Football is back and we’ve been rejoicing at many fantastic showings from all the stars of the National Football League.
Unfortunately, while some have shined others have caused many a head to drop into the owners hands. Whether it be that quarterback who can’t hit the backside of a barn door, a pass rusher who can’t generate any pressure, or a linebacker making boneheaded play after boneheaded play, we can’t let it slide.
So as we did last year, here’s the first weekly “Had a Bad Day” Team of the Week.
(Note: Team will be updated after Monday Night Football games are analyzed and on Wednesday when All-22 footage helps us study plays in even more detail where needed with a * noting a change)
Quarterback: Josh Freeman, TB (-4.4)
Well that didn’t go well. It was at time farcical with the rare, “timeout-double delay of game-false start” sequence that you don’t script for and overall completely underwhelming. Freeman is in a prove-it year, and after completing 48.4% of his passes despite having a target like Vincent Jackson, the only thing being proved right now is he isn’t the long-term answer.
Running Back: Doug Martin, TB (-5.6)
He was swallowed up for the most part by the Jets’ defense and that led to a 2.7 yards per carry average. Worse still he fumbled, gave up two hurries in pass protection and dropped two passes. It won’t get any worse than this.
Full Back: Zach Line, MIN (-2.4)
You’ve got Rhett Ellison (+1.3) on the roster. So why is Line playing 17 snaps and the better blocker only 10?
Tight End: Martellus Bennett, CHI (-4.3)
On his day Bennett is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. This was not his day. You can chiefly blame Carlos Dunlap for it with the Bengal showing everyone he was worth the summer investment in him.
Wide Receivers: Eric Decker, DEN (-5.5) and Greg Little, CLE (-3.0)
Decker earned a spot on this team with a career game. That is to say he had the worst game in his entire career. Dropping three balls is bad enough, but you factor in a fumble as well and you’re a shoe-in here. Joining him is Little, a man who we thought had put this type of play behind him. He hasn’t. With two drops on eight targets he remains an incredibly frustrating player.
Tackles: LT, Duane Brown, HST (-6.6) and RT, Mitchell Schwartz, CLE (-5.4)
The Falcons’ duo of Sam Baker and Lamarr Holmes can breathe a massive sigh of relief, because they both played badly enough to get spots. Fortunately for them Schwartz got a beatdown from Cameron Wake to the tune of nine quarterback disruptions allowed, while Brown had one of the worst outings of his career. He’s better than he showed.
Guards: LG, Colin Brown, BUF (-7.8) and RG, Oniel Cousins, CLE (-7.0)
It tells you something about the state of guard play in Week 1 when the -7.1 of Lucas Nix doesn’t make this team. As it is, Brown showed everyone why left guard is such a problem spot for the Bills as Vince Wilfork made him look like a player who should spend more time on the sidelines. On the right side, Cousins got flagged for four penalties, gave up two sacks and was terrible with his run blocking. Offensive lines tend to start slow but this was bad even by their standards.
Center: Robert Turner, TEN (-5.0)
It’s understandable to move on from a player like Fernando Velasco if he doesn’t fit your scheme. But bringing in a player like Turner as a replacement isn’t going to get the job done, especially if he plays like this.
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: Darnell Dockett, ARZ (-6.2) and Mitch Unrein, DEN (-3.0)
Two guys capable of playing three- and five-technique, and two guys who will want to get better quickly. Dockett is the kind of player who can punish poor linemen, but he’s also the kind who can be pushed around himself and that was the case versus the Rams (making his pre-game statements laughable). Just the one hurry and one missed tackle. Unrein looks like he’s moving down the pecking order in Denver with Malik Jackson getting more playing time and it was easy to see why as he picked up no pressure and was moved at will in the run game.
Defensive Interior – Nose: Roy Miller*, JAX (-3.1)
The tape wasn’t kind to the Jags crooked nose Miller who is in the team to disrupt the opposition running game. He failed against the Chiefs as Rodney Hudson won their battle handsomely.
Edge Rushers: Bjoern Werner, IND (-3.0) and Brooks Reed, HST* (-2.9)
Sorry Colts fans, at this stage Werner just isn’t there yet. He may have the tools but he needs to take a big step forward to justify even the 29 snaps he got on Sunday. Reed got beat for a touchdown the only time he was targeted in coverage and once again displayed an inability to generate consistent pressure.
Linebackers: Kelvin Sheppard, IND (-6.8) and London Fletcher, WAS (-6.9)
Sheppard had the kind of day that would make Bills fans giggle. A once promising rookie he was all over the place (in a bad way) as he did his bit to make the Raiders competitive. Meanwhile, we know you’re not allowed to speak ill of Fletcher but this was a horrid display. He hasn’t got it in him to effectively get off blocks right now and missed three tackles as well.
Cornerbacks: Cortland Finnegan, SL (-6.3) and Corey Graham, BAL (-3.7)
It seems a long time ago that Finnegan was christened “Torched and Burned Again” but if he keeps playing like this, that name is coming back. Three silly penalties, 96 yards allowed into his coverage and a generally shoddy day. Graham was perhaps worse in coverage alone in a game he described as the worst of his life. You’d hope so, given that he allowed three touchdowns and 73 yards on nine throws into his coverage.
Safeties: Jerron McMillan, GB (-5.7) and Bacarri Rambo, WAS (-4.3)
So when does Morgan Burnett come back? In limited duty as a rookie McMillan played well. Here he was the exact opposite. Missing tackles (four), getting beat for a touchdown and allowing all six throws into his coverage to be complete. Rambo by name but perhaps not by nature as he was one of the chief victims of the Eagles up pace offense.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled