5 Players That Will Drive You Absolutely Bonkers on Game Film
In the NFL, every team grades every player's game film every week. "The eye in the sky don't lie," players say; there's no way to hide flaws or mistakes or bonehead plays from the hordes of cameras every NFL stadium bristles with.
Players that are truly bad don't get many reps, or when they do it's out of sheer desperation. But there are many quality NFL players with starting-caliber tools or skills who still put out bad tape.
Whether it's a freak awful game, a season-long battle with consistency or a good player with a "fatal flaw" that's never quite fatal enough, there are plenty of players whose film will drive you absolutely bonkers.
Here are five of the worst offenders.
Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles CB
For years, Nnamdi Asomugha earned a leaguewide reputation as one of the baddest cornerbacks in football.
Lately, he's played like one of the worst.
Asomugha excels in press man coverage, and as an Oakland Raider that's mostly what he did. Teams were more than willing to attack other areas of the Raider defense, and perhaps Asomugha's legend started writing checks his play couldn't cash.
After the Philadelphia Eagles signed Asomugha to a five-year, 60 million dollar contract, they deployed him outside, inside, in man, in zone, with safety help and without and discovered he's not that versatile.
In Week 11, the Eagles faced the Washington Redskins, and Asomugha allowed a completely inexplicable touchdown to Aldrick Robinson. Asomugha ran alongside, if not actually with, Robinson for about fifteen yards. When Robinson cut for the far pylon, Asomugha just kept running.
Robinson was so open, Robert Griffin III could have packed, stamped and mailed the football to the end zone before Asomugha got there.
Darnell Dockett, Arizona Cardinals DE
It's ironic that Darnell Dockett would be fined $200,000 for insubordination after refusing an order to "lay down and quit," letting the New York Jets score to get the ball back.
Ironic, because the film shows that's what he's been doing for weeks.
For years, Dockett has been a consistent playmaker on a defense—and team—dogged by inconsistency. As his Arizona Cardinals have followed a blazing 4-0 start with an 0-9 slide, Dockett's effort has evaporated.
A talented pass-rusher with power and penetration moves, Dockett has been "playing pat-a-cake" with opposing linemen, standing up and allowing himself to get blocked out of plays.
Earlier in that fateful game, the Jets called a zone stretch run to their right. The whole Jets line flows to the right, and most of the Cardinals defense flows with them, holding the line and preventing a cutback by the tailback.
...except Dockett, who got blown five yards off his spot in the other direction.
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers LB
Drafted to no small amount of fanfare and fan favoritism with the ninth overall pick in this spring's draft, Panthers rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly has proven himself a run-stopping, tackling machine.
According to Pro Football Focus (membership required), Kuechly is fourth in the NFL in Stop Percentage, with 12.1 percent of his 62 combined tackles constituting a defensive stop.
But when it comes to covering the pass...not so much.
In the Week 13 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Panthers defense did a great job of keeping the Chiefs in front of them. However, when Kuechly had to cover Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki on a simple 15-yard out route, he did as poor a job as is physically possible.
Somehow, Kuechly reacted to Moeaki's cut to the sideline by literally spinning himself around 360 degrees, allowing Moeaki to get several steps of separation. Quarterback Brady Quinn had no problem hitting Moeaki for the biggest gain of the Chiefs' game-winning drive.
Marshall Newhouse, Green Bay Packers LT
Unlike Dockett or Asomugha, Green Bay Packers left tackle Marshall Newhouse isn't a proven veteran. But on a team so heavily reliant on its quarterback and the passing game, Newhouse must perform like one.
For most of his two years as a starter, Newhouse has been an okay-if-inconsistent pass blocker and poor in the run game. But recently, his form has taken a turn for the even-worse. Packer fans—and quarterback Aaron Rodgers—should be concerned.
In the Packers recent Sunday Night Football matchup against the Detroit Lions, Newhouse was saved from national embarrassment by Rodgers' athleticism.
In the third quarter, Newhouse set up to block Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson one on one. Jackson's initial hand punch blew Newhouse completely off his feet; despite a 48-pound weight advantage over Jackson, Newhouse's poor footwork caused him to slip on the snowy grass and fall tuchis-over-teakettle.
Fortunately for him, Rodgers flushed away from the pressure and scrambled for a 27-yard touchdown.
Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville WR
The Jacksonville Jaguars' prized rookie receiver, Justin Blackmon, has had an awful time adjusting to the professional game.
Part of it, no doubt, is the dearth of professional-grade talent around him. Part of it may stem from unwarranted expectations, given his lack of elite size and speed.
Blackmon has great hands and body control, but his technique is too raw to separate downfield from NFL cornerbacks. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller highlighted this in his pre-draft scouting report of Blackmon, but Milller also saw the flaw that's killing Blackmon and the Jaguars right now: his lack of focus on short routes.
Being a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL is about much more than getting two or three shots downfield a game. It's about being the best option on every single passing play, and moving the sticks every time you touch the ball.
Blackmon absolutely has to catch slants that hit him in the chest—and he absolutely has to stop letting them hit his chest before trying to catch them.
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