Now we are at the halfway point of the season. Some teams are cruising right along and looking toward making a playoff run while others are looking at the off season and what changes need to be made for next year. In my last article we looked at the top teams throughout the first quarter of the season, nothing has really changed for them. This time we will look at teams that are just gearing up for next year.
The first team to look at is the Miami Dolphins. As of right now they rank last in offense and defense. At the rate they keep trading away players, it will be interesting to see who is left on the team. But with them trading away players like Tunsil, Stills, Fitzpatrick, and Drake they have really left themselves looking toward next year. While they have accumulated lots of draft picks to help them in upcoming drafts, it is no question as to why this team is 0-7.
Next up are the Cincinnati Bengals. This team is also 0-8 and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. I there are a few key factors that have hurt them this season. First, A.J. Green hasn’t played at all yet and since he is their primary receiver, they have lacked that number one option. Second, Joe Mixon has not looked like the stud running back he has in previous years. I think that can be partially blamed on the team looking one-dimensional as they don’t have much of a passing game. Thirdly, you can look at the defense. The defense hasn’t been bad, but they aren’t good either. The defense hasn’t been able to stop anybody and you generally don’t win games without playing a little defense.
The next team we can examine is the New York Jets. This team is still looking for answers and at 1-6, they don’t have them. They are second to last in both offense and rushing yards. They also rank last in passing yards. Part of the reason for this down season is Sam Darnold being out, without him the team didn’t have much of a chance. This also explains being last in passing yards. As for the rushing yards, Bell just doesn’t look the same as he did with the Steelers, maybe it’s because of a new system or maybe new coaches. One last thing is maybe the coaching staff is to blame. We saw what Adam Gase did (or maybe didn’t do) in Miami last year, so far, the results here aren’t any better.
Oh, the Washington Redskins. They also have a 1-7 record, but the team is in total disarray. Starting from Jay Gruden not wanting to use Adrian Peterson in the beginning of the year to being fired after a horrible start, this team needs to start putting it together. Maybe injuries here are to blame again. Guice went down early in the year and having Keenum as a placeholder at quarterback, nothing was going right for this team. They still have players like Peterson and young McLaurin, but they aren’t enough to carry a team. Peterson still needs a competent passing game to be effective on the ground and McLaurin is a rookie that will experience growing pains. If they can just get through this year and put it behind them, maybe they can start fresh next year with their rookie QB Haskins, Young receiver Terry McLaurin, and a new head coach.
The last team I will bring up is the Atlanta Falcons. They are just not having a productive season. This team is 1-7 in the NFC South, but the crazy thing is they are first in the NFL in passing yards. The big problem with this team come in defense and rushing yards. Starting with the defense, they just aren’t doing their job. They are giving up too many points a game (31.2) and also total yards in a game (379.5). As I mentioned earlier, you need to play defense in this league to win games. Then the rushing game. It looks like Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith can’t get it done. This team didn’t bring back Tevin Coleman, because they thought they had two capable players, but neither one has come thru. You would think with this team having a great passing game, they would be able to keep teams on their toes with a great running game, but it just isn’t so. This is leading them to be a pass heavy and opponents are figuring them out.
There are other teams in the league that have looked bad as well, but these five take the cake as being the bottom dwellers of the league. Two of these teams just need to reidentify themselves and build with the players they have. Two others have to do a real evaluation of their team and see what is working and not. Then there is one team that is just looking to do a total rebuild and start from scratch.