Five Worst Teams in the NFL
by Trevor Whenham - 09/20/2006
The NFL season is two weeks old and we are getting to the point when we can start to draw some meaningful conclusions about some teams. Chicago, for example, is better than many thought because of an unexpectedly good offense to match the expected great defense. Carolina, on the other hand, isn't as good as the experts said they were, at least not without Steve Smith catching balls.
Some of the teams with perfect records will start to cool off, and some of the teams that have had rough starts will get it together and turn their season around. There are some teams, however, that don't have a chance. They are so bad, and so flawed in so many ways, that the season may as well be over. Here, in reverse order, are the five worst teams in the NFL and a look at their prospects for improvement:
5) Detroit Lions - There must be something in the water in Detroit, because Rod Marinelli is just the latest seemingly competent coach who can't seem to make this team work. Steve Mariucci, Marty Morhinweg and Bobby Ross are all good football minds with solid resumes, but they didn't stand a chance in Detroit.
Marinelli could join them on the scrap heap by the looks of things. The last game against Chicago was a chance for the team to prove that they were finally worth fearing, but they laid a massive egg. They played like they didn't care. Jon Kitna was the lone bright spot, with accurate passing and even an unexpected rushing touchdown, but he can't do it alone. Roy Williams showed what a goof he is when he celebrated a first down more vociferously than most players celebrate a Super Bowl win. The defense made Rex Grossman look like a super hero. Pitiful.
Outlook: The best of the bad teams. The offense will get better if Mike Martz can get his message through - they certainly have the tools. The playoffs are out of the question, and even a winning record is very unlikely, but they could go from terrible to just pretty bad.
4) Cleveland Browns - There are reasons to be optimistic. Charlie Frye has the skills to be a solid quarterback, Braylon Edwards is finally showing why he was a high draft pick and Kellen Winslow is very talented. Unfortunately, Winslow is also a big part of the problem. It took him just two games to whine and moan to the press that he wasn't being used enough. One of the most overused phrases in sports is 'team cancer', as in that guy that disrupts chemistry in the locker room, but it fits in this case. His presence, on top of a laughable string of injuries and a lack of depth in several key positions, means that it could be a long year for the Dawg Pound.
Outlook: Romeo Crennel is going to turn this thing around if he is given the time to do so. It's going to take longer than this year. He can build around guys like Frye and Edwards. This year the team will lose much more than they win, however, and they will likely struggle to score a lot of points. Against the right teams they will be a very attractive under.
3) Tennessee Titans - What I want to know is what Billy Volek did to piss his coaches in Tennessee off so badly? Going into camp he was the presumed starting QB. Six weeks later he was dumped in a trade with San Diego for a sixth round pick, despite the fact that the two players ahead of him on the depth chart, Kerry Collins and Vince Young, combined to complete 13-of-38 passes in Volek's last game as a Titan. Collins, the starter, ended up with a quarterback rating of 1.3. Vince Young is going to be fine -- and possibly really good -- eventually, but he is clearly a long way off. Collins is way past his prime. With these two at the helm it will be a very long year.
Outlook: Bleak. If LenDale White can get healthy, the running game and a passable defense can win them a game or two, but you can pick them to lose a lot without worrying.
2) Green Bay Packers - The best reason to watch the Pack is to see when Favre melts down. It seems inevitable. He made the horrendous decision to come back, and there is no chance that this story has a happy ending. If 340 yards and three touchdowns isn't enough to win, then there is very little chance of a victory. The team has no ability to stop anyone. That's a problem.
Outlook: Awful. Donald Driver is a great receiver and Greg Jennings will be too one day, but that's pretty much where the list of bright spots ends. There definitely isn't a game on the schedule in which they will be favored, and none that even jump out as very winnable. They'll find a way to win one or two, but it certainly isn't worth betting that they will win on any given week.
1) Oakland Raiders - I'm concerned about Andrew Walter. I really want a team to go 0-16, and Walter is about the only thing standing in the way of the Raiders being the one. Sure, he threw three interceptions in his last game, but he is enthusiastic and he has the look of someone who can improve quickly. The rest of the team is more than bad enough to lose them all. The offense is uninspired, Randy Moss is showing his patented bad attitude, the defense looks completely lost and I wouldn't be surprised to see coach Art Shell resign before the end of the season. They can pull off the winless season, so if Walter ruins it for me I will be very annoyed.
Outlook: So, so, so bad. If you bet on them at any point this season because you think they can actually win then you probably should just quit betting on football.