10 NFL Players Who Need a Change Of Scenery
As we draw towards the later parts of the season, many teams are still firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot, however just as many teams have little or no shot of making the playoffs at all, with this in mind lists begin to formulate of underperforming superstars, declining veterans and busting rookies alike.
Just because certain teams look to be heading towards a playoff berth doesn't mean necessarily that their respective rosters don't contain a player or players who for whatever reason aren't pulling their weight, giving little or no production or just generally are creating a bit of a stink in the locker room. Basically there are plenty of guys in this league getting paid top dollar and not performing to their pay grade any longer.
Some of the top players in the league or at the very least the top of their respective organisations are struggling, these are the guys I shall be focusing on, every year it seems you could name numerous players so getting it down to 10 is difficult, being a Bears fan I could name 10 guys on their roster I would love to see the back of and I am sure many fans, especially those of the struggling franchise’s could say the same.
In a salary capped era where the teams who draft well, perform and flourish, although the playing field potentially should be level anyone who watches football can see that the top is gulfs in class better than the bottom. The flip side of the underperforming stars argument is that their true potential is being stifled by organisations with poor coaching, poor attitude or poor ethos.
Number 10: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
After trading for him in the infamous Kevin Kolb trade, the Eagles then traded their Pro Bowl corner Asante Samuel, propelling DRC into a start boundary corner position. He has the length and speed to challenge top receivers downfield, but has struggled consistently covering more polished receivers.
It doesn’t help that the defensive coaching on the Eagles has been suspect all season long, with Rodger-Cromartie hitting free agency this offseason it could be the perfect opportunity for him to escape Philly for greener pastures.
Nnamdi Asomugha appears to be on the decline so if DRC could move to a place with another top flight corner he has the potential to rebound and play slightly better than he is currently for the Eagles.
I see him as a Tim Jennings type player who complements a specific scheme, as well as the number one corner back on the opposite side of the field to him.
Number 9: Michael Vick
I personally think the Eagles should be blown up in order to allow a new head coach to rebuild in their own blueprint, with that being said nobody needs a change of scenery on this roster more than Vick.
In three seasons Vick has gone from league MVP conversations to top of the underachiever rankings. Ever since the Vince Young interview at the beginning of the 2011 regular season, the Eagles have failed to live up to the coined "dream team" tag, the atmosphere in Philadelphia has frankly turned into a complete nightmare.
Andy Reid could make any QB look good, but his fortunes and that of his highly paid QB in Vick have declined at an alarming speed.
Vicks oline is injured and the replacements are terrible, as a result he has lost all his poise, spends his life injured or conspiring to lose games, or at the very least make them an agonising viewing experience for even the most neutral of fans.
It's this simple, Vick gets paid too much money for the offensive output and leadership he is currently displaying, I really think if he were to move to a Buffalo Bills type team he would have a lot more success than he is currently having, where ever it is they have to have a relatively solid oline or it will simply be a case of history repeating.
Number 8: Jermichael Finley
When Finley received a big contract from the Packers, making him a top paid player for his position, the Packers never thought that he would have the sort of lackadaisical decline in form that he has done.
He runs sloppy routes, is poor in his blocking assignments, drops routine passes and is being targeted less and less as a result. I have no idea what is going on in this chaps head but it hasn't been in Green Bay for a while.
The big issue is that Finley needs to be frequently targeted in order to warm up and find a rhythm, which would be fine if he wasn't in a high powered offense such as the packers that has weapons coming out of its ears
Finley needs to move to a team that has lower expectations and won't mind wasting 3/4 throws his way before he starts to actually come down with a catch. Either that or he needs to go somewhere there is a coach who can motivate and focus this guy before he gets on the field.
If he can't find that focus in Green Bay with great coaching and one of the best QB in the league I question whether he will ever find it, but I think Finley's time in a Packers jersey needs to come to an end soon.
Number 7: Ndamukong Suh
Suh burst onto the scene as the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. In his rookie season he proceeded to decimate opposing offensive lines with brutal efficiency, he didn't miss a beat from his college dominance through the transition into the NFL.
Well all that has changed. Suh has had a string of stupid misdemeanour offenses with the police (two this past offseason) as well as making a name for himself as one of the dirtiest and petulant players in football.
In the past 23 games Suh has only managed 7.5sacks 50 tackles, by no means is he earning his pay check right now. Despite his 1 tackle 0 sacks performance against the Vikings this past Sunday, Head Coach Jim Schwartz professed it was the best game Suh had ever played in a Lions jersey. In my opinion this is precisely the problem, too many people in Detroit are pandering to Suh's ego, making excuses for his antics and generally allowing the guy to run a mock.
If Suh ever wants to reach the potential that his freakish athletic ability dictates he can achieve, then he needs somehow work a move out of Detroit and start afresh somewhere else to rebuild his shattered reputation or he needs a new Head Coach that isn’t going to take his nonsense lying down.
Number 6: Dwayne Bowe
Bowe refused to sign his $9 million franchise tender until the second week of the preseason and has had open quarrels with the Chiefs about his long-term commitment to the club.
Hardly surprising that Bowe is losing interest in an organisation that seems intent on not looking for a franchise quarterback of the future. He has proven has the capability to be a true number 1 wide receiver in this league, but his stats this season have mainly been acquired in garbage time of blow out games.
More than any WR Bowe needs to move for the betterment of his career, plenty of teams are willing to spend over the odds on the position, in an NFL which has developed in past decade into a ridiculously pass happy environment.
The Chiefs won’t franchise tag Bowe again and I will be extremely surprised if Bowe signs a new deal with the organisation, a parting of ways is pretty much best for everybody.
Number 5: Devin Hester
I know what you are thinking; no way does Devin Hester play for anyone other than the Chicago Bears in the 2013 NFL season, but in my opinion it is something that could be good for both the Bears organisation and indeed Hester himself.
The salary cap hit on Hester for the 2013 season is a hugely inflated $12.87mil, with the Bears yet to tie up a long term contract extension for Jay Cutler and Henry Melton, also with no idea how much Brian Urlacher will demand come the season end, unless Hester is willing to significantly restructure his contract he may very well force GM Phil Emery's hand
It isn't just the financial side that make this move a possibility, the Hester at wide receiver experiment in Chicago has been a failure. Every season fans hear that Hester hasn't been used correctly in previous schemes and that he has the best hands on the team, yet every season Hester struggles to assert himself as even a number 3 receiver.
Even his Special Teams production has tailed off. This season I have lost count of the number of times Hester has either let the ball bounce or fair caught a ball he could have torn off for a huge gain.
In terms of his long term aspirations as an NFL player I feel Hester needs to go to a team that has a proper Offensive Coordinator that will use his specific talents in specific situations, something the Bears haven't had whilst Hester has been in Chicago, and never will as long as Mike Tice is calling the shots.
Number 4: Philip Rivers
The Chargers next four games dictate that they could very well enter week 15 of the regular season on a record of 4-9 if this is the case the Norv Turner era in San Diego will be over and one would assume a rebuilding process will begin.
In his last 25 games Philip Rivers has been in steady decline, he has thrown for 42 touchdowns but in the same period of time has turned the ball over to the tune of 32 interceptions and fumbles.
It isn't just the number of turnover's that is a worry, it is the nature of those turnover's that is setting off alarm bells. Rivers seems to have lost his poise in the pocket completely, his decision making has become very poor and in honesty he seems to have lost interest in being the franchise Quarter Back for the Chargers.
I believe a move away from the Chargers would very much benefit him more than the Chargers; however I feel if he doesn't move soon we shall see a steady decline from this guy for the rest of his career.
Number 3: Jake Long
Jake Long was the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. He has been extremely good and let’s face it Left Tackle is a dying art in this sport. He has made the Pro Bowl in every season thus far. Here is the issue, Long is currently the highest paid tackle in football, and he is playing at a level this season that is anything but deserving of that much money.
The question circulating about Long is whether or not his drop off due to him playing injured, or if it truly is the number of injuries he has had is catching up with him. He seems to be struggling to pick up the new zonal blocking scheme and coming into free agency this season it will be interesting to see what the Miami Dolphins decide to do.
Ultimately I think a change of team would do Long some good, he has been paid handsomely for his efforts by the Dolphins so far but the top end money Long will be seeking will be a big turnoff especially when the Phins have . What Long does have working in his favour is the amount of horrific line play on display this season, someone like the Cardinals who would be better served having statues for tackles this season, would more than likely pay top whack for a mauler such as Long.
Number 2: Mark Sanchez
If ever there were a dysfunctional organisation it is the New York Jets, and their QB Mark Sanchez is probably one of the players in need of a change of scenery in any sport in general, not just the NFL.
Rex Ryan has stifled Sanchez's growth by not making sure he has the tools he needs to make this offense effective. It is often the case with Head Coaches of a defensive minded background that this type of thing can happen.
Things were always going to end badly in New York this season when Tim Tebow was inexplicably traded for in the 2012 offseason. Not only has Tebow not been used properly, but it has cast a looming shadow over Sanchez all season. Stats such as these don't help the situation either:
Mark Sanchez last 16 starts: 25 TD, 25 turnovers. 6.0 YPA. Record 6-10. Tim Tebow 16 career starts: 26 TD, 15 turnovers. 7.1 YPA. 9-7 record.
I actually feel sorry for Sanchez this year, he has struggled to live up to expectations and in order to motivate him, and the Jets acquired the biggest distraction in sports. It won’t be long before the war drums in favour of Tebow are sounded (see Denver Broncos 2011 regular season) I do feel with a good coach under a less stressful environment Sanchez could be a decent to above average NFL quarter back.
Number 1: Maurice Jones-Drew
If ever there were a player who was disenfranchised with his surrounding Jones-Drew is top of the list. Put simply in my view he has lost his swagger, his heart and basically his drive to put his body on the line for an organisation in the Jacksonville Jaguars that he feels greatly under values his true “worth” on the football field.
Jones-Drew will be in his contract year come the 2013 season with this you can expect a renewed vigour in his game. Come the 2014 season unless the Jaguars are prepared to part with a lot of cash he will be plying his trade in a different city.
If the Jaguars have any sense I think they should pull the cord a season early and trade him this current offseason, he has already sat out 2012 offseason programme in protest to his “lack” of pay and there is no reason to believe he won’t do the same this coming offseason as well.
For a rebuilding franchise such as the Jaguars with eyes on a possible relocation in the future to pastures much further afield the lore of draft picks may be too much. Other than maybe a few English fans being annoyed at not seeing Jones-Drew at the international series matchup next October, or a few fans in Jacksonville finding it hard to let go of their only star, it makes sense for both parties to just cut ties at the end of the season.
Jones-Drew would most likely get a new contract a season early from his new team, and the Jaguars would likely get some nice draft picks out of the equation as well.