All Talk, No Walk: Picking the NFL's All-Hype Team
The NFL is full of football players who talk the talk off the field but are found wanting once the chips are down on Sundays.
Every position in the National Football League is graced with the presence of such performers. These individuals are the most talked about on their respective teams in spite of performance on field.
In the case of Desean Jackson, his antics occasionally hurt the team more than help.
That's why the fans either love 'em or hate 'em. No in-between here.
Any publicity is good publicity, however, and these players have once again found themselves in the heat of discussion.
Sit back and enjoy the NFL's all-hype team.
Quarterback: Mark Sanchez
New York Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez entered the league with one of the best supporting casts in the NFL.
He has not taken advantage.
Despite having a strong running game and offensive line during his first three years, Sanchez has put up mediocre numbers.
In 41 games, Sanchez has thrown just 43 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 55.2. The USC product also has a tendency to turn the ball over, throwing 43 interceptions in three seasons.
The window for the Jets to win a Super Bowl is quickly shutting. Sanchez has wasted a great defense and a coach who has given him ample opportunities in his first three years.
Maybe it's being in New York. Perhaps it's because he graduated from USC.
Whatever the reason, Sanchez does not deserve his status as a surefire starter and is the most overrated signal caller in the National Football League.
Running Back: Chris Johnson
On September 1, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson got his wish and signed a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension.
The deal made him the highest paid running back in the NFL.
It's time he played like it.
Since his 2,000-yard rushing campaign in 2009, Johnson's hype meter has gone off the charts. He is a player revered for his electrifying speed and gamebreaking ability.
However, since signing the new deal, Johnson has averaged 50.9 yards per game rushing and a paltry 3.2 yards per carry. Compare that to Adrian Peterson, who is averaging 87.2 and 4.7 in the same categories respectively during the 2011 season.
Johnson is nothing more than a track star who carries the football. He rarely accrues yardage after contact, making the loss of even a step a significant setback for his skill set.
Unless Johnson can turn things around soon, the Titans will regret showing Johnson the big bucks to start the season.
Wide Receiver: Desean Jackson
Desean Jackson represents everything that is wrong with the so-called "Dream Team" that is the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jackson has the talent to be the most feared playmaker in the NFL.
Problem is, Jackson knows that too and consequently lacks in the work ethic department. His off-the-field behavior is lacking in discipline and leads to turmoil in the locker room.
His immaturity was on full display Sunday night when Jackson wiped away a long passing play with a taunting penalty versus the New York Giants.
Perhaps the Eagles can put up with such antics when Jackson is putting up over 1,000 yards in a season. However, that is not the case this year, as Jackson is averaging a pedestrian 65.7 yards per game.
Yes, Jackson deserves a contract extension. However, how can his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, demand No. 1 receiver money when Jackson's behavior scares away possible suitors?
Tight End: Dallas Clark
Chalk Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark as another player lost without the presence of quarterback Peyton Manning.
Two years ago, Clark was lauded as one of the top tight ends in the game. In 2009, he caught 100 passes for 1,106 yards from the future Hall-of-Fame signal caller.
In 2011, Clark's production has decreased significantly. He is averaging a measly 31.9 yards per game and only has two touchdowns.
When Clark was injured midway through the 2010 season, backup tight end Jacob Tamme stepped right in and caught 67 passes for 631 yards.
Evidence is accumulating for the claim that Clark is simply a product of the system. His preseason reputation as a top pass-catching option is being diminished without the presence of Manning.
Offensive Line: Baltimore Ravens
Rarely are offensive linemen hyped at all, much less overrated.
However, the Baltimore Ravens possess the most over-hyped offensive line in the National Football League.
The Ravens are anchored by two tackles that received more hype coming out of college than they deserved.
Right tackle Michael Oher's depiction in The Blind Side helped to make him one of the most recognizable lineman in the game. However, he was never one of the top left tackles in the NFL and has since been moved to the right side to protect Joe Flacco's front side.
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie was a seventh overall draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings. After multiple off-field incidents and his subsequent release in 2011, the Baltimore Ravens signed him to be their left tackle. McKinnie has always had the talent, but his questionable work ethic made him an easy find for the Ravens.
Despite having the big names at tackle and Matt Birk at center, the Ravens as a unit have allowed 21 sacks and 55 quarterback hits in 2011. Ray Rice has struggled to find seams, averaging just 66.3 yards per game.
Defensive End: John Abraham
Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham is slowly feeling the effects of age on his pass rushing abilities.
The 2010 Pro Bowler will likely not be making a return trip after having a down season in 2011. The former New York Jet has only four sacks through 11 weeks and has dropped off significantly from his 13-sack 2010 campaign.
Abraham also anchors a Falcons defensive line that ranks No. 28 in the NFL with only 16 sacks as a team.
Abraham has been a nice addition to the Falcons since his arrival in 2006. He has played at least 15 games in four of five full seasons and has contributed nice sack totals.
However, his days as an elite pass rusher are behind him, and teams are beginning to fear Abraham less as his career declines.
Defensive Tackle: Albert Haynesworth
Even the New England Patriots, a franchise known for resurrecting declining careers, had enough of Albert Haynesworth midway through 2011.
Haynesworth accrued only seven tackles and zero sacks in six games as a Patriot. Since being claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the big defensive tackle has produced a grand total of five tackles.
Long gone are the days when Haynesworth would terrorize opposing offensive lines by himself. His play barely deserves any attention on the sports networks these days.
In fact, offenses barely pay him any mind during preparation at this stage of his career.
Linebacker: Bart Scott
New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott anchors a perennially great defense for coach Rex Ryan.
Scott has had multiple outstanding seasons at linebacker both for the Jets and the Baltimore Ravens. Scott has had at least 59 tackles in every season since 2005.
In 2011, however, it appears as if Scott has lost a step. He has only accrued 35 tackles and looks to be hitting the twilight of his career.
Scott symbolizes the closing window for the Jets in terms of Super Bowl dreams. As Scott's skills fade, so do the chances of a Super Bowl bid for New York.
Defensive Back: Nnamdi Asomugha
The biggest free agent signing during the 2011 offseason was cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
The Philadelphia Eagles seemingly came from nowhere to snatch the Pro-Bowl defensive back from the clutches of fellow NFC East rivals. Philadelphia signed the former Oakland Raider to a five-year, $60 million contract.
It looks like the joke is on the Eagles.
Asomugha, like the entire team, has been a bust to this point in the season. The Eagles rank No.16 in scoring defense despite spending millions on free-agent additions.
The Philadelphia front office hopes to get more out of Asomugha in future campaigns. If not, heads could roll leading to the end of the Andy Reid era.