White Aiming for 1,000-yard Season
8/2/2013, 6 a.m.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP)-- Roddy White knows better than most how the Atlanta Falcons’ expectations have changed.
White, a first-round pick in 2005, launched his NFL career when Atlanta had never managed back-to-back winning seasons. Only one Atlanta receiver, Andre Rison, had posted three straight 1,000-yard seasons.
It’s a new era in Atlanta. The Falcons are working to extend a streak of five straight winning seasons. A major reason for the success is White, whose active streak of six straight 1,000-yard seasons has doubled Rison’s previous team record.
Anything short of a repeat trip to the NFC championship game will be a disappointment. Anything less than 1,000 yards from White would be a letdown.
White said the bar has been raised from his first years in Atlanta.
"We’ve changed faces around here, we’ve taken off and haven’t looked back,’’ White said during a break from training camp drills. "We’ve had a lot of success …. We’ve set the expectations bar very high around here, and every year we’ve got to live up to it.’’
Former Falcons standout cornerback Deion Sanders, now an analyst for NFL Network, said White is "the standard’’ for Atlanta receivers.
"Roddy is one of the best in his generation,’’ Sanders said while watching White practice. "He consistently has good hands and runs good routes. He can go underneath across the middle. He’s not scared to do any of that. He’s a big guy.’’
Sanders said White has contributed to the success of Julio Jones, the team’s emerging star at wide receiver. White has not missed a game in his eight seasons, and Sanders said that gives Jones an important example to follow.
"That right there is unbelievable,’’ Sanders said of White’s iron man streak of 128 games. "People don’t realize that’s one of the reasons Julio is so good.’’
White, 31, caught 92 passes for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012 as the Falcons finished 13-3 in the regular season and advanced to the NFC championship game. He is only the fifth NFL player to post three consecutive seasons with 90-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards.
White is the Falcons all-time leader with 622 receptions and 8,725 yards receiving.