NFL: 5 Biggest Disappointments so Far

Steven LiaoContributor IIISeptember 30, 2011

NFL: 5 Biggest Disappointments so Far

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    It's almost Week 4 of the NFL season already. Man, time flies.

    And to think that just three weeks ago, a new season was just on its cusp. It also marked the  expectations and predictions season, as many players were given, without their consent, extremely high expectations.

    Some lived up to those expectations. Many disappointed.

    What defines disappointment? In this list, the degree of disappointment isn't determined solely by the magnitude of drop in performance. It also involves several other factors, most notably how much hype that player was receiving.

    It must also be noted that major injuries won't count as disappointments in this list.

    Without further ado, here are the top five disappointments of the young season.

Honorable Mentions

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    This is not the type of list you would want your favorite player to be "honorably mentioned" on. 

     

    Devin McCourty

    Last year, McCourty played like a savvy, seasoned veteran. Now, in his sophomore year, McCourty is playing like a rookie.

    McCourty has been targeted 36 times this season and is second on the Patriots in tackles, behind only Jerod Mayo. He's a major reason why the Patriots' defense has been so disappointing as a whole this year.

     

    Donovan McNabb

    The Vikings didn't give up a whole lot for McNabb, but McNabb has given them a whole lot less. Three weeks into the season, his team is 0-3, and McNabb has thrown for a combined 478 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and lost a fumble.

    It's kind of ridiculous, but at the same time interesting how whenever McNabb leaves somewhere, good things happen. He left Philly and Michael Vick happened. He left Washington and Washington is now tied for first in the division. Maybe the Vikings acquired him just to get rid of him (progressive thinking here).

     

    Kyle Orton

    Is it time for Tim Tebow in Denver? The Broncos are 1-2 with Orton under center this year, and billboards are popping up around Denver calling for the end of the Orton era. But, of course, the Broncos' failures can't all be Orton's fault. This is Denver remember? That means we can just blame this on Josh McDaniels!

     

    Others

     Reggie Bush, Antonio Gates, Shonn Greene, Frank Gore, Mike Williams (Tampa Bay), Albert Haynesworth, Michael Crabtree, Dwayne Bowe, Matt Ryan, Nnamdi Asomugha, Philip Rivers, and Dallas Clark.

Deangelo Williams

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    Two years ago, back in the Jake Delhomme era, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were what made Carolina's offense go.

    Now, fresh off a five-year deal and with a new rookie quarterback trying to learn the system, you would think that Williams and Stewart would pick off right where they left off and carry the offense again.

    Apparently, Williams had other plans in mind.

    As Williams, once known for his incredible elusiveness and cutback ability, has toted the rock 27 times for 61 yards this year, averaging a whopping 2.3 yards per carry. Furthermore, he hasn't touched the pay dirt yet.

    Combining this with the offensive line's regression, what was once the league's most lethal running back combination is now an afterthought on a 1-2 Panthers team.

Matt Cassel

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    I really wanted to list the entire Kansas City Chiefs team as a top five disappointment in this slideshow. Unfortunately, it would be quite unreasonable to rank a team amongst individual players.

    So, instead, I decided to give the Chiefs a figurehead by the name of Matt Cassel.

    Cassel, though, is indeed a qualified figurehead. Not only does he play the glorified position of quarterback, but his play represents the play of the team as a whole this year.

    A year after leading the team to the playoffs and making the Pro Bowl, Cassel has sunk to unimaginable depths.

    In three games, Cassel has thrown for a total of 428 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions. Adding insult to injury, the Chiefs are 0-3 so far, have a pseudo head coach, and are fully in the race for Andrew Luck through three games.

    It's going to be a long year for the Chiefs.

Michael Vick

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    Was there any team that came into the season with more hype than the Philadelphia Eagles?

    The Eagles were so successful in the offseason that many labeled them the "Dream Team" (after new acquisition, backup signal caller, Vince Young, deemed it the appropriate label). Their defense was vastly improved by many big name additions, including Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin.

    Their offense was led by Michael Vick, who proclaimed before the season began, "You can't design a defense to stop me."

    So, the Eagles were a seemingly unstoppable team.

    Three weeks into the season, they are 1-2, and Vick has thrown for about 200 yards per game, and on the year has four touchdowns, two interceptions, and seven fumbles (three of which were lost).

    Although partially hindered by injury, Vick still has to be eating his own words right now. He needs to stop making excuses and step up his game if the Eagles are to reach their full potential this year.

Chad Ochocinco

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    At the end of last year, Patriots fans were sick of hearing the term "field-stretcher."

    A "field-stretcher," or lack thereof, was apparently the only flaw in the Patriot's otherwise potent offense that had scored over 30 points for eight consecutive games to close out the regular season.

    After an offseason of litigations, the "flaw" was finally addressed with the addition of six-time Pro Bowler and Belichick favorite Chad Ochocinco to the offense.

    It was clear right from the outset that expectations were too high for Ochocinco. Every Patriots bad boy was expected to produce like Randy Moss or Corey Dillon, putting insane pressure on Ochocinco to learn a complicated Patriots offense that was drastically different from the offense in Cincinnati.

    So, it is not a surprise Ochocinco has underwhelmed. But the extent to which he has underwhelmed is a true disappointment.

    In Week 1, Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns. Of those 517 yards, somehow Ochocinco only had 14 of them. He also contributed a penalty that erased a 30 or so-yard catch by Rob Gronkowski.

    In season's second week, Ochocinco had two catches for 45 yards, as Brady went over 400 yards again. And finally in Week 3, with tight end Aaron Hernandez out, Ochocinco played 80 percent of the offensive snaps, and produced a measly two catches; dropping a sure-fire touchdown pass with nearly eight minutes left in the game.

    Ochocinco could be fifth on the depth chart at receiver in New England, and has been a serious disappointment thus far.

Chris Johnson

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    Seeing Chris Johnson get less than 100 rushing yards in a game can almost be considered a rarity. Seeing CJ2K get less than 100 rushing yards combined over a three-game span? That's unheard of.

    That's also reality.

    CJ2K became something like CJ—$53 Million—K over the summer with his new 4-year deal, paying him on average over $13 million a year, and getting $30 million guaranteed. The contract will expire when Johnson is 31-years-old.

    After such a long period of disgruntlement and vying for a new contract, fans naturally expected Johnson's new contract to provide him with some incentive to give back to the fans waiting patiently through the whole ordeal.

    And Johnson gives them.... 98 yards on 2.1 yards per carry and not a single touchdowns in three games.

    Seriously?

    Yes, Johnson has some serious work to do before "it's not even close"  how much better he is than all the running backs in the league.

    And he better do it quickly, before he is labeled as one of the most overpaid players in the league.

Conclusion

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    It's strange writing an entire article bashing players, but I suppose that's what football does to you. Football is also harsh on the players; it only takes a few bad games to be seen in a negative light.

    But the good news?

    The season is still young enough for everyone listed in the slideshow to redeem themselves. And opinions can change fast in the world of football.

    In fact, most of these guys also make for good buy-low candidates in fantasy football.

    Did I miss anyone? Let me know in the comments below.