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Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

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  • Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

    by Ryan Cook Ryan CookCorrespondent


    Correspondent Written on January 27, 2010

    Two weeks before another season is due for a close, many franchises are welcoming the cold winter offseason with open arms. Bottom of the food chain teams notably struggled in 2009 with tough losses, poor play, and bad coaching,

    With the NFL Draft only months away, fans eagerly await to see if their team can make a smart pick come April.

    Last season we saw many of the same contenders compete for the worst record in football, and in 2009 we saw much of the same story. Here's a complete evaluation of the worst teams in football.



    1. St. Louis Rams

    From the "Greatest Show on Turf" to the laughing stock of the NFL, Rams fans had the right to buy out the brown paper bag aisle in their local Costco this season.

    Posting a pathetic 1-15 season, head coach Steve Spagnualo was left scratching his head as to why his young and promising team struggled to get off the mark. With constant quarterback changes and sloppy wide receiver play, the Rams season went from a possibility to an eye sore in the matter of a month.

    Problems That are Re-Occurring:

    In St. Louis, it's simple, the quarterback position is their biggest problem.

    Kyle Boller stepped in for seven games this season, but struggled to find his range. After throwing six interceptions and only three touchdown passes, it was time for a change.

    Spagnuolo brought in rookie quarterback Keith Null, and, although his playing time was limited, he managed to post some decent stats at times.

    With the only real talent still sitting at the running back position, you can't help but feel for Steven Jackson. He is still pounding it away and still scoring, and without Jackson the Rams may have become the second 0-16 team in NFL history.

    The Rams have tried replacing just about every position both on field and off field on the roster, but nothing has worked. With a lousy fan base that is resembling the New Jersey Nets at the moment, the Rams may be stuck in a rut for years to come.

    Why They Will Improve:

    The draft hasn't been kind to St. Louis, but it's done them some favors. With a quarterback or wide receiver needed, Colt McCoy or Dez Bryant may be the target for St. Louis. We'll have to wait and see though.



    2. Detroit Lions

    For once I can actually post something positive about Detroit. Okay, so they were the second worst team in football in 2009, but they still showed some rather promising signs at times during games.

    With wins over Washington and Cleveland during the season, the Lions quarterback play improved as time went on. Unlike the Rams, the Lions don't have too many talent issues. They've got the youth, and they've got the balance...all they need now is the glue to hold it all together.

    Problems That are Re-Occurring:

    The run game. If there is one area that you can identify the Detroit Lions with, it's the running game. However, Barry Sanders is in the past, and Maurice Morris is now the future.

    Or is he?

    Sorry Maurice, but 384 yards in 14 games doesn't really cut it. Touchdowns are needed, especially on the goal line, and that is an area where Detroit has struggled. Ranked 24th in rush yards, the Lions are on a crash course for a new running back.

    Why They Will Improve:

    Two words. Matt Stafford. As much as this guy has failed at times, there is no questioning his heart. Once mentioned in the same sentence with Mark Sanchez this time last year, Stafford has noticeably faded out.

    In a game against the Cleveland Browns (which the Lions won, thanks to Stafford), the term "heart on your sleeve" was tested by Stafford. With a dislocated shoulder, and in an excessive amount of pain, Stafford delivered and actually gave Lions fans some hope for the future.

    He may not be the franchise player just yet, but I do see some talent in this young man.



    3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

    The Bucs shocked everyone with a win over Green Bay during mid-season. It was unexpected, it was exciting, and, above all else, it was promising.

    At the moment, Tampa Bay isn't as bad as people are making out. With three wins on the regular season, head coach Raheem Morris has something to build on.

    Problems That are Re-Occurring:

    Poor defense. Ranked 32nd in run defense, the Buccaneers got burnt more than once during 2009. With a young defense that is led by Ronde Barber, the Buccaneers are lacking the spark that they used to have.

    There is no high flying football, and no competitive nature. They seemed gassed at times, and more often than not struggle to contain prolific wide receivers.

    This is a problem that can be fixed by drafting a safety such as Eric Berry (who is used to playing the deep zone and making interceptions), which is a huge possibility for Tampa Bay.

    Why They Will Improve:

    Quarterback play. Josh Freeman is, in my mind, a potential star. Resembling Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and other young quarterbacks that have come from no-name colleges to make a name for themselves, Freeman's quick passing ability and speedy pocket play is what gives Tampa Bay their possible .500 future.

    Trusty Cadillac Williams is still hanging around, and his run play is still fantastic. With Freeman entering his second season as starter, and Williams still going strong, this is a duo to keep an eye on.



    4. Washington Redskins

    Here's a team that could have more problems than the previously mentioned teams. Criticised since Week 1, Jim Zorn has managed to strike confusion and doubt into this team quite easily.

    Jason Campbell has been listed by many as a "take him or leave him" type quarterback. While many Redskins fans still have faith, Campbell is showing signs of weakening. With talk of possibly signing Michael Vick or Terrell Owens, Campbell needs to pick up his game or he may find himself in a heated position.

    Problems That are Re-Occurring:

    Lack of a run game. Quinton Ganther had a poor season, and the Redskins backups didn't provide any support either. Although Washington is a very pass typical type team, a run game could possibly turn them into a contender.

    The NFC East is unforgiving, and the Redskins are well aware. Having fallen behind now in numerous seasons, having little to no run game has cost them many possible points.

    A trade is a probability, but the draft is the better chance. Toby Gerhart may be the Redskins best option, as he is the type of guy that can be moulded over time. With good hands and great feet, the senior out of Stanford is the Redskins pick of the crop.

    Why They Will Improve:

    Mike Shanahan. If he's proven anything to anybody, it's that he can coach. Having several good years with the Denver Broncos, a quick turn around seems a likelihood for the NFL expert. Drafting, throwing, running, catching, winning, and pep talks...Mike is the guy to get it done for Washington.
    :ramlogo:

  • #2
    Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

    Lousy fan base? really? Good to see another reporter who really knows his stuff.

    Paper bags? I didn't see any...

    Costco? Have you ever *been* to this area?
    "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

      Originally posted by eldfan View Post
      by Ryan Cook Ryan CookCorrespondent


      Correspondent Written on January 27, 2010

      . With a quarterback or wide receiver needed, Colt McCoy or Dez Bryant may be the target for St. Louis. We'll have to wait and see though.


      Did this guy just suggest we take C. McCoy with the first pick?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

        Yes. Yes he did =(.
        "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

          Originally posted by BrokenWing View Post
          Lousy fan base? really? Good to see another reporter who really knows his stuff.
          Compared to the rest of the league (Jacksonville excepted), it is.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

            Really? So there's no one on this forum? What about the screaming horde of LA fans people like to bring up? When I hear "lousy fan base" I think a team with few hardcore fans...we don't seem to have that problem if this Forum or the talk of LA is any indication.
            "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

              Originally posted by BrokenWing View Post
              Lousy fan base? really? Good to see another reporter who really knows his stuff.
              I was thinking the exact same thing when I read that... We are far from having a lousy fan base...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                Originally posted by BrokenWing View Post
                Really? So there's no one on this forum? What about the screaming horde of LA fans people like to bring up? When I hear "lousy fan base" I think a team with few hardcore fans...we don't seem to have that problem if this Forum or the talk of LA is any indication.
                Let's compare our online community to that of say.....the Bears. Or the Chiefs. Or the Browns.

                Our online community is significantly smaller, with significantly fewer regular participants. Whether or not a fan base is lousy is not based on the number of people in it, but rather the number of people in it compared to that of other teams.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                  The Rams have tried replacing just about every position both on field and off field on the roster, but nothing has worked. With a lousy fan base that is resembling the New Jersey Nets at the moment, the Rams may be stuck in a rut for years to come.

                  Doesn't this guy know that replacing a team at different position's with young players takes time for experience , knowledge ,chemistry and understanding the coaching philosophy of a new coach to gel? This guy doesn't even mention the accomplishment of Laurenitis this year as a rookie!!! Who is this guy?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                    6 wins in 3 seasons, a little tough to blame the fans for this.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                      [QUOTE=PeoriaRam;330316]Let's compare our online community to that of say.....the Bears. Or the Chiefs. Or the Browns.

                      Hey Peoria please educate me! I think I understand your inclusion of the Bears and Browns but didn't get it about the Chiefs?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                        Originally posted by jkramsfan View Post
                        6 wins in 3 seasons, a little tough to blame the fans for this.
                        one of those wins is most memorable; win vs cowboys
                        LA RAMMER

                        It's Jim not Chris
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                          Beware, every time ANYONE has ANYTHING to say about Saint Louis and its fan base, Peoria is the first to come on and bash them for w/e reason. I guess living in Peoria has addled his brains. Our Fan Base is middle of the road to great when succesful and our seats at EJD are PACKED when we have a product worth watching on the field. If you listen to Saint Louis 101 ESPN or actually LIVED in saint louis like i do and see people sporting Rams gear (and not bags) and discussing the state of the Rams all the time you'd know that.

                          Peoria isn't east saint louis and is actually closer to chicago, why don't you go root for the Bears if all you have to do is moan about everything Rams related...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Bottom of the Barrel: Evaluating 2009's Worst NFL Franchises

                            What does the fan base have to do with the RAMS being in a rut? We need a good Quarterback to go with our outstanding running back. We also need to use that 1st pick on a great defensive player. There are a couple out there for grabs. AND THIS REALLY INFURIATES ME, why on earth did we get rid of great players like Warner, Bruce and Holt. I remember driving 4 to 6 hours just to watch them in cities like Charlotte NC, Indianapolis IN and St Louis MO.

                            Comment

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                            • MauiRam
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                              Showtime's "Inside the NFL" did a magnificent job capturing the Detroit Lions' locker room after an embarrassing 31-21 loss in Green Bay last season. Uncomfortable silence, weary veterans and a defeated coaching staff strolling around haplessly with their hands in their pockets moments after the NFL's first 0-16 season was officially in the books — an entire fan base's collective frustration was captured on film. The footage said everything you needed to know about the worst NFL season of all time.

                              The Lions will win a game in 2009. I have no doubts. They're too improved, too angry, too well-coached not to. Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham bring a defensive intensity that's been missing in Detroit for years. Julian Peterson, Jon Jansen and Larry Foote provide much needed veteran leadership to the locker room. Rookies Matt Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew bring hope, talent and unlimited potential to a team that was void of playmakers in '08.

                              The Lions will win a game in 2009, hell, maybe even four or five. But there are three other teams in the league that I'm not as sure about. Here are the three NFL teams that I could see going WINLESS in '09.

                              Cleveland Browns
                              Things haven't gone too well for the city of Cleveland this summer. The Cavaliers were shocked by the upstart Orlando Magic in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals in May, LeBron James has since come out publicly and said he's not re-signing anytime this summer, and the Indians — viewed as a favorite in the American League Central prior to the season — are one of baseball's biggest disappointments four months into the season

                              And then there are the Browns.

                              The same day Cleveland fans jumped for joy over news of a Brady Quinn 51-yard touchdown pass in a scrimmage on Sunday, No. 2 receiver Syndric Steptoe's agent came out and publicly blamed new coach Eric Mangini for the season-ending injury his client suffered Saturday.

                              "The coaches should more carefully weigh the risk of injury in practice decisions,'' agent Jerome Stanley said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "My understanding is that the team was on the field for a walk-through the day before the scrimmage. The walk-through turned into a full practice in a driving rain."

                              Thus has been the Browns' offseason. For every fleeting moment of hope, there's been another of disappointment. The loss of a guy named Syndric Steptoe is not why I foresee the Browns having a dreadful year; but it certainly doesn't help. With the February trade of Kellen Winslow and the hot/cold offseason involving Braylon Edwards (he's currently not practicing because of an undisclosed injury and was in more trade rumors than Roy Halladay this summer), just who will be receiving passes in Cleveland this season is anybody's guess....
                              -08-13-2009, 10:26 AM
                            • NJ Ramsfan1
                              7 teams in worse shape than the Rams
                              by NJ Ramsfan1
                              While I am not convinced we've "turned the corner" (it will take several more performances like the past two weeks to convince me as such...) I am VERY hopeful we could be headed in the right direction- and whenever I'm feeling down or angry, I try to remember it could be even worse: we could be one of these teams:

                              WORSE THAN THE RAMS:

                              1. Oakland- They top the list. The Raiders are an unqualified disaster- from top to bottom. They have an owner once revered for his football acumen who is now regarded as a clueless meddler. They've run through coaches like people go thru socks. They've drafted poorly. They have a QB in whom they've invested a lot of time and money who completely stinks. Their coach is a guy many feel shouldn't have been handed the job and is now under scrutiny for his treatment of women and for decking an assistant coach. And it's been this way since their Super Bowl appearance vs. Tampa Bay. It won't get better anytime soon.

                              2. Detroit- They've shown no capacity to make us believe they're making any real progress after a winless season. You could even make the argument that they're WORSE this year despite the 1 win; last year they had several near wins and were close. This year, Stafford has taken a beating and there's still a dearth of talent. Many hard times still lie ahead.

                              3. Cleveland- Horrendous. Hard to believe they were the trendy pick only a year ago to make the playoffs. They read their own press clippings, underachieved, and succeeded in getting their team broken up. Derek Anderson showed he's a fluke, but what's worse is this musical QB act by Eric Mangini, who is Bill Belichick minus the winning. Morale is at an all-time low, their offense is dreadful and if you have any doubts as to how bad this team is, hopefully you watched last night's snoozefest vs. Baltimore.

                              4. Kansas City- Boy, Matt Cassel certainly was the tonic this team needed, wasn't he? Fans are disenchanted following Tony Gonzalez' departure, the follies involving their idiot running back, Larry Johnson (since cut) and the lack of any real good football being played on either side of the ball. Todd Haley is yet another coordinator who benefitted from tremendous weapons that made him look good (Warner, Fitzgerald, Boldin, Breaston, etc.), became a "hot commodity" and has subsequently done nothing to show the Chiefs will be good anytime soon. And for good measure, they just suspended a reciever for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

                              5. Tampa Bay- Despite two decent weeks in succession, I don't see Tampa as a team in good shape. Raheem Morris (God, I'm glad he didn't get the Rams job as a few on the forum hoped) hardly looks the part of a guy who's a leader of men. Stingy ownership, a revolving door at QB, and the loss of quality players like Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott, John Lynch and Derrick Brooks make this a major rebuilding job.
                              ...
                              -11-17-2009, 06:49 PM
                            • RamBill
                              Bernie Bytes: Troubled receiver worth a shot
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                              Bernie Bytes: Troubled receiver worth a shot
                              • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

                              Bernie Bytes: Troubled receiver worth a shot : Stltoday


                              The Rams claim wide receiver Titus Young on waivers from Detroit. Reaction: Why not? Obviously there are distemper issues with him. He’s been a head case. He’s been disruptive to his team. But Young also has talent, and in particular has displayed an ability to (A) make plays downfield; and (B) get into the end zone.

                              The Rams can take a look at Young’s head, and see if he’s fixable. At virtually no cost they can give the troubled wideout an opportunity to clean his rep, and get his career on track. If Young isn’t smart or stable enough to take advantage of his second chance then he’ll go down as a hopeless knucklehead, a loon that threw his career into the toilet after entering the league in prime position in 2011. Young was a second-round pick, chosen 44th overall, and was immediately given the chance to take a lot of snaps opposite Calvin Johnson, which can only be viewed as a good thing for a young wideout.

                              Well, Young detonated himself with mad-squirrel behavior, and now it’s onto St. Louis, where the Rams need receivers that can make plays. This is an excellent shot for Young.

                              I don’t understand the talk about the Rams using Young in the slot. Sure, he lined up there some in Detroit, but judging by the data it wasn’t his strong suit.

                              According to Pro Football Focus, in 2012 Young ran 409 pass routes but only 28 came from the slot, and he was targeted only 10 times in slot routes. He caught six for 30 yards. As a rookie, Young ran 486 routes but only 30 from the slot; he was targeted 8 times and did catch all eight for 49 yards and a touchdown. There isn’t much production on display there.

                              Young did some damage outside on deep routes. According to Pro Football Focus, during his two Detroit seasons Young was targeted 25 times on deep balls and caught nine for 357 yards and 4 TDs. That’s nearly 40 yards per catch. Young did drop 5 passes on the deep routes. That’s bad, but at least he got open to drop them.

                              Overall in 2011, Lions quarterbacks had a passer rating of 103.5 when they targeted Young. That’s good. Even with all of his troubles in 2012, Detroit’s passer rating when targeting Young was a respectable 92.2.

                              In two seasons, Young has 10 touchdown receptions on 81 catches. That’s an impressive rate.

                              If Jeff Fisher and staff can untangle this kid’s headwires, the Rams could have something.

                              If the kid is a problem, then he’ll move closer to the dump where wasted careers are deposited.

                              ------------

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                            • r8rh8rmike
                              About All The Rams Have Left Is Their Composure
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                              About all the Rams have left is their composure

                              By Jeff Gordon
                              STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                              10/28/2009

                              So far, anyway, the Rams have handled relentless adversity in a professional manner.

                              They don’t have their star running back spewing insults via Twitter and barking homophobic taunts at media types, as the Chiefs have.

                              They haven’t rendered their head coach a lame duck and forced him to surrender play-calling responsibilities, as the Redskins have.

                              They haven’t had the head coach accused of assaulting one of his assistant coaches, as the Raiders have.

                              They haven’t had the wife of a deposed general manager insulting current management on local radio shows, as the Titans have.

                              All in all, the Rams have maintained their composure through their 0-7 start. But that doesn’t mean the players are happy about it -– or that they are immune to the immense frustration that builds while a team loses 17 games in a row and 34 out of 39 overall.

                              “This has been a brutal stretch the last 2 ½ years,” said defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who has been along for every bit of this suffering. “We have to keep believing in ourselves, believing in the coaching staff and believing in the philosophy they are putting in place.”

                              Of course, that is easier said than done. The Rams need a breakthrough performance to keep from moving closer to the disarray we’re seeing elsewhere.

                              The Rams need to beat the 1-5 Lions. They just do.

                              Yes, the Lions are better than the Rams right now. Yes, they are hosting the Rams on Sunday. They are favored to beat Steve Spagnuolo’s battered team –- and rightfully so.

                              Former Rams coach Scott Linehan is probably staying up nights devising some newer and slightly less vanilla offensive plays to beat his old team. Detroit’s first-year offensive coordinator wants this game big-time.

                              “This is not a game we can take lightly,” said Ryan, a Michigan native who has heard all the Lions jokes while visiting his family between seasons. “Everybody wants to downgrade the Lions . . . there are some talented players on the Lions. They competed with the Saints for two and a half, three quarters.”

                              But some how, some way, the Rams have to win this game. They just do.

                              Losing takes a heavy mental and psychological toll. So does the mounting casualty list, which got longer with the demise of cornerback Bradley Fletcher -– who could be sidelined well into next season with a massive knee injury.

                              Fletcher was just starting to arrive as the physical cornerback the Rams need to play “press” coverage in this defense. Now he faces two surgeries and a long and difficult comeback to regain his full speed and mobility.

                              This was a huge loss, just as the demise of top receiver Laurent Robinson punched a hole in...
                              -10-28-2009, 05:29 PM
                            • RamWraith
                              Wrong Rams people are making changes
                              by RamWraith
                              By Bryan Burwell
                              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                              Friday, Sep. 26 2008
                              As I cast my envious eyes towards Motown where the early stages of a palace
                              coup within the Detroit Lions organization is ongoing, I keep wondering:

                              When, oh, when will it happen here?

                              This is not piling on. This is pure public service. I have been covering sports
                              for more than 30 years, and I can honestly say that I have never been around an
                              operation like the Rams. It's well past time to tear this thing up and start
                              all over again, but the ax still hasn't fallen. So I guess the best way to help
                              move that objective along is by a constant and loud drumbeat for change.

                              The change I'm talking about isn't the superficial band aids that keep
                              happening around here, as they try and patch up the gaping wound that has bled
                              all the life out of this mortally wounded franchise.

                              Quarterbacks and cornerbacks, defensive ends and tackles. These are what we now
                              euphemistically call More Lipstick, More Pigs (and that's only because we can't
                              call it %*@!, and #@*!! in a family newspaper).

                              The changes are the desperate acts of a desperate man and a dysfunctional
                              organization that fail to do anything for the true overall benefit of the
                              franchise.

                              The real change at Rams Park should mimic what is happening in Detroit, where
                              the Lions were so pitiful under Matt Millen's direction (31-84). Millen was
                              finally fired two days ago as the Lions' president and CEO after being roundly
                              criticized over the last decade for having no direction, no purpose, too many
                              bad coaching hires, disastrous drafting history and no other significant
                              accomplishment other than banding the entire region together in a mutual
                              loathing of his unsuccessful act.

                              Well guess what organization has an equally pathetic draft record and has won
                              only four more games over the past five seasons than Millen's sorry, no-account
                              Lions?

                              That would be your sorry, no-account St. Louis Rams.

                              So Millen is out of a job finally for wrecking the Lions, but Jay Zygmunt is
                              still gainfully employed as the primary interior decorator with the Rams?

                              So how does that work?

                              Last we checked, Zygmunt is still listed as president and general manager of
                              football operations, still overseeing this long-standing monument to failure
                              with a résumé pockmarked with mistakes just as glaring as anything Millen
                              manufactured. Yet somehow in a league that rarely tolerates failure for any
                              length of time, Zygmunt is still standing after all these years. And now he has
                              risen to the top of the food chain, while people below him continue to turn
                              this 0-3 season into a joke and the foreseeable future of this franchise into
                              ...
                              -09-26-2008, 05:35 AM
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