What's The Worst Run NFL Franchise?

So now that my third semester of law school is done and that I have accepted a position at a law firm in the city called Ben Jarvis Green Ellis, I have plenty of time to do what I enjoy. I am good at three things: Fighting, screwing, and blogging about sports news. I've already done one of those today, so what's the other going to be? Huh? Anyways, I have a laundry list of posts I would like to do and now I actually have time to do them as well as getting back to write some Box Score Tonight's. If you have anything you'd like to see myself or GOI rant or talk about feel free to comment or send us an e-mail at gameofinchesblog@gmail.com. But since nobody ever does, I'm just gonna write about what I want to.

And the first topic I'd like to discuss in what I'll call my Winter Break Fire Side Chats (BOOM, that's right, an FDR reference) is what is the worst run NFL franchise? It's a question I've posed on many podcasts but I'd like to devote a full discussion to this topic. If you had asked me this even six weeks ago I would have said the Oakland Raiders because despite all the great things Al Davis has done for Oakland and for football, he has become senile and moronic with his decision making in the post Rich Gannon era. While the Raaaaiiiiders *think Chris Berman saying this* are in this discussion, I don't think they're the clear cut favorite anymore- mainly because they're winning games. So here's my list

1) Washington Redskins

Geez, where to begin. OK, so the Redskins started off the off season with a great decision in hiring Mike Shanahan. And then they trade a second round and either a third or fourth round pick to get Donovan McNabb. At the time, this seemed like a great idea because then-QB Jason Campbell seemed to be going nowhere. However, this turned out to be an awful decision because McNabb is old and washed up and seems to not be good anymore. AND THEN they give a 34 year old McNabb a five year contract extension with $40 million in guaranteed money. AND THEN Rex Grossman has to finish a game versus the Detroit Lions (in which Grossman soon fumbles and Donkey Kong Suh gets a TD) AND THEN they lose to the Detroit Lions AND THEN there are talks that Grossman will soon become the starter. This series of events alone is enough to make the Redskins earn a spot on this list, but this is just the quarterback problem they have.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder does not know how to run a football team and keeps giving huge contracts to big names players without (or just not successfully) looking at the players talent. And Donovan McNabb is just one example, but not even the best example on the team. The epitome of this is Albert Haynesworth. A player who has not only the richest contract of any defensive player but has one of the richest NFL contracts in its history. Yet this same player is one who refuses to start because he won't play in a 3-4 system and one, when on the field, isn't that good.

There's clearly a chemistry element that needs to be present when playing a team sport like football and Dan Snyder and this organization clearly seems to be lacking this concept- and as a result, he has put a poor product on the field.

So for channeling your inner Al Davis and paying for name brand recognition and not paying for talent and for not spending money smartly, the Redskins earn the number one spot on this list.

2) Denver Broncos

Bill Belichick is the greatest NFL coach currently coaching and might be the best NFL head coach of all time. His teams consistently make the playoffs, go far in the playoffs and oh yeah, he has three rings out of his four trips. This is a man who clearly knows his shit. His former assistants however have not panned out so well. After seeming failures in Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, and Charlie Weis, the Broncos decided to make it oh-for-four by hiring Josh McDaniels. McDaniels has since been fired (and rightfully so) but his brief stint on this team has left a long lasting negative impact.

I'm not going to get into whether drafting Tim Tebow in the first round was a good or not. While the pick was universally frowned upon as a bad decision, if Tebow is the next Michael Vick, then it was a fantastic decision. But since we haven't really seen Tebow play, I'm not going to judge one way or another. I'm also not going to fault them for trading away Peyton Hillis. Knowshon Moreno looks really good and is their back of the future. However, what I will judge the Broncos on is trading away two top 12 (at minimum) talented players at their position in Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler.

When McDaniels first got to Denver, he wanted to trade for Matt Cassel- his QB up in New England. That inherently is fine because as a coach, you want YOUR players to help run YOUR system. But when you have Jay Cutler, who had just come off of a Pro Bowl year and is a great young talent that cost your franchise a first round pick, there's no need to even think about trading for Matt Cassel. Now I love what Cassel is doing playing for the Kansas City Patriots, but when you have a franchise quarterback on your side, you shut your mouth and thank your lucky stars. Plus, with what Kyle Orton is doing in Denver, it's clear whatever system they have up there can be implemented by any high level quarterback. Now as a Bears fan I thank McDaniels and the Broncos, but if I were a Denver fan, I would be pissed.

Then, a year later, they trade Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall. Marshall was a bit more justifiable because of his off the field issues but (a) I don't read a thing about his off the field issues in Miami now and (b) those issues never affected his game. Marshall went out and just was a baller. And then to top it all off, one of the picks Denver got from Miami for Marshall they used on a wide receiver. Now while I have always had a man crush on former Illinois alum Brandon Lloyd since I saw him briefly play in Chicago, but he doesn't hold a candle talent-wise to Marshall. And I also like Kyle Orton from a talent perspective, but he's also nowhere close to Jay Cutler.

For letting Josh McDaniels run your team and run your franchise into the ground you have earned a spot on this list. Congratulations Denver!

3) Arizona Cardinals

I am still upset that the Cardinals released Matt Leinart. I hate Leinart because of the constant attention he got while at USC, but this past year has made me a "Leinart Guy." While I'm saddened to learn that being benched and watching Kurt Warner play did not help Leinart with his off the field problems, as Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Young has showed, you can have off the field problems and perform at a high level on the field. Although you can get away with decisions like releasing Leinart if you have really good back ups. However, Derek Anderson is not "really good". And what's worst of all, everybody knew how bad Derek Anderson was and Arizona should have known how bad Derek Anderson was. You can fix off the problems (if it even becomes a problem on the field) but you can't fix bad talent- especially at the quarterback position.

Although this is not the only bad thing the Cardinals have done. The Cardinals deserve some flack for drafting Beanie Wells with their first overall pick a few years back. Royally messing up first round picks means you are going to get a spot on this list (don't worry Chicago, you'll be coming up soon). Beanie Wells was a great talent in college and still has the physical tools to be a good football player, but he has always had a body of glass and you can't take a consistent injury risk with your first overall pick. Fantasy players have been aware of this concept for years and years and the Cardinals should have known this as well.

And for that Arizona, you deserve to be last place in the worst division in all of professional sports and to earn a spot on this list.

4) Chicago Bears

It's hard to criticize a team that will probably win their division and get a first round bye, but here I go. Maybe I'm just a typical self-deprecating Bears fan but Chicago does not have a good organization. Now they have made some great decisions in the past few years like trading for Jay Cutler, signing Julies Peppers, and hiring Mike Martz. But they have made some awful ones as well that I can't overlook.

Here's a list of the Bears first pick in recent years: Major Wright (3rd round), Jarron Gilbert (3rd round), Chris Williams, Greg Olson, Danieal Manning (2nd round), and Cedric Benson. The only one of these selections I like is Manning and even he's just a role player. I know TBO will fight me on this but I don't think Greg Olson's all that. And while Chris Williams was on the board Pro Bowl lineman Jeff Otah was sitting there for the Bears disposal. I could go on and on, but needless to say, the Bears are horrible at drafting top tiered talent and that's a major indicator of how good a franchise is. As with any professional sport, it's extremely hard to sustain constant success with poor drafting choices (see Beane, Billy). So when a team constantly drafts poorly, it's probably a good indicator of how well that team will do in the future.

I also dislike the fact that Lovie Smith is still the team's head coach. TBO brought up a good point on a recent podcast that the players love Lovie and play for Lovie, and after watching teams like Minnesota this year, that's an extremely important quality for a coach to have. But at the same time, the head coach is the main facilitator and the main coordinator on his team. So when your head coach is bad at this, it makes for a frustrating experience. The main example of this is the Cover-2/Tampa-2 defense. Lovie loves his Cover-2 defense. Now it's worked well with Julius Peppers this year, but we really don't have the full roster for it to work anymore and his refusal to change this is not a good sign for a head coach. This was a man that everybody universally hated and wanted gone 11 months ago and the team realized this, and still kept him on.

Now recently the power of control has been taken out of the hands of Lovie. Martz seems to have full control over this offense and since the Bob Babich/puppet master experience, Rod Marinelli has a sturdy handle on this defense. And I'm pretty sure after the Adam Archuleta and Orlando Pace fiascoes, the team took control away from Lovie from choosing his former Rams players as well.

So for having a poorly managed front office, drafting poorly, and keeping a bad head coach on the team just for money purposes, the Chicago Bears earn a spot on this list.

5) Oakland Raiders

Going along the theme of keeping on bad head coaches, Raiders head coach Tom Cable assaulted a player and still kept his job. And again, a team heading in the right direction so I'm actually going to lay off of them (ish), but they've still made some awful awful awful awful awful decisions in the past. This is the team that still drafted JaMarcus Russell with the number one overall pick. Rex Grossman is still is league and yet Russell is not. I think that goes to show you what kind of player Russell is. This is the team that drafted Darrius Heyword-Bey over Michael Crabtree. Now I understand Crabtree is not an elite wide out (as I'm sure many fantasy owners can tell us) but he's light years ahead of where Bey is. This is still the team that gave up a first round pick for Richard Seymour. Now as good as Seymour is, he's not worth a first round pick and the massive contract he received. This is still the team that gave no name defensive tackle Tommy Kelly the largest contract (at the time) to a defensive tackle.

Now I would have put drafting Darren Mcfadden on this list but he seems to be worth the pick now. I also like Jason Campbell and he's doing very well for this team. And this team seems to be clicking and gelling really well so as much shit as I give Al Davis (mostly justifiably), he gets big ups for how well this team is playing.

But for a recent history of poor choice after poor choice after poor choice, the Oakland Raiders deserve a spot on this list.

6) New York Jets

This team had made a lot of decisions in the past two years and a lot of them are really good ones. The hiring of Rex Ryan is a great decision and I enjoy him as a head coach. This team has a great defense led by one of the greatest defensive players currently playing the game in Darrelle Revis. I like that Ryan brought Bart Scott over with him and that they traded for half of the best relatives in football in Antonio Cromartie. I like the fact that this franchise knows the important of lines- especially the offensive line. A fact my Chicago Bears seemed to have forgotten about (another strike against them). Yet there are a handful of these decisions- all on the offensive side of the ball- that helps the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets earn a spot on this list.

Oh boy, where to begin. I guess we'll go with first off drafting the most injury prone collegiate running back ever in Joe McKnight. And then choosing McKnight over Danny Woodhead to make your team. Hey Jets, the New England Patriots also watched Hard Knocks along with the rest of us and knew like the rest of us that Danny Woodhead was good. Then, you allowed Woodhead to destroy you on Monday Night Football.

Next, we get to another running back in L.T. (I only use Tomlinson's initials because (a) good lawd the man has a really long name and (b) Do you know how to spell his first name, because I sure as hell do not. But I digress.) At the beginning of the year, it looked like Tomlinson was the better back than former Pro Bowler for the Jets Thomas Jones. Both men essentially got the same contract, but L.T. looked like it was worth it to release Jones. But now nine weeks later, this is not true. Tomlinson looks old and worn down and has been consistently losing carries (and rightfully so) to Shonn Greene. Whereas Jones looks awesome and even while playing with a top 5 running back in Jamaal Charles is still putting up numbers and being extremely effective.

Then, we get to Mark Sanchez. Poor poor Mark Sanchez. Now I saw Sanchez play a handful amount at the beginning of the year and he looked pretty good to me. While I heard everybody and their mother talk about Sanchez's poor accuracy, he looked pretty good to me. His decision making also greatly improved as he was throwing MUCH less picks. But like L.T. the season wore on and he was exposed. Unlike his fellow draft mate and first round draft pick Josh Freeman, Sanchez seemed to regress. His completion percentage has stayed consistent throughout his short pro career (which is a bad sign, you'd like to see that improve- especially considering how low Sanchez started out at), but the interceptions starting coming back. I have legitimate concerns about Sanchez's career going forward and that's not good news for a 5th overall selection from 2009. And considering how important a QB is to a team, especially a Super Bowl ready team, is a major no-no.

Lastly, we get to the Jets receivers. While the talent of Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards is far superior than that of Chansi Stuckey and Jerricho Cotchery, and it really didn't cost the franchise a whole lot to get these guys, I think they're a bad fit to be paired with Sanchez. For a guy who has accuracy questions, pairing him with two guys with horrible hands and catch rates and high drop rates is a bad idea. I think for Sanchez, a guy like Earl Bennett of Davone Bess would be better suited to complement Sanchez's strengths. I know Cotchery is supposed to be that guy and I know Holmes and Cotchery have dropped and missed a crap ton of easy passes to give people more of an excuse to hate on Sanchez, but I think this receiving corps is a good one, just not a good one for Mark Sanchez.

So for a constant string of bad decisions to hurt your offense, the New York Jets round out this list.

P.S. I know one of the three GOI readers is a HUGE Jets fan so I'm sorry to call out your team. But I also called out my team as well, so....

Runner's Up: San Francisco 49ers (for drafting Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers), Carolina Panthers (have you seen their roster?)

Some of the best organizations out there....

1) New England Patriots

Call me a homer but Bill Belichick is probably the smartest guy in football and is making an offense consisting of Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead and is Randy Moss-less look like The Greatest Show On Turf. And I can't name you more than two players on this defense yet they look amazing right now.

2) Pittsburgh Steelers

Dick LeBeau is a defensive genius which automatically boosts the value of your franchise. And they have offensive weapons galore with a workhorse stud in Rashard Mendenhall, an elite quarterback, above average wide outs like Hines Ward and a stud in Mike Wallace. They traded away their best wide receiver last year and still that offense hasn't missed a beat. They draft well, they play well, and they win Super Bowls.

3) Philadelphia Eagles

They just traded away their franchise quarterback and the face of their team Donovan McNabb to a division rival which turned out to be a double whammy. Not only do they get picks and not have to start McNabb, but a team in their division gets stuck with a crappy QB. They get Michael Vick for pennies, insert him in their great system, and he'll probably win the MVP this year. They draft well with guys like LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson. They have a great defense and is keeping Jim Johnson's legacy in tact and Andy Reid knows football. Sure, they don't make it to Super Bowls like they should, but making the playoffs and going as far as they do year after year after year is a great accomplishment.

I'm also going to overlook the fact that they gave Kevin Kolb a huge contract to sit on the bench. Everyone gets ONE mulligan.


The 'Bright' One said...

i think i'm still missing what mark sanchez's strengths are? he has to be the more overrated QB in the league. give me an objective reason why he is better than derek anderson

kevin.thurston said...


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