The 10 Most Disappointing Teams in the NFL
In order to look at an NFL team as a disappointment, there had to be a certain level of expectations to begin with. Those expectations could come from how the team finished last season, offseason changes or additions that were highly touted, or some combination of the two.
I'm sure there were some Miami Dolphins fans who expected better from their team so far, but since they kept head coach Tony Sparano and QB Chad Henne, they are about where we thought they were.
On the other end of spectrum are the Philadelphia Eagles. After winning their division and making the playoffs last year, then having the type of offseason they had (player additions), there is much expected of the Eagles this year and they aren't delivering.
So now that I've tried to explain my definition of "disappointment," let's look at 10 teams who are doing just that.
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Expectations of the Indianapolis Colts have changed dramatically since the news that Peyton Manning will miss most, if not all, of the 2011 season.
However, that knowledge wasn't known until after the beginning of the season. Before that, expectations were at the usual level for a Manning-led Colts team.
They won the division last season with a 10-6 record and won the third seed in the playoffs. They lost a tough game by one point to the New York Jets in the first round.
With Peyton Manning at QB, the Colts are always considered a favorite to make the playoffs. That's why it must have been extremely disappointing for Colts fans to learn that Manning would be out for a while.
Especially after the Colts had just signed him to a $90 million extension. It seems unusual for a team to give a player such a big extension if they knew he could have a serious injury that may not only preclude him from playing this year, but any subsequent year after that.
With their tough 24-17 loss to the Bucs in Tampa on Monday Night Football, the Colts are staring at an 0-4 to start the season. Most people have considerably dropped all expectations for the Colts this year, but I'm sure this is going to be one agonizing season for their fans to have to endure.
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The Arizona Cardinals finished 5-11 in 2010, so one might not expect much from a team coming off a losing season. However, many people blamed ineptness at the QB position as the predominant reason for last season's failures.
After all, the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl not that long ago (2008) and made the playoffs in 2009. And with no viable replacement for Kurt Warner, it did seem as though the only thing standing between Arizona and another trip to the playoffs was a quarterback.
Enter Kevin Kolb. He was the hottest backup QB on the trade market this past offseason and the Cardinals were able to strike a deal to land him.
Although they had to give up pro bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the trade, they felt they replaced him with an even better cornerback in Patrick Peterson.
Plus, the Cardinals play in the perennially weak NFC West division, which makes making the playoffs a much easier task.
However, things aren't panning out in the desert the way many people expected. Kevin Kolb hasn't played poorly but hasn't played that great either. He's just been middle of the road in leading his team to a 1-3 start in 2011.
To make matters worse, they have fallen two games behind the offensively challenged division leading San Francisco 49ers with the worse-than-Kolb Alex Smith at QB.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are perennially a good team and are fresh off a 12-4 record and Super Bowl appearance in 2010. Not much has changed in Pittsburgh from last season so there was no reason to not expect good football in 2011.
Even though the Steelers are 2-2 so far this year, they just haven't looked that good.
They were dismantled and embarrassed on opening day by division rival Baltimore, 35-7. They followed that up by crushing a very weak Seattle Seahawks team and everyone thought they were back on track.
However, in Week 3 they struggled against a Peyton Manning-less Colts team and their offense played horribly in their Week 4 loss to Houston.
Rashard Mendenhall can't seem to get it going and is averaging only three yards per carry this season. The Steelers' offensive line has been ravaged by injuries and it's showing. They are the main reason the team looks as bad as it does.
All is not lost yet, but it's safe to say that the Steelers' play has been a disappointment thus far.
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The Chicago Bears are another 2-2 team that just doesn't seem to be playing as well as they should be.
Last season, the Bears went 11-5 and were the second-seed in the NFC playoffs. They advanced to the conference title game but fell to the Green Bay Packers 21-14 in a game that QB Jay Cutler could't finish.
Would the game have turned out differently had Cutler either not been injured or gutted out the injury and played the rest of the way?
I'm sure that question was on many Bears' fans minds this past offseason.
So far this year, the Bears looked good on opening day when they beat the Atlanta Falcons but have looked rather pedestrian ever since (with the exception of RB Matt Forte).
The Bears are ranked No. 26 in the NFL in total offense and even more surprisingly, No. 31 in total defense.
This doesn't bode well for a team that has to now contend with the undefeated Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North division.
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Like the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons are coming off of a good year in 2010. The Falcons went a league-best 13-3 and were the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, they suffered a shocking and disheartening loss the the eventual Super Bowl champions in the divisional round.
The Falcons, thinking they were just one more offensive playmaker away from the putting this team over the edge, gave up the farm in the 2011 draft in order to move up and select WR Julio Jones.
However, their defense seems to be what's letting the team down the most. They have allowed an average of 26.2 points per game to opposing offenses. It's hard to keep winning when your defense is allowing that many points.
It's a good thing the Falcons' offense has come around after their opening day disaster against the Bears when they lost 30-12.
Even though they're 2-2 at the moment, the Falcons were seen as a team that was ready to compete for the NFC conference title. After squeaking by a bad Seattle Seahawks team, the Falcons have a tough three game stretch coming up.
Atlanta fans have to be a little nervous at this point. I'm sure they were expecting better all-around play from their team.
St. Louis Rams
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The St. Louis Rams have started out 2011 with a very disappointing 0-4 record. The question is, what were their expectations heading into the season?
I for one expected them to be better. I viewed this team as one on the rise with an emerging star at QB in Sam Bradford.
Even though the Rams finished at just 7-9 last season, they still would have won the division had the beaten the Seahawks in the last game of the regular season.
This is year three for head coach Steve Spagnuolo. In 2009, the Rams went 1-15 which enabled them to select Bradford the following April. Last season they improved to 7-9. Year three into a head coach's regime is when you're supposed to "break through."
Well, the Rams aren't breaking through, they're just breaking down.
They are currently ranked No. 27 in total offense and No. 26 in total defense. They've been hit with injuries so far this season, particularly on offense, which has limited their effectiveness.
The Rams' biggest problem appears to be their offensive line. They can't protect Sam Bradford very well and have given up a league-worst 19 sacks so far.
A quarterback can't be a star if he's lying on his back all the time.
Rams fans have to be frustrated. Just when they think they have something good going, things are going south again. The worse part is, there aren't many signs for hope either.
Kansas City Chiefs
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In 2010, the Chiefs won their division with a 10-6 record. Things seemed to be clicking with an offense that was ranked No. 1 overall in rushing and a passing game that was getting the job done with WR Dwayne Bowe and QB Matt Cassel.
Like Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, this is also year three for Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.
However, the Chiefs have also been beset by injuries. They've lost two star players in RB Jamaal Charles and S Eric Berry. They also lost starting tight end Tony Moeaki as well.
They're 1-3 start this season, and looking dreadful in the process, are due in large part to these injuries.
They do have a chance to turn things around in the next few weeks though. They were competitive against San Diego and then notched their first victory against Minnesota.
The Chiefs are entering a stretch of five winnable games, including three within the division. If they crumble, it will further disappoint an extremely devoted Kansas City fanbase.
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If I were a Seahawks fan, I would have been extremely disappointed the minute they let QB Matt Hasselbeck leave. Then, even more-so, when they chose Tarvaris Jackson to replace him.
After all, the Seahawks were coming off of a division championship and a stunning wild-card playoff win over the New Orleans Saints.
They should have been striving to get better, not worse. QB is the most important position on an NFL team and they let a decent one go and replaced him with an underachiever.
Seattle appears to be improving each week but they are still off to a disappointing start for a defending division champion. In a weak NFC West, the division should be theirs for the taking.
New York Jets
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The New York Jets went 11-5 in 2010 and earned a wild-card playoff berth. They stunned everyone by reaching the AFC conference title game and gave the Pittsburgh Steelers everything they could handle but fell just short.
Expectations were sky high coming into 2011 and head coach Rex Ryan is never short on confidence, which fuels those expectations from the fans.
They started out this season with two straight wins but have now lost two in a row, including a drubbing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.
The "ground and pound" style that Rex Ryan embraces has been more like the Jets are getting grounded and pounded lately.
They can't seem to run the ball and their defense has been suspect this season so far. QB Mark Sanchez doesn't seem like the type of player who can shoulder the load either.
Alarms are going off right about now for Jets fans because their team is taking steps backwards.
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The Philadelphia Eagles are hands down the most disappointing team of 2011 so far.
After a much-ballyhooed offseason where they acquired several big-name players, they have been a huge flop so far. Michael Vick has been the $100 million injury and turnover man.
The Eagles have blown a fourth quarter lead in each of their last three games. One could say they "coulda or shoulda" won, but they didn't.
Good teams don't allow these things to happen and right now the Eagles are not a good team. There is plenty wrong with this team of dreams and it starts at the top with Andy Reid.
If he doesn't get the Eagles back on track, he could wind up in the unemployment line come January.