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10 NFL offensive players primed for bounce-back seasons

By Sam Spiegelman
XN Sports

Each season there are players coming off injuries or down years. This year it seems as if there's a surplus of such names.

Many big names did not live up to expectations in 2013, but after changes made in the offseason - roster upgrades, coaching changes or simply getting healthy - they appear to be heading back to stardom. Here's a look at 10 players primed for bounce-back seasons:

1. Joe Flacco

The 2012 Super Bowl champs didn't even make it back to the dance last season, largely because of an offense that took a step major step backward. Ray Rice wasn't himself, and Flacco played like he was trying to be the most overpaid quarterback in the league.

Former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak is now the Ravens' offensive coordinator, and reports suggest Flacco's stock could be on the rise.

Will he finally live up to the money? He has Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, plus a healthy Dennis Pitta to start off the season.

2. Eli Manning

Injuries derailed Manning's 2013 campaign, and it's no wonder the New York Giants couldn't put points on the scoreboard.

Now Manning is back to full health, and has new weapon to jump-start his bounce-back campaign. Rueben Randle came on strong down the stretch, and Odell Beckham Jr. is a much-needed downfield threat. And with the Giants bolstering their offensive line and adding depth at running back, Manning won't be faced with as much pressure to carry the load.

3. Robert Griffin III

DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, Alfred Morris and an innovative new head coach - RGIII's injury riddled 2013 already feels like a distant memory.

The Skins' quarterback has had the time to heal and has a wealth of new weapons to work with in Jay Gruden's scheme. Gruden helped mask Andy Dalton's deficiencies, so imagine how much more creative he can be with a true talent like Griffin and more than just one talented wide receiver.

4. Mike Wallace

Earlier this offseason, there was speculation that Wallace could be traded. Now all indications are that Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins offense are beginning to click, and the most dangerous weapon there is Wallace.

If Tannehill can actually step a step forward in Year 3, Wallace is going to be the benefactor. He's unquestionably the best weapon on that offense, and perhaps he's finally developing a chemistry with his quarterback.

5. Hakeem Nicks

New offense. Better quarterback. Finally healthy.

Nicks now is hauling in passes from Andrew Luck and has a chance to make amends for back-to-back down years. Nicks was hindered by a rash injuries in 2012 and into 2013, and last year was product of Manning's regression. Luck could be on the verge of going from great to elite this year, and Nicks will be one the beneficiaries.

6. Chris Johnson

Remember when the New York Jets sported a backfield tandem of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. Expect a similar type of timeshare between Johnson and Chris Ivory, who provide a bit of thunder and lightning in the team's new-look running attack.

Johnson got one of the better deals for running backs available this offseason, and the Jets are going to make sure they get their money's worth. Johnson managed another 1,000-yard season despite playing through injury, and with the ground-and-pound focus in New York, he should be in store for another.

7. Arian Foster

Injuries made us forget about Foster, who wasn't around too much during the Texans' awful 2013 season. But he's now teamed up with offensive-minded Bill O'Brien, who is going to find ways to make Foster the focal point of the offense through both the running game and the passing game.

Foster is still young and now healthy, and even with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick under center can find ways to make plays.

8. Lamar Miller

Miller and Giants back David Wilson seemed prime for breakout campaigns in 2013, but neither met those lofty expectations. While the Dolphins' signing of Knowshon Moreno looked like trouble for Miller's stock in 2014, it appears Miller is light years ahead of Moreno, who's battling an injury.

The hype, yet again, is high for Miller. This year, though, it looks as if he may be able to live up to it.

9. Rob Gronkowski

If Gronk isn't healthy this year, he may never be. For more than a year Gronk has been sidelined with a multitude of injuries, and he always seems to be rushed back before he's ready.

He's been rehabbing for quite some time now, and being at 100 percent might just be the key for Gronk to return to dominating defenses and putting indents in NFL end zones across the league.

10. Trent Richardson

Will this be his year?

With so many weapons on the Colts' offense, it's beginning to look like the Broncos of the Mid-West. With so many receivers opposing defenses have to key on, Richardson might find himself with plenty of open running lanes. Plus, he's finally had a year to get accustomed with the playbook.

For more sports coverage, please visit XNSports.com

Join the discussion

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James Zucco June 21 2014 at 1:22 PM


Flag Reply +12 rate up
9 replies
Fred June 21 2014 at 12:22 PM

I know about 500 dogs who would be glad to tell you about Vick, if they could.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
jwfoust Fred June 21 2014 at 2:03 PM

Or the thousands of dogs he's helped since serving his time. He did bad. He paid the price. He understands what he did was wrong.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
6 replies
Brian Hope Fred June 22 2014 at 12:05 AM

Too bad Vick didn't wind up in Cleveland. Wonder what relationship would he have had with the "Dog Pound"?

Flag Reply +4 rate up
markusJAMES11 June 21 2014 at 2:16 PM

Flacco,The strongest arm in nfl now has the best targets to throw too since he began his career.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
3 replies
dawgfed5 June 21 2014 at 5:28 PM

Gronk's therapy is in a bottle

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
landslowrance dawgfed5 June 22 2014 at 11:19 AM

I keep hearing that.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
cgoodl June 21 2014 at 2:19 PM

I always wonder about people who blame the quarterback for everything...certainly writers, and ostensibly fans, are aware that football is a team sport. Look to the reciever corps, the offensive line, and running backs to share a part of the blame for "lackluster" performances by the men in the limelight.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
lalalexm cgoodl June 21 2014 at 2:24 PM

I agree. If a quarterback does not get the protection he needs than it makes no difference how good he is, he will not win. chances are that if Troy Aikman would have been with a team like the Cleveland Browns he would not own even one ring.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
roger sparks lalalexm June 22 2014 at 10:00 AM

so true and that's way the Cowboys have not has a ring since.

Flag 0 rate up
Pasko June 21 2014 at 11:14 AM

Another Obama constituent.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Rita Hayward Pasko June 21 2014 at 4:52 PM

Please take your politics to an appropriate site. This is an article on football players.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
TRUDY AND PETE Rita Hayward June 22 2014 at 11:33 AM

Look with a name like Rita Hayward, stay out of acting too honey.

Flag 0 rate up
wiggy365 Rita Hayward June 22 2014 at 12:36 PM

Rita Hayward is right. The sky is blue, U Blame Obama, the moon is blue; U Blame Obama. U R Obsessed with President Obama. Really, and a whole lot of people question the reason for that obsession by U Folks. It is racism; cause like the old 60's saying: If U R not part of the solution; U R part of the problem. Go Packers, Go Montreal Alouettes.

Flag +2 rate up
soccer_sucks June 21 2014 at 6:34 PM

Pretty soon it will be flag football

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dawgfed5 June 21 2014 at 5:20 PM

Really, let Vick alone. So many more have done a lot worse but they go under the radar because they are not famous. It was a bad thing no doubt, but what about Ray "How did that body get in my trunk' Lewis?

There is no time limit for murder, so lets open that trunk again. He needs to be O.J.'s cell mate.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
stgelights dawgfed5 June 22 2014 at 8:54 AM

You dont even know what your talking about

Flag Reply +1 rate up
JOSEPH G MATTERA June 21 2014 at 9:10 PM


Flag Reply +1 rate up
tmccull52 June 21 2014 at 3:43 AM

There's a QB that should be on that list, and isn't: Matthew Stafford, of the Detroit Lions. People often cite Stafford's statistics in terms of passing yards, but he wouldn't have nearly so many of those if he didn't have WR Calvin Johnson to pass to. A parapalegic grandmother with a glass eye and a hook for a hand could hit Calvin Johnson for 2,000 yards a season.

The Lions and their fans have been waiting for Stafford to bounce back for the entirety of his NFL career. His mechanics are terrible, and he still makes terrible decisions for a veteran QB with at least five seasons under his belt. Still, for some reason, most of the Detroit media gives Stafford a pass, no pun intended, treating him as though he's a first or second year rookie still learning the job. In my opinion, Stafford is THE most overrated player at any position in the NFL.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
mojo working tmccull52 June 21 2014 at 11:56 AM

And yet he is often in the top five quarterbacks for yards and touchdowns . I heard on one of the games that the Lions set a record for dropped passes over a two year period . He can't catch his own passes so the Lions seeing the need got Golden Tate and drafted that talented receiver .

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
tmccull52 mojo working June 22 2014 at 2:00 PM

I repeat, a parapilegic grandmother with a hook for a hand and a glass eye could hit Calvin Johnson for 2,000 yards a season. Johnson makes Stafford seem better than he actually is.

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