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In a recent article listing one player from each NFL team that could disappoint this season, Bucs WR Antonio Brown was selected. Author Kristopher Knox is skeptical that Brown can still excel at 32 years old coming off knee surgery. Knox believes Brown could lose significant playing time to Scotty Miller or Jaelon Darden this season. Brown collected 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Knox listed three pieces of evidence in predicting Brown’s demise: his recent knee surgery, averaging 10.7 yards per catch in 2020 and the distance from his last 1,000-yard season.

To me, these arguments are all made in bad faith. Brown’s knee injury was minor enough to allow him to play through it in the Super Bowl, and he’s had a remarkably healthy career. He’s also fanatical about training and taking care of his body. Decline comes for everyone, but there is no reason to believe that Brown will be physically slowed because of his recent knee surgery.

As for the amount of time since Brown’s last 1,000-yard season, that has nothing to do with his on-field performance at all. Brown played one game in 2019 and was suspended until Week 9 last season for off-field and legal reasons. When he played, he looked fantastic. Sure, it took Brown some time to acclimate to a brand new offense after a year off the field. But the receiver still posted 50 or more receiving yards in half of his regular season games with the Bucs. In this offense, that’s not easy to do.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Brown was also catching fire late in the regular season, scoring four times over the final three weeks. The All-Pro grabbed 11 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the season finale. Two weeks prior, Brown caught five passes for 93 yards and a score against Detroit. Then, in the wild card game, Brown grabbed a 36-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The knee hampered him for the rest of the playoffs, but he still managed to dust Tyrann Mathieu for a critical touchdown before the half in Super Bowl LV.

As for Brown’s 10.7 yards per catch, a cursory glance at the tape reveals proper context. The Bucs used him a lot in the screen game, increasing that element of their offense in response to the constant pressure teams were sending at them. Those line-of-scrimmage targets dragged down Brown’s yards per catch, but were vital for the Bucs offense. Context matters, and people who don’t watch the Bucs don’t understand that context.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Brown’s biggest hurdle last season was learning the offense and getting on the same page with Brady. Once that began to happen, his production took off. Brown will obviously contend with several elite players for targets, so a 1,000-yard season isn’t likely. But that lack of production should be seen as a product of the situation, not Brown’s caliber of play. As far as we’ve seen, his skill set is still among the best in the NFL.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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5 months ago

B/R? What in the world is that?
Oh, and AB is going off this year.
Edit: Never mind about the B/R….. Bleacher Report.

But the AB going off this year stands.

Last edited 5 months ago by ScottC543
Reply to  ScottC543
5 months ago

B/R = Bullshit Read..

5 months ago

What would the world be like for sports if there weren’t cynics and pessimists?
IMO a much better world.

Reply to  Runole
5 months ago

They have to say something to get viewership

5 months ago

These people are clueless. No way you can dig into 32 teams with any depth. Our receiving corps is a group that will work together for 20 games. Guys will go down other guys will step up. Its not about AB or any one person. Its about all of our pass catchers stepping up when called upon.

5 months ago

Bleacher Report is a waste of bandwidth. Stopped reading it years ago.
Its favourite mode of operation is posting superficial click-bait headlines picking an example from every team in the league. “One trade each team has to make”; “One free-agent each team should seek” type features. And the “answers” to the questions are fairly random and biased in favour of ‘name recognition’ to its general audience.
Jon could probably find a dozen similarly ill-chosen examples just by scrolling down the B/R website for 10 minutes.

Reply to  ManchesterBucc
5 months ago


5 months ago

Comprehensive list of when B/R mattered to me:

5 months ago

I guess that depends on one’s level of expectations. Anyone expecting elite WR1 numbers from ANY of our WRs is likely to be disappointed.

5 months ago

C/RT has them actually going 17-0.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
5 months ago

Lol funny that you find disagreement with him. He is simply “cherry picking stats” to support his opinion just like most of you stat heads. You just tried to convince us that Chris Godwin is better than Mike Evans by conveniently using 2yrs of stats and now you disagree when someone does the same thing. Too Funny! About as bad as Naples using Lenny’s playoff stats to argue that he’s the best RB in the league. Pot call the Kettle black much?

Reply to  Captain Sly
5 months ago

Kind of how you’re using Evans “track record”, or body of work to say that he’s better than Godwin lol. I don’t care if Evans has played 2 years or 12, I think Godwin is a better overall receiver. Body of work is irrelevant when it comes to who a better WR is. Is AB better than Adams, Hopkins, Hill, Diggs, Julio, or Thomas? Right now, no. Godwin is the complete package. Can dominate inside or outside. And can run every single route in the tree. Has great hands, and is a great blocker. Evans is limited to more of… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Dave
5 months ago

So what? Bucs are loaded – I mean loaded on offense. Keep TB12 healthy and we have a chance to repeat.

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg