Commentary

Tale of the tape: Starting receivers

Updated: January 26, 2009, 4:24 PM ET
By Jeremy Green and Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Larry Fitzgerald/Hines WardGetty Images/US Presswire
Scouts Inc.'s Jeremy Green and Gary Horton have reviewed all the film and broken down the starting receivers in Super Bowl XLIII. We have compared these two duos in seven categories and given an edge for each. Some of the decisions may surprise you.

Arizona

Hands

This was a tough call because all four of the starting receivers in this game have the ability to catch the ball outside their frame or high-point the ball downfield. However, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is the best pure receiver in the NFL because of his outstanding ability to go and get it or adjust to poor throws. Fitzgerald's fellow starting receiver, Anquan Boldin, does a nice job over the middle in the short-to-intermediate area and will sell out to make plays in traffic.

Steelers WRs Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes both have good hands, but Holmes is probably a little bit prettier when he goes and gets the ball. He has the ability to snatch the ball away from his body at any level. For some reason, he will catch the ball close at times, but he rarely drops a pass. Ward will also body catch, but his concentration is off the charts. He never drops a pass and he will always hold on to the ball. Both of these players are dependable and do a nice job of looking the ball in.
Edge: Cardinals

Arizona

Route-running

Ward is the consummate route-runner, paying meticulous attention to detail, while Holmes probably has better natural skills and his route-running has steadily improved. Ward is excellent on plant-and-drive routes because he knows how to work and set up a defender, especially on short-to-intermediate inside patterns. Holmes is really smooth and he is very explosive in and out of his cuts. When he plants and drives, he usually gets good separation and he is getting better at double moves.


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Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.

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