Well, it's been another frustrating week for professional football fans. With rumors that the league and players could come together for a deal, negotiations slowed and there still appears to be a fair bit of work to be done on the implementation of a rookie wage scale, among other issues.
This upcoming week will be crucial as July 15th is seen as an unofficial deadline to have a deal otherwise the league will start to lose preseason games and lots of money.
So, as fans are still stuck with the worst possible scenario with no football, I thought it would be appropriate to look at the worst in something else, specifically the worst starting player on each NFL franchise.
There were only a couple conditions to make this list. The player currently has to be on the roster (some free agent exceptions will be made) and had to start at least eight games or half the regular season in 2010.
These are players that should not only be removed from the starting lineup immediately, but in several cases don't belong on an NFL roster.
Chris Williams, OT, Chicago
If Williams wasn't a first-round pick in 2008, then Chicago would have likely ditched him awhile ago.
Williams was moved to left guard because he couldn't play left tackle. But, his frame suggests that he is a far from ideal fit at guard too.
The Bears were 30th in the NFL in total offense and the ineffective line play was the biggest reason why .
Williams' next move might be to the unemployment line.
There are a couple of different directions that you could go with the Bills here. When you are a 4-12 team, there aren't exactly a ton of good starters.
Akin Ayodele is the definition of a journeyman. To his credit, he has played 10 years in the league, which is 10 more than me, and he has 736 career tackles.
Unfortunately for Ayodele, he doesn't make impact plays and many of his tackles come several yards down the field. He is also a major liability in pass coverage.
Perhaps the best indicator of Ayodele's journeyman status is that his roster spot with the Bills is in question even after he was the team's third leading tackler in 2010.
Safety Donte Whitner, wide receiver Lee Evans, and Geoff Hangartner deserve "dishonorable mention".
Usually when a player doesn't work out at cornerback, as a last resort, he gets moved to safety if he is big enough. Well, Ball was so atrocious as a starting safety that he is being sent back to corner.
His statistical line of 46 tackles and two interceptions but he was picked on repeatedly as part of Dallas' 26th ranked pass defense.
Historically, a team doesn't select a center in the first round of the NFL draft unless two factors are at play.
First, there is an extraordinarily talented prospect available and second, the team has a GLARING need at the position.
Now, you know the two reasons why the Miami Dolphins took center Mike Pouncey with the 15th overall pick in the entire draft.
Berger is known as a smart player, but one who doesn't have the physicality to handle the strong defensive tackles in the AFC East.
If Pouncey is unable to start at center in 2011 and transitions to guard, which many people feel is his more natural position, than Berger won't even be next up to hold down the pivot position. That honor would likely belong to veteran Richie Incognito.
A strong leg alone does not a punter make apparently.
I present the G-men's punter Dodge as Exhibit A for this bit of wisdom. Dodge essentially ended the chances of New York making the playoffs and certainly winning the NFC East when he decided to punt directly to the ever dangerous DeSean Jackson of the Eagles as time was about to expire. Jackson
predictably returned the line drive 36-yard punt the distance to give Philadelphia a 38-31 win.
Dodge actually averaged 44.8 yards per punt but his net average of 34.3 was second worst in the entire conference to Hunter Smith of Washington.
Dodge figures to have competition when the league re-opens.
Cunningham should improve, but his first year as a starter for the Pats was a disappointment. Despite starting 11 games, Cunningham had just 34 tackles and one sack.
The former Florida Gator was raw in college so it should take awhile for him to reach his true potential, if he does at all.
Do you want to know why Philadelphia has been linked so strongly to Nnamdi Asomugha through free agency and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie through a trade of Kevin Kolb?
It's because Dmitri Patterson leads a current list of pretenders to the position opposite Asante
Samuel. Again, the key to a cornerback's success can't just be interceptions as Patterson had four.
For a nice summary of Patterson's struggles in 2010 read about his effort against the New York Giants
The Jets have a very good secondary, especially when everybody is healthy. The one weakness is at the free safety spot where Brodney Pool was not good enough with 53 tackles and one interception.
Pool has just 12 interceptions in six years which is not good enough for the free safety position on a unit that provides itself on creating turnovers.
The expectation is that Dwight Lowery will take Pool's starting spot in 2011.
This is tough call for a variety of reasons. First, someone should call Albert Haynesworth on the carpet for his refusal to play nose tackle despite his immense talent to do so. However, Haynesworth didn't start so he doesn't count.
Also, Donovan McNabb deserves some mention but I have a hard time believing he is actually the worst
starter on the roster even if he played like it at times.
Kemoeatu missed all of 2009 with an Achilles injury and just isn't the same player anymore. Kemoeatu had only 29 tackles, his lowest output since he started just three games for the Baltimore Ravens in 2004.
He is a 350-pound man so his slow recovery from the serious injury is not surprising and it's not his fault, but he is a longshot to stay on the roster in 2011.
When the Ravens drafted Chester in the second round in 2006, they expected him to develop into the team's future cornerstone at center. Surprisingly for a big man at the pivot, Chester doesn't exhibit much forward push.
In 2011, its unlikely he'll crack the starting lineup at any position without injuries to other interior line players.
Landon Johnson, OLB, Detroit Lions
There are two linebacker candidates for this selection, but Bobby Carpenter only started four games last season.
Johnson was a good linebacker earlier in his career for the Bengals, but time has robbed him of his skills and after 48 tackles and no sacks in 2010, he would seem to be hitting the end of the road.
Johnson is a free agent, but surprisingly, the Lions reportedly to want to re-sign him.
When Jonathan Joesph and Leon Hall are the Bengals' starting cornerbacks, the team shouldn't finish tied for 14th against the pass.
Of course, when Cinci's starting safeties are Chris Crocker and Roy Williams, the "social security suspects" one understands why the Bengals were 14th against the pass.
I remember Crocker from a short stint with the Miami Dolphins where he was replaced by another back-up safety in Tyrone Culver. Crocker had just 43 tackles and no interceptions in 2010.
The Bengals did draft West Virginia safety Robert Sands in the fifth round of this year's draft so maybe help is on the way.
It tells you all you need to know about the depth of the Green Bay Packers when Zombo makes this list.
The rookie undrafted free agent actually picked up four sacks, albeit with just 28 tackles on the season (he started eight games). More importantly in Green Bay's 31-25 win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, Zombo had a sack and five tackles, including two for losses.
Yes, the Packers are that good.
There are quite a few options for the Browns' worst starter, which can't make Cleveland fans too happy. The best thing you can probably say about Gocong is that he is versatile.
After all, he can play below average football at any of the linebacker positions.
Yes, this sounds harsh. But consider that Gocong holds the Division I-AA record with 42 career sacks.
Now consider that in his five-year NFL career he has six sacks.
Gocong did have career high 75 tackles for the Browns in 2010, but don't bring up his inability to drop into pass coverage.
It's never good for a free safety to take bad angles and miss tackles, but that's exactly what Williams can be accused of in 2010.
Williams has a big salary due in 2011 ($5.4 million according to the 2011 Sporting News Pro Football Preview magazine) but might keep his job because of the Vikings' lack of viable alternatives.
Foster, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, started eight games for the Steelers last season.
The reason he started at all is likely due to the multiple injuries and re-shuffling Pittsburgh had to do on the offensive line in 2010.
Foster will likely have to fend off challenges from both Doug Legursky and 2011 second-round draft pick Marcus Gilbert to hold onto to his starting job.
One of the problems for the Falcons in 2010 is that they were not able to generate enough pass rushing.
Biermann was part of the problem as he only generated three sacks from the defensive end position. The season was Biermann's first as a full-time starter and he appeared to get worn down from extended duty.
The Texans finished dead last in the NFL in pass defense 2011.
They actually weren't that good.
If cornerback Jason Allen had started one more game to qualify for the list, he might be getting this distinction, but Kareem Jackson is a worthy recipient in his own right. According to the 2011 Sporting News Pro Football Preview magazine, the rookie finished second in the league in yards allowed.
Now, Jackson shows flashes of cover ability, but is going to have to get a lot better to be a full-time starter in Houston
How bad was the Panthers rookie in 2010?
He completed just 52.5 percent of passes, threw nine interceptions against only three touchdowns.
His passer rating of 58.4, was the worst of any starting quarterback in the NFL.
Any wonder why the Panthers were more than willing to draft Cam Newton with the first overall pick in this year's draft?
Lacey is a better fit as a back-up for the Colts. The Indy secondary has had five players suffer injuries in 2010 which is the only reason Lacey filled in as a starter for half the regular season.
He had one interception and just two passes defensed.
Lacey was far better as a rookie in 2009 when he had three picks and 13 passes defensed.
Dunbar was only so-so in his first year starting. He had 40 tackles and just one sack. At 6'0", 220 pounds, he is likely too small for full-time duty at outside linebacker.
For the history buffs, Jo-Lonn might not even be the best Dunbar to play for the Saints. During the early 1990's, Vaughn Dunbar was a running back for the Saints. He was a first-round bust for the most part, he at least had over 900 rushing yards in his career.
I remember watching part of a Jacksonville Jaguars preseason game in 2010 and thinking to myself that this little free safety (5'11" and 182 pounds my foot) was ever going to hold up and feeling bad for how bigger players just ran past him and over him.
Well, interestingly enough, the Don Carey experiment had the second year player out of Norfolk State start 10 games last season.
Predictably, he often struggled and the Jags drafted Chris Prosinski out of Wyoming in this year's draft so he could challenge/replace Carey.
Truthfully, you've got to root for a guy named Stylez, especially when the inspiration for the name is from the cult classic movie Teen Wolf. Of course his original name was Greg before he had it legally changed, but I digress. However, there is a reason that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used their top-two draft picks to draft Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers.
The reason is the Buccaneers had just 26 sacks. Now, White had 4.5 of those but he is a one-dimensional player, meaning that he doesn't stop the run (the Bucs were ranked 28th in that category), which doesn't appear to be a part of Tampa Bay's future plans.
When the rest of the Titans' starting secondary is Cortland Finnegan, Michael Griffin, and Alterraun Verner, the team shouldn't finish 29 in the NFL against the pass. But they did, and while it's not all Chris Hope's fault, he certainly earns his share of the blame.
Hope is a strong safety and he is a one-dimensional strong safety who needs to stay as close to the line of scrimmage as possible.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. It's so hard to believe that Anderson once led the Cleveland Browns to a 10-6 record and was named to the 2008 Pro Bowl.
Last season, he was only better than Jimmy Clausen as a starter. He threw seven touchdowns against 10 interceptions and had a pathetic completion percentage of 51.7.
The final indictment of Anderson is that the Cardinals have moved on to Max Hall and John Skelton and whatever quarterback they can acquire once the lockout ends.
Unfortunately for Harris, injuries have reduced the once promising prospect to a shell of what he once was.
The Broncos drafted Orlando Franklin, an offensive tackle from Miami with the express purpose of replacing Harris. The Denver guards are fine and Ryan Clady is the Pro Bowl left tackle, so the writing is clearly on the wall for the Notre Dame product going into his sixth season.
Robinson caught 34 passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns while starting 12 games in 2010.
The Rams picked up two receivers and a pass-catching tight end in this year's draft.
Robinson will be lucky to make the 53-man roster this go round.
The lack of the productivity of the third overall pick in the 2009 draft is actually mind-boggling.
Jackson had just 69 tackles and one sack in two years.
The 6'4", 300-pounder is the only player to make this list and my NFL Predictions: One Underachiever for every NFL team in 2011 list.
I feel in that some ways I copped out here picking a fullback because the position is being phased out of the game, but let me explain. I considered a few other players such as linebacker Parys Haralson, safety Dashon Goldson, and offensive lineman Chilo Rachal, but they all have some talent and I couldn't pick between them.
In his 10-year career, Norris has 67 total rushing yards. Look, I can understand that some fullbacks can't run the football. But Norris isn't a great blocker either and there is a decent chance that seventh-round pick and a converted defensive end in Bruce Miller takes Norris' job.
The former second-round pick of Jacksonville in 2008, Groves was drafted to be a pass rushing specialist.
He had zero sacks from the weak-side outside linebacker position (where he was hidden to cover up his deficiencies in pass coverage) in 2010 and has just 2.5 sacks in his three-year career.
Can you say B-U-S-T?
I have watched a lot of University of Miami football over the years and I never quite understood the hype around cornerback Kelly Jennings. Yet, he was selected late in the first round of the 2006 draft.
Well, it turns out that the hype was pretty unjustified.
In his non-descript five-year NFL career, he has picked off a grand total of two passes. He averages just over 41 tackles per season.
He is a free agent and he probably shouldn't wait for the phone to ring.
A fourth-round pick in the 2007 supplemental draft, Oliver came into the league with good size, speed and aggressiveness. In his four-year NFL career he has failed to establish himself as anything more than a back-up who can help fill a roster. Oliver started eight games last season and came up with just one interception and three passes defensed.
Even if starting free safety Eric Weddle leaves in free agency, the starting nod may go to Steve Gregory, instead of Oliver.