SI.com's All-Disappointment Team: Who didn't play up to par in 2008
Second annual list filled with players from disappointing Browns
Hard to have a more disappointing season than Giants' Plaxico Burress
Jets LB Vernon Gholston was easily most disappointing rookie
With my colleague Peter King naming his NFL All-Pro team today, it seemed like the perfect time to provide you with the flip side of awards season. Each and every week in the NFL, there's a loser for every winner, and therein provides the fodder for my second annual NFL All-Disappointment team, which the snappy headline writers here at SI.com last year dubbed my All-Bust team (thanks a bunch, guys). Consider it a who's who of NFL underachievement in 2008:
Derek Anderson, Browns -- Nobody fell further faster than Anderson in 2008. From a Pro Bowl appearance in February to a new three-year, $24 million contract extension shortly thereafter, to the bench after the Browns' dismal 3-5 start. Oh, and did we mention Cleveland fans cheering after he went down for the season with a knee injury in a Week 13 game against the Colts?
A year after being the surprise of the 2007 season with 29 touchdown passes, with 3,787 yards and a 82.5 passer rating, Anderson swooned this season to just nine touchdowns, a 66.5 QB rating, with nine fumbles. He'll play elsewhere in 2009, but for now his career has one-year wonder written all over it.
Darren McFadden, Raiders -- We thought about just retiring this position in Larry Johnson's honor -- the Chiefs running back was our pick in 2007 -- but at least L.J. led his team in rushing. As opposed to the over-hyped McFadden, who was billed as the next Adrian Peterson but wound up a distant second on the Raiders rushing charts behind Justin Fargas, and just ahead of the late-charging Michael Bush.
McFadden started just five games, played in 13, and didn't even crack the 500-yard barrier. He finished with 499 on 113 carries (a decent 4.4 average), with four touchdowns. He'll do better than that in the future, but for now we thought we'd motivate him for 2009 with our starting running back assignment.
Dishonorable mention: Larry Johnson, Chiefs -- Those monster seasons of 2005-06 seem longer ago all the time.
Plaxico Burress, Giants -- Burress really deserves a category all his own on this team because when you're talking 2008 flame-outs, nobody quite put together the body of work that he did. The Giants awarded him a five-year, $35 million contract extension just hours before their regular-season opener, and then he proceeded to thank them by incurring a series of fines, suspensions and acts of stupidity (see sweatpants, loaded hand gun).
Burress had 10 catches for 133 yards on opening night against the Redskins, and then fell off the radar screen, catching only 25 passes for 321 yards in his final nine games. Next year at this time, he could be wearing either stripes or orange, and we're not talking about him signing with the Bengals.
Dishonorable mention: (Tie) Jerry Porter, Jaguars and Braylon Edwards, Browns -- Porter got a six-year, $30 million deal from the Jaguars, then caught 11 passes while struggling with hamstring problems. As for Edwards, all those drops were the perfect metaphor for a Cleveland team that let everyone down this season.
Jeremy Shockey, Saints -- New Orleans tried to pry Shockey loose from the Giants for six months before trading for him in July, and I'm guessing no one in the Saints organization can even remember why they worked so hard. New Orleans gave up second- and fifth-round picks in 2009 for a guy who was the poster child for low-impact acquisitions this season. The stats say he caught 50 passes for 483 yards in 12 games, but I honestly don't remember seeing any of them. Shockey was always hurt, he lost two fumbles, didn't score any touchdowns, and I didn't even think his new, shorter haircut was all that much.
Dishonorable mention: Kellen Winslow, Browns -- Certainly are a lot of Browns showing up on this squad. Which is how you put together a 4-12 season in this league.
Flozell Adams, Cowboys -- The 11th-year veteran was simply dreadful this season, and Tony Romo has the bruises to prove it. Adams signed a six-year, $42 million deal in February that included $15 million of guaranteed money, and he then went out and played as if getting paid was his singular motivation. Given that Adams was the Cowboys' best offensive lineman in 2007, it makes you wonder.
Dishonorable mention: Jonas Jennings, 49ers -- Can't stay healthy and hasn't remotely earned the money San Francisco has paid him. Played just two games and went on IR in November.
Mike Wahle, Seattle -- The Seahawks snapped Wahle up in free agency, hoping he could solve the problem they've had at left guard since Steve Hutchinson got away to Minnesota. But Wahle's mediocre play only contributed to Seattle's season-long offensive line issues, and he was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury after just 10 games.
Dishonorable mention: Alan Faneca, Jets -- Contrary to popular opinion among the media and fans, some within the league believe Faneca didn't come close to earning his big money in New York this season.
Brad Meester, Jacksonville -- Meester kind of takes the hit for the entire Jaguars offensive line, whose struggles this season contributed mightily to Jacksonville being one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. Meester started the season with a biceps injury, but he played poorly in the 10 games he did take part in, and the Jaguars vaunted running game never found its footing behind the offensive line.
Dishonorable mention: Chris Myers, Texans -- Myers just didn't play up to expectations this season, and he lacked the physical presence that the position demands.