Before I get too philosophical, that’s my excuse for producing this ‘Had a Bad Day’ Team for Week 4, balance.
You see some tackles got destroyed. Some receivers dropped passes. Some cornerbacks even got burned. All of them will look back on their play and know they can do better, but for now they’ll just have to settle for using this list as bulletin board material.
Quarterback: Mark Sanchez, NY J (-4.9)
How bad do you have to be when people are talking up Tim Tebow as a realistic upgrade, and you actually start considering it? Just an utterly horrid display of quarterbacking from a man who almost needs to be sat for his own good.
Running Back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN (-4.7)
The 82 yards isn’t a terrible number, but with a line that did most of the work for him, and two fumbles, you begin to ask the question of whether ‘Law firm’ is cut out to be a feature back.
Full Back: Mike Tolbert, CAR (-1.9)
So Tolbert isn’t your traditional fullback, splitting his time at running back as well. In a week with no standout bad performances, his blocking and dropped pass put him to the top of the list.
Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew, DET (-3.4)
When former first-round pick Pettigrew was drafted we were told he was as good a blocker as he was a receiver. That may be the case, but that’s not a good thing when you consider he dropped another two passes and once again graded negatively in the run game.
Wide Receivers: Kendall Wright, TEN (-3.5) and Greg Little, CLV (-1.6)
Little made some plays that almost got him out of this team, but it’s hard to overlook those three drops. A similar story for Wright who matched the three drops, added a touchdown and produced only 46 yards in a real rookie performance. Both men have looked better.
Tackles: Jeff Backus, DET (-2.2) and Bobbie Massie, ARZ (-11.5)
Starting with Backus, who wasn’t actually that bad. He was manhandled in the run game and gave up a hit and two hurries, but many have done worse against Jared Allen. Massie on the other hand had an absolute nightmare of a game as Cameron Wake worked him over. It was hard to watch after a while, as the rookie found out the NFL can be a tricky place to earn a living.
Guards: Eben Britton, JAX (-8.5) and Ben Jones, HST (-5.4)
It only lasted 33 snaps, but my what a 33 snaps they were. It’s hard to lay into someone who may not have been healthy, but any time a guard gives up two sacks, a hit and five hurries you know something has gone horribly wrong. Jones saw his most significant action to date when Antoine Caldwell went down, and his performance was such that Houston are delighted Caldwell shouldn’t miss any extended period of time. It was not good.
Center: Nick Mangold, NYJ (-6.1)
It’s almost like Mangold saved up all his poor play for one game with a performance as bad as you’ll ever see from him. It really has to be seen to be believed from a player we’ve often dubbed the best center of his generation.
Defensive Front 4-3
Defensive Ends: Brian Robison, MIN (-4.9) and Kamerion Wimbley, TEN (-4.2)
Robison made some plays in the run game, but his one-hurry performance against the Lions will go down as a disappointing one. Wimbley copied that, except for the plays in the run game where he drew a blank on the stat sheet and a negative grade in our analysis. Both are capable of big games, but neither man produced this week.
Defensive Tackle: Sione Fua, CAR (-2.3) and Nick Fairley, DET (-2.5)
A class of 2011 reunion, with both men doing their best to go unnoticed in Week 4. Fairley picked up a tackle but after a strong Week 1, he has failed to make a convincing case for more playing time. The less said about Fua the better, as he looks like ensuring the Panthers go 0-for-2 on their 2011 crop of defensive tackles.
Linebackers: Nick Barnett, BUF (-4.0), Stephen Tulloch, DET (-4.3) and Jo Lonn Dunbar, SL (-4.2)
What happened Nick? You were playing so well and then throw a stinker like that? The 10 tackles may impress some, but with just two of those being defensive stops Barnett wasn’t making plays like he had in Weeks 1-to-3. Dunbar missed a couple of tackles, lost his battle with fullback Michael Robinson and was victimized by Russell Okung at the second level. Nothing characterized the Lions’ woes more than the performance of the normally reliable Tulloch. He missed three tackles and looked off the pace all day.
Defensive Front 3-4
Defensive Line: B.J. Raji, GB (-3.6), Ma’ake Kemoeatu, BLT (-3.0) and Jerel Worthy, GB (-2.6)
Struggling to get much going against the Browns interior, this wasn’t the kind of performance that will see Kemoeatu keep Terrence Cody off the field for very long. The Raven is sandwiched between two Packers who were swallowed up by the Saints’ offensive line. Between them, Raji and Worthy combined for two tackles and one hurry, with Raji responsible for two penalties.
Outside Linebackers: Erik Walden, GB (-3.4) and Connor Barwin, HST (-2.4)
A new year, same old Walden. The Packer linebacker is on the field enough but just doesn’t make plays. Meanwhile the Texans’ Barwin isn’t do much right now to convince Houston he is worth a big deal. That’s two top tackles in a row that have practically shut him out.
Inside Linebackers: Ray Lewis, BLT (-2.1) and David Harris, NYJ (-6.6)
Two guys more accustomed to seeing positive press than making their way onto this team managed to throw up some poor performances. Neither made the kind of plays that would keep them off the list, with Harris missing an incredible five tackles. Yes five.
Cornerbacks: William Gay, ARZ (-4.0) and Justin Rogers, BUF (-3.8)
It won’t come as a surprise to any to know that both cornerbacks had 100-yard days, combining to surrender 254 yards from the 13 balls they allowed to be completed (out of 15 targets). Still, they didn’t give up any touchdowns at least …
Safeties: Eric Berry, KC (-4.9) and Quintin Mikell, SL (-4.3)
Things we learned this week: Eric Berry should not be left trying to cover Antonio Gates. It did not go well at all as Gates worked separation, earned two penalties and picked up some yards on the former first-round pick. Mikell, once the apple of our eye, rebounded with a strong performance last week to miss four tackles. Nice.
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