How Much Longer will Texans get Production from A.J

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by EllisUnit, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. EllisUnit

    EllisUnit Serving Koolaid

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    http://www.battleredblog.com/2011/4...-texans-get-superstar-production-out-of-andre

    At the start of the 2011 NFL season, assuming they play it, Andre Johnson will be 30 years old. It will be his ninth season in the NFL, and hopefully he will overcome last season's ankle injuries and get to 16 games started again, because over time he's proven that him starting 16 games is a very, very, good thing for the Houston Texans.

    But just how much longer will the Texans get this same kind of production from him? Superstar receivers do tend to head south production-wise after they hit 30. I know, I know...this is Andre Johnson we're talking about here. A beast. A freak of nature. Medical technology is advancing further and athletes are playing longer and better than they've ever been able to before.

    Still, the question remains: how much longer can the Texans expect superstar production out of Johnson?

    Star-divide

    In an attempt to answer the query, I made a beeline right for Football Outsiders' new player pages, which now show a player's 10 top comparables (only the top one if you're not a subscriber though) in one, two, and three year increments. I, of course, went for three to try and get as much accuracy as possible.

    Johnson's comps are, as you'd expect, extremely sexy. Torry Holt's 2003-2005 seasons are the top comparison, and another three-season stretch of Holt makes the Top 10 as well. Jerry Rice makes the list twice, as does Terrell Owens. Those six three-year stretches are flanked by one each from Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Jimmy Smith, and Joe Horn.

    Holt's 2003-2005 seasons occurred when he was at roughly the same age that Johnson was, and his 2004-2006 seasons, which would be one ahead of Johnson's age, are the other comps on the list. Holt was productive through 2007, or 32 years old, before losing his speed and becoming a possession receiver. However, Holt and Johnson aren't really on the same blueprint physically. Holt was a 6'0", 190 pound burner while Johnson is listed at 6'3" and 219.

    No. 2 comp Wayne would be at roughly the same age as Johnson from 2006-2008, but like Holt, he's more about speed and less about physicality. He's had two top flight seasons since then and will enter the 2011 season at 33. Harrison, like the other two, was much more slightly built than Johnson. The system identifies his 2001-2003 seasons as comparable to Johnson's last three, which would actually put him a year older than Johnson. From Age 30 on, Harrison wound up with five more stellar seasons before he eventually lost his boosters. I'm going to toss Horn and Smith off since they're the lowest two players on the list and didn't really start producing until they turned 28 or so.

    Rice, ageless wonder, had comparable seasons from 1989-1991 and 1990-1992, during his prime. Rice turned 30 in 1992, would go on to have four more great seasons before getting hurt, then after that put up six more 800+ yard seasons (3 of which were 1000+). I don't think any of us is expecting Andre Johnson to last THAT long, though it would be nice.

    Could it be, in a stroke of irony, that Johnson's most comparable modern player is Owens? The two might have different personalities, but they do have near-exact physical attributes. The years Owens was compared for were the 2000-02 and 2001-03 seasons, and Owens hit 30 during that 2003 season. TO continued to post superstar numbers when healthy through his Age 34 season, and though he will likely find job offers hard to come by as long as he keeps opening his mouth, he's still a productive player today at 37.

    Looking at these comparisons made me feel a lot better about the Texans' future with Johnson and the contract they handed out to him. The two closest comps on his list, all things considered, were Rice and Owens. Even if Johnson only has Owens' end-of-career wind down, there's no reason (barring injury) to expect a drastic slowdown any time in the next few years
     
  2. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    30 is the big year according to some for RB's but isn't a big marking point for WR's. AJ has quite a while left.
     
  3. Double Barrel

    Double Barrel Modified Simian

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    I think he has a lot left in his tank, but there is no denying that the team has to break the playoff barrier very soon for AJ to be a big part of it. It would be a shame to see his entire career go by without a postseason appearance.
     
  4. Corrosion

    Corrosion Idealist

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    Watching football for almost 40 years , Ive noticed that the best WR's get better with age. They become more precise route runners and learn other little tricks of the trade. They may lose a step but they learn the nuances of the position and remain effective.

    The fact that they dont take the physical pounding many other positions do also helps their longevity.

    Each player is different , but with AJ , his game isnt one dimensional relying purely upon speed , his size and physicality along with his speed is what makes him special .... while he may lose a step , he could remain effective for 8-10 years based upon his other attributes. Much like what we saw Jerry Rice do later in his career. He played until he was 42.


    Damn someone edit that title ..... :rake:
     
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  5. Hardcore Texan

    Hardcore Texan Magnet Man

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    I think he'll be around awhile, at least as long as Owens has been, and I wouldn't be suprised to see another really good 5 years out of him.
     
  6. El Tejano

    El Tejano Hall of Fame

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    This is why drafting Julio Jones, if available, wouldn't make me too mad.
     
  7. Corrosion

    Corrosion Idealist

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    I dont believe drafting Jones would mean he is the eventual replacement for AJ but more of a compliment to AJ. With another top flight reciever opposite him , teams would have a much more difficult time getting blanket or double coverage on either player.


    As much as I'd like to see a second top flight WR on the other side of the field , if they were to use their first rounder on a WR this year I'd be furious. The offense is as good as any in the league , its the defense thats broken and if we want to reach the playoffs its the defense that must be fixed.

    WR is a luxury pick the Texans cant afford.
     
  8. DocBar

    DocBar Hall of Fame

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    According to his 40 times, Jerry Rice never had a step to lose, but he's the best at his position to ever play the game and played for 22 years. AJ, from what has been reported, is a workout fanatic and takes good care of his body and mind. A bigger question for me would be how long AJ will tolerate mediocrity. The man has been a consumate professional his entire career. Sonner or later though, winning has to become the primary goal.
     


  9. EllisUnit

    EllisUnit Serving Koolaid

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    yeah and thanks for fixing the title, i hate misspelling titles. Loner haha thanks
     
  10. eriadoc

    eriadoc Texan-American

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    I know people cite Jerry Rice, but there are other examples of WRs that fell off very quickly. Torry Holt comes to mind. He finished his first nine years with 805 receptions, 11864 yards, and 71 TDs. His career average is 14.5 YPC. He dropped from star WR to nobody in a very short time and is out of the NFL now, I believe.

    AJ through eight years has 673 receptions, 9164 yards, and 50 TDs. The truth is we just don't know, and it really sucks to consider that the Texans have wasted AJ's prime playing years.
     
  11. DocBar

    DocBar Hall of Fame

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    Tory Holt was more of the "water bug" run and shoot kind of reciever. Not the impressive physical specimens that AJ and Rice are. Hell TO, as much as I hate to mention him. He's 37 and his production has dropped due to poor attitude and just being an asshole rather than age. Just IHMO, of course. I say a minimum of 5-7 years of above average performance from AJ. Having said that, I wouldn't have heartburn if Julio Jones ws available at #11 and we took him:gamer:
     
  12. Ole Miss Texan

    Ole Miss Texan Hall of Fame

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    Very interesting read and great work. If anything, I'm really hoping AJ's production goes up. The receptions and yards are nice and all... but he's never been near in leading the league in TDs. I wouldn't mind seeing less receptions, less yards but more TDs through increased usage in the redzone. I think he's got a number of years of left of still being one of the best or at worst just a very productive WR. lol
     
  13. DocBar

    DocBar Hall of Fame

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    AJ is very much our biggest threat. I don't mind low TD production cuz he plays a HUGE rolle in setting up TD's. The Texans get anywhere near the red zone and AJ is gonna get at leat double coverage. I just want wins.
     
  14. TimeKiller

    TimeKiller Guest

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    When TO's physical ability began to leave him (mid 30s) he fell off because he didn't have the football skills to overcome that declining physical ability. When (not if) AJ starts to lose it in 3-4 years he will have the football skills to be productive for another 3-4 years.

    To answer the question, he'll produce for them every single game he plays....for them.
     
  15. DocBar

    DocBar Hall of Fame

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    I can go with that. TO relied too much on physical domination instead of refining his craft.
     
  16. Corrosion

    Corrosion Idealist

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    Holt was very one dimensional in that his speed was his primary means of production. Those like Rice , TO and a few others who were / are able to play at a high level at a late age have more than just speed , much like AJ.
    Its the combination of size , speed , physicality , durability and desire that make them special and allow them to defy father time.
     
  17. HJam72

    HJam72 Hall of Fame

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    Plus, if you cover AJ, he will kick your @$$. :)
     
  18. steelbtexan

    steelbtexan Hall of Fame

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    3/4 pro bowl level yrs and 3/4 good productive yrs.

    Then another 1/2 yrs of hanging on.

    By age 38 he should be on his way down. It could be sooner if his ankle surgery didn't go well. It was dumb to continue to let him play hurt on it last yr. IMHO
     
  19. Dutchrudder

    Dutchrudder COOL BEANS!

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    Muhammad Ali didn't retire until age 39, so I think Andre has at quite a few more fights left in him...


    [​IMG]
     
  20. TheMatrix31

    TheMatrix31 Hall of Fame

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    Barring injury of course, I think Andre has 3 or 4 years of elite production in him.
     

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