement next season. However, there is hope once again for the nine-year veteran. With Ryan Mathews’ coming out party in 2011 and the signing of Eddie Royal in the offseason, San Diego have provided a quarterback friendly environment. When you add tight-end Antonio Gates and receiver Robert Meachem in the mix, the Chargers are looking stacked once more for the 2012 season. With their defense being bolstered by young talent, Rivers will have a little less pressure on him when it comes down to the importance of every drive, a factor that is sure to help his game play.

Clash of the Titan
After establishing himself as an elite running back in his first three seasons, Chris Johnson fell short during 2011. Johnson fell to 14th in rushing yards in the NFL lines at the end of 2011, a disappointing feat considering, in his prior seasons, he ranked 8th or higher. His four rushing touchdowns as well as his yards-per-carry average of 4.0 were both career lows for him, not to mention simply terrible results for any running back. Thanks to contract negotiations, Johnson missed crucial workout sessions during the Titans’ training camp and it clearly had an effect on him. However, given his young age and a full offseason’s training, Johnson should be able to reestablish himself once again as a great running threat. Given it is his second go around with Chris Palmer, Johnson should feel more comfortable in his offense and be more productive in the 2012 season.

Gunning on Freeman
After what was a terrific 2010 campaign, many of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ hopeful expected more of the same from quarterback Josh Freeman. Unfortunately for both he and his fans, 2011 wasn't very kind to Freeman. His QB rating fell 19 spots - 25th overall - he managed to throw for only 16 touchdowns and threw for 22 picks. Considering Tampa’s 10-6 record the previous year, a 4-12 season was not only disastrous, but surprising. The Bucs team that showed so much promise the prior year shriveled and died down in 2011. However, there’s still hope for the 24 year old and his teammates. He’s improved his physical conditioning, losing over 20 pounds thus far. Taking into consideration his improvements in conditioning, work ethic and ability to focus as well as the addition of a number one receiver in Vincent Jackson, Freeman has been given a golden ticket to success in 2012. Add their NFL lines draft pick running back Doug Martin in the mix and suddenly the Buccaneers are looking like a completely different team.

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