NFL Hot Seat: 10 Players In Need Of A Big Season
In this article, you will see 10 NFL players who need to perform this season, or they could be on next season's scrap heap.
The NFL is a tough business, underachievers do not last long and overachievers can quickly fizzle out; the next 10 players are players who need to hit the mark to have a team in 2014.
1. Carson Palmer – QB, Arizona
Palmer is a journeyman now in the NFL, suiting up for his third team during his career.
Palmer was a draftee by the Cincinnati Bengals who subsequently threatened to sit out for a season if not traded, was then traded to the Oakland Raiders for a boatload of draft picks and under-performed.
Now, Palmer has some superior offensive weapons, potentially the best receiver he has had to throw to in his entire career in Larry Fitzgerald, the team's leader.
Arizona head coach Bruce Arians builds a play style in his teams that will fit the attributes of Palmer. Arians is a lover of the deep ball, Palmer is a gunslinger. Many experts are saying that Palmer could be Kurt Warner take-two for the Cardinals, unfortunately, the offensive line may not support that claim.
If Carson Palmer does not have the type of season that pulls the Cardinals from the depths of the NFC West, then he could very well find himself out of a job next season. Arians is going to be counting on him and the Cardinals do not have the greatest depth at the position if Palmer does not excel.
Carson Palmer needs 25 or more touchdowns to keep his job next season. He needs a career season.
2. Kenny Britt – WR, Tennessee
Britt is a player who has not performed well for the Titans after his rookie season. He was on the bench for the most of the 2012 season after tearing both the ACL and MCL ligament in his knee the prior season, and now, Britt is in a make or break season for a new contract.
Britt had a case of fumbilitis last season and the dropsies, however those were not the attributes that made Britt standout. Unfortunately, since Britt’s knee injury, he has looked tentative in his movements and his cuts have been non-existent. Britt played last season as a shadow of his former self.
On a contract season, Britt needs to be more reliable in the development of Jake Locker. For Locker to gain the confidence to move forward, he needs a dependable target, whether or not he will find it in Britt this season remains to be seen, but on a contract season, another un-productive season from a player with a 10 page leaflet of off-field troubles, he could be out the door.
At least 75 or more receptions and a 1,000-receiving-yard season will be enough to save him.
3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – RB, Cincinnati
The Bengals' running back is in rather hot water. If BJGE does not produce this season, he will be on a one way ticket out of Bengal city. He came into Cincinnati as one of the safest runners in the NFL with ‘ZERO’ fumbles to his name, into the fold as the Bengals' No. 1 back and fumbilitis kicks in.
BJGE is a strong power back, unfortunately the lack of top end speed is an issue for the NFL. He is a Marion Barber type of running back, and has safer hands. Unfortunately, the NFL does not house players who drop the ball on several occasions, especially when you are not an elite back.
BJGE needs to develop a more consistent approach. If he can average 90 yards per game he will go a long way to protecting his positions as the feature back of the Cincinnati Bengals.
BJGE has no excuses this season, a stronger offensive line and a more evolved quarterback, Green-Ellis has more chances to succeed. If he can read his gaps a stronger offensive line can produce, he will go a long way towards claiming a position in this NFL franchise.
For BJGE to keep his position in Cincinnati, he needs at least 1,000 yards rushing and 10 or more touchdowns.
4. Sam Bradford – QB, St. Louis Rams
The Rams used a first round selection in 2010 for Bradford, since then they have been to ‘ZERO’ playoffs. Due to the defense? not entirely. Bradford’s play under center has left a lot to be desired. In Bradfords’ defense, he has not had a lot of talent to play with around him, this year, that excuse is now gone.
The addition of Tavon Austin, Jared Cook and Stedman Bailey — all during this offseason, gives the Rams a lot more weapons at the disposal of Bradford. If Bradford can not excel this season, Fisher will have no choice but to look for a replacement.
With a career rating of 77.3 and 9,378 passing yards and 45 passing touchdowns over his four-year career, Bradford needs to prove himself to coach Fisher. Bradford has 34 career interceptions, so having a positive touchdown to intercept ratio is a positive over many quarterbacks that have been or still are in the NFL like former first round selections Brandon Weeden, Vince Young and Blaine Gabbert.
As one of the quarterbacks of the past, bloated rookie contract era, Bradford needs to earn his keep this season. Fisher may have endorsed Sam Bradford as his franchise signal caller, but with another sub-par season, Fisher may be forced to explore his options.
For Bradford to survive he will need at least 20 passing touchdowns and more than 3,500 passing yards.
5. Ryan Mathews – RB, San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews is the running back who is now in a new system with a new head coach in Mike McCoy who has a history of fumbling and under-performing. Mathews has not exceedingly lived up to expectations and this coming season could be Mathews' last if he does not produce in San Diego.
A former first round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft (12th overall), Mathews has not lived up to those expectations usually slumped on a first round draft pick. Mathews has almost as many fumbles as touchdowns (14 TD / 11 fum) and over the span of three seasons the former first-rounder has only 2,476 rushing yards. Regardless of injuries or poor offensive lines, this is completely un-acceptable for a running back in the NFL.
Lacking decisive ball carrier skills, Mathews has only surpassed 1,000 rushing yards once in three seasons. 2011 being his most successful with 1,091 rushing yards. A career rushing average of 4.4 yards per carry is good, however the lack of overall yards to his name is something that stands out.
Jackie Battle was able to challenge Mathews last season; Mathews needs to have a breakout season this year to remain on the Chargers' roster. Mathews needs to display better ball carrying vision and learn how to be a better runner with the ball, his poor decision-making skills truly hurt him. He is a solid running back, his indecisive and poor vision are what hurt his stock as a running back in the NFL.
For Mathews to survive, he needs more than 1,300 rushing yards, 10 or more total touchdowns and 4 or less fumbles this season.
5. Santonio Holmes – WR, New York Jets
Santonio Holmes is a receiver who has a Super Bowl highlight not too many people can match, except for maybe David Tyree. Holmes has spent three seasons in New York with the Jets and has not offered them the receiving threat they need to be successful.
In three seasons with the ‘Gang-Green’ Holmes has contributed 15 touchdowns, 1,672 receiving yards on 123 receptions. Last season Holmes suffered the dreaded LisFranc foot injury, it remains to be seen whether or not he can return to the playmaker he was whilst on the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster.
With the quarterback challenge set to get intensified in the Meadowlands, Holmes needs to become that playmaker he once was in order to keep his roster position past 2014.
Struggling on the Jets' roster is not a single person issue, the team seems to be struggling together, collectively at the moment, but Holmes needs to step his game up this season and be the player the Jets signed him from free agency to be back after the 2009 season ended.
For Holmes to retain his position with the Jets, he needs at least 1,250 receiving yards with 10 or more receiving touchdowns.