Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl
Recently, Jeff Pearlman put together a list ofÂ the 100 worst players in NFL history for Deadspin.com. We found the list intriguing and certainly more interesting thanÂ at least one of those “legendary 100″ did, but also thought that the idea needed a more modern touch.
To that end, we’ve assembled a team of players that you’d do well to acquire if you’re:
a.) looking to get the first overall pick in next year’s draft;
b.) trying to assemble a team so bad that you can tank attendance and move to another city like Rachel Phelps in “Major League”; or
c.) Matt Millen.
Halfway through the 2010 season, here is the Shutdown Corner “No-Pro” team; the guys who have underwhelmed more than any other at their positions. Some are having atypically poor seasons and might turn it around; others are what they are, to use the famous coachspeak. Offense below; we’ll have the defense up very soon.
Quarterback:Â Brett Favre,Â Minnesota Vikings
Lost at the bottom ofÂ Football Outsiders’ cumulative efficiency metrics, you’ll find names likeÂ Max Hall,Jimmy Clausen,Â Derek AndersonÂ andÂ Matt Moore.Â What that tells you in part is that theÂ Carolina Panthers andÂ Arizona Cardinals have the NFL’s worst quarterback batteries. And while there are guys like Cleveland’sÂ Jake Delhomme(notes),Â who banked $7 million in guaranteed money to be an injury afterthought and has created a great divide between expectation and reality, nowhere has this been more apparent than with Hattiesburg’s Favorite Son. The efforts of every national pundit to deflect blame everywhere else on the Vikings’ roster notwithstanding, Favre has played terribly nearly all season — Minnesota has a league-worst minus-11 turnover differential, and that’s withÂ Adrian Peterson solving his fumbling problems. GettingSidney Rice(notes) back should up Favre’s totals a bit, but let’s be honest — if you give this Rice-less offense to Manning, Brady, Brees or (dare I say it)Â Aaron Rodgers(notes),Â they’d each do quite a bit better than 10 touchdowns and 16 picks. Head coach Brad Childress has messed this season up beyond repair, but he did have a right to expect more from his quarterback and his one-year, $16 million contract.
Running Backs:Â Laurence Maroney(notes) andÂ Knowshon Moreno(notes),Â Denver Broncos/Chester Taylor(notes),Chicago Bears/Cedric Benson(notes),Â Cincinnati Bengals
Maroney-Moreno? Sounds like a bad UFC fight card; but maybe these guys would fare better in the Octagon. Maroney was New England’s first-round mistake in 2006, and the Broncos took Moreno in the first round of the 2009 draft. Moreno has put up an anemic 358 yards on 98 carries this season (3.8 yards per carry) and just two touchdowns, but those areÂ Chris Johnson numbers compared to Maroney’s 2010 output. Traded to Denver in September, Maroney has alternated between garbage-time carries and weeks on the inactive list. It’s also worth mentioning that Moreno did put up his first career 100-yard game against the Chiefs in Week 10; maybe he’ll be off this list by the end of the season. Benson hasn’t been the only issue with Cincinnati’s offense, but anytime you have more fumbles (four) than touchdowns (three), you’re not helping. And Taylor hits this list for his 2.8 yards-per-carry average and 14.5 percent first-down rate.
Receivers:Â Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes),Â Oakland Raiders/T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes),Â Baltimore Ravens/Pierre Garcon(notes),Â Indianapolis Colts
We’ll start by excluding guys likeÂ Steve Smith andÂ Larry Fitzgerald(notes),Â whose aforementioned quarterback situations have destroyed their overall productivity. But speaking of first-round picks that haven’t panned out — yeesh, Mr. Heyward-Bey. When dividing catches by receiver targets, Oakland’s second-year receiver comes up with a totally unacceptable Catch Rate of 38 percent. Believe it or not, that’s actually an improvement over his rookie year, when he caught just nine of the passes that were thrown to him. And he doesn’t haveÂ JaMarcus Russell(notes) to blame anymore. The Seahawks thought so much of Houshmandzadeh to let him off the roster despite owing him more than $6 million of guaranteed salary, and he’s done almost nothing for the Ravens. And as for Monsieur Garcon, we’ll let Nate Dunlevy of the estimable Colts blog 18to88.com explain why Garcon has been the team’sÂ least effective receiver in thePeyton Manning(notes) era.
Tight End:Â Brent Celek(notes),Â Philadelphia Eagles
You think the Eagles’ passing game is dynamic now? Imagine what it would be like if its primary tight end hadn’t dropped six passes (among the league leaders among all receivers), leading to aÂ 48 percent Catch Rate, which is abysmal for a tight end — you’d expect more like 65 percent as a baseline.
Tackles:Â Alex Barron(notes),Â Dallas Cowboys/Andre Smith(notes),Â Cincinnati Bengals/J’Marcus Webb(notes),Chicago Bears/Sean Locklear(notes),Â Seattle Seahawks
Barron put up an amazing (and league-leading) 75 penalties in his first five seasons; he managed three flags in six games and one start in 2010 before being replaced byÂ Marc Colombo(notes),Â who could make the list on his own with his three false starts and 3.5 sacks allowed. Smith had three false starts and a hole, also giving up two sacks, in four starts before going down with yet another foot injury that ended his 2010 season. Webb has already allowed seven sacks and amassed a host of penalties, but we have to really give the royal raspberry to the Bears’ front office for putting him in the position of starting on an already porous offensive line, when he’s a rookie seventh-round draft pick just trying to find his way. There are no such rookie excuses for Locklear, who has been a liability in run-blocking and pass protection most of the season. He’s had four drive-killing holds and has allowed 2.5 sacks.
Guards:Â Stacy Andrews(notes),Â Seattle Seahawks/Roberto Garza(notes),Â Chicago Bears/Kory Lichtensteiger(notes) andÂ Artis Hicks(notes),Â Washington Redskins/Stephen Peterman(notes),Â Detroit Lions
Andrews is on here for his five false starts, though this may be another coaching issue — Andrews looks more to us like an adept right tackle in a position where an upgrade wouldn’t be too difficult. Garza gets pushed around far too much at the point of attack to be a functional guard at the NFL level, and the Redskins average just 2.76 yards up the middle per running-back carry, which is a severe indictment of both their guards. Add in Hicks’ six false starts, and it’s an easy pick. Peterman leads all NFL playersÂ through 10 weeks with 11 penalties per Football Outsiders’ penalty database; six false starts, two chop blocks, and a host of ancillary infractions.
Center:Â Casey Rabach,Â Washington Redskins/Dominic Raiola,Â Detroit Lions
See above. When you’re dead last up the middle, the center is a major problem. The explosive Raiola is generally a penalty magnet, and he’s lived up to that rep this year with two holds and three false starts. He’s also allowed two sacks, and the Lions’ mid-line is no great shakes in opening gaps for their backs, either.
ByÂ Doug Farrar