With the first week of the regular season in the books in the NFL, there were plenty of big-name players who did not live up to expectations in their season openers.
Kansas City Chiefs running back : Jamaal Charles
Charles probably had the most disappointing outing in the league against the Tennessee Titans. Charles had only seven carries for a total of 19 yards and added four receptions as well for only 15 yards. With Charles being the centerpiece to that offense, the Titans’ game plan to neutralize Charles worked to perfection as they were able to contain the Pro Bowl running back and win the game 26-10 at Arrowhead Stadium. For a guy with the talent that Charles has, this was a disappointing showing as he was unable to get anything going, his longest carry only going for six yards. It won’t get any easier for Charles this week as the Chiefs hit the road to South Florida to play the Miami Dolphins, who put on an impressive show defensively this weekend against the New England Patriots.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback: Tony Romo
Before you think, “Well, he should always be in the Doghouse,” Romo is still an above-average quarterback in the game today. But he didn’t look that way against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. After already having running back DeMarco Murray fumble the ball on the opening possession that the 49ers returned for a touchdown, the last thing Romo could do is turn over the ball some more. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, he did. The arm strength of Romo may not be there coming off of back surgery, but that shouldn’t have affected his eyesight as well as he made poor decisions throwing the football. Romo threw three interceptions in the first half that were all terrible decisions on his part, each thrown into double or triple coverage. Romo better hope his back can get better as the Cowboys head to St. Louis to face a Rams team that is notorious for rushing the quarterback.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back: Doug Martin
Martin turned in a horrible debut after playing in only six games last year due to injury. Now I do get it that the Carolina Panthers have an impressive defense and probably the best front seven in all of football, but to only have nine yards on nine carries? No excuse, especially when your backup is able to come in and have 12 yards on just four carries, even though he did fumble away an opportunity for Tampa Bay to take the lead toward the end of the game. Martin was expected to be a huge piece in that offense and unfortunately did not live up to the task Sunday. Things should get easier for Martin this weekend as he and the team take on the Atlanta Falcons, whose defense allowed 139 yards on the ground to the New Orleans Saints.
Oakland Raiders running back : Maurice Jones-Drew
Due to his age, don’t be surprised if you see MJD in the doghouse as the season goes on. With Jones-Drew being 29 years old, which is about the age running backs usually start to decline, and his production failing since 2011, the running back tandem of he and Darren McFadden is one that could be ineffective this season. Jones-Drew had only 11 yards on nine carries against the New York Jets. With rookie quarterback Derek Carr being named the starter in Oakland, his best friend would be his running attack, and he won’t have much success if Jones-Drew continues to play like that. Due to his experience, though, Jones-Drew could easily bounce back, especially this week as the Raiders host a Houston Texans team that allowed 131 yards rushing to the Washington Redskins.