The Season Is Already Over For These Massive NFL Busts

Darren - September 26, 2022

The Season Is Already Over For These Massive NFL Busts

Darren - September 26, 2022

The 2022 NFL season remains young in terms of total games played, but there are already many NFL busts nevertheless. After Week 3, it’s becoming easier to get a good idea about the league’s underperforming teams, players, and coaches. Several of them received a lot of hype before the season but are underwhelming on the playing field.

This is disappointing for their fans but it’s fascinating for everybody else. It’s always interesting to see who is responsible for different performances and failures. Let’s check out these massive NFL busts and ask if the season is already over for them. Can they turn it around and bounce back?

Derek Carr

Before the season, there was a lot of talk about how the Raiders finally assembled an elite roster. Fans thought that the acquisition of a truly elite wide receiver in Davante Adams would bring out the best of Carr. The QB is somewhat consistent but fails to convince that he belongs in the top tier (via Sportsnaut).

New Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels deserves a lot of criticism for bad playcalling this season, but Carr is the team’s leader. This was supposed to be the year he came out and finally proved himself. However, he threw several costly incompletions against the Cardinals and his team lost again. He piled onto that mistake by losing to downtrodden Tennessee in Week 3. It may be time for the franchise to move on and throw him on the pile of NFL busts.

Matt Ryan

The Colts’ trade for Matt Ryan from Atlanta came out of nowhere but it appeared to be a smart decision on the surface. The veteran quarterback appeared to be a step up from their last two castoff signal-callers in Phillip Rivers and Carson Wentz. The Colts haven’t had a reliable passer since Andrew Luck’s retirement (via Fansided).

Many fans point the finger at Frank Reich but their quarterback isn’t performing well. He had his worst performance since 2012 in Week Two of the new season against the Jaguars. There are already calls to bench the 2016 MVP in favor of preseason star Sam Ehlinger. This would make Ryan one of the most shocking NFL busts of the year. All is not lost, as they bounced back with a Week 3 win over the Chiefs – but Ryan better get going.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals stunned the NFL with their unbelievable underdog story in 2021. They exploded onto the scene and made a rare Super Bowl appearance before falling narrowly short. Quarterback Joe Burrow became one of the NFL’s most popular figures as he built a crucial on-field connection with Ja’Marr Chase (via NBC Sports).

However, the 2022 edition of the team appears to be recovering from a dreaded Super Bowl hangover. They’re one of the biggest NFL busts of the season because they seemingly lost all of their momentum. They opened the new campaign with a pair of disappointing losses as they appear to have regressed. They did rebound with a win, but it was over the Jets. Perhaps their Super Bowl run was an anomaly and won’t happen again for a long time.

Mitchell Trubisky

It’s been a rocky few years for Trubisky after he failed to become the savior in Chicago. Then he found himself playing second-fiddle in Buffalo behind Josh Allen. Suddenly, he landed in Pittsburgh in an intriguing situation after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. Kenny Pickett was the man of the future but the coaches thought it was too soon.

This gave Trubisky a special opportunity to stake his claim. However, it’s not going well and fans chanted Pickett’s name during the Steelers’ loss to the Patriots. The writing is on the wall for Trubisky who will probably bounce around the league as a backup for the rest of his career (via SBNation).

Frank Reich

It’s all going wrong for Reich in Indianapolis. Many people considered the Colts to be a contender before the start of the 2022 season. Fans hoped that the addition of Matt Ryan would have a similar effect to Matt Stafford in L.A. It doesn’t take an elite quarterback to win a Super Bowl, just a consistent and brave one.

However, Reich is emerging as one of the biggest NFL busts of the past couple of years. The media likes him because he’s articulate and mild-mannered but he’s not doing well as a head coach. His team suffered a harrowing shutout loss on the road against Jacksonville and this may seal his fate (via Clutchpoints). He rebounded well by defeating the Chiefs, so perhaps all is not lost…

Russell Wilson

Wilson’s arrival in Denver was one of the biggest NFL stories of the offseason. The former Seahawks quarterback is one of the best in his position in the league. Analysts believed that the Broncos would make a massive step forward this year but we haven’t seen it yet (via NBC Sports).

The Athletic’s Larry Holder wrote that ‘there’s a reason why the Seahawks moved on from Wilson. So far he isn’t gelling with the Broncos’ offense and this has serious implications for their season. It may take another year for them to rebuild but they paid for Wilson because they want to win now.

Joe Woods

Cleveland fans didn’t take kindly to their team’s defensive meltdown against the Jets. It was almost a spectacular achievement because they threw the game away in Week Two. The Browns have some of the league’s best defensive players but their coordinator is a disaster.

Woods is one of the biggest NFL busts of the season because his team couldn’t protect candy from a toddler. Neutrals enjoyed watching the Browns suffer because of their sketchy off-season activity. However, Brown may receive his pink slip sooner rather than later (via USA Today Sports).

Davis Mills

Mills has a massive problem in that he’s not Deshaun Watson. In every aspect of his life off the field, this is fantastic because Watson is a garbage human being. But the former Texans star has a wand of an arm and is an elite quarterback. Unfortunately, Mills can’t say the same thing because he is not a top talent (via The 33rd Team).

He belongs on this list of NFL busts because he can’t elevate the Texans’ defense. The Broncos were there for the taking but Mills cannot lead a franchise. It’s not his fault because few signal-callers are good enough to be regular starters. Sadly, Mills has joined their ranks and the Texans must move on.

Davante Adams

First, let’s leave a disclaimer that it’s not completely Adams’ fault that he’s not setting the AFC West on fire. This comes down to his supply from Derek Carr, his former Fresno teammate. But the Raiders brought Adams from Green Bay because they knew his relationship with their quarterback.

They expected the wideout to bring the best out of the polarizing Carr. Instead, the combination is turning into one of the biggest NFL busts of the season. It’s disappointing because fans expected so much from these two men. Instead, the Raiders and their star players are underperforming (via Sporting News).

Andrew Berry

It’s been a tumultuous few months for Berry, who is a polarizing figure right now. He made waves during the offseason when he controversially brought DeShaun Watson to Cleveland during the offseason. The general manager showed no morals as he signed the woman abuser (via News5 Cleveland).

Meanwhile, he chased Baker Mayfield out of the franchise in the most despicable manner. Then he left Kevin Stefanski with Jacoby Brissett as his starting quarterback in a bizarre turn of events. But the Browns didn’t show many signs of progress in the opening weeks so the question is whether it was worth it.

AFC West

Many analysts built the AFC West up to be one of the most competitive divisions ever. They pointed to its four outstanding quarterbacks and each team’s individual story. Unfortunately, it’s already one of the biggest NFL busts of the season because two teams didn’t get the memo.

The Broncos and the Raiders don’t appear to be at the races. Kansas City and the Chargers may not be much better. This is disappointing because fans hoped for more jeopardy than they’re witnessing. The reality is very different from the offseason narrative (via USA Today Sports).

Ryan Tannehill

Mike Vrabel saw enough in Week Two of the 2022 season. The defining moment came in the third quarter against the Bills. Tannehill was having one of the worst games of his career and Vrabel decided to pull him. He swapped him for rookie star Malik Willis and threw the youngster into the mix (via Yahoo Sports).

Tannehill’s worst moment saw Matt Milano intercept him for a 43-yard touchdown return. The bad news for Titans fans was that Willis didn’t have the game of his life when he came on. But the rookie came into a tough game against the league’s best team so it’s harsh to judge him. We can say that Tannehill is one of the worst NFL busts of the season.

Kevin Stefanski

Stefanski became a hero in Cleveland after he brought the team out of the doldrums and into the postseason in 2020. It was a great feel-good story because the Browns were a mess. But suddenly there was positivity in Ohio and fans hoped that the future was going to be bright.

But they disappointingly regressed in 2021 and this will likely be a lost season. They’re without Deshaun Watson for most of the year and their hopes of competing may end before this. Stefanski is one of the main men responsible for their decline again and this is a shame (via NBC Sports).

Jerry Jeudy

We hate to say it but Jeudy is turning into one of the biggest NFL busts of the decade. He is incapable of staying fit and making a sustained impact for the Broncos. Fans hoped that Russell Wilson would help to bring him out of his shell. But the reality is that he’s never on the field (via ESPN).

The thing is that Jeudy can play but it doesn’t happen often enough. There’s hope that he’ll bounce back quickly and strike up a good relationship with Wilson. However, we’ll believe it when we see it because he flatters to deceive us. Jeudy knows that he’s running out of time so he must seize the moment. Dropping a perfectly-thrown deep ball that was right in his hands against the 49ers in Week 3 won’t help that cause.

Matt Rhule

Many Panthers fans feel that Rhule is one of the worst coaches in the NFL today. His team didn’t turn up against the Browns in Week One of the season. However, Rhule didn’t agree and made a ludicrous point in the post-game interview. He claimed that the team’s yardage per drive in the last 35 minutes would have been top-three in the league in 2021.

This is one of the most selective interpretations in the history of gridiron football. It’s hilarious that he thought that this was a good point to make. He became a figure of ridicule on Twitter after the incident. Rhule is under intense pressure because the Panthers aren’t competing with the best teams (via USA Today Sports).

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield promised revenge when he faced his former franchise in Week One of the NFL season. But the new Panthers quarterback didn’t get the win he desperately craved. In the end, he put in a decent display without setting the world on fire. Meanwhile, the Browns gave their former starter a rude awakening.

Fans saw enough from Mayfield’s display to feel optimistic about the season. Then the Panthers faced the Giants and suffered another close loss. This put their record at 0-2 but it raised a lot of questions about Mayfield and their offense. He’s close to joining the ranks of NFL busts because it’s not going well (via

Pittsburgh Defense

T.J. Watt is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and one of the league’s best players. Unsurprisingly, it was a massive blow when the Steelers lost him for several weeks to injury. However, it presented an enticing opportunity for their defensive reinforcements to stand up and be counted (via Trib Live).

Instead, they wilted and almost allowed the Bengals to beat them in overtime. The Steelers’ record without Watt on their side is appalling. It would almost have been preferable to lose the game with the certainty that Watt was fit for the following week. Now they’re a middle-of-the-road team and their defense is a bunch of NFL busts.

Shane Waldron

Waldron is one of the few NFL offensive coordinators who calls plays for his franchise. However, he endured a lot of criticism in 2021 because he failed to get the best out of Russell Wilson. It should be noted that he arrived in Seattle with Wilson’s approval but it didn’t work out.

Now Waldron is stuck with the poisoned chalice that is Geno Smith as his starting quarterback. The Seattle offense is a mess and it doesn’t look like they’ll do well this season. There are big questions over Waldron’s future because Pete Carroll gave him a lot of responsibility (via SBNation).

Kyle Pitts

Pitts broke numerous records in his rookie season. First, the Falcons made him the highest-selected tight end in NFL history. Then he had a brilliant individual year with Atlanta as he made the Pro Bowl. It was a staggering achievement because he was the first rookie tight end in 20 years to do this.

However, 2022 is a very different story for the young man. Critics noted his lack of production during the opening stages of the season. It was already a tough year for the franchise after they lost QB Matt Ryan. This year is all about rebuilding but they’re a team of NFL busts (via ESPN). Pitts did show signs of life in Week 3 with 87 receiving yards, so perhaps he can turn it around.

Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan brought a lot of pressure on himself when he made Trey Lance the Niners’ starting quarterback. He put Jimmy Garoppolo on ice as he tried to move the franchise forward. Then Lance broke his ankle in Week Two and put San Francisco’s season and future in doubt.

True, no one could have predicted Lance’s injury. It’s also arguable that Shanahan pulled off a masterstroke by retaining a bonafide starter in Garoppolo. But this isn’t the plan he made and it remains to be seen how Lance plays next season. Things aren’t going well for Shanahan in 2022 (via NBC Sports) and it didn’t get any better after an embarrassing loss to the underperforming Broncos in Week 3.

Dennis Allen

The Saints entered a new era after Sean Payton departed from his coaching role. They promoted their defensive coordinator, Allen, to the hot seat. Allen previously served as the Raiders’ head coach for a season before the franchise fired him. However, New Orleans saw enough to give him their top job.

It’s been a stop-start beginning to 2020 for the Saints. But one of the biggest stories surrounded Jameis Winston because he played with fractures in his back. This represented a massive gamble on Allen’s part because Winston probably shouldn’t be playing (via BBC).

Matt Patricia

Josh McDaniels is a problematic figure, but he worked brilliantly with Bill Belichick. Patricia replaced him as offensive coordinator in 2022 after the former took the Raiders head coach job. The Patriots overachieved in 2021 as a Mac Jones-inspired team made the postseason (via New York Post).

However, it will be difficult for them to repeat this feat because the team isn’t performing. Patricia changed their offensive system and Jones is struggling to adapt. The former Detroit Lions head coach knows that fans will blame him if things go wrong. He doesn’t want to become one of the biggest NFL busts of the season but he could be.

Nathaniel Hackett

The Broncos pulled off an apparent coup when they signed Russell Wilson from Seattle. Then they made the bemusing move of appointing a rookie head coach. This was a major gamble because an experienced coach could have hit the ground running. But it’s safe to say that Hackett hasn’t and could be one of the biggest NFL busts of the year.

Fans and analysts heavily criticized Hackett’s clock management in the opening weeks of the season. One notorious moment saw him opt for a 64-yard field goal attempt instead of putting the ball in Wilson’s hands. Many people think that Hackett is in over his head (via Mile High Sports). He got a new ‘timing coach’ for Week 3 and the Broncos won 11-10, so there’s that.

Zach Wilson

The Jets immediately settled on Wilson after they missed out on Trevor Lawrence in the NFL Draft. However, the former BYU star failed to set the world on fire during a tough rookie season. Nonetheless, he maintains a lot of self-confidence. But it says a lot that infidelity allegations hung over him during the offseason (via New York Post).

There were questions over Wilson’s mindset and if New York life was too much for him. Then he suffered a knee injury in the Jets’ preseason opener and required surgery. He’ll be back during the mid-season but Joe Flacco is playing well. Will Robert Saleh bring his young star back immediately and risk upsetting the balance?

Jameis Winston

On the one hand, Winston deserves credit because he’s playing through the pain barrier for the Saints. The former No. 1 overall pick has four compound fractures in his back. But the question is whether this is helping his team or if he’s holding them back in his compromised state.

Some people believe that Andy Dalton should replace the underperforming Winston because it’s not helping the team. It’s a serious decision for Dennis Allen to make and could define his short tenure as head coach. It’s safe to say that Saints fans miss Drew Brees more than ever now (via CBS Sports).

Carolina Offense

It’s also safe to say that the entire Panthers offense is underperforming except for Christian McCaffrey. The running back is showing signs of his best performances after a couple of frustrating seasons. However, the rest of the team must step up and help their talisman (via

Baker Mayfield has a lot of responsibility because he is the team’s starting quarterback. But Ben McAdoo is also under pressure as he tries to prove he has what it takes to coach at a high level. Meanwhile, questions remain over the Panthers’ receiver corps or if they’re total NFL busts.

Dak Prescott

Mike McCarthy justifiably receives a lot of criticism from NFL fans but his quarterback situation doesn’t help him. It appeared that Prescott was entering his prime when McCarthy joined the franchise in 2020. Then he suffered a compound fracture to his ankle and missed most of the season (via FOX News).

Prescott’s influence was clear last year because he helped the Cowboys back to the postseason. But then he broke his thumb in the opening week of 2022. This left McCarthy without his starting QB for at least another month. It’s not Prescott’s fault but he’s one of the biggest NFL busts of the year and could cost McCarthy his job.

Marcus Mariota

Mariota knows that the only reason why he’s starting for the Falcons is that Desmond Ridder isn’t ready. The former Titans first-round pick understands that he’s keeping the seat warm for the rookie. However, this is his final opportunity to be a long-term starter so he wants to prove himself (via Sports Talk).

But inconsistency continues to dog one of the biggest NFL busts ever. It’s a shame that Mariota’s talent never blossomed at the professional level. He sparkles briefly like a firefly before falling to the ground like a speck of dust. The quarterback was partly responsible for the Falcons’ early losses.

Kirk Cousins

Cousins infuriated the Vikings fanbase with a horrendous display against the Eagles on MNF. His record in primetime is deplorable and he remains one of the NFL’s most polarizing quarterbacks. The Minnesota star continuously flatters to deceive and the team is no closer to contention.

He completed 27-of-46 passes against Philadelphia for 221 yards. Meanwhile, he also threw three interceptions with just a single touchdown. This is indeed only one game but it proves that Cousins suffers meltdowns at the worst times. He may be one of the biggest busts of the year (via Bleacher Report).

Bengals Offensive Line

Joe Burrow was on track to receive a record number of sacks in his rookie season before injury cut his season short. He continued to suffer during his sophomore year before the Bengals invested in the offensive line. However, it appears as though their offseason work wasn’t nearly effective enough as he’s still taking hits.

The truth is that they’re allowing more sacks than Santa Claus and they’re paying the price. Dallas sacked Burrow six times in Week Two and brought the Bengals’ total to 13. This is unsustainable because Burrow can’t keep going like this. Furthermore, it’s affecting the results on the field too (via

Hunter Renfrow

The arrival of Davante Adams was always going to impact Renfrow’s influence in Las Vegas. However, the wideout doesn’t receive enough targets from Derek Carr. They effectively wasted him for the first couple of weeks of the season because they didn’t use him well.

This is a shame because Renfrow is a talented player and has a lot to offer. The Raiders’ offense will go down on a list of the season’s NFL busts if they don’t improve. Renfrow can be one of their best threats if he receives passes. But he can’t make it happen on his own out of nothing (via USA Today Sports).

Kliff Kingsbury

Kingsbury came into the new season knowing that he was already on the hot seat. The Cardinals had a terrible end to the 2021 season and an immediate improvement was necessary. But then they lost the opening game and it appeared as though history was repeating itself (via New York Post).

Perhaps Arizona likes keeping Kingsbury’s girlfriend Veronica Bielik in town. Nonetheless, Kingsbury is running out of time because his job is on the line. The Cardinals invested a lot in their roster but it doesn’t appear as though they’re going anywhere quickly. In the end, he’s responsible for getting the best out of his players.

Mike MacDonald

MacDonald is the youngest defensive coordinator in the NFL. Perhaps his relative youth is also the reason why the Ravens are underperforming without the ball. Lamar Jackson is back to his brilliant best but he can’t do it alone. That’s why he needs MacDonald to sort his house out.

Baltimore brought the former Michigan man in because Wink Martindale didn’t offer flexibility. They thought that MacDonald’s schemes were more innovative and a better fit. However, he had a brutal game against the Texans as the Ravens collapsed (via Sports Illustrated).

Josh McDaniels

Some people think McDaniels should never be an NFL head coach because of his cheating scandals. Others agree but it’s because of his track record with the Broncos. McDaniels defended this by saying that the opportunity in Denver came too soon. He says that now he’s a wiser man and would act differently (via Fansided).

The problem is that the head coach’s job may be beyond him. He made a terrible call against the Cardinals because a field goal would have won the game. But McDaniels opted to get Derek Carr to throw the ball. In the end, Kyler Murray scored the winning touchdown in a stunning turnaround. It’s early but the signs aren’t good for the Raiders after they fell to 0-3 following a loss to Tennessee in Week 3.

Ravens Defence

Lamar Jackson broke records in Week Two of the 2022 NFL season. He had more rushing yards than any other quarterback in modern history after a phenomenal display against the Dolphins. Meanwhile, his first half was a thing of beauty as he posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

But his defense let him down as they threw the game away. Perhaps Tua Tagovailoa sent a request to the Make a Wish Foundation and asked the Ravens to turn him into an MVP contender. Baltimore can’t progress if all of the team’s components don’t work together (via Palm Beach Post).

La’El Collins

The Bengals thought that they pulled off a coup when they signed Collins during the offseason. He was going to be the main man responsible for protecting Joe Burrow. The block specialist arrived with a big reputation from Dallas on a hefty contract and they thought that he would be worth every nickel.

Unfortunately, Collins started very badly in Cincinnati as Burrow continues to suffer sacks at a crazy rate. Collins appears to lack confidence and his on-field displays are statistically poor. He doesn’t want to go down as one of the biggest NFL busts of the season but he’s heading in that direction (via SBNation).

The Titans

Tennessee has one of the best running backs of the past decade in Derrick Henry. They also have a great coach in Mike Vrabel. But the team is underachieving and started the 2022 season in poor form. It’s easy to point at Ryan Tannehill and say that he’s not good enough.

But it’s still an incredibly disappointing start to the season. They risk going down as one of the biggest NFL busts of 2022 because fans expected more. It just goes t show that there is always one team that surprises everybody, whether it’s for good or for bad reasons (via The Guardian). They did beat the Raiders in Week 3, but that isn’t saying much.

Bears Offense

The Chicago offense remains one of the most perplexing units in the NFL. Justin Fields possesses a lot of talent but his coordinators aren’t getting the best out of him yet. They began their Week Two game against the Packers brilliantly but then they capitulated (via USA Today Sports).

Chicago’s long-suffering fans want to see the team improve but it may not happen this season. They have some great ideas but it’s not coming together yet. Meanwhile, their offensive line must keep Fields from taking sacks. If he stays healthy then they might have a small chance. But it’s still small.

The Colts

Indy is one of the most disappointing franchises in 2022 because they’re underperforming. Matt Ryan is a former MVP while they also have a former Defensive Player of the Year on their books. Many analysts projected that they would win the AFC South but they may fall short (via Clutchpoints).

One issue is that Ryan isn’t hitting his highest levels. Some critics are already describing him as ‘washed’ and believe that the Colts should drop him. Furthermore, the wideout room isn’t great and is one of the team’s weak links. It may be too much too soon for the Colts under Frank Reich.

Joe Burrow

Burrow was brilliant in 2021 as he struck up an outstanding partnership with Ja’Marr Chase. People compared him to Tom Brady because he was exceptional at the simplest things. The question was if Burrow would further progress in 2022 as the Bengals looked to bounce back from their Super Bowl loss.

Unfortunately, it appears that Burrow is regressing. He also takes far too many sacks and this isn’t completely the fault of his offensive line. Burrow is an excellent passer but he must be quick when it comes to distributing the ball. Then the pass rush won’t be as effective at sacking him (via AtoZ Sports).

Arthur Smith

Smith knows that his sophomore year as a head coach isn’t going to be easy. The team went 7-10 in 2021 but the signs are ominous this season. That’s because the team lost its top quarterback Matt Ryan and has a tougher schedule. It’s going to be difficult to improve on their record in 2022.

Meanwhile, they lost their opening games of the new season. Smith was culpable because of his questionable playcalling. It remains to be seen if they can progress under his tutelage. But it seems more likely that he’ll join the ranks of head coach failures later this year (via Fansided).

The Raiders

It’s safe to say that Las Vegas is the most disappointing franchise so far because of all the hype around them. We knew that they were in a group of death with the Chiefs, the Chargers, and the Broncos. There is no shame in losing a tight game as long as they perform valiantly.

But Josh McDaniels’ team appears to be undercooked and they aren’t fun to watch at all. The addition of Davante Adams came with a lot of hype but he’s yet to justify that. They have one of the best stadiums in the league and a strong fanbase. However, they’re playing like a bunch of NFL busts (via ESPN), and that only got worse when they fell to the Titans in Week 3.