NFL Hot Seat: 10 Players In Need Of A Big Season
6. Malcom Floyd – WR, San Diego Chargers
Floyd had all the opportunity in the world to emerge as a true No. 1 receiver last season after the departure of former teammate, Vincent Jackson.
Floyd started last season as the Chargers' No. 1 guy, only to lose that position to rising star Danario Alexander.
In his eight seasons in San Diego, Floyd has never achieved more than 856 receiving yards in a single season, nor has he registered more than 6 receiving touchdowns.
Floyd was meant to be the go-to guy in San Diego, but he failed to live up to expectations and subsequently hurt both Philip Rivers' passing options and Norv Turner's job security.
In comes a new regime in San Diego and it is unlikely that Mike McCoy’s no-nonsense attitude will translate well with Floyd, who has not lived up to expectations in the slightest.
If Floyd is unable to realize his true potential this season then we may see the eight-year veteran sent packing by season's end. With Keenan Allen joining the fold, the No. 2 spot behind Alexander looks more confusing than ever.
For Floyd to be retained by the Chargers, he needs to register more than 1,000 receiving yards with 8 or more receiving touchdowns.
7. B.J. Raji – DT, Green Bay Packers
This on is going to throw a lot of people off, whilst Raji does have a field presence, his performance and numbers over the last two seasons have left something to be desired from the 337-pound defensive tackle.
In his 14 games started last season, Raji seemed non-existent on the field, totaling 0 sacks, 0 turnovers or turnovers caused and had a total of 26 combined tackles. Not overwhelming statistics for a former first round draft selection.
B.J. Raji is a former 2009 first round draft selection (9th overall) by Green Bay, he had a very productive season in 2010 with 6.5 sacks, his best career total. 112 career total tackles 60 appearances for the Cheesehead faithful, has led many to believe his field presence is diminishing, which in fact, it is. Raji is the center piece of the Packers' 3-4 defense up front. He is not collapsing the offensive line as quickly as he is required to which is hurting his linebacker's ability to break through into the backfield.
Raji is the one who is mainly responsible for opening up the slots for Clay Matthews to rush through, whilst he fed Matthews effectively (13 sacks) he was not making the push needed to succeed as a defensive tackle, closing down running lanes early was a big issue for Raji last season.
Making the playoffs every year can mask the issues a team can have, the Packers were not as strong along the defensive line with Raji taking most of the blame.
Raji ranked 110th in the NFL amongst all defensive linemen in the NFL last season, a far cry from where you want you starting nose tackle to be. Randy Starks (105), Kendall Langford (105) and Tom Johnson (103) are all defensive tackles who ranked higher than Raji last season.
For Raji to be a Packer beyond the 2013-14 season he needs to achieve at least 5 sacks, 30 or more combined tackles and more than 2 turnovers caused or recovered.
8. Kyle Arrington – CB, New England Patriots
Kyle Arrington was arguably one of the worst aspects of the Patriots' defense last season. Arrington was allowing on average per game a QB rating of 115.8. According to ProFootballFocus.com, including the playoffs, Arrington was targeted a grand total of 78 times, allowing 50 completions for a rate of 14.6 YPC. He also gave up five touchdowns.
Arrington played in all 16 games for the Patriots in 2012, starting 12. He began the year as the team’s starting right cornerback opposite Devin McCourty. He remained in that spot until the midpoint of the season, moving to the slot position following the team’s acquisition of Aqib Talib, and the emergence of rookie Alfonzo Dennard.
Arrington struggled in the early portions of the season, but came on late after moving to the slot (and latter moving back to the RCB position following injuries to Talib and Dennard).
Arrington's best season was in 2011 when he managed to get 7 interceptions, this made the fact that he also allowed more than 1,700 receiving yards almost palatable.
Arrington was re-signed by the Patriots this offseason on a four-year $16 million deal, with $6.5 million in signing bonuses, was Arrington worth this much to the Patriots, many would argue the case that he isn’t but ultimately the Patriots are starved at cornerback.
This season could be Arrington's last, after the second year of his contract, nothing is guaranteed and the Patriots could easily cut ties with Arrington if he performs poorly this season. The slot corner is proving to be a position of need in the NFL especially as they are now considered starters due to the utilization of sub-packages in the NFL (57 percent of defensive snaps by New England last season). Arrington is not a player who should have garnered the contract he received, his time in New England should be up at the end of this season if he under-performs.
For Arrington to survive beyond this season he needs to get at least 6 interceptions and allow less than 1,000 receiving yards — a tall ask for one of the most burnt corners in the NFL.
9. Louis Delmas – FS, Detroit Lions
Delmas is a safety with a lot to prove this season. After succumbing to injury last season, the starting defensive back of the Detroit Lions is now on a make or break season. The Lions' secondary was not a highlight for the coaching staff last season and will be looking for improvement.
Last season Delmas only played in eight games for the Lions. His career numbers have been slowly declining every season since his rookie year in 2009 and has not been the presence on the field the Lions need. Over the last two seasons (2011-12, 2012-13) Delmas has totaled 89 total tackles, 0 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery and 1 pass defense.
Delmas is not at the level he should be playing in the NFL and he is in the hotseat this season. Delmas needs to stay healthy for the Lions and head coach Jim Schwartz may have no choice but to cut him and move forward to the future if the defensive back can not prove himself during this coming season.
For Delmas to make it to the Lions roster in 2014, he needs to start every game this season and get more than 5 turnovers, then he earns himself a one season lifeline.
10. Hakeem Nicks – WR, New York Giants
Nicks played in 13 games last season for the Giants, he was given every opportunity to be a play-maker by quarterback Eli Manning who targeted him 100 times, problem being, Nicks only caught 53 of those passes. In his rookie season, Nicks was targeted less, made less receptions but totaled more receiving yards than in 2012.
Nicks only made three touchdowns last season, whilst he was injured for some of the games, Nicks was a non-factor in the Giants' offense. 692 was the number of receiving yards (according to NFL.com) Nicks achieved last season and he would be looking to improve upon this number next season. The Giants need Nicks to improve this season or he could be finding a new team like former teammate Mario Manningham.
The Giants need to be more consistent in the receiving game, Manning can not only rely on Cruz to move the chains. Nicks needs to make improvements overall this season in his route running and timing with quarterback Eli Manning, for Nicks to succeed this season there needs to be better timing between the pair.
Nicks is a fringe player who can be seen as dispensable at the season's end if he isn’t productive enough. The Giants have quality players on the roster, the former 2009 first-round draft pick (19th overall) needs to be a face in the end zone this season and he can be a mainstay on the Giants' roster.
For the Giants to keep Nicks on the roster this coming season, he needs more than 70 receptions, 1,200 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.
There we have it people, these 10 players need to have a productive season this time round as they are currently on the hot seat. Without a productive season, these players could be free agents at some stage over the next 12 months.
Whilst many people will argue about some, it isn’t just always about quarterbacks in the NFL, there are other cogs in the engine that help the engine move forward.
If you have a player you think is noteworthy, comment below with who you think is living on a knifes edge this season.