Chris Johnson and 7 NFL Players Who Didn't Put Forth Full Effort in 2011
Busts happen. A lot of the time, nagging injuries will hinder a player's production. Sometimes, schemes are switched, and it takes them a while to adjust to the new system.
However, sometimes it's out of pure laziness. No one likes it, but it happens.
Here are seven players who didn't put forth that extra effort they needed to succeed.
1. Braylon Edwards, WR, Free Agent
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In the short offseason, Braylon Edwards was considered one of the top free-agent wide receivers. After all, he had a great season for the Jets in 2010, and there was no reason to expect him not to be great again.
But, he wasn't.
Just recently, the 49ers cut him. Not that it was a big loss for them. In nine games (only five of which he started), Edwards only had 15 catches for 181 yards and no touchdowns.
That's a pretty poor performance for a guy who had nearly 1,000 yards the season before as a No. 2 option.
I guess that's all that a million dollars buys you from Braylon Edwards.
2. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
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This season shows that signing a running back to a huge contract is just a bad idea.
DeAngelo Williams signed a huge contract extension this season (five years, $43 million), which puzzled a lot of people since he only played six games in 2010.
Now in the two years before that, he was great, rushing for over 2,600 yards in the two seasons and averaging over five yards a carry.
This season should've been a lot easier for him, since defenses figured out just a few weeks into the season that you can't leave Cam Newton out in the open.
He's only rushed for 783 yards this season, which is pathetic when you consider the money he's being paid. That kind of a contract ought to pay for more effort than that.
3. Donovan McNabb, QB, Free Agent
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Donovan McNabb was brought to the Vikings to be the bridge between the Favre era and the Ponder era (which I still think will be short). However, Ponder took the job pretty quickly, and McNabb was let go.
There were rumors that Leslie Frazier thought he was lazy, which he refuted, but he wasn't the only one who may or may not have said that.
Bill Romanowski flat out said that the reason that McNabb didn't succeed in Mike Shanahan's system was because he was lazy.
Where there's smoke, there's usually fire. When there's lots of smoke and a player gets cut from the Vikings less than a year after being traded away from the Redskins, then there's almost certainly fire (fire is laziness in this metaphor, by the way).
4. Everyone on the Indianapolis Colts
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OK, maybe that's hyperbole. Obviously, not every single player on the Colts' roster is responsible for their terrible season, but a lot of players share a lot of the blame.
Their last two victories over the Titans and Texans prove that this team was capable of winning a few games. Early in the year, they nearly upset the Steelers, but lost 23-20. That should have provided the spark they needed to keep competing, but they kept losing close games, then gave up.
Like I said, I don't know who deserves the most blame, but a lot of it goes to the players.
5. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Blaine Gabbert isn't lazy so much as he's unwilling to try harder. He checks down like crazy.
Gabbert ranks 34th in the NFL in yards per attempt. Not very good. I've said before that I'm not 100 percent certain that Gabbert is a bust just yet, since he has no weapons, but he shows no awareness, he checks down all the time, he seems to be afraid of getting hit, and worst of all, he isn't showing much improvement.
I don't think Gabbert's necessarily lazy, but he just has a lot of weaknesses and seems unwilling to put forth the extra effort to fix those weaknesses.
6. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Haynesworth's flop in Washington was big news last season. However, the Patriots decided that the risk of his busting was worth what little they gave for him and took him on.
The former Tennessee (college and pro) defensive tackle had an excellent opportunity to rehabilitate his image with the Patriots, but they saw minimal production from him and eventually cut him.
Keep in mind that just a few years ago, Haynesworth was the best defensive tackle, and arguably the best defensive player, in the country. It's sad that he's fallen so far.
7. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
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CJ2K earned the nickname when he rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2009. In 2010, he faced a lot of stacked boxes, but still managed to rush for nearly 1,400 yards.
This season, he may not break 1,000. As of right now, Johnson has 986 rushing yards and a miserable four touchdowns. Four. This is after a holdout that extended even after the Titans' general manager Mike Reinfeldt publicly stated that they were willing to make Johnson the highest-paid player at his position.
In the end, Chris Johnson got a contract worth over $50 million, and the Titans got the last-ranked rush attack in the NFL for most of the season.
It didn't help that Johnson just looked out of shape for the first half of the season. It doesn't exactly speak well for his work ethic in the offseason.