A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, and the Secret to the Quarterback/Wide Receiver Combo

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by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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Cincinnati or Houston. Take your pick. It won’t change the point of this post.

Whenever the Bengals or the Texans take the field, you’re witnessing living evidence of what a wide receiver-quarterback combo can do for your football team, and you’re seeing proof that it has to be organic. It has to be natural. It can’t be created through trades or an intentional draft pick.

It just has to happen. Chemistry has to have chemistry. It’s a formula, not a science.

A.J. Green and Andy Dalton weren’t paired together as rookies last year with any kind of expectation. Sure, somebody within the Bengals organization thought they’d be a good one-two punch, but there were no big buck deals shelled out. Green wasn’t brought in after establishing himself somewhere else. Likewise, Dalton wasn’t traded for to give A.J. the “quarterback he’s never had” (like we always put it).

They just happened to be on the same field, on the same team, and at the right time.

Ditto for Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, although they’ve got a few years on Dalton and Green. The Texans are still living off one of the NFL’s best QB-WR combos, even thought it’s unclear just how good Schaub or Johnson would be by themselves, or with a different partner in crime.

You could say that Brandon Marshall’s addition in Chicago did help Jay Cutler, and you’d be right. But, then you’d be forgetting how good the two of them were in Denver four seasons ago.

Randy Moss and Tom Brady only had a year of dominance, but that magic wouldn’t have been there without Wes Welker. And, really, hasn’t Welker always been Brady’s favourite target? There were no fireworks or popcorn spent for his arrival, and Welker’s been nothing short of spectacular since his arrival in Boston.

(Maybe the best example is Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, but that almost seemed too obvious.)

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Of course, there are always exceptions.

Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb were fantastic in 2004, and that was about as manufactured a pairing as you can get. Same with T.O. and Tony Romo. Or, T.O. and anybody, I guess. (Terrell’s a special guy.)

But, really, look around the NFL, and list off the best quarterback/wide receiver pairings. Every partnership built to last has a level of authenticity to it. These guys have to start together and they have to end together.

It always involves either 1) Two rookies breaking in together, or 2) A rookie and an old guy who needs reviving.

Think about the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts. Neither was expected to make the playoffs, but they’ll both take off on Sunday in Wild Card Weekend.

Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garcon. Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne.

Wayne and Garcon were disasters for the Colts last year, and look at them now? They were fantasy studs, and they proved their mettle on the field.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles and their Dream Team are golfing after a four-win season.

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