The All-Bust Team
Players at each position who failed to deliver in 2007
Posted: Wednesday December 12, 2007 1:46PM; Updated: Wednesday December 12, 2007 2:42PM
The Pro Bowl teams will be revealed next Thursday, and that means the chatter will be all about who's deserving and who got snubbed. Fair enough, but that's all about the upside. In the NFL, there's a loser for every winner.
So before all those accolades get handed out, we're here to take a look at those who have underachieved in 2007. These guys have something to prove in 2008, because they were easy choices for my first NFL All-Disappointment team:
Quarterback: Alex Smith, 49ers
Smith looked poised for a breakout year in his third NFL season, and conditions in San Francisco were thought to be conducive to him taking a great leap forward. But that was hardly the case for 2005's first-overall pick.
Smith started just seven games due to a right-shoulder separation that has now shut him down for the season, and his numbers were abysmal: a 48.7 completion percentage, two touchdowns, four interceptions, five lost fumbles, a 2-5 record and a 57.2 passer rating that was the second-worst in the league. And did we mention that the 49ers offense and passing game both rank last overall?
Dishonorable mention: Philip Rivers, San Diego.
Running Back: Larry Johnson, Chiefs
Johnson got that hefty six-year, $45 million contract in the nick of time. Because after a pair of dominating 1,700-yard rushing seasons in 2005-06, he hit the wall this year. In the eight games he played before injuring his right foot, he gained just 559 yards, topping 120 yards only once. He has averaged a paltry 3.5 yards per carry behind the Chiefs' struggling offensive line, and scored just four touchdowns, after totaling 40 the past two seasons combined.
Johnson's NFL-record 416 carries last season portended trouble this year, because that kind of workload has historically taken a toll the following season on such backs as Eric Dickerson, Jamal Anderson, Eddie George and James Wilder. Johnson's camp holdout and three carries in the preseason probably contributed to his slow start.
Dishonorable mention: Cedric Benson, Chicago.