Blog Entry

Coach Killers, Week 3: Ochocinco's rough patch

Posted on: September 27, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 3:40 pm
 
Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Justin King, CB, Rams. No one had a tougher day than King, who probably headed to work Sunday morning thinking, "Man, Lee Evans is out with an injury and the Ravens will have to put Torrey Smith out there against me. And he's a rookie!" By the time it was over (and it was over in record time), King would've happily taken his chances against Evans.

Instead he was torched (and we can't stress that enough) by Smith, who hauled in three first-quarter touchdowns of 18, 41 and 74 yards. Smith, who had seen limited action the first two weeks because somebody somewhere thought he wasn't comfortable enough in the offense, finished the day with five receptions for 152 yards.

To his credit, King took responsibility for what Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Smith did to him.

Week 3 Recap
"You know what, I just could have made the play,'' King said when asked what he could have done differently in the Rams' 37-7 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. "That's what I get paid to do. I'm paid to man-up on guys. He made (plays) and I got beat. I have to show character now and get back to work and fix the mistakes.''

King also verbalized what became apparent about two plays into the game. "I didn't give [Flacco] a reason not to throw it at me,'' he said.

No, no you didn't. But we applaud the positive attitude.

Antonio Cromartie, CB, Jets. Cromartie has been a perfectly adequate cornerback for the Jets, which would make him a really could CB on most other teams. But because he plays opposite Darrelle Revis, he's usually the guy offenses target. Eventually, that means you're due for a rough stretch, and Cromartie found it against the Raiders.

He was called for four penalties (two for pass interference and two for holding), two of which came on Oakland touchdown drives. But it was a special teams faux paus that doomed the Jets.

Following a Raiders touchdown that gave them a 24-17 lead with 40 seconds left in the third quarter, Cromartie muffed a Sebastian Janikowski kickoff that was -- you guessed it -- recovered by Oakland. Two plays later, Michael Bush scored from a yard out, the Raiders led 31-17 and the Jets' afternoon, for all intents and purposes, was over.

Making an already crappy day worse for Cromartie? He suffered bruised ribs and lungs in the loss.

Regarding the muffed kickoff, head coach Rex Ryan was able to succinctly put things into perspective. “When you look at it in hindsight … obviously, [Cromartie] should have let it go,” Ryan said. “At the time, the guy’s trying to make a play.”

Coincidentally, Raiders owner Al Davis tried to sign Cromartie prior to training camp, and reportedly offered him more than the four-year, $32 million deal he ended up signing to return to New York. On Sunday, it was almost as if Cromartie was playing for Oakland because he sure played a big role in their win.

Bears pass-catchers/running game/o-line. Basically everybody but Jay Cutler, who we've never cared much for but feel obligated to defend because he's suddenly become the poster boy for the wussification of the quarterback position. Even though, by virtue of taking 400 hits a week, might be one of the NFL's toughest players. (Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger may disagree, but we're quite certain they're the only QBs who'd have a legitimate gripe.)

Last week, we highlighted Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz in this space because he thought it would be a swell idea to pass the ball on 82 percent of the offensive snaps which, predictably, led to Cutler taking six sacks against the Saints, countless hits and an admission that he didn't know if he'd survive the season.

Against the Packers, Cutler's pass-catchers didn't do him any favors. Roy Williams, Johnny Knox and Kellen Davis all dropped what should've been easy receptions. And running back Matt Forte, who recently announced that the team clearly doesn't consider him an elite back sought to prove just that by rushing for two (!) yards on nine carries. (Related: Cutler led the team in rushing with 11 yards on three attempts.)

Nothing went right for Chicago, including what should have been the niftiest special teams touchdown we can remember. Unfortunately, the officials threw a flag on … something and the play was called back. We can't even blame Martz for that.


Chris Johnson, RB, Titans. This is the first time in Coach Killers history that a player from the winning team has made the list, but Johnson has been nothing short of dreadful since signing that fat contract just in time for the regular season. In three games, CJ's rushed for 98 yards on 46 carries, which works out to a mind-blowing 2.1 yards per carry. The next touchdown he scores will be his first.

We had him unofficially hitting rock bottom following the Titans' victory over the Broncos Sunday. Tennessee's two leading rushers? Johnson and … punter Brett Kern, who both galloped for 21 yards. It gets worse: Johnson needed 12 more carries than Kern, who managed to run 21 yards at one time after bobbling a poor snap during a fourth-down play in which he had every intention of punting the ball. Instead, he fielded the short-hop, ran down the sidelines, and 21 yards later, the Titans had a first down and quite possibly a new threat in the running game.

In case we haven't reminded you in 15 minutes, there's a reason you shouldn't overpay running backs. Silver lining to the dark cloud of losing Kenny Britt: Johnson did catch four passes for 54 receiving yards. Maybe the Titans should give serious consideration to splitting him out wide. It's not like he can get worse, right?

Ochocinco might not be long for New England (Getty Images)
Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots. If Ochocinco and Terrell Owens were Batman and Robin a year ago in Cincinnati, the 2011 Ochocinco is the NFL pass-catching equivalent of Wile E. Coyote. The man can't catch a break -- or a pass -- and on Sunday you could make the case that it played a non-trivial part in the Patriots losing to the Bills.

With Aaron Hernandez and Taylor Price out with injuries, Week 3 was supposed to be Ochocinco's opportunity to show that he had a grasp of the Patriots' offense and had earned Tom Brady's trust. Instead, he looked lost, as he often has this season, and in addition to running the wrong route (that led to one of Brady's four interceptions), he also had a huge drop in the fourth quarter that would've been an easy touchdown.

(If New England gets rid of Ochocinco -- and at this point we don't think it would surprise anyone if they did -- perhaps they can unload him on the Bears, who seem eager to corner the market on no-catching wideouts.)

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Coach Killers, Week 3: Ochocinco's rough patch

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