During the off-season, new Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix allowed two reputable, productive veteran receivers to leave the team via unrestricted free agency. Combined, Terrell Owens and Josh Reed caught 82 passes for 1,120 yards and six touchdowns a year ago. Without adding a significant veteran presence to the receiving corps, this position was one of Buffalo's youngest and most unproven entering Chan Gailey's first training camp.
Believe it or not, this year's top receiving trio - consisting of Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish and Steve Johnson - is, to this point, out-producing last year's more established trio of Evans, Owens and Reed.
Through the first three games of 2009, Evans, Owens and Reed combined to catch 27 passes for 292 yards, with two scores. Both of those scores came on long balls in a Week 2 victory over Tampa Bay. This year's group has done slightly more; Evans, Parrish and Johnson have 27 grabs, 377 yards and two scores between them. You can't blame a more pass-happy offense, either; Bills quarterbacks attempted 91 passes in the first three games in 2009, a figure that has dropped to 80 in Gailey's first three games.
Parrish and Johnson were both with the team a year ago, and both were afterthoughts. Johnson, then a second-year player, was routinely inactive on game days. Parrish struggled to hang onto his role as the team's punt returner, let alone get onto the field offensively, after Perry Fewell inherited Parrish exactly where Dick Jauron left him: in the proverbial dog house. Now, Johnson is making big plays (15.2 yards per reception) despite a costly drop in Green Bay and a personal foul in New England, while Parrish is on pace to obliterate all of his meager career receiving highs (35 catches, 352 yards, two TD).