By Court Zierk @courtzierk on July 9, 2014
Today on ESPN, Herm Edwards spouted off his list of the five most indispensable players in the NFL, and I am still trying regain my composure. Here is his list:
1. Peyton Manning
2. Adrian Peterson
3. LeSean McCoy
4. Jamaal Charles
5. Vernon Davis
I know, I can’t believe he still has a job either. Here is a better list of the five most indispensable players.
We saw the effect of a “down” season for J.J. Watt firsthand in 2013, and the Houston Texans have Jadeveon Clowney to show for it. Opposing offensive lines were able to key in on Watt because the Texans had no other pass rusher who was truly a threat, and he was still able to regularly get pressure on the QB. Add Clowney to the mix this year and you will see Watt return to his 2012 form. And the Texans' record will reflect that.
When Rodgers doesn’t play, the Packers are really, really bad. When he plays, they contend for Super Bowls. It doesn’t get much more black and white than that. When he went down with his broken collarbone last season, the Packers went 2-6-1 without him, and often looked completely lost in the process.
In 2011, the Indianapolis Colts went 2-14, and subsequently selected Luck with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. In 2012 and 2013, they went 11-5 and qualified for the playoffs both seasons, winning their first-round game last year. This year, they are arguably considered the Denver Broncos' biggest obstacle from a return to the Super Bowl. Take Luck off of this team, and they are back to two wins. I think he’s pretty important.
Johnson is plain and simply the best receiver we have seen since No. 80 was running down the sidelines in Candlestick Park. Without Johnson making miraculous play after miraculous play, the Lions aren’t even competitive and Matthew Stafford doesn’t get paid like a top-10 quarterback. Stafford should be giving Johnson 25 percent of each check, and thanking him for keeping him gainfully employed.
The one and only player who Herm Edwards got right, Manning is the heartbeat of this Broncos team. There is a reason John Elway has gone on record as saying they have no plan B. If Manning were to miss any amount of time, the Broncos instantly become a bottom-feeder. People can criticize his playoff performances all they want, but without Manning at the helm, the Broncos would be choosing between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota next spring.
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