The NFL's Biggest Busts: Letdown Players and Team Through Week 4
When it comes to busts, it's easy to point at injured players like Mikell Leshoure, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, and Jon Beason. Naming those players is not my goal for this article.
My goal for this article is to find star players who have had every opportunity to succeed, have played, and just have not produced.
Through the first quarter of the season, there have been a lot of players who just have not carried their weight, and have been ineffective in spite of all of their opportunities. Here is my top ten biggest busts of the first four weeks of the 2011 season.
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
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Sam Bradford was supposed to be a young, up-and-coming star among NFL quarterbacks. It turns out that that hasn't really happened this year.
After an impressive rookie year, Bradford has been, shall we say, less than stellar in St. Louis this year.
First off, Bradford is completing under 50 percent of his passes this year. Good starting QBs are expected to complete around 60 percent. Through one quarter of the season he's on pace to fumble 24 times and lose 16 of them. Not to mention if he continues at his current rate, he'll end the season with a 70.6 rating.
Most importantly, his team is 31st in scoring and off to an 0-4 start. Hopefully, things will pick up for Bradford, because to this point he's been a bust in 2011.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense
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Seeing the Chiefs at 1-3 might not be that big of a surprise to some, but I remember what the Chiefs looked like in 2010. They were an efficient offensive team with a great running game and a great defense. That defense is what got them to 10-6 and won them the AFC West.
This year, that defense has become a punching bag. A very flimsy punching bag.
The team, last year a defensive powerhouse, has given up 126 points, or 31.5 points per game. I was expecting more out of this team given their success last year.
Unfortunately, they have turned out to be a bust.
Arian Foster, RB, Texans
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Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Arian Foster. Those were supposed to be the names of the top three running backs in the NFL. Peterson is in the top three, but Johnson and Foster, not so much.
After Ben Tate rushed for just under a hundred yards in the preseason, I began to think that Arian Foster was going to be a one-year wonder. It seemed that he had only done as well as he did in Houston because he was...well, in Houston.
Tate is having a great season through four games, almost entirely at Foster's expense. Foster has been outgained by Tate 321-188. Foster was injured for a few games and in his absence Tate was extremely effective running the ball.
Tate's new found success has cut into Foster's carries, and even in Week 2, when both players split carries, Tate was the rushing leader.
For a guy who led the league last year to only average 48 yards through the first four games, I have to consider Arian Foster a bust.
Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots
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All you have to do to see how big of a bust Chad Ochocinco has been with the Patriots is look at his numbers. No. 85 has only seven catches for 115 yards in four games.
Deion Branch has had more catches and yards than that in Week 2 alone. Wes Welker has had more catches and yards than Ocho has all season in one half of football.
This is also not considering the fact that Chad has had some big time drops in his first four games with the Pats.
The Patriots took on Chad Ochocinco because they had enough talent at receiver that they could afford to take a risk. Well, not all risks pay off and Ochocinco has not be worth the league minimum through four games. At least Belichick can get Ochocinco to keep his mouth shut...
Ochocinco is a huge bust this year.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
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Jay Cutler has all the skills necessary to be a great NFL quarterback. He has a strong, accurate arm, he is mobile, and he is able to read the field well.
Unfortunately, behind the Bears' terrible offensive line, Cutler hasn't been able to use those talents to their fullest.
He has thrown for five touchdowns, but also four interceptions through four games. More importantly, he's completing seven-percent fewer passes than his career average.
It all comes back to the fact that Cutler is on pace to take 60 sacks this year behind a bad offensive line. Against the Panthers week four, Cutler went 9-17 for 102 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He was only sacked once, which means that in the previous three games he was sacked 14 times, or almost five sacks per game.
The team can't be happy with his interceptions, and with his media perception as shaky as it is, Cutler is certainly not the most liked man in Chicago.
Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona
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When the Arizona Cardinals traded away Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Eagles, you had to think that there was a backup plan in place at cornerback. Many thought that backup plan would be Patrick Peterson, who showed the skills in college to convince many that he was going to be a shut-down corner.
Flash to week four, when the Arizona Cardinals secondary has specialized in giving up big comebacks, including a 14-point doozy of a fourth quarter comeback the team gave up to Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 4.
If Peterson was supposed to come in and replace DRC at cornerback, I think it's pretty clear that it did not work out as planned.
New England Patriots Defense
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The Patriots have the worst defense in the league. Yes, you heard me right. Bill Belichick's once-potent defense is giving up more yards than anyone else in the league.
They are giving up insane amounts of yards actually, especially through the air. The Pats have allowed 362 yards per game through the air. For the record, there are 20 NFL teams that give up less than 362 total yards, and that's how much the Pats give up just in passing yards.
Considering how terrible the defense is, it's crazy that the Patriots are still 3-1. That defense has been a total bust in 2011, no question about it.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers
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When the Packers got Ryan Grant back from injury this season, many thought that Grant would go on to have a great season. Last week, Grant wasn't even the team's starter.
In week four, Grant was replaced by the playoff performer for the Packers at running back, the undrafted James Starks. Starks has actually outrushed Grant through the first four games despite Starks gaining only five yards on 11 rushes Week 3 against the Bears.
The Packers are a team whose passing game is so good you could spread a defense and gain a big advantage on the ground. Grant hasn't capitalized on his opportunities, and he's been a pretty big disappointment so far this year.
Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers
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Mike Williams was a stud in his rookie season in 2010. He worked his way quickly into the starting lineup for Tampa and wound up 35 yards away from a 1000-yard season.
Through four games this year, Williams has only 15 catches for 155 yards. That pace would put Williams 300 yards shy of his numbers from last year. At the moment, he's also averaging a full four and a half yards less per catch than in 2010.
I won't even bring up the game he played against the Vikings where he got one catch for minus four yards all game.
It's safe to say that Mike Williams, through the first four weeks of the season has been a big fat bust.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
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Everyone in the fantasy football world (and the actual NFL) was excited for Chris Johnson this year. Almost everyone expected him to be the world-beater he was for his first three seasons.
CJ2K, who rocked the league with a 2000 yard season two years ago, hasn't even passed 200 yards in four games this season. That's right. CJ is the NFL's 24th leading rusher this season with 199 rushing yards. He's also averaging only 2.9 yards per carry this season.
Talk about a bust. CJ fell fast and hard from the top of the yardage charts in 2011.