Posted November 06, 2013

Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson lead the Audibles All-Disappointment Team

Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Uncategorized
This might be it for Brandon Weeden. (Diamond Images/Getty Images)

This might be it for Brandon Weeden. (Diamond Images/Getty Images)

To categorize a player’s career as a disappointment is a slippery slope. Some players come into the NFL and find themselves in the wrong circumstance for whatever reason. They catch on with second or third teams, and the light goes on. Other players maximize their value over a limited period of time, and the league catches up to them. Injuries, age and scheme changes also play a part. But when a player severely underperforms to his obvious potential, “Disappointment” is a harsh but accurate term. Here’s a team of players we’d like to see more from in 2013 and beyond:

Quarterback – Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

Weeden’s fall from grace, which pretty much bottomed out when he was benched in favor of Jason Campbell in late October, was only a surprise if you thought of him as more than a one-read quarterback when he came out of Oklahoma State in 2012. The Cleveland Browns’ former front office did, selecting him with the 22nd overall pick in the draft, which is a big reason why they’re described as the former front office. Weeden currently ranks second-to-last in Football Outsiders’ opponent adjusted efficiency metrics among qualifying quarterbacks (only Blaine Gabbert is worse), and at age 30, one wonders if he’s got an NFL future. With the same offense around him against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, veteran journeyman Jason Campbell completed 22 of 35 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no picks, winning the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. So, in Weeden’s case, it wasn’t the supporting cast — just a guy who was unfortunately out of his element.

Running Backs – Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts/Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Sadly for that former Browns front office, you’re going to see their work more than once on this list. Richardson, selected third overall in the 2012 draft, was traded by the team’s new front office to the Indianapolis Colts in September, and the former Alabama star’s new surroundings haven’t helped him that much. In 381 carries over two seasons, Richardson has amassed just 1,303 yards and a paltry 3.4 yards per carry average. Too often, Richardson isn’t able to use his power to blast through tackles because he’s slow to accelerate to the hole, and he gets engulfed before he begins. As for Rice, it’s been a tough year for him as he’s struggled through injuries, and his blocking has been a real concern.

Receivers – Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins/Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams/Greg Little, Cleveland Browns

Before the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin story blew up in Miami, the most obvious issue on the Dolphins was the inability to get Wallace going in any sort of deep passing game. Signed to a five-year, $60 million free agent contract in March, the former Steelers vertical threat has been targeted 13 times on passes over 20 yards in the air, and has caught just three of those. Austin was supposed to be the Rams’ do-it-all athletic weapon, but he’s pulled a disappearing act more often than not. How much of that is the fault of Austin and how much blame can be laid at the feet of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is open to debate, but 31 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns through nine games? One expects more of a player taken eighth overall in the draft. And Little, while capable of the occasional shot play, drops far too many passes to be a consistent threat.

Tight End – Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions

Pettigrew’s position near the bottom of Football Outsiders’ metrics for qualifying tight ends should be a surprise — since he was selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he’s finished no higher than 20th in any advanced stats. His blocking makes him an asset in Detroit’s high-volume passing game, but the team has certainly expected more.

Offensive Line
Tackles: Mitchell Schwartz, Cleveland Browns/Jonathan Martin, Miami Dolphins
Guards: Richie Incognito, Miami Dolphins/Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
Center: Rodney Hudson, Kansas City Chiefs

No offensive line has allowed more pressures than Cleveland this year with 132, and Schwartz is the primary culprit, allowing 44 total pressures including a league-leading nine sacks. Martin’s play was a known issue before any recent news came out, so we’re not piling on there. Same with Incognito, who made the Pro Bowl in 2012 but allowed six sacks this season before other events led to his suspension. Mankins actually leads all guards with seven sacks allowed, and while we’ll attribute some of that to Tom Brady taking longer in the pocket to find open receivers, it’s not a good sign.

Defensive Tackles – Cam Thomas, San Diego Chargers/Domata Peko, Cincinnati Bengals

Thomas has been the anchor of the Chargers’ defensive front for three seasons, but when looking at San Diego’s disappointing defense in 2013,  it’s hard not to start here. Thomas ranks 63rd among all defensive tackles in Pro Football Focus’ metrics among defensive tackles, and no team is allowing more yards per carry up the middle than San Diego’s 5.5. Peko has been a great player for a longer period of time, which makes his 64th-place ranking in PFF’s metrics curious, but the numbers don’t lie — Cincinnati is allowing far more yardage up the middle than around the edges, and that could get worst with Geno Atkins’ season-ending ACL tear.

Defensive Ends – Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants/Ziggy Hood, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pierre-Paul has said that it may take him a full year to recover from his offseason back surgery, so the Giants’ dismal defense will just have to hope for higher returns in 2014. This season, he’s got just one sack (in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys), six QB hits, and 20 hurries. Pierre-Paul does produce in bunches, though — he didn’t have any sacks in the last seven games of the 2012 season — so maybe he’ll turn it around as he gets healthier. As for Hood, no bueno. The Steelers’ first-round pick in 2009 has never really lived up to that call, playing fairly well against the run, but showing limitations as the kind of pass-disrupting end the Steelers prefer.

Linebackers – Chad Greenway, Minnesota Vikings/A.J. Hawk, Green Bay Packers/Curtis Lofton, New Orleans Saints

Hawk has been a relative disappointment since the Packers took him in the first round of the 2006 draft, but there were thoughts that he might step up as an inside pass-rusher this season after his three-sack performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6. That hasn’t happened — he’s had no other sacks this year, and just one quarterback hurry. Hawk’s issues with awareness in space continue; he’s had nine missed tackles this year. As for Lofton, he’s been moved to different areas in Rob Ryan’s defense, and it isn’t working so far. He’s among the lowest-ranked linebackers in Pro Football Focus’ metrics in several different categories.

Cornerbacks – Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets/Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers

Cromartie’s disappointing season has been one of the more frequently-told of the season, and the numbers back it up — he allowed a 69.7 opponent quarterback ranking on targets in 2012, and he’s seen that bulk up to 101.3 this year. Williams is another long-time quality pass defender who’s having a rough year, finding himself on the wrong side of several impact plays.

Safeties – Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers/Thomas Decoud, Atlanta Falcons

Has Polamalu’s high-risk playing style finally caught up to him? Our own Chris Burke detailed a number of glaring flaws in Polmalu’s coverage against the New England Patriots, and those aren’t the only examples this season. Decoud’s dropoff has been just as precipitous — he’s been burned for four touchdowns this season and has no picks; he had six interceptions and just one score allowed in 2012.

30 comments
angry.cube
angry.cube

I don't think Schwartz or the Cleveland OL should be mentioned in this article when they had to block so long for Weeden. Look at their stats with Hoyer and Campbell. It's a big difference.

jshawaii22
jshawaii22

As a Seahawks fan...  the current, entire O Line should be on this list, bar none.  They're trying to get Russell killed this year. 


js

BrianO'Neill1
BrianO'Neill1

As a Giant fan, I can't believe I searched for David Wilson and didn't find his name.

MigglePops
MigglePops

Pettigrew had a slow start but has actually been playing quite well for the past several games.

JackWilliams
JackWilliams

I will leave player performance analysis to PFF rather than these more amateur websites. Farrar is just another writer struggling to keep food on the table.

drm166
drm166

The Colts aren't a very good run blocking line to begin with.

BlackSession1
BlackSession1

Did anyone really really expect a lot out of Greg Little? Am I missing something? 

positivewins
positivewins

The SEC produces some good college-level skill players.  NFL-quality skill players, not so much.

jkastar
jkastar

Pettigrew is not a disappoint this year, especially after he stunk it up last year.  In fact Detroit went out and drafted a big blocking tight end from Alabama, and then also decided to sign another undrafted FA, who has 5 TDs.  So, Detroit already was making a contingency plan in case Pettigrew played like last year again.  The point is, that it is hard to be a disappointment this season if not much was expected of you by this point.  

  Now, Pettigrew is actually playing a much more important role than last year.  Last year he was a disappointment.  This year he has been great blocking for Reggie Bush, and the running game and RB catching game has been greatly improved.  Although he has one fumble, he has done a much better job of fixing an ailment that plagued him last year.  Last year he didn't like touching the football.  

     For Detroit the bigger disappointment has been Ryan Broyles.  Pettigrew at least can suit up, start, and play some sort of role (he's missed only 7 games in 5 seasons).  Broyles followed up a second torn ACL with a ruptured achilles.  Ask his teammate Mikel Leshoure (another disappointment, who was supposed to Thunder to Reggie Bush's Lightning) about what an achilles tear can do for you.  

gary41
gary41

Weedon was a disappointment to the Browns, but not to those who closely follow the game, same for Gabbert.  Locker is not half as good as his current numbers, but he has time remaining in this season to fit back in.  This has been a bad year for many franchise QB's.  

vicsjodin
vicsjodin

Re Trent Richardson and other Alabama heralded back, its alot harder when you are not runnign behind a pro line in college.  Runnng backs in college and quarterbacks on all star teams like the USC QBs are often inflated bc surrounded by so much talent.  

be_here_now
be_here_now

Mr. Farrar either hasn't been watching the Packers or hasn't been paying attention.  Hawk is having his best season as a pro.  He had a couple bad plays against the Bears but to put him on any "disappointing" list is absurd.  The rest of the players I agree with, although it might not be entirely fair to put a rookie on this list.  How about Greg Jennings instead?  Justin Blackmon showed that a great WR can put up numbers even with a useless QB.  Jennings has been a complete non-factor.

PabloBeltrán
PabloBeltrán

This writer needs to lay off the pipe......Hawk a disappointment because of sacks????  Does he not see the plays they run for him??  He is not supposed to be a pass rusher, he is more of a run stopper and as you can see GB defense has improved......Clay is the pass rusher.  Also how is Manning not on this list???  P.S.  Hawk cut his hair if you think maybe you had him and Clay mixed up!!!

rexman23
rexman23

There is no way AJ Hawk should be on this list.  The Pack defense is an 11 player effort and AJ is one of the most consistent players and his leadership is beyond reproach.  I absolutely agree with Hair_of_the_Dog, Hawk will be enshrined in the GB Hall of Fame. 

KristopherLohmuller
KristopherLohmuller

AJ Hawk doesn't need to get sacks. His job, which it has always been, is to help in the run game. Ever since the Packers cut ties with Nick Barnett, AJ has been thrust too much into coverage. Now that the Packers have him back cutting down the run, the Packers have been extremely difficult to run on. No 200 yard rushing game by AP this year, and that's because of AJ Hawk.

Hair_of_the_Dog
Hair_of_the_Dog

Why is AJ Hawk listed here. He has been nothing but consistent for his tenure in GB.  Sure he doesn't meet the over-expected hype that someone from the first round does.  However, this guy has been nothing but steady and consistent. Enough of the top 5 failure talk.  I think there are plenty of horrible selections ahead of him that warrant more discussion than AJ.  He will be enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame when all is said and done.

riley8
riley8

How does Eli Manning go unmentioned on the All-Disappointment team?  

RyanFisher
RyanFisher

@jshawaii22 Yea so FYI, the "current" offensive line has been riddled with injuries to the point where, as mentioned before, JR Sweezy has been the only starter in his usual position. With that being said, throughout this season there has been no more than two starters together in a game on the line. Put that and the fact that Wilson usually throws outside of the pocket together then yea you're going to have some sacks (top ten in the league). Get off of the Seahawks bandwagon because we're fine without you...go become a Redsox fan or something.

GooGulsux
GooGulsux

I doubt you're a Seahawks fan. 

Because if you were, you'd know Sweezy is the only guy playing in his usual spot or not hurt. When 4/5 of your line are back-ups you're going to be in trouble ... it's amazing they've done as well they have. 

Stupidest comment of the year. 

caleb
caleb

@positivewins One of the dumbest statements I've seen. Take a look at the top of NFL leaderboards

bornindetroit
bornindetroit

Pettigrew was and is a big disappointment. First rnd pick wasted!

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@riley8 He doesn't include honorable mention for any positions. Did you not read article?

John64
John64

@riley8  Because he's NFL royalty, the First Family of Football.  No one dares say anything against the almighty Mannings.

BlackSession1
BlackSession1

@John64 @riley8 Uh, Eli's had plenty of criticism hurled his way. And Peyton gets plenty of criticism for playoff performances.