Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers and 9 Most Disappointing Teams in 2011
Any coach will tell you that the goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but realistically, that’s not possible for many of the league’s teams.
Some of the teams on this list were expected to take the next leap after 2010 seasons that showed a lot of promise. Others dealt with injuries but couldn’t overcome them enough to still be competitive. And others were plagued by inconsistencies in general.
9. Washington Redskins
They weren’t expected to be a playoff team, especially not with the Philadelphia Eagles and their offseason spending spree in the same division.
But Mike Shanahan spent all spring and summer claiming Rex Grossman and John Beck were good enough quarterbacks for the Washington Redskins to win football games.
The Redskins started 3-1 but have lost nine of their last 11 games and are assured last place in the NFC East.
Grossman and Beck have combined for 23 interceptions, second-most of any team in the league.
8. Indianapolis Colts
They get a pass to a certain extent because of Peyton Manning’s injury. But 0-13?
The Indianapolis Colts showed the whole world that they’re essentially a one-man team.
Jim Caldwell is a lame duck as a head coach.
The biggest problem for the Colts has been the recent drafts, as the past four first-round draft picks have all disappointed—offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, defensive end Jerry Hughes, running back Donald Brown and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez.
Fortunately for the Colts, they’re guaranteed a top-three pick this year, and wide receiver Justin Blackmon might be a good idea, considering Reggie Wayne is a free agent.
7. New York Giants
But the Giants have regressed from a 10-6 season in 2010. They have lost five of their last seven games, and most of that is on their defense.
The defense ranked seventh in yardage last year and second in first downs allowed—this year, they’re 28th and 26th, respectively.
If it wasn’t for the fine play of Eli Manning, they would be a sub-.500 team.
6. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys join the New York Giants on this list, even though they’re essentially in the exact same scenario—a win Sunday against the Giants puts the 8-7 Cowboys in the playoffs.
Still, it shouldn’t have come down to this for Dallas.
If it wasn’t for a questionable timeout call by Jason Garrett to ice his own kicker and two historic collapses against the Detroit Lions and New York Giants, the Cowboys would already have the division locked up.
Many might argue that the Cowboys shouldn’t be on this list after their incredibly disappointing season in 2010, but that’s the point—they vastly underachieved in ’10 and they’re still doing it in ’11, although they now have a healthy Tony Romo and a new coach in Garrett.
5. St. Louis Rams
Instead, it was an absolutely miserable season for the Rams, who have now averaged 13 losses per season since 2007.
Bradford struggled with inconsistency and injuries, the secondary was depleted with injuries and the wide receiving corps provided absolutely no help to an offense that was held under 10 points six times.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The real problem with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be that head coach Raheem Morris and quarterback Josh Freeman set the bar too high in 2010.
The team went 10-6, and neither the offense nor the defense ranked in the top half of the league in yardage.
In essence, they really weren’t that good.
A 4-2 start to the 2011 season looked like the Buccaneers might be ready to make a playoff run, but then came an awful nine-game losing streak that buried the Buccaneers and all but guarantees Morris won’t be back in 2012.
Freeman has regressed to the point that he may have one season to prove himself before the Bucs are forced to move on.
The defense—thought to be Morris’ speciality—has given up 30 or more points seven times and ranks dead-last in scoring defense, having given up a whopping 449 points.
3. New York Jets
When your head coach writes an autobiography in the offseason and guarantees a Super Bowl title, you might want to make sure you’re better than 8-7 heading into the final week of the season.
Mark Sanchez entered the year looking to silence his doubters, and even though he’s accounted for 30 total touchdowns (24 passing, six rushing), his low completion percentage and yards per attempt show he hasn’t made the transition to being an elite quarterback yet.
2. San Diego Chargers
The only reason the San Diego Chargers—with the No. 1 ranked offense and No. 1 ranked defense—missed the playoffs in 2010 was due to an atrocious special teams unit that flat-out cost the Chargers a handful of games.
The Chargers endured a strong start to the 2011 season but went through a dreadful six-game losing streak and were eliminated from the postseason in Week 16.
Philip Rivers threw more interceptions than he’s ever thrown before, and the Chargers couldn’t catch a break, losing five of their six games in their losing streak by one score (two of them in overtime).
It’s looking more and more like this will finally be the season Norv Turner is fired.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Who else could possibly be No. 1 on this list?
This is arguably the most disappointing team in the history of the National Football League.
The Philadelphia Eagles brought in six former Pro Bowlers in the offseason, notably All-World cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and were expected to be a serious threat to the Green Bay Packers for supremacy in the NFC.
Instead, the Eagles endured a horrific 1-4 start, made even more awful considering three of them were blown fourth-quarter leads.
At this point, if the Eagles had won just one of their five fourth-quarter collapses, the team would control its own fate in the NFC East heading into the Week 17 game against the Washington Redskins.
Factor in the Dream Team comments by backup quarterback Vince Young, the improbable decision to promote long-time offensive line coach Juan Castillo to be the defensive coordinator, the inconsistent play from new $100 million man Michael Vick, the struggles again defensively in the red zone and the season-defining touchdown run allowed to Marshawn Lynch, and you can see why the Eagles are No. 1 on this list.