The NFL’s All-Hate Team

You know that guy on the team which colors you don every Sunday that repeatedly infuriates you due to his athletic inadequacy as you simultaneously delve into a second helping of wings and take a swig of beer before exclaiming to your buddies that if you, yourself, were tasked with the same responsibilities in an NFL game, you could perform to a greater standard. Of course you know that guy even if you don’t want to.

These are the dudes who make up the NFL’s All-Hate Team. Reasons that are actually sensible explanations to hate a player such as criminal acts, severe character flaws, participating in scandalous activities, using banned substances or simply being a dick of a teammate carry no weight here. However, other factors such as a lofty draft status, an oversized contract, and most importantly a player sucking to the point you wish his name would never be used in conjunction with football dialogue again mean everything. Without further ado, the NFL’s All-Hate Team:

Quarterback: Nick Foles, Rams

There were a vast array of quarterbacking options who constantly reduce their respective fan base to a haggard state of wistful yearning for greater levels of consistency. Sure, Jets fans despise Geno Smith’s erratic play and whoever directs the Bills offense will be the recipient of much scorn, but they don’t transcend hope the way a player like Foles does. At times, Foles exhibits the quarterbacking skills that make his astounding 27:2 TD-INT ratio in 2011 seems only mildly far-fetched. Then moments later it’s implausible that even in Foles’ most aspirational dreams, such a statistic could be reachable for a quarterback of Foles’ stature. Not to mention those pesky injuries that prevent him from starting more than eight straight games at a time.

Running Back: Trent Richardson, Raiders, Toby Gerhart, Jaguars

At this point, I would like to see John Brenkus and Sports Science conduct a study on whether or not it is physically possible for Richardson to gain more than five yards with a single carry. Heck, maybe even with two carries.

richardson

Consider the following situation: you’re a former Heisman finalist who agrees to a 3-year $10.5 million contract as a free agent to act as the savior and spearhead of the league’s worst team’s rushing attack. You go on to average 3.2 YPC and lose your starting job at running back to a freaking QB who averages nearly a full YPC more and outgains you by 256 yards. Wait, you’re under contract for $10.5 million to sit on the bench? Well shoot, what’s so bad about being Toby Gerhart?

Wide Receivers: Mike Wallace, Vikings, Andre Roberts, Redskins

Wallace actually performed better in Miami last season than often given credit for, as metric stats such as DYAR and DVOA where he ranked 20th and 19th, respectively, suggest he offered some value. His 10 touchdown catches also exceeded his supposed pedestrian-level status in 2014. However, a limited route tree and concentration lapses leading to head-banging drops still persist. And that lucrative $60 million contract he signed back in 2013 isn’t helping his resume.

roberts

The Redskins signed Roberts to a 4-year $16 million deal last offseason to be a reliable slot wideout. He proceeded to accumulate 36 receptions, eight drops and catch less than 50 percent of his targets. In fact, Roberts’ 11 percent drop rate was the highest of any player in the league with 55 or more targets. Okay, just take the word “reliable” out of the first sentence…

Tight End: Jared Cook, Rams

Most of us have moved on, but someone out there is clutching their knees to their chest in a fetal position with bloodshot eyes as they attempt to convince themselves Jared Cook can still evolve into a dominant tight end. Oh wait, that someone is his head coach who drafted Cook in Tennessee and then brought him to St. Louis 3 years later. In fairness, Cook is far from the worst tight end option the Rams could have, he is also far from the least frustratingly inconsistent physically-blessed pass catc…DAMN IT JARED, CATCH THE BALL TWO TIMES IN A ROW!!!

Tackles: Michael Oher, Panthers, Byron Bell, Titans

Titans and Panthers fans engaged in a frivolous laughter of joy after becoming aware that Oher and Bell would not be returning to Tennessee and Carolina, respectively. Unfortunately, such celebratory moods were quickly axed as the teams would eventually swap the incorrigible pass protectors. Bell’s tenure in Carolina was defined by his role as a default starter with GM Dave Gettleman refusing to acknowledge that it was a problem.

bell

Meanwhile, Titans GM Ruston Webster failed to note Oher’s play plummeted violently in his last year in Baltimore and gave him a 4-year $20 million contract last offseason. One year later and the contract was shredded, resulting in the Titans owing $6 million in dead money on their cap in 2014.

Guards: Andy Levitre, Titans, Johnnie Troutman, Chargers

The fact that Levitre isn’t in prison is one of the more notable travesties of the American judicial system as he continues to rob the Titans organization of millions. His 6-year $46.8 million contract is one of the worst in the league, and the Titans may actually end up paying Levitre a hefty amount to not play for them this season.

levitre

Troutman was the weakest link on a porous line overall in San Diego last season. With the addition of guard Orlando Franklin and tackle Joe Barksdale, which may allow D.J. Fluker to kick inside, Troutman may be downgraded to a bench role where he probably belongs anyway.

Center: Khaled Holmes, Colts

The Colts’ offensive line has come a long way since Andrew Luck’s inaugural season when the rookie quarterback was sacked 41 and took a whopping 116 hits. Last season, the line allowed just 29 sacks to rank eighth in the league, but still gave up a brutal 107 quarterback hits, fourth most in the NFL. The rushing attack also floundered, finishing 22nd in 2014. While Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort performed admirably on the left side, the rest of the line underachieved, and although right tackle Gosder Cherilus was cut this offseason for his poor performance, Holmes actually graded out as the team’s worst lineman according to PFF.

Defense

Defensive Ends: Tyson Jackson, Falcons, Kendall Reyes, Chargers

jackson

As 3-4 defensive ends, it’s not entirely fair to ask Jackson and Reyes to be game-changing pass rushers, but at this point a corpse could probably apply more pressure. The lack of pass rush is troubling, but both players’ performance against the run is catastrophic considering it’s supposed to be the bulk of their value. According to PFF, Reyes graded out as poor last season with a grade of -21.3, the second straight season with a grade below -20. Jackson was a bit more impactful, albeit while playing about 14% less of his team’s defensive snaps, but still graded out as a below average player.

Defensive Tackles: Phil Taylor, Browns, Ziggy Hood, Jaguars

It may sound inhumane[1], but Browns fans may actually be more appreciative of Taylor’s contributions to the team when he is on the sidelines nursing an injury. On a positive note, Taylor has routinely adopted this role since being the 21st overall pick in 2011. Also, last season Cleveland’s defensive line ranked 29th in adjusted line yards, a value system of measuring defensive line performance, via Football Outsiders. When you’re the line’s nose tackle, that’s a hefty junk of your responsibility[2], and when an organization uses the 12th overall pick[3] to select a nose tackle, that’s a bad sign for your future as the team’s nose tackle[4].

taylor

Hood, a former first-rounder himself, failed to develop in Pittsburgh, and landed in Jacksonville last year where he continued to whither. Hood graded out as a below average interior lineman while accruing just one run stuff and one sack in 416 defensive snaps.

Linebackers: Donald Butler, Chargers, J.T. Thomas, Giants

It’s not Donald Butler’s fault, the Chargers bucked the normalcy of NFL contracts and offered him one with the longevity typically reserved for the NHL and MLB. Nevertheless, Butler’s 7-year $51.8 million deal indicates San Diego’s front office views him as a vogue; a sentiment shared by few as he isn’t exactly turning the Chargers’ languid defense on its head. Butler graded as a below average middle linebacker last season, while spotrac, which strongly considers a player’s contract for rating purposes, entitled Butler to a -29.3 true value rating ranking 91st out of 96 eligible inside linebackers[5].

thomas

To be honest, when the Giants signed Thomas this offseason I had no idea who he was as did a majority of others, and based on his performance last season in Jacksonville, Thomas may prefer to keep it that way. According to PFF, Thomas posted a -14.1 grade last season (one of the worst marks by any linebacker) likely goaded by his broken tackle rate of 14.1 percent which was the eighth worst among all linebackers. Ouch…but shout out to Jerry Reese and the Mara family for giving him $10 million over the next 3 years for his troubles.

Cornerbacks: Bradley Fletcher, Patriots, Cortez Allen, Steelers, Coty Sensabaugh/Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Titans

I’m tired of piling on Bradley Fletcher. The dude had a rough year last season in Philadelphia, he knows it and Philly fans darn sure know it.. Let’s give Fletcher some credit, however, if one’s career could use a boost, it’s never a bad thing to join forces with Bill Belichick.

fletcher

I’m sorry, I said I was tired of it, didn’t I?

Cortez Allen had an excellent 2012 campaign at which he point he was given a substantial raise by the Rooney family. His body was then possessed by demons causing him to forfeit the physical abilities to excel as an NFL cornerback. Anytime you are benched for William Gay and afford fans the opportunity to realize he was not terminated by Adrian Peterson years ago, you deserve strong consideration for the All-Hate Team.

sensabaugh

Why not deploy a nickel package for the All-Hate Team because corners spur rage in a way linebackers simply can’t muster. After all, if a linebacker misses a tackle or can’t keep up with a running back in coverage, it generally means an additional 5-15 yards, but when a corner becomes crispy, black toast, it isn’t a rarity to see a celebratory act from the opponent with six more points on the scoreboard. Because we are utilizing the nickel, we need to search out a third corner who repeatedly underwhelmed in 2014. Guess what, we found two worthy options in the “Music City” as Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson placed Titans fans into an obscenity-filled purgatory with regularity last season.

Safties: Chris Conte, Buccaneers, Brandon Meriweather, Giants

Chicago Sports Hate Rankings: 1. Everything Packers 2. Steve Bartman 3. Bill Laimbeer 4. Chris Conte.

Yeah, Chris Conte is four, just ask a Chicago sports fan. Bears fans probably made a self-funded donation to pay for his plane ticket to Tampa just to ensure he got the hell out of town.

conte

Every fan hates players on his team who suck, but it’s compounded when that guy who sucks won’t shut up and thinks he is good. Enjoy the 15-yard personal foul penalties Giants fans, courtesy of Brandon Meriweather.

[1] Remember we are making an NFL team of guys that are hated by entire fan bases due purely to their athletic performance.

[2] Taylor doesn’t deserve all the blame. He played in just 5 games last season due to injury.

[3] Massive Washington tackle, Danny Shelton.

[4] Taylor projects to move to end this season.

[5] The true value rating by spotrac is quite skewed and likely over incentivizes player contracts, but any scored value pitting a player at -29.3 is…uh, not good for that particular player.

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