Can Stills Improve In Sophomore Year?
By Greg Barber
As with every team in NFL the New Orleans Saints have several players who have something to prove. Wide receiver Kenny Stills happens to be one of those players with big shoes to fill.
When the Saints parted ways with the ever-popular Lance Moore, this off-season a huge spotlight was put on Stills to replace him. There's really no doubt he is capable of replacing Moore, but can he be better?
Last season Stills played in all 16 games, starting 10 of them due to injuries to Lance Moore and Joe Morgan. He finished the season with 32 receptions for 641 yards and five touchdowns.
After a season ending injury to Joe Morgan and Lance Moore being hurt part of the season and ineffective most of the season, Stills was pushed into a bigger role.
Beware of the sophomore slump, it has happened to the best of them, Jimmy Graham, Cam Newton and countless other players. We are not saying that it will happen, but you have to consider that it might.
Teams have film on Stills now and can figure out his strength and weaknesses and come up with ways to shut him down.
If he has improved and expanded his route running and learned how better to separate from defenders, then there's a good chance, a slowdown won't happen.
Another possible concern for Stills will be how quickly first-round draft pick Brandin Cooks can become a favorite target for Drew Brees?
Cooks is expected to become a big part of the offense because of his speed and skill set which fits well into head coach Sean Payton's offense.
Even if that should happen, Brees is known for spreading the ball around, which means Stills will get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.
Because of the fanfare surrounding Cooks, defensive coordinators will probably key on him to take him out of the game early. This will open opportunities up for other receivers, so having Cooks can be a considerable win-win for the whole offense.
The 60 catch (four catches a game) mark this season will be considered a success for Stills this season, but more importantly will be his growth as a leader on offense. All in all, if Stills works hard on his overall game as a wide receiver, expect him to show improvement and have a great season.