1 Player Every NFL Team Must Bench Immediately
The old saying goes that the person who graduates last in his or her medical school class is still called doctor.
Likewise, the 53rd man on an active NFL roster can still call himself a professional football player, and the worst starter on a team can say he is just one of hundreds of people to earn that honor over tens of thousands of others.
Getting to the league is a remarkable feat only accomplished by the chosen few. Staying on top in such a physical sport is a Herculean task.
Some players stick in their team's starting lineups yearly, but others see their fair share of struggles.
Here's a look at some players who could be in line for lesser roles moving forward. Regardless of how their seasons turn out, they can always say they made it.
Arizona Cardinals K Phil Dawson
Arizona Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson will go down as one of the best at his position this century. No one can take away that he's had a successful 20-year career thanks to an 83.9 percent success rate.
But his tenure in Arizona, which began in 2017, has not gone as hoped. He missed 20 percent of his field goals last year, which he hadn't done since 2006. Dawson also missed three extra points.
The 43-year-old hasn't had many scoring opportunities this year as the Cardinals offense struggles to find its footing, but he was off on two key field goals (from 45 and 50 yards) in a 20-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
While Dawson is an all-time great kicker, his best days may be behind him, and the team may be better served looking for other options, including free agent Kai Forbath (85.9 percent field-goal rate for his career).
Atlanta Falcons: CB Brian Poole
Cornerback Brian Poole (who played some strong safety Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, per Dave Choate of The Falcoholic) has had a rough start to the season. He's committed four penalties, including two 15-yarders against the New Orleans Saints in a 43-37 loss.
Poole was also in the neighborhood for both game-winning touchdowns against Atlanta the last two weeks: a one-yard run from Saints quarterback Drew Brees and a diving 12-yard catch from Bengals wideout A.J. Green.
And he was part of a blown coverage on a touchdown from Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, per Falcons beat writer William McFadden.
The Falcons have lost both starting safeties (Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal) to injury, which places a large burden on Poole and others. But the Falcons should consider picking up a free-agent safety (perhaps former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Mitchell or ex-Houston Texan Quintin Demps) to help out on the back end.
Baltimore Ravens: RB Alex Collins
The Baltimore Ravens run game has stalled, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry through four weeks. They are still 3-1 despite those concerns, but running back Alex Collins' fumble problem could cost the team a game.
Collins was fantastic last year for Baltimore, gaining 1,160 yards from scrimmage and scoring six touchdowns. But he put the ball on the ground four times last year and has done so twice this year, including once at the goal line versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Javorius Allen has touched the ball 434 times in three-plus years and has fumbled only twice. He should get the majority of carries moving forward with Collins coming off the bench as a second-stringer.
Buffalo Bills: LB Ramon Humber
Buffalo Bills linebacker Ramon Humber lost his starting role to Matt Milano, who has 24 tackles, an interception and a sack through four games. He was a big reason why the Bills upset the Minnesota Vikings 27-6 in Week 3.
Humber is a big asset on special teams (only wide receiver Andre Holmes has seen more snaps there), but Milano should get close to 100 percent of the snaps at weakside linebacker.
Carolina Panthers: WR Torrey Smith
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith is one of the game's greatest humanitarians and brought a reputation as a "great locker-room guy" over from Philadelphia in the offseason, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
However, Smith has just seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown despite playing 76.12 percent of snaps, which is second-most on the team at his position.
Carolina should look to give rookie D.J. Moore and second-year pro Curtis Samuel (who returned to the practice field after recovering from an irregular heartbeat) more run to see what they can bring to the table. Moore had a 51-yard touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons this year, while the lightning-quick Samuel showed promise near the end of his rookie tenure before a broken leg prematurely ended his season.
Cincinnati Bengals: OG Alex Redmond
Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Alex Redmond leads the league in offensive holding penalties, with four through four weeks. He's also tied for the second-most penalties overall behind Houston Texans offensive tackle Julie'n Davenport (six).
Redmond struggled run-blocking in Week 1 versus the Indianapolis Colts, as noted by Pro Football Focus. Austin Gayle of PFF said Redmond allowed the most pressures and was last in pass-blocking efficiency through two weeks. The pressure number is now 16 through four weeks (third-most in the NFL).
In fairness to Redmond, the third-year pro has never started prior to this season, and the Bengals offense looks sharp en route to a 3-1 record. But the team may be best served making a change at right guard and inserting backup Christian Westerman to see what he can do.
Chicago Bears: OG Eric Kush
It's hard to point out any Chicago Bear who is struggling through four weeks, as the team is 3-1 with the lone loss a 24-23 defeat to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
But the team has a second-rounder (James Daniels) sitting on the bench, and he could be an upgrade over starting guard Eric Kush.
After Kush played every snap through three weeks, the Bears gave Daniels a shot by giving him 27 snaps at guard in Week 4 versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 48-10 win. Kush's snaps fell to 61 percent.
Daniels received praise from Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune for his performance, who noted some good run- and pass-blocking for the rookie. He also thought Daniels would continue his "ascent toward the starting lineup" after the bye.
Cleveland Browns RB Carlos Hyde
Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde is a hard worker who has touched the ball 87 times through four games, including 25 against the New York Jets in Week 3.
But he has rushed for just 3.4 yards per carry and isn't much of a threat in the pass game (four catches, 15 yards).
While it would be harsh to bench Hyde completely, the Browns should give rookie Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson Jr. more opportunities, creating a three-man backfield.
Chubb showed his skills when he rushed for touchdowns of 63 and 41 yards against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Johnson is fantastic in the pass game and caught 74 passes for 693 yards and three scores last year. But he only has 21 touches in four games this season. Those two should get more looks, which could mean a fresher Hyde late in games.
Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath
Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath is on video highlights for the wrong reasons after Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson ran him over for a touchdown Sunday, but that can happen to any defensive player.
The issue with Heath is that he simply hasn't made many plays this year. He has amassed just one pass defended, 17 tackles and no interceptions or forced fumbles through four weeks.
The Cowboys should give safety Kavon Frazier more snaps. The third-year pro has 13 tackles, one sack and one pass defended thus far. He could start at strong safety alongside free safety Xavier Woods, with Heath rotating in off the bench.
Denver Broncos: OT Garett Bolles
Denver Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles has struggled through four weeks. He has committed four offensive holding penalties, which is tied for the most in the league with Alex Redmond.
His blocking struggles Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs prompted ex-San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick and Denver Post deputy sports editor Matt L. Stephens to wonder if Bolles would be benched.
Bolles was thrown into the fire after being drafted in 2017 and has started every game since, but it may be best for someone else to get a shot. Elijah Wilkinson is the next man up at left tackle.
Detroit Lions: RB LeGarrette Blount
Rookie Kerryon Johnson is clearly the Detroit Lions' best and most versatile running back. He has 216 yards on just 38 attempts through four weeks.
Meanwhile, veteran LeGarrette Blount, who has been splitting time with Johnson, has 95 just yards on 35 carries.
Blount is best used as a short-yardage back. Johnson should be getting 15-20 touches a game, with Theo Riddick taking some snaps as a third-down back in passing situations.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press called for Johnson to receive more playing time, saying that it "has become clear that Johnson is the Lions' best running back and needs to be treated that way."
Birkett also said "Blount is a strong personality who carries sway with younger players and vets." He's a respected veteran who can help this Lions team right the ship after starting 1-3, but Johnson needs more touches.
Green Bay Packers: TE Lance Kendricks
Green Bay Packers tight end Lance Kendricks hasn't given the team much in the pass game through three weeks in catching just three passes for 22 yards.
He's also had two key drops in each of the past two weeks, including one on 3rd-and-10 from the Packers' own 16-yard line versus Washington that could have given Green Bay the ball at midfield.
Marcedes Lewis should be getting playing time over Kendricks as the team's second tight end. The 34-year-old Lewis may be on the back nine of his career, but at this point, the Packers should give him some snaps to see what he can do.
He had 24 catches for 318 yards and five touchdowns as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars last year.
Houston Texans CB Johnathan Joseph
Cornerback Johnathan Joseph can hang up his helmet knowing that he has turned in a stellar NFL career that is 13 years and counting and includes two Pro Bowl appearances.
But per NFL writer Rivers McCown, Sports Info Solutions noted Joseph had the third-most missed tackles in the league through three weeks. Joseph also has just two passes defended through four games.
Per Patrick Starr of State of the Texans, Joseph was targeted 14 times in coverage versus the Colts in Week 4 and allowed 10 catches for 185 yards, including two receptions for 40-plus yards.
The issue is that the Texans cornerback group is thin on depth, as Kevin Johnson is on injured reserve and Aaron Colvin is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. But cornerback Kayvon Webster should be good enough to go Sunday after missing time with a torn Achilles. Perhaps he could see more playing time on the outside.
Indianapolis Colts RB Jordan Wilkins
The Indianapolis Colts offensive line may be the most banged up in the league, which has played a part in the team's virtually nonexistent running game.
Rookie running back Jordan Wilkins was thrust into action as the Week 1 starter, and he's had 38 carries for 136 yards in four weeks. That's not a bad start given the circumstances, but the fact of the matter is it's almost useless to go to the run game at this point.
The Colts rushed for just 41 yards on 17 carries against the Houston Texans, while quarterback Andrew Luck found success through the air with 464 yards and four touchdowns.
Furthermore, another rookie runner (Nyheim Hines) has proven to be an adept pass-catcher, snagging 22 passes through four weeks. He should get the bulk of the touches at running back if the Colts can't sustain a run game.
Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Leonard Fournette
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 3-1 and suffered their only loss by just a field goal to another 3-1 team (the Tennessee Titans). It's not easy to find someone on the team that may be worth replacing in the lineup.
So this is a bit of a cheater's pick. Running back Leonard Fournette suffered a hamstring injury in Week 1 versus the New York Giants, missed his next two games, came back in Week 4 against the New York Jets and then left with hamstring tightness after amassing 12 touches.
Per head coach Doug Marrone, there is no timetable for Fournette's return. Given how important Fournette is to the team (he had 1,342 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in 13 games last year), it's best for him to take as much time as he needs to feel 100 percent.
But when he's in the mix again, the Jags shouldn't throw Fournette into the fire with 20-plus touches, to avoid another setback. He should platoon with T.J. Yeldon to ease his way back and hopefully be a full go before the playoffs, should the Jags get there.
Kansas City Chiefs: LB Reggie Ragland
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland has started four games this season, but his snap counts are trending in the wrong direction. He was on the field 72 percent of the time in Week 3, but that fell to 43 percent in Week 4 versus the Denver Broncos.
Matt Stagner of Arrowhead Pride wrote about Ragland after the Week 3 game versus the San Francisco 49ers, saying "Ragland simply doesn’t appear to be moving well in space. He’s still making plays when he can attack the line of scrimmage, but he’s struggling in coverage to the point where he’s losing snaps to Terrance Smith."
Ragland dealt with preseason knee issues and suffered a stinger versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, so that may have contributed to his season thus far. At this point, it might be worth seeing if Smith or Ben Niemann could make an impact.
Los Angeles Chargers: S Jahleel Addae
Los Angeles Chargers safety Jahleel Addae enjoyed a fantastic 2017 campaign, as he accrued 96 tackles and seven passes defended. The hard-hitter was a fantastic asset for a Chargers pass defense that allowed only 6.5 yards per pass attempt (tied for third in the NFL).
However, he hasn't fared nearly as well this year.
As Sam Fortier of The Athletic noted, Addae was in the picture on 49ers tight end George Kittle's 82-yard touchdown catch-and-run, as he got turned around and couldn't chase down the ex-Iowa star before the score.
Kyle Posey of Chargers Wire provided more commentary on Addae's season: "In the case of Addae, he's been widely known as a reckless and wild tackler. That has actually gotten worse this year. Last year, I felt like Addae improved in coverage. He's reverted back to his younger self where he's just not really showing much awareness at all."
Through four weeks, the Chargers are the league's worst team against No. 1 wide receivers, per Football Outsiders. Granted, the Bolts are playing without edge-rusher Joey Bosa, whose pressure (23.0 sacks in two seasons) would help the back end.
With that being said, the Bolts' defensive backs aren't getting it done right now. It might be time to give someone else a shot, like safety Adrian Phillips.
Los Angeles Rams: No One
Los Angeles Rams kicker Sam Ficken struggled in place of the injured Greg Zuerlein, as he missed two of his three field-goal attempts (from 28 and 46 yards). That caused the Rams to waive him Tuesday and sign free-agent kicker Cairo Santos in his place, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
To say anyone else on the team should be benched is picking nits.
Los Angeles is second in scoring and fifth in points allowed through four weeks. When Zuerlein gets back, the Rams will have one of the NFL's best special teams units, too. The coaching staff might be second to none and knows all the right moves to make.
Things can change down the road, but the Rams look unbeatable at the moment. No changes are needed.
Miami Dolphins: LB Raekwon McMillan
Following the New England Patriots' 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel noted the Pats' strategy was to go after Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan with an interior lineman on run plays.
Kelly said McMillan has trouble "shedding blocks," and the strategy worked to the point where Pats running backs Sony Michel and James White combined for 156 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
McMillan is effectively a rookie after he missed his first season with a torn ACL, so he's bound to go through some growing pains. But the Dolphins may be best served limiting his snaps and giving more playing time to Stephone Anthony or Martrell Spaight as McMillan acclimates to the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings: CB Mackensie Alexander
The Minnesota Vikings have allowed an alarming 94 points over their last three games. Their pass defense has struggled significantly, with the nadir being a 465-yard, five-touchdown performance from Rams quarterback Jared Goff on Thursday.
No one particular player is more culpable than others for the defense's regression, but cornerback Mackensie Alexander has allowed 1.7 yards per snap in coverage (89th in the NFL), per Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post.
He's already been sent to the bench once this year in Week 2 versus the Packers. Ahead of the Bills-Vikings game in Week 3, Chris Brown of the Bills team website noted Alexander "was sent to the sideline after giving up a third down conversion, committing a penalty and a 34-yard pass to Jimmy Graham in the span of a couple of series."
While rookie Mike Hughes has struggled at times as well, he's made more plays (three passes defended, one interception return for a touchdown) than Alexander (zero passes defended or interceptions, albeit in one fewer game). He should get the bulk of looks at nickel corner.
Alexander still has time to turn things around, as he was a promising second-round pick in 2016 and is only 24 years old. But for now, he may need to hit the bench.
New England Patriots: DT Malcom Brown
The New England Patriots looked unbeatable in their 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. That could be a sign of things to come for a Pats team that started the year 1-2 with a pair of ugly losses to the Detroit Lions (26-10) and Jacksonville Jaguars (31-20).
While the Patriots held the Dolphins to 56 yards on 18 carries, they had not fared well with run defense prior to Sunday. Even after Sunday's game, the Patriots have allowed 4.55 yards per running back carry this season, according to Football Outsiders, which is the eighth-worst mark in the league.
Defensive tackle Malcom Brown in particular struggled against a Lions team that rushed for 159 yards in Week 3. ESPN.com's Mike Reiss gave Brown and the run defense a "down" marker after that game, and Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal highlighted Brown's struggles as well.
Brown recorded zero tackles against Miami, but he was part of a revived New England run defense. However, it might be best for him and nose tackle Danny Shelton to more evenly split some reps moving forward (Brown was in on 45 percent of snaps Sunday, while Shelton played 31 percent).
Andy Gresh of the Providence Journal praised Shelton for his work Sunday, calling him "stout."
New Orleans Saints: CB Ken Crawley
New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley had a phenomenal 2017 season. Among his notable stats, Pro Football Focus credited him with the lowest catch rate allowed in the red zone.
This year has been a different story.
The Saints took him out of the starting lineup for Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons after a rough opening two weeks, but they put him back into the starting lineup Sunday against the New York Giants. Second-year Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard got the best of Crawley, as he caught a touchdown pass in his coverage and drew a 15-yard facemask penalty following a completion.
According to Pro Football Focus (via Chris Raybon of the Action Network), Crawley allowed seven catches for 129 yards and two scores in the Saints' 48-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. But PJ Williams, who spelled Crawley in Week 3, hasn't been much better.
Perhaps a free agent could help, such as ex-Seattle Seahawk Jeremy Lane. Regardless, the Saints secondary is a unit to monitor moving forward.
New York Giants: S Curtis Riley
The New York Giants already benched starting right tackle Ereck Flowers in favor of Chad Wheeler, which was long overdue. Although the Giants have continued to struggle on offense, there isn't much more they can do personnel-wise.
The defense is a different story.
Free safety Curtis Riley whiffed on a tackle attempt on Saints running back Alvin Kamara late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 33-18 loss, which led to the Saints' game-clinching touchdown. He was also on the back line for Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin's 64-yard touchdown catch in Week 2, which set the tone for Dallas' 20-13 win.
Michael Thomas should be the safety when cornerback Eli Apple returns from his groin injury. That will free up Thomas, who is playing some at cornerback to add depth there, to start at free safety.
New York Jets CB Trumaine Johnson
The New York Jets signed cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a five-year, $72.5 million deal in March to be their shutdown corner. But they need a serious jolt after a lifeless performance against the Jaguars on Sunday.
The Jets pass defense was torched in the 31-12 loss, allowing 388 passing yards to quarterback Blake Bortles. Wide receiver Donte Moncrief beat Johnson one-on-one for a 67-yard touchdown, which likely had Jets fans feeling a sense of deja vu, as Matt Stypulkoski of NJ Advance Media noted:
"Johnson has repeatedly been burned for deep catches. It started in Week 1, when Kenny Golladay snared a few balls of 20-plus yards. He got away with it in Cleveland, when Tyrod Taylor underthrew Antonio Callaway, which allowed Johnson to recover and break it up...This is a guy the Jets gave $72.5 million to be a shutdown cornerback. But so far, he hasn't lived up to that billing. There have just been too many big mistakes."
Head coach Todd Bowles can send a wake-up call to the team by benching Johnson in favor of Darryl Roberts. It would send the message that no one is above sitting if he fails to produce.
Perhaps Johnson will eventually return to the form that led to Ian Wharton of Optimum Scouting to call him the best press corner in the league last year. But right now, the Jets are on life support and need a change.
Oakland Raiders: S Reggie Nelson
The Oakland Raiders are allowing 8.2 yards per pass attempt, which is the fifth-worst mark in the NFL. Safety Reggie Nelson isn't solely responsible for that, but the two-time Pro Bowler hasn't played well so far.
Heading into Week 4, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area wrote Nelson has been "excellent at diagnosing plays and running coordinator Paul Guenther's system, though he has been out of position at costly times."
Cleveland Browns tight end Darren Fells beat Nelson in coverage for a 49-yard touchdown Sunday, and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills beat the secondary for a 34-yard score (with Nelson in the vicinity) the week before.
Nelson has had a solid 12-year career, but it might be time for Oakland to give Erik Harris a chance at more reps.
Philadelphia Eagles: CB Jalen Mills
Heading into Sunday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans, The Athletic's James Koh noted Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills had allowed a 75 percent catch rate, two touchdowns and a 147.7 passer rating.
He also said to watch out for Titans wideout Corey Davis.
It turns out Koh was right, as Davis had nine catches for 161 yards and one touchdown. That wasn't all on Mills, but the Eagles secondary has not done well this year.
On Tuesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said the team is standing behind Mills, who will start Sunday against Minnesota. But if Mills continues to struggle, would Schwartz consider giving Sidney Jones a chance on the outside? He's the slot corner by trade, but perhaps a switch is needed to shake things up.
Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Artie Burns
The Pittsburgh Steelers benched cornerback Artie Burns for Coty Sensabaugh in Week 3 following a rough opening two weeks.
Burns returned to the starting lineup in Week 4, but he had a relatively quiet day with four tackles and no passes defended in a 26-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. To date, he's allowed a perfect passer rating when targeted, per Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus.
The Steelers' defensive struggles stretch far beyond Burns' current issues. However, Burns admitted that he's struggling with his confidence, so it might be best for the team to go back to Sensabaugh and take pressure off him for the time being.
The 23-year-old Burns was a first-round pick in 2016. The highly touted prospect could still turn things around, but he may be best served sitting more often for the time being.
San Francisco 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon
The San Francisco 49ers are dealing with an absurd number of injuries (including some at key positions), which has forced other players to absorb additional responsibilities. The whole team has struggled this year, which is understandable given its situation.
However, a few players could be performing better, including starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
Against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, Witherspoon "was targeted 13 times, gave up eight catches and two touchdowns, was penalized two times and eventually benched for the last eight plays of the game," according to Akash Anavarathan of Niners Nation. He was benched to start Week 3 versus the Kansas City Chiefs but started against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4 with No. 1 cornerback Richard Sherman out.
The second-year pro's struggles continued in L.A.. Of note, he blew a coverage on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates' touchdown Sunday, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Greg Mabin played 29 snaps on defense against the Chargers and drew praise from both Cam Inman of the Mercury News and Patrick Holloway of Niners Nation for his performance. With their season on the brink, the 49ers should give him a shot and keep him there in place of Witherspoon.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny
Yes, the Seattle Seahawks invested a first-round pick in running back Rashaad Penny, which may prod them into giving him more opportunities. However, it's clear that Mike Davis and Chris Carson are better options than Penny right now.
The former San Diego State star has rushed for 92 yards on 29 carries for a 3.2-yard-per-carry average. He did break runs of nine, 14 and 15 yards against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday en route to a 49-yard day, but Davis ran for 101 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns in addition to four catches for 23 yards.
Carson has rushed for 4.1 yards per carry throughout his career and has proved to be a bellcow when called upon, like when he ran 32 times for 102 yards and a score against the Dallas Cowboys during a 24-13 win in Week 3.
The Seahawks should have Davis and Carson split the majority of carries in the backfield, with Penny spelling them if needed. That way, Seattle would be playing its best present options while the rookie takes more time to develop.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Brent Grimes
This pick comes with an asterisk. Save for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (seven tackles, one sack), the entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense had a rough game Sunday during a 48-10 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Cornerback Brent Grimes, who missed two games with a groin injury, was benched in favor of Ryan Smith. Mark Cook of Pewter Report wrote Smith "played better in the second half than Grimes did in the first half."
Grimes is a four-time Pro Bowler, but he's a 35-year-old cornerback returning from an injury. That decade-long career of wear and tear may make it more difficult for him to shake off his ailment.
The Bucs should place Grimes further back on their depth chart and see what Smith can do. If that doesn't work out, Grimes could always go back in.
Tennessee Titans: TE Jonnu Smith
Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 1, which forced backup Jonnu Smith into the lineup. However, Smith has only one reception for nine yards on four targets over the past three weeks.
He also had a big drop on 3rd-and-7 on the Titans' first drive Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles that would have given the team a first down.
Smith turned 23 years old in August and still has plenty of time to develop, but he's managed only two receptions this season despite playing 86.21 percent of the team's snaps.
In place of Smith, the Titans should start backup tight end Luke Stocker, who has five catches for 63 yards.
Washington Redskins: WR Josh Doctson
Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson has five catches on 13 targets for 48 yards and no touchdowns through three games. He's played 87.85 percent of the team's snaps to date, the most of any Redskins receiver.
A first-round pick in 2016, Doctson has yet to pan out. Injuries derailed his rookie season, but the former TCU star had only 35 catches for 502 yards in 2017. Doctson did have six touchdowns last year, but his catch rate was a mediocre 44.9 percent.
Can someone off the bench provide more production than Doctson? The best bet may be Michael Floyd, a 6'3", 220-pound receiver who has bounced around the league for the past three seasons.
While Floyd had only 47 catches across the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he did average 910 yards per season from 2013 through 2015 and is just 28 years old. He should get a shot coming out of Washington's bye.