As for overrated, – outside of Ron Jaworski – NFL commentators finally stopped waiting for Reggie Bush to become a difference-maker or reach the potential he showed earlier in this career. Brian Urlacher had such a renaissance year that he’s barely overrated at this point. More people have realized that Drew Brees executes in the perfect offense for him, but maybe isn’t quite as remarkable as they thought post-2009 campaign. In the past two years, the media has started to be more realistic about Eli Manning, Jeremy Shockey and DeAngelo Hall.
5. Chris Johnson. I keep hearing what a dynamic player he is and how you gotta keep him in the discussion with Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster as the best tailbacks in the league. However, he didn’t make many explosive plays last year. He’s a guy who might benefit from some offensive changes and still has a lot of pop. Granted, he’s dealt with instability on offense and often plays from behind but just 38 touchdowns over three seasons makes him not worthy of all the praise he’s received. 38 is good but if he was really as game-changing as some have called him, he’d have the same number or more than Adrian Peterson (39) or Michael Turner (41).
4. Antrel Rolle. His two consecutive Pro Bowl appearances are evidence that the NFC needs better safeties. He was a part of four turnovers in his first year with the Giants and is a pretty good player, but the Giants over-payed for his services.
3. Desean Jackson. He’s a little overrated by the media and very overrated by some fantasy fans. Some of those fantasy fans are so enamored with his big games that they don’t notice his bad games as much.
I admit, some of his stats last season were affected by the difficulty of coming back from a concussion. Unlike his head coach, I would never question the toughness of a player who is concerned about re-injuring his brain.
He’s a player who takes advantage of bad secondaries and a good offensive system. In 2009, he had four games in the regular season against playoff teams. In those games, he only once went over 100 yards and got just one touchdown. In the playoffs against Dallas, he did hit paydirt but finished with just 14 yds (after getting 29 and 47 and no TD’s in his first two games against them). In 2010, this trend continued. He played in 14 games but got 498 of his 1056 yards receiving in 3 games against the Cowboys, Jaguars, and Detroit. He had only won big game against a playoff team: 7 catches, 109 yds and 1 TD against the Colts.
His rookie year playoff run: 1 catch for 34, 0 TD @ MIN; 4 for 81, 0 TD @NYG; 6 for 92, 1 TD @ARI. This year’s playoff game: 2 catches, 47 yds vs. GB.
2. Tom Brady. The man, the myth, (lately) the mirage. In other sports, many fans and those in the media write off Jeter, Kobe, and Duncan as done when they go ONE season without a championship. In three of the last four years, Brady has trotted out there hurt, and looked ordinary in a playoff game. All three times, the Pats were defeated. I commend him for playing hurt, but – at some point – the reality has to set in: the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in 6 years.
Now, the NFL is the ultimate team sport and you could argue that in his last five playoff appearances – which all ended with no rings – Brady has played good enough to win in all but two of those games (vs. Baltimore 2009, and vs. New York Giants 2007 he played hurt and was off-target).
My point is, so many on NFL Network, ESPN, CBS and Fox took the position that Tom Brady was in a stratosphere by himself. I’m sure Peyton Manning’s struggles had something to do with this but I was dumbfounded and kept maintaining that I’d rather have Aaron Rodgers than any of the other great quarterbacks because we hadn’t seen what they rest do when they don’t get protection. We’ve seen Aaron keep his team in a game by himself. I respect if you think Brady is the best in the NFL, but he isn’t in a class above Brees, Rodgers, and Manning.
1. Matt Ryan. “Matty Ice” – as he’s been called – is now 0-2 in the playoffs and his inability to throw on the move resulted in six points for Green Bay. He’s good and has impeccable accuracy when someone’s wide open and he has a lot of time to throw but the Monday and Thursday night crews set records for worshiping a quarterback, so I had to put him on at number 1. Not that they won’t improve but the Falcons were a facade, built on getting help from refs in close games and blowing out awful teams like Cleveland, Arizona and Carolina (twice).