NFL Panic Button Teams
While nobody expected the Cardinals to be great, nobody expected them to have absolutely no offensive production with the return of David Johnson who finally got paid and had his eyes set on a 1,000yds rushing and 1,000yds receiving, but that dream has been crushed behind this O-line. While everyone loves to blame Sam Bradford he has taken a beating and remained upright, but with rookie Christian Kirk, struggling to find his way, there are no real playmakers at WR opposite Larry Fitzgerald. This team is looking for answers and as HC Steve Wilks knows rookie QB Josh Rosen can’t fix the problem of the team lacking playmakers. The defense has not held up well against the run, but they can still get to the QB occasionally. There is still a gaping whole opposite CB Patrick Peterson which has been there for years; however, there is no hiding it this season with the offense coming off the field quickly. The Cardinals need to find a quick fix for the O-line to give Bradford and Johnson room to operate, while the defense has a good mix of young and veteran talent in the front 7 to improve their play.
The Bills have a very long season ahead of them which is very clear by Vontae Davis retiring at halftime. While I like Josh Allen a lot, this was not ideal for him to be thrown into the fire as QB1, as a rookie, and Nathan Peterman has finally proved he is not a starter. LeSean McCoy hasn’t been able to find much running room behind an O-line that loss key pieces. The defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone leading to two blowouts in two games led by a poor secondary that has not been the strength they were last year. The team hasn’t been getting much pass rush and may need to fix the run stopping skills 1st as they are always playing from behind. The Bills have a long way to go (or grow), as one of the youngest teams in the league; they can only hope to gain some offensive chemistry between Josh Allen and WRs Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones while the offensive line does anything they can to make space for McCoy. The front 7 needs to apply some pressure and stop the run to help a secondary that proved they could keep teams at bay.
Despite the optimism around the Seahawks, they are clearly rebuilding with the loss of the Legion of Boom minus Earl Thomas, after a contract holdout, an injury to top WR Doug Baldwin, and the loss of TE Jimmy Graham. No matter how much of an MVP caliber player Russell Wilson is he can’t work magic with a depleted roster and lacking running game, as there has been constant change in the backfield over the past few seasons. The defense has struggled to get pressure on the QB with a youth movement in the front 7 along with injuries to LBs Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright; leaving them mostly nameless outside of Thomas. The offensive line was supposed to bring improved play through continuity, but of course, injuries have struck. The return of Baldwin should help Wilson a lot, as a reliable target, but the run game needs to find their guy(s). On the defensive side, some pass rush production needs to be found and a reliable CB or two, while the team also needs to improve against the run, but Wagner’s return helps.
The Lions thought that switching to a defensive coach in 1st year HC Matt Patricia, would be the change they needed, but the defense still can’t stop anyone and continues to lack pass rush. The defense has been carved horribly through the running game and they continue to lack a quality cornerback opposite Darius Slay. The offense has continued to struggle to run the ball, despite a healthy O-line and competition in the backfield, but the same problems continue. While Matthew Stafford has three productive WRs in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay and a good arm to get them the ball, these shootouts or lack thereof (Jets blowout), is not how this team should be operating. The team must find a way to stop running backs from gashing their defense or this season will continue to be a one dimensional Stafford trying to work a miracle. Patricia looks frustrated, but he needs to show that his system works because New England’s players aren’t showing up.
The Raiders fans’ knew the harsh truth once the team traded Khalil Mack, but the pass rush has been close to non-existent and the offense just isn’t clicking to the point that they had to re-sign Martavis Bryant with hope that he can provide a spark. The offense has a chance to rebound, as they have one of the best O-lines in football and a good balance with Marshawn Lynch and Derek Carr, but they need to put it together. The biggest issue is on defense where they can’t stop the run and aren’t very good against the pass either, as Bruce Irvin appears to be the only playmaker. The Raiders need to get the offense going and continue to help their young defenders grow in the front 7. The team is already falling behind in a tough AFC West division and will need to improve quickly if they hope to compete; the defense really needs to find some difference makers to replace Mack.
The Texans appear to be a different team while dealing with injuries early on, poor pass blocking, and a rusty Deshaun Watson. The offense has been effective running the football with Lamar Miller and using him, as a dual threat, but injuries to Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins at different times have slowed them down; as well as, the changes up front which haven’t been ineffective protecting Watson. Watson has started off games very slow, before getting into rhythm late in game for the win, but that’s not winning football. Where is J.J. Watt? The defense has lacked its bread and butter without the pass rushing skills of Watt and Jadeveon Clowney (injury), while the secondary has been prone to the big play. The Texans have the talent on both sides of the ball and the coaching to clean this up, which almost left me to leave them off this list, but with a big game coming up 0-3 could be very possible.