The NFL's All-Overrated Team: Part One. (2015 Edition)
Back in 2013, I did a similar list to this...
And boy was I right.
In case you didn't read the last one or just don't feel like remembering or you like being difficult, here's a reminder.
In order to be considered overrated, you have to be considered pretty damn good. I'm not gonna crack down on the third year corner that is considered "meh" by fans of the team.
The guys I'm writing about here are pretty talented, and I'm only targeting the guys who get... just way too much credit for what they supposedly do.
Now, I'm going to ask you a very serious favor.
I know how NFL fans.
I know, I know you are very passionate, and some of you do this weird thing where you live vicariously through your team.
Looking at you, 14 year old me, crying after a playoff loss.
There's a chance that I might talk smack about your favorite football player on here.
And first, I'd like to say.
First, it's my opinion, I'm entitled to mine, as you are entitled to yours, and I would love to debate our opinions foolishly until the end of time.
It's like crossfit.
I think crossfit is stupid.
Then again, I don't look anywhere near as good as Seth Rollins.
Secondly, I'm gonna be harsh.
I'm sorry, but the players I'm going to mention, they're beloved by hundreds of thousands.
I don't need to build them up, everyone else has already done that, I'm coming after these players, trying to show you why I think they get too much credit.
So if you, and by you, I mean "PackersFan2011" wants to launch a bunch of personal attacks, because I sprinkled some kryptonite on Superman, I'm gonna be more irritated than bothered.
Quarterback- Aaron Rodgers
Oh yeah, I'm comin' out swinging.
Hold your beer guts, cheeseheads, your boy is still an elite quarterback.
But we absolutely have to stop calling him the best.
I'd even give up top three.
But he's not the best.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear here... I care about more than stats.
I care about film, I care about significance to team, I care about how that player performs in rough situations.
Stats are important, wins are important, but there's just so much more to it than that.
Let's start with the good.
We are discussing the reigning league MVP here.
In 2014, Aaron Rodgers threw for 4,381 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions as he lead the Packers to a 12-4 record and a division championship.
You really can't argue with those numbers!
That Aaron Rodgers... He sure can play.
When you're the best quarterback in the NFL, you deserve all the accolades in the world.
Is he the best quarterback in the NFL?
Sure, those numbers were impressive...
But they weren't the best.
Andrew Luck threw for almost 500 more yards as well as 2 more touchdowns than Rodgers in 2014.
Of course, people are quick to mention that he threw three times as many interceptions as well.
Which is fair...
I mean, Rodgers threw fewer picks, but he also had Eddie Lacey eating carries, as well as Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson hauling in passes.
Remember who lead the Colts in rushing?
And while T.Y. Hilton is good for the occasional big play, the only reliable target Luck had after him was a 36 year old Reggie Wayne...
But again, stats don't tell the whole story, do they?
I mean, the reason this is a QB-driven league is that the QB's lead the teams to wins!
And don't get me wrong, Aaron Rodgers, he got em close!
A big lead in the NFC championship!
A game that...
I mean... isn't that the story of the game?
The Seahawks' offense sputtered and spilled for the majority of the game, turning the ball over 5 times and was shut out during the first half. The Packers found themselves in the redzone three times and only came away with three points...
And it's not like they were struggling on the ground, they did managed to rack up 135 yards on the ground.
So where do you place the blame?
How about the quarterback who was obviously intimidated by the secondary?
Aaron Rodgers only tested cornerback Richard Sherman once... and it was intercepted.
Ultimately, he only completed 19 of 34 passes, didn't break 200 yards, and threw 2 interceptions.
I mean... the Packers defense did their job.
The receivers were getting open.
They were making headway on the ground.
You can blame the kid who botched the onside kick, but in all reality, the Seahawks handed Rodgers the game and he dropped the snap.
But... Hey, we're talking about the Seahawks.
Maybe the best defense we've seen since the Ravens in 2000.
Most QBs struggle.
I mean, Tom Brady didn't, but...
So, maybe a different opponent.
Like hey, who sucked last year.
Let me just see who the Raiders beat.
Ah, the Bills.
The Packers played the Bills.
And oh my god.
Did Aaron Rodgers blow that game or what.
He threw the ball 42 times, and he only completed 17 passes for 185 yards and 2 picks.
Against a team that lost to the Raiders.
Again, the Packers defense wasn't intimidated.
Again, Eddie Lacey did work on the ground, leading the team on their way to 158 rushing yards.
But Rodgers just couldn't handle playing somewhere that wasn't in Wisconsin.
Oh, you didn't know?
Yeah, Rodgers doesn't bring the heat unless he's in legendary Lambeau.
On the road, Rodgers threw for 2,047 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions while leading the Packers to a 4-4 record.
Yeah, not bad.
It's not like Andrew Luck threw for 2,427 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions on the road in only his third season.
Let's talk about the MVP trophy for a second.
I was under the impression that it stood for Most Valuable Player.
It stood for MVP when Adrian Peterson almost singlehandedly carried the Vikings to the playoffs.
It stood for MVP when Tom Brady threw 50 TDs and the Patriots went 16-0.
Hell, it stood for MVP when Aaron Rodgers threw 45 TDs and the Packers went 15-1.
But... When you don't even lead the league in yards or touchdowns, and your team didn't get homefield advantage...
How does that make you MVP?
Sure, he only threw five interceptions...
But other QBs had impressive seasons too.
How the hell did anyone other than J.J. Watt get the award?
Despite being a defensive end in a 3-4, he became the first player IN NFL HISTORY to have multiple 20 sack seasons.
Makes my head hurt.
But again, it's a quarterback's league, and the best quarterback got the hardware last year.
And by hardware, of course...
I mean the Lombardi Trophy.
If Andrew Luck is number two, because... No third year QB should throw 40 TDs, and I'm giving Rodgers good ol' number three...
That means Tom Brady is the very best.
Let's be honest, if anyone else was under center for that Patriots team, they would've been closer to Jameis than Lombardi this year.
Julian Edelman? Talented, but no Jordy Nelson.
Brandon LaFell? I mean... Meh?
I won't pretend that Gronk isn't maybe the most dominant player in the NFL, but... compared to Jordy and Eddie and Randall and... Well.. You get the idea.
But let's drop the nonsense for a second.
Let's forget who has more targets.
Let's forget who won what hardware during the season.
There's an easy way to compare these two players.
We have to find a common ground.
And it just so happens that I found one.
The Seattle Seahawks.
In back-to-back games, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers played the same Seahawks team.
Let's go ahead and run the numbers.
The New England Brady's- 28. The Seattle Seahawks- 24.
The Green Bay Rodgers- 22. The Seattle Seahwks- 22.
Tom Brady Stats- 37/50 for 328 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers Stats- 19/34 for 178 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
I rest my case.
Runningback- DeMarco Murray
I don't think I'll get as much backlash on this choice as I did on the last one.
I really don't think anyone will fight me on this.
Before last season, DeMarco Murray was...
Well... He was decent.
He wasn't every really exceptional and he was known better for being injury prone.
Before 2014, he had never played in all 16 games.
Then suddenly, he had a breakout season.
Outta nowhere, Murray broke loose for 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns, 1,845 of which were on the ground.
For perspective, Murray had rushed for 1,784 yards... over the last two seasons combined.
You can't really give him all the credit, can you?
The Cowboys drafted Zack Martin at guard and really committed to the run.
And I mean committed.
Including the playoffs, the Cowboys ran the ball five hundred and fifty-seven times.
That's a lot.
Even scarier is when you consider that Murray took 436 of them.
Okay folks, I'm gonna bring up some history.
After a runningback carries over 400 times?
It doesn't go well.
In 1998, Jamal Anderson rushed for 1,846 yards after getting over 400 carries.
The next year? He tore his ACL.
In 2000, Eddie George got over 400 carries and had 1,500 yards.
He was never the same again, failing to even break 1,000 yards the next year.
Ricky Williams was the focus of the Dolphins offense in 2003, rushing for 1,300 yards.
Today he's known as one of the NFL's bigger busts.
In 2006, Larry Johnson rushed over 400 times and he racked up over 1,700 yards.
The next year? Didn't even break 600.
So... DeMarco Murray, far away from the best offensive line in the league?
Not only am I not optimistic about 2015... I don't know if he'll ever return to 2014 form.
It's not a good sign when sources inside Dallas called him expendable.
Fullback- Marcel Reece
See, I'm a Raiders fan! I'm hard on my own players!
The reality is that for too long, people desperately wanted the Raiders to get the ball to Reece more often.
He's an unconventional player that doesn't really fit a position.
He's fast, versatile, and can line up pretty much anywhere on the field.
However, despite how talented he may be, and despite how amazing he is in Madden, he never seemed to be as involved in the Raiders offense as many believed he should be.
Let me tell you why that is.
Because he's unreliable.
The very thing that makes him a great player is the reason he isn't.
He's okay at a lot of things without being really great at anything.
He doesn't have the desired quickness or speed to be an every down runningback, he's nowhere near big enough to play tight end, and his hands just aren't consistent enough to line up out wide consistently.
He's not really good enough to be used consistently anywhere on the field.
In the right offense, he might be great.
In New England? They'd love him.
New Orleans? He'd have 500 yards.
In Oakland, where young pieces are desperately struggling to form an identity?
I don't see it.
Wide Receiver- AJ Green
When you're building an elite #1 receiver, I imagine it would look a lot like AJ Green.
6'4, 200 pounds, 4.5 40, 35 inch vertical, solid route runner, with good hands.
What's not to love?
Even with mediocre quarterback play, AJ Green has continued to be the most dangerous option on the Bengals offense.
In every year of his career, he's had at least 1,000 yards receiving and in two of those seasons, he's had double digit TDs.
As far as starting receivers go, Green is a pretty good one.
But he's not great.
He's never really been the guy.
People love wide receivers.
Calvin Johnson has more highlights than a prom queen during her senior pictures.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz have both had breakout seasons that took the league by storm.
All off-season long, armchair quarterbacks had heated debates as to "whether Dez caught it".
As this season starts, everyone is ready to crown Antonio Brown the best receiver in the league.
How come AJ Green has never gotten the buzz?
He's had big plays! Remember the botched hail mary against Baltimore?
What a play.
That's really about it.
In all reality, it feels like Green has butterfingers when it counts.
Remember that drop against the Chargers a couple years ago?
What about the fumble in Pittsburgh last year?
In fact, he just seems to disappear in big games.
He only had three catches in the playoff loss two years ago.
Combined through four games, Green has only had 13 catches, and he's never scored a TD or gone over 100 yards.
Averaged out, AJ Green catches 4 catches for 54 yards and...
He's a bigger guy, and as such, he's not immune to getting dinged up.
When Green is out, the Bengals offense looks sloppy and lethargic.
He's really good...
He's just not great.
In my opinion...
Calvin is still the best, then it's really a toss-up between Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant. After that, you've got guys like Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and Demaryus Thomas.
AJ Green is just an afterthought, in my honest opinion.
Tight End- Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham is a big dude.
He's 6'7, 265, runs a 4.5 40, a 39 inch vertical, and plays the position like he's still playing basketball at the U.
He was the biggest weapon in the prolific Saints offense, and even in 2014, an "off year", he still hauled in over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Many consider him the unanimous silver as far as tight ends go...
You can't beat Gronk.
So why is he overrated?
Despite playing tight end, let's be real, he's a wide receiver.
He's a weak blocker, spends more time out wide than on the line, and struggles against the bump and run.
In all reality, Graham is kinda soft.
Well, I've gotta rewind to the 2013 NFL season to really make my point.
Ironically to a game... against the team he now plays for, the Seattle Seahawks.
And not just any game, a playoff game.
In this game, in Seattle, the Seahawks used an interesting strategy.
Instead of doubling down and bumping him at the line, they assigned safety Earl Thomas to him.. man to man.
Just to reiterate.
Earl Thomas covered Jimmy Graham one on one.
5'10, 200 pound Earl Thomas covered 6'7, 265 Jimmy Graham... By himself.
So obviously, Graham went off, scored 11 touchdowns and had 500 yards receiving, right?
Jimmy Graham had one catch for eight yards long after the game was over.
Can't beat someone who's half a foot shorter than him?
I'm not sure we should continue to call him the second best tight end anymore.
Jason Witten is still around.
Travis Kelce is on the way up.
Antonio Gates still has some fire.
If Seattle is smart, they'll send him out wide more often than keep him on the line and let him match up against smaller defensive backs...
And hopefully none of them will be Earl Thomas.