Top-10 NFL Players Looking for a Bounce-Back Season in 2008

R LSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2008

Tough seasons happen to just about everyone. Whether it be because of injuries, lack of production, or team chemistry, it's difficult to avoid, especially the injury component.

You'd need a whole lot of luck to stay healthy your whole career—or a guy like Warren Sapp protecting you. Here are 10 players (in no particular order) looking to improve from a hard time last season.


1) Shaun Alexander

In 2005, Alexander led the league in rushing touchdowns with 27. The past two seasons, he hasn't even reached half of that total (seven in 2006, and four in 2007). Failure to crack the 1,000-yard mark in the last two years also touched several nerves in Seattle.

A small guy with great speed and some quick moves, Alexander needs to bring back his A-game if he's to have a chance at making a team.


2) Steven Jackson

Like I mentioned earlier, injuries are a huge part of the NFL. Limited to 12 games in 2007, Jackson still put up 1,002 rushing yards. The St. Louis Rams need him to stay healthy, because without him, the running game is all but gone.

A workhorse, powerful runner, and time-to-time receiver, Jackson plays a huge role in getting the Rams back to the postseason this year.


3) Chad Pennington

Surprise surprise, another injury-plagued season. Nine interceptions and 10 touchdowns in nine games saw Pennington jet off to Miami this summer.

We'll see if he can bring the Dolphins back to life and maybe teach Chad Henne a thing or two about throwing touchdowns.


4) Santana Moss

Moss' first year as a Redskin was a success. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to match it up in the second, and third. Three touchdowns for the whole year just aren't going to do it for the Redskins.

Santana is expected to be the go-to guy in the receiving department. He needs to start playing the part.


5) Muhsin Muhammad

Rex Grossman. When that's your quarterback, you have to be given some slack if your production drops. Muhammad played his best football with the Carolina Panthers before moving to Chicago. He had 16 touchdowns in his last year with the Panthers.

Chicago fans only witnessed 12 touchdowns in his three seasons as a Bear. Muhsin is back with Carolina and hopefully his glory days return, too.


6) Isaac Bruce

He may be aging, but Bruce can still put up decent stats and serve as a good model for the younger players. Now with the San Francisco 49ers, Bruce could be a key component for a playoff return.

After 13 years in St. Louis, the chant "Bruuuuuuce" will now be heard in a different arena.


7) Drew Bennett

Sometimes new homes bring difficult beginnings. Bennett was the top receiver for the Tennessee Titans for a number of years before making the move to St. Louis. Three touchdowns and 375 total yards was all he got in his first year under Scott Linehan.

Torry Holt is a future Hall of Fame receiver, but he can only do so much on his own. Bennett will have to step it up this season.


8) Larry Johnson

With 20 touchdowns, 1,750 total yards in 2005, and 17 touchdowns, 1,789 total yards the following season, Johnson was looking unstoppable. However, with three touchdowns and 559 total yards in eight games last season, the 2008 season can't come soon enough for him.

A healthy Johnson will be dangerous once again.


9) Marc Bulger

He'll always be able to put up great offensive number, but he needs to cut down on the interceptions. Bulger had a career-low 11 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions last season.

A quarterback rating of 92.9 in 2006, to 70.3 last year will definitely put the pressure on him, starting this week.


10) Donald Driver

No Brett Favre. Meaning, Driver will have to catch some ugly throws this year to give the Packers a shot. Two touchdowns in 15 games last season with Favre.

I don't know how, but he'll have to get those numbers up in a hurry.