Twice is nice, but how about thrice?
That’s the standard now for Jarvis Landry, whose record-breaking first two NFL seasons have made him a fan favorite and an indispensable part of the Dolphins’ game plan.
So what’s next?
How about yet another record? Landry already has the most catches of any player after two NFL seasons (194).
How about the record for most after three? That’s currently owned by Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, who caught 260 passes from 2011 through 2013.
Landry needs just 67 catches in 2016 to pass Green, but he’ll also have to hold off good friend and fellow LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr., who has 187 catches in his first two years.
The good news for Landry: He’ll almost certainly be Ryan Tannehill’s No. 1 option again this year. Coach Adam Gase is going to rely on a short and intermediate passing attack, which is right in Landry’s wheelhouse.
Plus Tannehill is so comfortable throwing to Landry that Gase tried to ween his quarterback off Landry in training camp — to no avail.
“I tried to script every play to where he wasn’t in the progression and somehow the ball gets to him,” Gase said in August. “The guy is like a magnet. [He] really is. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Being so dependent on one player can cause problems, particularly if that player has an off day. And Landry had more than a few of them in training camp.
Landry has had the Dolphins’ most reliable hands since entering the league in 2014, catching 70 percent of his targets — an excellent rate for a wide receiver. Yet Landry had several uncharacteristic drops during the summer — something to monitor as the season progresses.
And despite Landry’s unprecedented production as a young pro, not everyone is a fan.
Those that adhere to the gospel of advanced stats — we’re looking at you, Football Outsiders — point to his pedestrian defense-adjusted yards above replacement (72 in 2015, ranking 57th league-wide) and defense-adjusted value over average (minus-7.1 percent, 63rd) as evidence that Landry is a volume receiver, but not a particularly dynamic one.
To that, Landry defenders would say: Google “Jarvis Landry Texans Touchdown.”
When you do, you’ll find a YouTube clip of Landry’s signature play as a pro. In Miami’s home game against the Houston Texans last year, Landry turned a 14-yard out-route into a 50-yard touchdown catch, reversing field and breaking six tackles en route to the end zone.
And while the Dolphins would like to limit his exposure on special teams, Landry also hopes to return some punts and kicks again in 2016. They should let him.
Landry won the Redskins game last year with a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown; Pro Football Focus recently named Landry one of the league’s nine-best returners.
Perhaps more than anything, Landry wants to put to rest the idea that he’s simply a slot, possession receiver. He’ll have a chance to prove it… Gase expects to use Landry at every receiving position this year.
“I want to catch more,” Landry said. “I’ve never really been one of those accolade guys or too much into the numbers. I’ll take the win any day. But as many times as [Tannehill] throws to me, I want to catch it. If he throws more than last year to me, I want to catch more than I did last year.”