5 NFL Teams Getting Coal for the Holidays
For many teams in the NFL this season, it has been a year to forget. While some teams' stars have shined bright, others have dimmed dramatically. This season has had all kinds of surprises, both good and bad.
We've seen everything from a rookie's rise to super-stardom, to total collapses of teams that had great potential coming into 2012. For these five teams this season, they've never failed to, well, fail. So, in honor of the holiday season, here's who'll be receiving coal this holiday.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
2012 was another lackluster year for the Jaguars. Although second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert has shown some general improvement over an unimpressive 2011 campaign, he is still not the answer in Jacksonville.
After missing out on the Tebow Sweepstakes this past offseason, the Jaguars placed their faith in the hands of Gabbert, hoping he would take the next step and show why he was drafted so high in 2011 (10th overall).
Well, he didn’t.
After being replaced by Chad Henne in their Week 11 game vs. Houston, Gabbert is not likely to be the starter again for the Jaguars. To put things in perspective, Gabbert accumulated 1,662 yards and nine touchdowns through 10 games this season, while Henne has thrown for 1,438 and eight touchdowns in only five games.
Between the failed Gabbert project and the Maurice Jones-Drew injury, it was a recipe for disaster in Jacksonville, and that’s exactly what happened. What is even worse for the Jags is that their defense (31st in the NFL) is just as bad as their offense (also 31st in the NFL).
With the recent addition of defensive end Jason Babin and another high pick coming up in the 2013 draft, the Jaguars will look to reemerge next season as contenders in the AFC South. But with the powerhouse Texans and the upstart Colts, it will be no easy feat.
4. Arizona Cardinals
Without many positive expectations coming into this season, the Cardinals got off to one of the hottest starts in the NFL. But after starting the season 4-0, the Cardinals lost nine straight games before tallying their fifth win this past Sunday vs. Detroit Lions.
The most obvious reason for their significant drop-off since their undefeated start to the season is the quarterback situation. Actually, it’s less of a situation and more of a steaming hot pile of garbage.
Kevin Kolb, Jon Skelton and rookie passer Ryan Lindley have combined for 2,912 yards, 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, adding up to a collectively unimpressive quarterback rating of 62.2. The Cardinals have not had a passing touchdown since their Week 9 loss to Green Bay.
Arizona needs a franchise quarterback in a bad way, and will definitely look to address that need amongst others in next year’s draft/free agency.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Ah, the Philadelphia Eagles. This was another team that got off to a hot start this season by winning ugly games, but that soon caught up to them.
For many people, the Eagles were a Super Bowl contender coming into the 2012 season, but their production waned drastically after their 4-0 start. Philly has since posted a 1-10 record, and is on pace to have a top-five draft pick when April rolls around.
In my mind, there are many reasons why the birds have been so miserable this season. Between the quarterback situation, the coaching staff, the defense and the injuries, there are many places to put the blame. Personally, I believe it’s the coaching staff.
If I were Andy Reid, I would’ve centered the offense around LeSean McCoy when Michael Vick started to struggle, and even more so when Vick got injured. Not only because he is one of the best runners in the league, but it would have provided some cushion for rookie Nick Foles to make some mistakes without vastly hurting the team.
However, after McCoy got injured, Reid did feature rookie running back Bryce Brown much more, and for good reason. Brown has been extremely effective at times for Philly, and I think he’s got a good future in the NFL.
Odds are Reid will be fired when the season ends, and the Eagles will have to start all over again this offseason. For a team that was expected by many to be a Super Bowl favorite, they sure have been hard to watch.
That being said, they have the talent on both offense and defense to bounce back in a new regime in 2013. I have a hard time believing the Eagles will look this bad for much longer.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are simply a disaster this season. Every year there seems to be that one team that’s just unlucky, and this year it looks like the Chiefs have caught the bug. From the loss of a teammate to having to start Brady Quinn at quarterback, the Chiefs just have not been able to catch a break this season.
Kansas City is dead last in the league in points per game, and 25th in the league in overall offensive yardage per game. The only thing that has worked for the Chiefs this season is their running game behind star running back Jamaal Charles. Charles is the sixth-leading rusher this season, but has fumbled just as often as he’s scored.
The defense isn’t terrible as it is filled to the brim with talent and former first-round picks, but they are still allowing 26 points per game. When your offense can’t score, and your defense has a hard time stopping anyone, you’re going to have a tough time winning games, and that’s been the story of the 2012 Chiefs team.
General manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel may or may not be fired after the season (via NFL.com), but either way there will be big changes throughout the franchise come season’s end. The Chiefs will likely have the first-overall pick in the draft next spring, and I have to believe they’re going to take a good hard look at all of the quarterback prospects.
They’ll need someone with the physical attributes, along with the talent, intangibles and star power to fill up the seats at Arrowhead Stadium. While I don't believe that there isn’t a distinctive quarterback prospect that is deserving of being drafted No. 1 overall, the Chiefs will have to take a quarterback regardless, unless another team proposes a trade.
If they do keep the pick, I think they take a player like Geno Smith of West Virginia. Smith has a unique skill set that should transition well to the NFL with time and patience. This season is just the beginning of a tough road of rebuilding for the Chiefs.
1. New York Jets
Possibly the only good to come from the Jets’ 2012 season is that they were the media’s best friend. As if Rex Ryan wasn’t controversial enough, the buzz around the Jets vastly expanded after they traded for Tim Tebow this past offseason.
I don’t think there was a single day this season that the Jets weren’t talked about on an NFL television program. Whether it was the hot-and-cold play of Mark Sanchez, the Tim Tebow saga or Rex Ryan’s unjustified boasting, the Jets have been consistently talked about, mainly for the wrong reasons.
While they somehow managed to be in playoff contention until their embarrassing loss to the Titans on Monday night, I think we all knew that this season wasn’t going to go well for Sanchez and company. For weeks, the Tebow chants rose out of MetLife Stadium as Sanchez struggled, but Rex stuck with “his guy”.
Granted, when Tebow did come in the game, he wasn’t very effective, but I believe if they focused the offense around Tebow’s particular skills that they would have done just fine. But, the coaching staff obviously thought that Sanchez was their franchise guy and that Tebow was more of an offensive toy when it was convenient.
Well, after Sanchez lost the game for them on Monday night, Rex finally made a change—to Greg McElroy. The second-year passer out of Alabama will be starting his first NFL game on Sunday against the also-struggling Chargers.
Sanchez was benched a few weeks ago against the Cardinals in favor of McElroy, and the kid from ‘Bama led Gang Green to a 7-6 victory. While McElroy did lead the game-winning drive against Arizona, I think it is evident he is not the long-term answer in New York and is more of a band-aid for the last two weeks of the season.
The tides are turning in New York, and I am interested to see what changes they will make in the offseason.