Last week I brought you the first of Couch Potato’s Top 5’s, focusing on the breakout players of 2017, the guys who really made us all stand up and take notice. Well I’m going in a slightly different direction in this week’s edition – Top 5 players on their way out.
Simply put, my top 5 players who have seen better days. Now these are by now means my predictions for retirements and most of the list will still be solid starters in the NFL for their experience alone. However these guys aren’t going to lead you to the post season and win you titles, basically if you’re the Head Coach/General Manager you might want to think about their replacements already.
With that cheery and positive note, let us begin…
#5: Darrell Revis, New York Jets
Woah, woah, before I get criticised and start receiving death threats for putting a future Hall of Famer on a list like this, let me get one thing clear. I still think Revis is a great cornerback, he is without a doubt one of the best of time and will still continue to play at a high level, BUT Revis Island is becoming a mirage. Gone are the days when you could stick him 1 on 1 with the opposition’s best wideout and know he’s dealt with.
I think perhaps the best thing at this point in his career might be a change of scenery, he had a fantastic season a year ago and whilst he won’t hit those heights again he is still better than this season just gone. For that reason and for the sheer body of work throughout his career, he doesn’t go any higher on this list.
#4: Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
If the first half of the season wasn’t all the evidence you needed on why Ryan Fitzpatrick is done as a starting calibre quarterback in this league, I don’t know what you were watching?!
I mean come on, 12 touchdowns vs 17 interceptions on the year. 6 interceptions in one game, 6! The previous year in New York might have been a career year for him but he had some pretty good wide receiver play to help him to that and this season was just so bad, he couldn’t have not ended up on this list.
The only reason he isn’t higher? The 3 guys above him have had far better careers.
#3, Matt Forte, New York Jets
Boy, I really seem to be bashing the Jets so far in this article – no offence Jets fans, but it pretty much sums up this season for you to be fair. Anyway, on to Forte, like with Revis I feel bad putting his name on a list like this because he’s been such a brilliantly consistent performer, throughout his career. Although the volume of work he’s put his body through appears to be catching up on him.
He really was the prototypical 3 down back, he has always been a solid runner, great catching out of the back field and a top pass blocker. He did it all at running back, but 9 years of being in for almost every play and being as physical as Forte is has it’s drawbacks. It hasn’t been a terrible year for him, Forte still amassed over 1,000 yards combined rushing and receiving in 14 games (13 starts) but injuries look like they might be taking their toll and with the end to the season we saw from Bilal Powell it looks as though Matt Forte’s days as a starter are over.
#2: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
This one is sure to divide a lot of opinions, Palmer had a fantastic season a year ago and he wasn’t terrible this year, so perhaps he’s too high on the list. After all he proved in the final stretch of the season that he’s still got that gunslinger mentality and ability to make big plays. I also believe he’ll be good enough to get the Cardinals back to the postseason next year, however that will be on the back of an improved defence and mainly on the back of an MVP type season from David Johnson.
So why is he on this list and why so high? Well mistakes have crept into his game more and more this past season, which cost the Cardinals at times. He also seems to be one of those guys who no matter what, won’t win it all for your team. Palmer had some good years (not great) in Cincinnati and took Arizona to the NFC championship game but he stunk up the joint in that game. For all the good in his game, he’s not a big game player and that is why he’s in at number 2.
#1: Eli Manning, New York Giants
What? But he’s won 2 Super Bowl rings and beaten Tom Brady in 2 Super Bowls. Yes I know that and I also know that he had an atrocious 2013 season before coming back the year after and looking back to his best. Truth be told he didn’t have a terrible year this year either, but if you look beyond the pure stats such as yards and touchdown to interception ratio, how much of that was down to Manning? Odell Beckham Jr. was having to make so many of the big pays himself from short, slant routes – he had 518 yards after the catch, the 7th highest in the league (3rd among wide receivers).
Also if you look into the situational stats for Manning, in the 4th quarter this season he has an touchdown to interception ratio of 7:10 and only completed 58.9% of his passes. In the final 2 minutes of the halves his stats are similar, 6:5 touchdown to interception ratio and 59% completion. He doesn’t seem to be as capable at running the 2 minute offense and making big plays late in the game when it matters most.
Eli has been a great underdog quarterback his entire career and it might seem foolish to write him off now, however it seems that his play is diminishing and the Giants would be best suited looking for the quarterback of the future, sooner rather than later.
With that, I’ll wrap up this weeks edition of Couch Potato’s Top 5’s. As always tweet me @CPFootballUK and let me know your opinions and comments.
Guys who just missed the list… Jamaal Charles, Jay Cutler, Eddie Lacy, DeMarcus Ware