NFL stars looking to rebound from a rough 2018

Whether it was due to injury, age or just subpar play, many NFL players are looking to rebound after disappointing 2018 seasons. Here’s a look at 25 players hoping to bounce back.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, free agent

Ansah had an injury-plagued year in 2018, likely his last in Detroit. He played only seven games, recording four sacks, and he struggled to find a market as a free agent this offseason due to a shoulder injury.

Vic Beasley, DE, Falcons

Beasley led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, but that production looks more like a fluke after his last two seasons. He had only five sacks in each of the last two seasons and also had just 20 tackles last year as a situational pass rusher. Atlanta desperately needs a rebound from him this year.

Randall Cobb, WR, Cowboys

At one time Cobb was Aaron Rodgers’ top receiver, but he’s struggled in Green Bay over the last three years. After playing only nine games due to injuries last season, he signed with the Cowboys to replace Cole Beasley as the team’s slot receiver.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals

Dalton’s last winning season as a starter was 2015. Last year he went 5-6 in 11 starts before a season-ending thumb injury. He also threw 11 interceptions during his time on the field. Bengals fans hope new head coach Zac Taylor can help Dalton take a step forward.

Joe Flacco, QB, Broncos

The writing was on the wall for Flacco in Baltimore after the team drafted Lamar Jackson. Despite adding several new receivers, Flacco went 4-5 as a starter with just 12 touchdown passes before giving way to Jackson due to a hip injury. Denver traded for Flacco in the offseason, but he’s in a similar situation after the Broncos drafted Drew Lock in the second round.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars

Jacksonville’s return for selecting Fournette fourth overall in the 2017 draft hasn’t been great thus far. He had more than 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie season but averaged only 3.9 yards per carry. Last season was worse, as he played only eight games mostly due to injuries and had a terrible 3.3 yards per rush attempt. Fournette also had minor legal issues during the offseason.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons

Freeman has struggled to stay healthy over the last two seasons and played only two games last year due to foot and groin injuries. He’s still young enough to rebound going into his age 27 season, and the Falcons need him to be healthy after Tevin Coleman left in free agency.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers

Green Bay expected big things from Graham after signing him last offseason, but he was a relative disappointment with only 636 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Graham deserves credit for gutting out a thumb injury late in the year, but the expectation that he’d replace Jordy Nelson’s production didn’t come to fruition.

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

Green has missed significant time in two of the last three seasons, sitting out seven games last year due to a toe injury. For the second straight year, Green’s production when he did play was also down significantly with only 77 receiving yards per game after averaging at least 80 yards from 2012-2016.

Full 25

By: Seth Trachtman

 

Seahawks Offense Continues to Struggle

Written by Bob Condotta at Seattle Times.com

Maybe it’s a second game of the year thing.

The 9-3 defeat Sunday at Los Angeles marked the third consecutive season Seattle has lost in its second game, all on the road.

Or maybe it’s a Rams’ thing. Seattle has lost four of the past five against the Rams in whatever city they play, and five of nine.

Certainly, the Seahawks hope it’s a blip in the road and not a sign of something more. A few more games, though, are needed to know that.

For now, here are some immediate actions to an afternoon that began with the Red Hot Chili Peppers singing, and the Rams then pouring some salt in Seattle’s wounds.

OFFENSE

The two dominant story lines of the week — Russell Wilson’s ankle and the Seahawks’ potential struggles against the Rams’ defensive front — proved pivotal.

Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks didn’t change the game plan much due to Wilson’s ankle sprain but admitted he was a little limited.

Wilson’s mobility issues seemed most evident on a play early in the fourth quarter when on third-and-eight he took off running and was easily tackled in the open field for just 2 yards. Unquestionably, the Rams didn’t seem as worried as usual about Wilson’s running.

The Seattle offensive line, meanwhile, seemed to protect Wilson OK at times — notably on the 53-yard pass to Tyler Lockett on the final drive. But Seattle couldn’t get anything going in the running game, especially between the tackles, with the Rams obviously playing to the fact they didn’t have to account as much for Wilson tucking it and running on zone reads.

Thomas Rawls appeared as if he is still trying to find his 2015 form when he left the game in the second quarter after being kicked in the lower leg. With C.J. Prosise ruled out with a broken bone in his hand suffered last week, that left all the running to Christine Michael and rookie Alex Collins.

Michael had a brief flurry with 19 yards on the first three Seattle offensive plays of the third quarter. Otherwise, he was held to 41 yards on seven carries and then had the crucial fumble at the end to kill Seattle’s last hope of salvaging victory.

It appeared obvious Seattle wanted to attack the Rams’ suspect cornerbacks anytime they were in man coverage, and Lockett was able to get two big plays out of it. He had four receptions for 99 yards overall.

But with Lockett ailing much of the game and Doug Baldwin also nursing a few injuries — he said a knee is the most worrisome — Seattle had trouble doing much consistently in the passing game.

One bright spot was the sight of Jimmy Graham catching three passes for 42 yards as he got regular action throughout the game. But Seattle couldn’t get it to him during its one red-zone possession in the first quarter.

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