But sometimes, no matter how hard a player tries or how much he puts himself on the line, he just doesn’t have a great game. This team celebrates that fact.
So don’t look at this as a failing, but rather an acknowledgment there’s improvement to be made.
Buying that? Here’s the ‘Had a Bad Day’ team for Week 7.
Quarterback: Joe Flacco, BLT (-4.8)
Another away-day horror show from Flacco who continues to mock his offseason statements with his performance. He picked up just 3.4 yards per attempt in the Ravens’ humbling at the hands of the Texans.
Running Back: Alex Green, GB (-2.5)
It’s lucky Aaron Rodgers is playing so well because the Packers’ running game is struggling with Green, who picked up just 1.8 yards per carry against the Rams.
Full Back: Lex Hilliard, NYJ (-3.3)
The problem with using Hilliard as a lead blocker is that he just doesn’t lead block very well. Patriots linebackers dealt with him with ease.
Tight End: Kellen Davis, CHI (-5.1)
While the dropped pass didn’t help his grade, it was the abysmal run blocking that earned Davis a spot in this team.
Wide Receivers: Cecil Shorts, JAX (-5.7) and Mike Wallace, PIT (-2.2)
Shorts has big-play potential but, unfortunately, with a drop and costly fumble, the big plays benefited the Raiders in this one. Wallace put three balls on the ground and continued his disappointing season.
Tackles: Marshall Newhouse, GB (-4.0) and Mitchell Schwartz, CLV (-4.5)
After spending last week praising Newhouse, he had all sorts of trouble with Robert Quinn, giving up a sack, two hits and three hurries. Meanwhile Schwartz, who was always earning our approval, had a tough time against Jerry Hughes and Dwight Freeney.
Guards: Chilo Rachal, CHI (-3.5) and Jamon Meredith, TB (-4.6)
Both our guards struggled in the run game where they found it hard to keep active defensive tackles from making plays. It didn’t help that between them they gave up five quarterback hurries.
Center: Trevor Robinson, CIN (-2.3)
Was bad enough that he made you accept Jeff Faine as the lesser of two evils.
Defensive Front 4-3
Defensive Ends: Chris Long, SL (-4.3) and Chris Clemons, SEA (-3.3)
An all NFC West combination, Long managed to get called for three penalties and picked up precisely no pressure. Clemons did at least get two hurries, but was part of a Seahawks line that was manhandled throughout.
Defensive Tackle: Brandon Mebane, SEA (-5.7) and Alan Branch, SEA (-5.6)
If you watched the 49ers have their way with the Seahawks’ defensive interior on Thursday Night Football it won’t come as any surprise to see both their starters on this team.
Linebackers: Chad Greenway, MIN (-5.5), Jasper Brinkley, MIN (-5.5) and Akeem Ayers, TEN (-2.9)
Greenway had a game to forget, highlighted by missing three tackles and being in primary coverage for 92 of the Cardinals’ passing yards. Ayers wasn’t anywhere near as bad, but his failure to make plays in the run game was evident as the Bills’ ran free. In the middle it’s another Viking, with Brinkley surpassing Greenway when it came to missing tackles, whiffing on five.
Defensive Front 3-4
Defensive Line: Darnell Dockett, ARZ (-3.0), Isaac Sopoaga, SF (-3.0) and Stephen Bowen, WAS (-2.9)
Is Dockett fully healthy? He’s done very little over the past few weeks and continued that form against the Vikings, picking up just one hurry. Bowen has been something of a disappointment in Washington, and undid some decent work rushing the passer by getting moved about by Kevin Boothe in the run game. Sopoaga didn’t have a day to remember as Max Unger won their battle.
Outside Linebackers: Paul Kruger, BLT (-3.1) and Calvin Pace, NYJ (-2.1)
We’re not overly sure what’s happened to Kruger the last two weeks. He’s not making a convincing case for maintaining a high level of playing time with Terrell Suggs getting healthier. Most of Pace’s woes came in coverage, where he gave up all five balls thrown his way including a touchdown.
Inside Linebackers: Bradie James, HST (-2.6) and Daryl Washington, ARZ (-2.4)
James has seen his role increase with the injury to Brian Cushing, but he looks ill-prepared for the challenge. Washington, who picked up two sacks, plays the game at 100 miles per hour, but at times that can lead to him missing three tackles like he did against the Vikings.
Cornerbacks: Janoris Jenkins, SL (-5.3) and Brandon McDonald, TB (-4.2)
Jenkins is starting to find out how hard life in the NFL can be. He gave up 121 yards and a touchdown on the 11 balls thrown into his coverage. Meanwhile McDonald, who was only on the field for 39 snaps, allowed five targets his way to be completed for 79 yards, while missing two tackles. Tough times.
Safeties: Roman Harper, NO (-3.3) and Stevie Brown, NYG (-2.1)
Harper and Brown played it anything but safe, even if Brown was the recipient of the worst throw RG3 has made as a pro. The Giant missed two tackles as he made everyone aware how badly Kenny Phillips is missed. Harper compounded his usual coverage struggles with a couple of penalties to secure his spot on the team.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled