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Matthew Stafford and 5 NFL Veterans Still Making Rookie Mistakes

Lou RomContributor INovember 18, 2012

Matthew Stafford and 5 NFL Veterans Still Making Rookie Mistakes

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    Some NFL veterans keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

    Whether it's the quarterback who looks the ball into the receiver's hands, the cornerback who plays the receiver and not the ball, or the wideout who runs sloppy routes, some guys just never learn.

    And when your veterans keep making the same mistakes, it's tough for your team to overcome the errors you expect from rookies and younger players transitioning into the league and the starting lineup.

    This year a few veterans, whom it appeared had shaken their early troubles, are back at square one—making the same mistakes, costing their teams points and wins. 

    Here's a fast five of veterans who need to start playing like veterans in 2012.

Matthew Stafford

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    After a breakout 2011, Matthew Stafford has struggled to score, especially inside the red zone, and is struggling to get the ball to his star receiver.

    Stafford has just 11 touchdowns in 2012 through nine games after tossing 41 last season. His accuracy has not suffered, completing 64 percent of his passes this season.

    But Stafford continues to struggle when his star receiver Calvin Johnson fails to get open. Johnson is again piling up yardage but has been less effective in the clutch, scoring just two touchdowns this season. 

    Stafford needs to relearn the difference between forcing the ball to an over-matched wideout and in trusting your star receiver to make the play. He needs to take a few chances with Johnson, rebuild his star receiver's confidence and right the ship. 

Corey Webster

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    Corey Webster and the New York Giants secondary continue to get burned by opposing receivers this year.

    The Cowboys' Dez Bryant blew past Webster again and again on opening day, and the bleeding has not stopped since.

    Webster, the so-called "best cornerback" on the team, has missed assignments, failed to cover for his less experienced teammates and has just plain been blown out—in Dallas, against Cleveland, versus Pittsburgh and some would argue, against Cincinnati. 

    Webster consistently gets a late jump on the deep play, bites early on fakes and is virtually incapable of recovering on a bad guess.

    The Giants could hope and pray that Webster gets better, but the team may be better at putting up-and-coming Prince Amukamara on the No. 1 receiver for the last six games of the season and see how that works out. 

Michael Vick

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    File this one under "no-brainer." 

    Vick, who sat this week after suffering a concussion last week, looks like a rookie in 2012.

    That's bad news for a guy who is in the middle of his 10th NFL season.

    Vick zigs when he should zag, runs when he should pass, and passes when he should run. The only thing Vick continues to do well is throw the ball accurately, completing 59 percent of his passes. 

    Oh, and on top of that, he loses the football in between all the zigging and zagging and passing and running with nine interceptions and 10 fumbles.

    Vick's season appears all but lost, but if he expects to ever start again as an NFL quarterback, he better find a way to hold onto the ball. 

    But again, file that under no-brainer.

Reggie Bush

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    As rookies, NFL running backs typically have the most impact, as the job depends more on raw skill than perhaps any other position in the league.

    So, sometimes when you say a veteran running back "looks like a rookie" that's a good thing.

    Not when you're talking about Reggie Bush, though.

    After gaining 172 yards on 26 carries against the Raiders in Week 2, Bush hasn’t come close to rushing for 100 yards since, topping out at 67 yards.

    He looks like he's hit a wall and is worn out just 10 games into a 16-game season. After fumbling against the Titans, he was benched for the first time in his career.

    The wrap on Bush since he was drafted by the Saints in 2006 was that he wasn't durable enough to be an every-down back. While he's impressed many by sticking around for so long, he's still only impressed in spurts. 

    And consistency, if anything, is the mark of a true veteran. 

Mario Williams

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    The Buffalo Bills expected big things when they signed Mario Williams, the biggest free-agent signing of the offseason.

    What they got, instead, is a defensive star with just 5.5 sacks through 10 games and a defense that ranks 30th in total defense and dead-last against the run.

    Williams has been no bust, mind you, but he has been manhandled by more than one or two offensive lines as the Bills plod through another disappointing season.

    The Bills have given up at least 35 points in six games, and Williams, as the leader on defense, has to bear the brunt of that responsibility.

    Williams and the Bills finally showed up in Thursday night's win over Miami. Perhaps he'll finish with a flurry and give the Bills that veteran defensive leader they sought when they signed him. 

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