1.Koa Misi, Dolphins
Misi regains the top spot after record a sack and two pressures for the second straight game. The Dolphins pass rush has noticeably improved since he joined the starting lineup in Week 3.
4. Ndamukong Suh, Lions
Suh is a one-dimensional player at this point in his career, but he does that one thing very well. He’s arguably the most dominant pass-rushing interior lineman in the league, not just among rookies.
10. Knowshon Moreno
Is it too early to call him a bust? In two games before getting hurt Moreno averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. His performance was so disappointing that the Broncos traded for Laurence Maroney (not too early to call him a bust). Moreno is expected to return to action this week.
9. DeAngelo Hall
According to Pro Football Focus, Hall has been targeted 24 times and has allowed 23 completions. Wow. Just by pure luck you’d think two or three of those passes would be dropped or slightly off target and fall incomplete. And he isn’t just being targeted on short easy routes – he’s allowed over 10 yards per completion.
8. Cadillac Williams
When are the Bucs finally going to give up on Williams? He’s averaging just 2.5 yards per attempt, easily the lowest among starting running backs. He’s been so bad that undrafted free agent LeGarrette Blount, who was cut by the Titans, is now splitting carries with Williams.
7. Ndamukong Suh
Suh was supposed to be an instant impact player. Many said he was one of the best defensive prospects to enter the draft in years. Sure, he’s been credited with three sacks, but is that really a good way to measure interior lineman? He has been exposed as a liability against the run and opponents are taking advantage of the hole he creates in the middle of their defensive line. The Lions are giving up 4.8 yards per attempt – 4th highest average in the league.
6. Brian Robiskie/Mohamed Massaquoi
Maybe Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson weren’t the problem in Cleveland last year. The Browns simply don’t have a receiver who can make a play. The two 2009 2nd-round picks have failed to show any improvements in their second season. According to Pro Football Focus they rank 97th and 96th in percent of targeted passes caught – out of 97 qualifying receivers.
5. Michael Crabtree
After a strong end to his rookie season, Crabtree was a major reason why the 49ers were picked by many to win the NFC West. Yes, Alex Smith hasn’t helped his cause but Crabtree hasn’t helped Smith’s either. He’s caught just 11 of 21 passes thrown his direction. A true No. 1 receiver makes plays even on poorly thrown balls.
4. Michael Turner
Here’s a scary thought: the Falcons are 3-1 with almost no help from Burner Turner. He’s averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt this year. His career low entering this season was 4.5. He just hasn’t looked like the big bruising back that terrorized the AFC South the past two seasons. But he’s 28 and has never shied away from contact, perhaps he’s simply nearing the end of the road.
3. Jared Allen
Where has the Vikings sack master been hiding this season? He has been credited with just one sack and has generally been a non-factor all season. His struggles have had a ripple effect throughout the Vikings defense. If he isn’t getting to the quarterback, the rest of the unit suffers.
2. Chris Johnson
So much for all that talk about breaking Dickerson’s rushing record. Johnson is averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt this season – nearly two full yards less than last season. Maybe teams have figured out how to stop him. Or maybe he’s just worn out from his league-leading 358 carries last year.
1. Brett Favre
Maybe Favre should have hung up the cleats for good this time. He’s already thrown six interceptions, just one fewer than all of last season. He’s averaging just 6.2 yards per attempt, which would be a career low. And he’s completing just 61 percent of his passes – down seven percentage points from last season. Any way you slice it, Favre has been this year’s biggest underachiever.
1. Arian Foster is the answer to all of the Texans problems. They’ve been looking for a feature back since entering the league. Jonathan Wells, Domanick Davis Williams, Ahman Green, Steve Slaton and many others have tried and failed to fill that hole. Now Foster looks like the real deal.
2. I missed the end of the Cowboys-Redskins game, but when I heard the game ended on a holding penalty the name Alex Barron immediately popped into my head. Sure enough, it was Barron who blew the game for the Cowboys. He may be the least disciplined player in the game – regardless of position. He’ll lose his starting job, and maybe his job altogether, as soon as Marc Colombo is healthy.
3. But I shouldn’t put all the blame on Barron. Tony Romo and Tashard Choice, what were you thinking at the end of the first half?! A shovel pass is possibly the last thing that should have happened on that play. Throw a hail mary, throw it out of bounds, or just take a sack! Anything is better than a shovel pass. That was destined to fail.
4. The Steelers are in serious trouble if Max Starks doesn’t get healthy soon. Jonathan Scott replaced Starks on Sunday and, according to ProFootballFocus.com, allowed three quarterback pressures on the 10 pass plays in which he was on the field. Tony Hillis is also an option to replace Starks at left tackle. And if they get really desperate, rookie Kyle Jolly is on the practice squad.
5. The Jets might be the least disciplined team in football, and I’m not at all surprised. What do you expect when you put that many egos one roster, led by a coach that has little control over his players. Rex Ryan is a hell of coach, but he isn’t real big on discipline and it shows on the field. The Jets committed 14 penalties for 125 yards, 10 of which came in the 1st half. For a team that isn’t expecting much out of its offense, that’s simply unacceptable.
6. What happened to the Dolphins offense? Surely the Bills defense, in their first game running a 3-4 system, didn’t improve dramatically from a season ago. The Dolphins didn’t turn the ball over, controlled the clock for over 36 minutes and yet only put 13 points on the board (the other two points came on a safety). Here’s one idea to jump start the offense: get more than two receivers involved. Brandon Marshall and Davon Bess were the only wide receivers with a catch on Sunday. They need to find away to get Brian Hartline involved. He’s their Wes Welker.
7. The Bucs and Browns may be the two worst teams in football. The Bills were in the discussion, but they actually looked better than expected on Sunday, at least on defense. The Rams were also in the mix, but nearly pulled off a win over the Cardinals. But the Browns and Bucs played a nearly unwatchable game this weekend. That game very well may have decided the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Jake Locker, pack your bags for Cleveland.
8. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Peyton Manning dropped back to pass 59 times on Sunday and was sacked, hit or pressured on 25 of those plays. That’s a remarkable 42.5 percent of his pass plays. That’s bad news for the Colts offensive line, but it also calls attention to just how freaking amazing Manning is at playing this sport. Despite all that pressure he didn’t throw an interception and completed over 70 percent of his passes.
9. The Falcons offense couldn’t have been more predictable. Hand off to Michael Turner, pass to Roddy White, hand off to Michael Turner… and so on. They need to get others involved in the offense if they’re going to improve upon Sunday’s pitiful showing. The Steelers defense is good, but not that good. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularky played right into the Steelers hands with a terribly uncreative game plan.
10. And finally, I’m not even sure what to say about Calvin Johnson’s touchdown that wasn’t. Clearly he caught the ball. The NFL needs to do away with these nonsense rules that throw common sense out the window.
Gerald McCoy was the obvious choice in the 1st round. He’s a dominant penetrating tackle and can wreak havoc in the backfield. Few interior linemen have entered the NFL with his ability to take over a game. He can be overaggressive at times, which is a big reason why Ndamukong Suh was viewed as the better prospect, but McCoy is a smart kid and should only get better as he develops.
I was surprised to see them take another defensive tackle in the 2nd round, but I actually like the selection of Brian Price. He’s a perfect compliment to McCoy, and the two of them could make a significant impact immediately. I really like that they’re starting this rebuilding process on defense up front. I strongly believe that building from the interior line on out is the way to go.
The Bucs interest in Arrelious Benn was obvious entering the draft and he’s a perfect fit. He has all the tools to be a number one receiver. They’ll groom him as Josh Freeman’s go-to target. I only hope they don’t ruin his development by asking him to do too much early on. He already looks like the obvious choice to be their No. 1 receiver, which is a lot to ask of a rookie.
I think they reached for Myron Lewis. I don’t think he has the skills to be a great cornerback and would have rather seen a team draft him and move him to safety. Additionally, I think safety is a bigger need for the Bucs. Morgan Burnett, Major Wright and Chad Jones were all on the board and I think all three will have much better careers than Lewis.
Mike Williams is a huge risk, even in the 4th round. He has the skills to be an elite receiver, but there’s just so many questions regarding his departure from Syracuse. I would have rather seen him land on a team with more of a veteran presence in the locker room, especially at receiver. He could develop into a steal, but its a risk.
I don’t like taking punters before the 7th round at the earliest, so I’m not crazy about the selection of Brent Bowden. He’ll be their starter as a rookie, but I don’t think he’s any better than four or five others that went undrafted. This pick could have been better spent on another position player.
Cody Grimm is a great 7th-round pick. His upside is very limited, but he’s a hard worker and should be a beast on special teams. He’s one of those guys that will have a long career simply because he does all the little things and coaches love having him around.
Dekoda Watson fell a lot further than I expected. His talent level is far above that of your typical 7th-round pick, but he just wasn’t able to perform consistently at Florida State. The Bucs don’t have a strong group of linebackers, and he could compete for playing time in a backup role.
Erik Lorig is a solid 7th round pick. He doesn’t have a lot of upside but he’ll compete for a roster spot. He’s a tough, physical lineman that excels against the run. He isn’t starter material, but has the size and strength to potential stick around as a backup.
Overall, the Bucs did a great job finding multiple players that can start and make an impact immediate. If things go as planned, they’ll have four players – McCoy, Price, Benn and Williams – all starting as rookies. That’s a recipe for disaster as far as the Bucs 2010 season is concerned, but in the long run this draft could be exactly what they needed to turn the franchise around.
Now that Seneca Wallace is on board, Mike Holmgren has decided its time to part ways with his incumbent quarterbacks. Derek Anderson was released yesterday and now Brady Quinn is aggressively being shopped around the league.
Trading Quinn seems like an odd decision. Holmgren is clearly comfortably with Seneca Wallace, but he’s apparently the only one. The Browns only gave up a 2011 7th-round pick to land him, which is a shockingly low price tag for a guy who appears to be entering 2010 as a starting quarterback.
The move begs the question: what the hell does Mike Holmgren have planned?
Surely he can’t envision Seneca Wallace as his starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. Wallace has been an adequate backup to Matt Hasselbeck for a number of years, but in years past no one has even gone sniffing around Seattle to inquire about trading for Wallace to fill a starting role elsewhere.
Could this mean Holmgren has more moves planned?
There has been speculation this offseason that the Browns may show interest in Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford in the draft. However, it appears unlikely the either will fall to them with the 7th pick. The Rams, Redskins and Seahawks all have shown an interest in landing a new franchise quarterback and own picks ahead of the Browns.
The only way to land a quarterback in the 1st round may be to trade up. The best case scenario for the Browns would be for the Rams to select Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy. That would leave the 2nd and 3rd picks (owned by the Lions and Bucs, respectively) as potential slots to trade into as neither team is in the market for a quarterback.
The Browns currently own 11 picks in this year’s draft and could offer an intriguing package to either the Lions or Bucs who are both in a full-fledged rebuilding mode and could use the extra selections.
Another option would be to package some picks and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers who has been rumored to be on the trading block. Both the Lions and Bucs are expected to target defensive tackles Suh and McCoy in the 1st round. Thus, the option of landing a proven Pro Bowl tackle plus plus some extra picks would seem like an intriguing offer for either team.
Should the Browns pull off one of these trades and land Bradford or Clausen, then the trade for Wallace would start to make sense. Wallace, who has started a handful of games in his career, could keep the seat warm as the Browns groom their new franchise quarterback.
Recent reports have linked the Bucs the to South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Unless the Bucs trade down this would be an Al Davis-like draft blunder. But don’t worry Bucs fans, its not going to happen. Let me debunk this rumor…
The rumor apparently started with Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft. Presumably he heard from a member of the Bucs organization that they were very high on Pierre-Paul and decided to go out on a limb and make the prediction. Since his mock draft was released, other writers have come forward reporting similar whispers from the Bucs front office.
I certainly don’t dispute that some are hearing reports from the Bucs that they like Pierre-Paul. But it doesn’t mean they’re interested in him with the 3rd pick. Here’s why:
1. No one in anyone’s front office tells the truth at this time of year. You have to take every rumor you hear with a grain of salt and try to find the motivation behind it. If the Bucs are leaking their interest in Pierre-Paul to the media, they must believe they have something to gain by it. However, in this case its hard to see why the Bucs would spread this rumor. Its doubtful that a team would try to trade into the top three for a guy with one year of experience at the D-I level, which brings me to my next point…
2. At this point in the draft process, the real decisions makers have no idea who they want to draft. The coaches and GM’s have spent the season focused on their NFL roster, not on scouting. They’ve spent the last month getting acclimated to the current pool of draft-eligible players in preparation for the combine and pro days. That means that if anyone in the Bucs front office is enamored with Pierre-Paul it is likely the scouts, who just so happen to be the ones most likely blabbing to the media about it.
For what its worth, the Rams have denied the rumors.
From the Rams standpoint, this would be a brilliant trade. The top two players on most draft boards are Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, but the Rams don’t really need a defensive tackle. 2007 1st and 5th round picks Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan have been a nice duo at tackle over the past few years. They aren’t Pro Bowlers, but its arguably the strongest position on the Rams defense.
Trading down would allow them to stockpile picks (which they desperately need) and potentially land their quarterback of the future, be it Johnson, Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. Should they pass on a quarterback with the 3rd pick, Eric Berry would be an excellent addition to their secondary. Even Derrick Morgan would potentially make sense as a replacement for Leonard Little who is likely to sign elsewhere.
Its true, they need a defensive tackle. However, there is a decent chance that either McCoy or Suh will fall to them anyway. The Rams are likely to consider selecting a quarterback 1st overall, meaning one of the top two tackles could be on the board at No. 3.
Considering the overwhelming lack of talent on the Bucs roster, its hard to understand why they would part with extra picks just to land Suh. The Bucs would likely have to part with their 2nd-round pick as well, if not more, to move up. For a team starving for talent, a draft that potentially brings in Eric Berry and Brandon LaFell would seem to be a much faster route to turning things around than only landing Suh.
The added bonus for passing on this trade would be the potential to trade down on draft day. If the Rams pass on Bradford and Clausen, the Bucs will be on the clock at No. 3 one slot ahead of Washington, who is likely to select a quarterback. If a team like the Bills or Seahawks have their heart set on one of the top two quarterbacks, the 3rd pick will be the ideal slot to trade into. This would allow the Bucs to land a player such as Joe Haden and acquire additional picks.
No matter what angle I look at this trade it seems like a losing situation for the Bucs. Suh is an elite talent, but a defensive tackle doesn’t turn around a franchise on his own. The Bucs have too many holes to fill to risk their entire draft on one player.