We are a quarter of the way through the NFL season. We have had some big surprises this year, and there have been some things that everybody expected. Andy Dalton leading the Bengals to 4-0 wasn’t expected by most, but I thought this team could do it. The Dolphins fired Joe Philbin as discussed by Rob Hunt, David Schroder, and I on our weekly podcast “The Red Shirt Senior Show.” You can find that discussion herehttp://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2015/10/3/red-shirt-senior-show-ep-4-the-ode-to-pat-mcafee.
One of the biggest surprises to me are the free agent players who switched teams and have been underperforming. So, time to drop some knowledge on your heads.
BUST #1 DeMarco Murray
After three injury-plagued seasons, Murray stayed healthy throughout the 2014 season and was the league leading rusher, behind the best offensive line in football, on the Cowboys. His numbers last season: 392 attempts; 1,845 yards rushing; an astonishing 4.7 yards a carry; and 13 TDs.
After accomplishing these milestones in a contract year, he left the security of the Cowboys’ O-line to go to the rival Eagles, where Chip Kelly would design the offense around him. Murray, having already missed a game due to injury, has a total of 29 carries through three games, 47 yards rushing, and one touchdown.
Murray had 89 rushing attempts, 434 yards rushing, and 5 TDs through the first four games last season. His numbers this year have dropped massively. Murray was a product of a great O-line. Now that he is behind a struggling O-line on the Eagles, the true Murray has been unveiled. Murray is a bust, a one-season-wonder.
STAR #1 Frank Gore
Okay, his numbers aren’t great; but, because of how bad the Colts O-line has been, his numbers are good with what he has to work with. He has 54 touches, 227 yards, 4.2 yards a carry, and 2 TDs this season. Gore has accounted for 12 points of the Colts’ total points, which is really good because of the lack of points the Colts have scored (72).
Gore hasn’t topped 100 yards rushing this season, but he will get there once OC Pep Hamilton realizes he needs to change the play calling to take some of the pressure off of Andrew Luck.
BUST #2 Ndamukong Suh
The heart and soul of the Lions’ number two defense last season left for South Beach. The Dolphins have been a top-15 defense over the past three seasons. With the high-profile signee the defense is 30th overall. Suh has made the Dolphins worse. Sometimes switching conferences hurts a baseball player’s career because of the lack of playing time against the new teams. Maybe that could be Suh’s problem. Whatever it is, Suh needs to get his game together.
Star #2 Jeremy Maclin
Dwayne Bowe had 754 yards receiving last season. Maclin has 389 yards already through four games, and he has a TD reception. No receiver accomplished that for the Chiefs last season.
Maclin has been the lone bright spot on this struggling Chiefs team. He is going to have a good year under his former coach from when he played in The City of Brotherly Love, Andy Reid.
BUST #3 Andre Johnson
Johnson wanted out of Houston, because he didn’t have a good QB throwing to him. Now Johnson has Luck, but Johnson isn’t playing like the All-Pro receiver he was with the Texans. Johnson has only caught seven balls this season, which isn’t good. And 51 receiving yards is even worse. I was questioning Ryan Grigson when he signed the 34-year-old receiver, because of his age. This is just fueling my fire to keep asking why!
STAR #3 Owen Daniels
Daniels has never put up star-quality numbers. The most receiving yards he had in a season was 862, and the most TDs he ever caught was 8. But, Gary Kubiak, the first-year Broncos head coach, brought Daniels with him to Denver. When Kubiak was with the Texans, Daniels was there. When Kubiak was with the Ravens, guess who Kubiak brought with him?
Daniels is more of a blocking TE, which is something the Broncos need more of right now. The O-line has been bad, and the rushing game has been almost nonexistent. Daniels is playing well for Kubiak and, as long as Daniels continues to listen to Kubiak, he will be a good TE.
BUST #4 Byron Maxwell
Maxwell is a product of the Legion of Boom. The LOB was so good at being a secondary that Maxwell’s weaknesses were never exposed. He got paid to be a number one CB for the Eagles, and so far it isn’t working out. Maxwell has zero INTs this season, and opposing QBs pick on his side of the defense.
STAR #4 Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton
Denver’s nose tackle last season moved to DC after the Broncos let him walk. Nose tackles don’t always have the numbers of a great player, because they are suppose to make way for other defensive players. Knighton is meant to push through the line and allow Ryan Kerrigan to go after the QB. Pot Roast has helped make the Redskins fourth in overall defense.
Honorable mentions for busts: Dwayne Bowe, Trent Cole, Kendall Langford
Honorable mentions for stars: Darrelle Revis, James Jones
QUESTIONABLE #1 Julius Thomas
Thomas left the Broncos for money, but the thing I don’t understand is why he went to Jacksonville. He left a future Hall-of-Famer, Peyton Manning, to go to a second-year quarterback who is still trying to adjust to the pro game. I do believe that Thomas can be that weapon the Jaguars and Blake Bortles need to improve, but a hand injury has set him back. He is supposed to start this week.
QUESTIONABLE #2 Mike Iupati
A top-10 guard in the NFL left the mess that is the 49ers and moved to the desert to get paid. Iupati’s knee injury caused him to miss all of the season so far. But, I hope when he returns he can help keep Carson Palmer upright and make the team even better. The Cardinals are 18-4 with a healthy Palmer since the arrival of coach Bruce Arians, and a better O-line will help keep Palmer healthy.
Hopefully, the bust players can change their ways and be the player their team signed them to be, because those teams have a total record of 4-8 (between the Dolphins, Colts, and Eagles.)