OK, time for a quick quiz.
Question: What do these two NFL seasons have in common?
1999 Marshall Faulk – 87 rec, 1048 rec yds, 5 TD
2006 Mike Furrey – 98 rec, 1086 rec yds, 6 TD
They were both 1000+ rec yard seasons by players who had never previously reached 1000 receiving yards.
In both cases, their teams didn’t have anybody who reached even 800 receiving yards the season before. Again in both cases, their teams started a quarterback who hadn’t started a single game the season before. And they both occurred during the first season Mike Martz was their team’s Offensive Coordinator.
You can see where I’m going with this…
Martz is now the offensive coordinator in San Francisco
(highest receiving total last season: 600 yards) and his starting QB will be J.T. O’Sullivan (starts last season: zero). If the previous pattern of breakout WRs continues, Bryant Johnson looks like the best candidate to be that breakout WR.
He’s a former first-round draft pick who has never lived up to his potential, though he’d been stuck behind Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald so it’s hard to stand out in that group.
With Frank Gore running the ball and the veteran Issac Bruce drawing coverage on the other side, Johnson looks set.
I’m not willing to ignore a Mike Martz offense, which is why I think Johnson will finish with 1000+ receiving yards this season.