Brett Favre

10 Biggest NFL Underachievers

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.

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Brett Favre  of the Minnesota Vikings grabs his torso as he lies on the turf after taking a hard hit from Roman Harper  of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It's been an ugly start to the season for Favre and the Vikings

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.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 49ers, Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Falcons, Lions, Redskins, Titans, Vikings Comments Off

What’s wrong with Brett Favre

It’s been a rough start to the season for Brett Favre and Vikings fans are beginning to panic. It’s only two games, but when a 40-year-old quarterback struggles out of the gate, it stands to reason that things can only continue to go downhill.

While the Favre’s issues are concerning, the good news is it isn’t difficult to see where the problems lie. His injuries may not be helping matters, but if the Vikings can fix a few areas around Favre he should be able to regain the magic of 2009. That may be a big “if”, but at least the problem is easily diagnosed. Here are the two biggest reasons for Favre’s drop-off in production:

1. He misses Sidney Rice
This is the most obvious reason for Favre’s struggles. In 2009 Favre targeted Rice on roughly 1/4 of his pass attempts (Rice was targeted 120 times last season by Favre and Tarvaris Jackson combined). Through two games this year, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe have replaced Rice as Favre’s favorite targets. However, you can’t replace one player with two. Harvin has the speed and Shiancoe has the size, but Rice had both. A gunslinger like Favre simply needs a receiver like Rice that can stretch the field and go up and grab a ball in traffic.

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Phil Loadholt #71 of the Minnesota Vikings checks on teammate Brett Favre #4 after he was injured on a play against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Loadholt has peeled Favre off the turf one to many times already this season.

2. The offensive line is struggling
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Favre attempted a pass “under pressure” justĀ  21.6 percent of the time. Through two games this season, that number has increased to 41.3. This biggest issue is the right side of the line – Phil Loadholt and Anthony Herrera – who have allowed a combined 17 pressures, eight hits and one sack. Unless the line improves dramatically, it will be a long season for Favre regardless of Sidney Rice’s health.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Vikings Comments Off

10 observations from Week 2 in the NFL

1. Mike Martz is Jay Cutler’s savior. Through two weeks he has looked like the best quarterback in the league. If you’re not buying into the hype, consider this stat from ProFootballFocus.com: when Cutler was blitzed on Sunday, he completed 17 of 24 pass attempts for 198 yards and three touchdowns. That’s efficiency that you will rarely see against one of the more talented defenses in the league.

2. What’s up with all these quarterbacks being benched? If you’re sitting a guy midway through the second game of the season maybe you shouldn’t have started him in the first place. If your team has already made a quarterback switch before fall is officially here, you have every reason to panic.

3. At this rate, I don’t see how Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will survive the season in Cleveland. In each of their first two games the Browns offense has come out of the gate with reasonable success, only to be completely shut down in the 2nd half. It’s as if the Browns just go to the locker room and hang out at halftime while the other team adjusts.

4. Another issue with the Browns offense… how can you not get the ball in the hands of your playmakers? They had Jerome Harrison, Josh Cribbs and Seneca Wallace on the field at the same time for most of the game, and yet they failed to even fake any trick plays. They could have created some nightmare matches for the Chiefs defense with just a little creativity.

5. Derek Anderson did not look good on Sunday, but his offensive line didn’t do him any favors. The Cardinals offensive line allowed two sacks, six hits and 18 pressures! And they only dropped back to pass 33 times! And please, for the sake of Kurt Warner, don’t think that this offensive line got worse since last year. Warner was simply brilliant at avoiding pressure and getting rid of the football.

6. I’m excited to see Jimmy Clausen’s debut on Sunday, but I’m afraid it won’t be pretty. He faces two tough secondaries in each of his first two games – vs Cincinnati, at New Orleans. The Panthers might as well wave the white flag. They’re locked in a battle with the Browns and Bills for the No. 1 pick.

7. The Vikings have every reason to panic. They should add one in the win column this weekend against the Lions, but after that it’s at the Jets, home against the Cowboys, then at Green Bay and at New England. They could lose all four of those games. And they will if Brett Favre doesn’t stop playing like Sage Rosenfels. The Vikings could have gotten this performance for a lot less money if he had stayed retired.

8. The Steelers may be emerging as a favorite in the AFC. They’re 2-0 (two good wins, mind you) while essentially playing without a quarterback. As soon as Roethlisberger returns, this team will be very, very hard to beat.

9. Green Bay’s defense looked absolutely dominant on Sunday (with plenty of help from Trent Edwards). But here’s a fun stat for you courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com – the Bills didn’t target Charles Woodson once the entire game. Not a single pass thrown his direction. Now that’s respect.

10. And I’ll conclude with this… I hope someone in the NFL public relations department is paying close attention to the amount of media coverage being given today to Braylon Edwards and Kenny McKinley. The fact that most media outlets are spending more time talking about Edwards’ DWI and how the Jets will react, than to McKinley’s death is sad.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bears, Browns, Cardinals, Packers, Panthers, Steelers, Vikings Comments Off

Training Camp Preview: Vikings

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates throwing for a touchdown in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Vikings need to opperate under the assumption that Favre isn't returning

Biggest Question Mark: Brett Favre
Will he show up?

Position Battle to Watch: Quarterback
Until Favre does show up the Vikings have to move forward with a quarterback competition between Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson. Rosenfels offers more experiences and perhaps is better suited as a game manager if they intend to rely on the running game. Jackson has far more upside and more playmaking ability.

Impact Rookie: Chris Cook
Antonie Winfield and Cedric Griffin both battled injuries last season and Cook must be ready to step into a starting role should either of them suffer setbacks. Cook has the size to be a physically dominant cornerback, but there are many scouts who feel he lacks the athleticism to play corner and is better suited at free safety.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Vikings Comments Off