Is Isaac Bruce a Hall of Famer?

When Isaac Bruce officially retires on Wednesday, he’ll do so by holding every major Rams receiving record of all-time. He ranks fifth in NFL history in receptions with 1,024 and is second in all-time receiving yards with 15,208. He’s also ninth all-time in receiving touchdowns with 91 and was selected to four Pro Bowls.

But even though the former Ram and 49er set NFL stat sheets ablaze with his numbers, some don’t consider him a Hall of Famer because of the offensive systems he played in. From 1999 through 2001, the Rams led the league in passing yardage and they also set the record for most passing yards in a season in 2000 with 5,232. Therefore, many consider Bruce’s success a mere product of the Rams’ passing success in those three seasons.

While it’s hard to argue that Bruce didn’t benefit from the offensive systems he played in (as well as from lining up across from Torry Holt all of those years), it’s hardly fair to deny him entry into the Hall of Fame because of it. It’s not like he had a choice to play in those offenses during those years and besides, he still put up outstanding numbers.

Was Bruce a dominant player? No, but neither was Lynn Swann and he’s in the Hall (albeit after 14 tries). Bruce has the numbers, was fairly consistent (he racked up eight 1,000-yard seasons during his career) and played on some great teams.

He’s probably not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but I believe Bruce should be elected into Canton at some point. Again, he wasn’t a difference maker but we’re talking about the best receiver in Rams’ history.

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Top 10 active NFL receiving yardage leaders

The NFL has become a pass-first league, and with that, wide receivers and tight ends have become more important than ever—not just in west coast style offenses but in all offensive systems. Here we take a look at the current active leaders in receiving yards. Being that most of the guys on this list are nearing the twilight of their respective careers, you shouldn’t use this as part of your fantasy football research. Instead, just read and enjoy…..

1. Isaac Bruce, free agent (15,208)—He doesn’t have the flash or the mouth that some of these other guys have, but it didn’t hurt that Bruce played on those great Kurt Warner/Mike Martz Rams’ teams about a decade ago. And he still has skills, so someone is bound to sign the guy.

2. Terrell Owens, free agent (14,951)—This guy DOES have the mouth but the skills to back it up. I’m kind of surprised he is team-less right now, but that should also change soon.

3. Randy Moss, New England Patriots (14,465)—That season he and Tom Brady put together in 2007 was absolutely ridiculous (1423 yards, NFL record 23 TD catches). And Moss is only 32!

4. Torry Holt, New England Patriots (13,382)—Sure, he’s getting up there in age and fell off a lot numbers-wise in Jacksonville, but he’s still got something left. It should be especially interesting to see Holt and Moss playing in the same offense.

5. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (11,807)—Arguably the greatest tight end to ever play the game. Gonzo has four seasons with over 1000 yards, almost unheard of for a TE.

6. Muhsin Muhammad, Carolina Panthers (11,438)—Like Bruce and Holt, Muhsin Muhammad has quietly put up numbers for years, and his 2004 season for the Panthers remains his best (1405 yards, 16 scores).

7. Derrick Mason, Baltimore Ravens (11,089)—All Derrick Mason has ever done in his career with Tennessee and Baltimore is get open. He’s topped 1000 yards three straight seasons on the run-first Ravens, and is the epitome of toughness and durability despite being just 5-10, 190.

8. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers (10,947)—He’s consistently one of the game’s Top ten receivers, but how will he fare with Big Ben out for a few games to start the 2010 season?

9. Joey Galloway, Washington Redskins (10,777)—Galloway resurrected his fine career with Tampa from 2005 to 2007, and is really in the twilight of his career after struggling in Tampa and New England the last two seasons, respectively. Now he’s trying to latch on with the new-look Redskins.

10. Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals (9952)—One of the game’s most animated players is also one of its best receivers year in and year out. And it’s always good to be able to back up the talk.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Crabtree to start for 49ers?

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat is reporting that there’s a strong possibility that first round pick Michael Crabtree will start this week when he makes his NFL debut against the Texans. He would replace Josh Morgan while Isaac Bruce will remain at flanker.

There’s a good chance that Crabtree won’t have much of an effect on the Niners’ offense for at least a couple of weeks. They’ll remain a run-first team and Morgan will still see plenty of playing time considering he’s San Fran’s best run-blocking receiver.

The question I have regarding Crabtree is what kind of an affect he’ll have on the team’s locker room. Considering he held out for five weeks, he couldn’t have endeared himself to his teammates. And now at the first opportunity, he’s being thrust into the starting lineup.

With that in mind, Mike Singletary wouldn’t make a move like this if he knew he’d lose the locker room. He has the respect of his players and they trust his decisions. If he thinks that starting Crabtree gives his team the best chance to win, his players will follow.

Why not see if the rookie can sink or swim right away?

Top 10 active NFL touchdown leaders

Sometimes when deciding who you’re going to pick at your fantasy football draft, it’s easy to be infatuated with yardage and not with touchdowns, but TDs are really where the points are at. With the 2008 season now over, here is a look at the all-time active NFL leaders are in touchdowns, either rushing or receiving. Some names will not surprise you, but a few others might, but either way, you fantasy geeks can file this article away for when you start your preseason research:

1. Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys (141)—T.O. causes trouble everywhere he goes, but on the field he has a knack for finding the end zone, usually after he’s blown past a defender. And the best part for fantasy GMs is that you don’t have to actually interact with the guy like Jerry Jones does.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (141)—The scary thing about LT is he’s only 29. The really scary thing, though, is that he’s gone from a league-record 28 rushing scores in 2006 to 15 in 2007 to 11 in 2008. He probably won’t be drafted first overall again in 2009, but LT is still a first rounder.

3. Randy Moss, New England Patriots (136)—Moss has had an up and down career, but the one number you can never ignore is 23—the NFL single-season receiving TD mark he set in 2007 when he and Tom Brady were lighting up scoreboards. And Brady should be back in ’09.

4. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts (128)—A knee injury ended Harrison’s 2007 season prematurey, and he was not as effective in 2008 usual, scoring only 5 times. Throw in some off the field issues, and while Marvin has put up huge career numbers catching passes from Peyton Manning, you have to believe the end of that career is in sight.

5. Shaun Alexander, free agent (112)—Has anyone seen a running back’s career decline so sharply? Dude broke the NFL record with 27 rushing TDs in 2005, but an injury limited Alexander to only 20 starts since then with two different teams. 112 might stay at 112.

6. Edgerrin James, Arizona Cardinals (91)—James reached double digits in touchdowns four times while playing in Indianapolis. And he’s reached double digits in Arizona too—16 scores, but over three seasons. He showed in the playoffs that he still has some juice left, but on a Cardinals’ team focused on the pass, don’t expect James to reach 100 before 2010.

6. Isaac Bruce, San Francisco 49ers (91)—Fifteen years in the league will give you a chance to put up close to 100 touchdowns, but it’s not like Isaac Bruce doesn’t have skills, even at the ripe old football age of 36.

8. Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay Bucs (83)—Galloway is another guy who has sipped from the fountain of youth, but he missed most of the 2008 season.

9. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs (76)—Gonzalez caught 96 passes for 1058 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008, one of his best seasons yet, to earn first team All Pro at the age of 32. He may not be back in KC in 2009, but no matter where he lands, he’s always a good fantasy tight end.

10. Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins (76)—With 76 career rushing and receiving touchdowns, Portis is a solid fantasy player, but no LT. Then again, LT is no LT anymore either.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Top 10 Active NFL Receiving TD Leaders

You fantasy geeks can appreciate touchdowns almost more than the players who score them. So here is a list you might be able to use ….the active leaders in receiving TDs. Some of these players are nearing the twilight of their careers, but a lot of them are still putting up numbers….

1. Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys (132)—As great as TO has been when he’s not hogging headlines off the field, his best years were in San Francisco. Consider 2001, when TO caught 93 passes for 1412 yards and a career high 16 touchdowns. He was also averaging 109 yards per game in 2005 for Philly when he was suspended and then benched by Andy Reid after seven games for disparaging remarks about teammates.

2. Randy Moss, New England Patriots (125)—Yes, Randy Moss had some great years in Minnesota, including 111 catches for 1632 yards in 2003. But nothing tops 23 TDs, an NFL record, in 2007. Except maybe a Super Bowl ring…oops, was that out loud?

3. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts (124)—Harrison has been one of the most consistent receivers over the course of his career. And he holds the record for receptions in a single season with 143, in 2002. But 2007’s injury aside, Harrison’s numbers have slipped a little ever since Reggie Wayne started lining up on the other side of Peyton Manning.

4. Isaac Bruce, San Francisco 49ers (85)—He was the main receiver for Kurt Warner in the Greatest Show on Turf…and now he’s reunited with offensive coordinator Mike Martz at the age of 36 in San Francisco. I wouldn’t bet against the old man reaching 100 TDs maybe next season.

5. Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (77)—This guy is 37 and still beating defenders to the ball. Good for him.

6. Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams (72)—Torry Holt formed one of the best 1-2 punches at receiver along with Isaac Bruce in St. Louis, and then became the main man for a few seasons. He’s still the main man, but on a very bad Rams team.

7. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers (68)—Have you ever seen a guy smile as he’s being tackled the way Ward is? That, and the guy is a hell of a football player.

8. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs (67)—Gonzalez is the only tight end on here, and he’s on here because his career numbers rival that of any great wide receiver. But like Holt, he plays on a very bad team in 2008.

9. Muhsin Muhammad, Carolina Panthers (56)—Muhammad made the Pro Bowl twice and played on a Super Bowl with the Panthers, then went to Chicago for a year, which is the equivalent of a barbecue chef being sent to cook in a vegan restaurant. So here he is, back in Carolina, catching passes from Jake Delhomme again.

10. Plaxico Burress, New York Giants (52)—This guy’s career has blossomed in New York, as he has become Eli Manning’s favorite target. But his suspension for missing practice is eerily familiar for those who followed Burress’ career in Pittsburgh.

Source: Pro Football Reference

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