The 5 biggest disappointments in the NFL at the start of the 2022 season
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We haven’t even gotten into the 2022 NFL season, but there are already several players and coaches who stand out from the crowd.
While some of these talents draw attention for good reasons, many stand out in a negative way as a result of poor play or decision making that is detrimental to their teams.
There is still plenty of time to turn things around during this lengthy 17-game campaign, but changes must be in the pipeline soon or else a lost season could be inevitable.
With that in mind, here are the five biggest disappointments for starting the 2022 season.
Matt Ryan, QB, Indianapolis Colts
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Matt Ryan #2 of the Indianapolis Colts passes the ball during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Tia Bank Field on September 18, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Colbraith/Getty Images)
The Indianapolis Colts shook things up after showing painfully in the post-season last year. The club relinquished the current position started by Carson Wentz and managed a deal to bring in Matt Ryan, a move the Colts hope will bring them back into the competition.
With the first two weeks of the 2022 season winding down, it looks like Indianapolis might have been better off staying with Wentz.
Ryan started his Colts career by throwing a massive 50 pass against the Houston Texans. He only called on 32 of those attempts, though, generating 352 yards and one touchdown while also making an interception and losing contest confusion.
The 37-year-old showed some flashes of talent that made him a Pro Bowler four times while leading a furious comeback from a 20-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually end the game in a draw, but things looked a lot worse in the second week.
Ryan couldn’t get any better against the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense, completing just 16 of 30 passes for 195 yards. He failed to lead one record drive in what ended as a frustrating loss to the Colts 24-0 while throwing three picks and taking five sacks in one of the worst performances of his 15-year career.
Veteran caller Reporters His performance is unacceptable but believes things will change starting in Week Three against the Kansas City Chiefs:
“There’s no doubt about that, we have to make it right. We weren’t doing well enough in the first two weeks and we know that. I also think we have a strong group of guys, a proud group of guys all thinking and thinking about what they can do to help us play better as a unit.” “.
It would take a classic Matty Ice show to get the Colts into the winning column against a tough opponent like the 2-0 Chiefs, the kind of performance Ryan has yet to muster since leaving the Atlanta Falcons.
Cam Akers, right-back, Los Angeles Rams
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Los Angeles Rams Running Back Cam Akers (3) hops for extra yards at the end of a run during the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams on September 18, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cam Akers was one of the Los Angeles Rams’ best stories during last year’s Super Bowl. While year two was hoping to return to a promising rookie season in 2020, he went down during training camp due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Rather than miss the entire year, Akers miraculously worked his way back in time for the season finale. Although he didn’t dominate during the team’s playoff round the way he did during his junior campaign — an unforgettable two-game stint as he netted 221 yards and two stars in 46 carries — he was able to return to the field and contribute to the championship.
Unfortunately, the 23-year-old hasn’t looked the same since his devastating injury. After averaging 2.57 yards per attempt in four playoff games last season, a healthy Akers so far has failed to show improvement in 2022.
Barely seen at NFL Kickoff, just scoring 12 snaps Over a disappointing 31-10 loss to Buffalo Bills. It only rushed three times – and didn’t generate any yards – and was not once targeted as a receiver.
Technical Director Sean McVeigh Blame
This lack of use on the tempo of the game and served to make the Akers more engaged in Week 2. Despite seeing his more than double pickups and five-packs, the Florida State producer wasn’t much of a factor in the Los Angeles win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Akers had their infantry 44 yards on 15 coaches and only added 18 yards in two receptions in the game.
It appears that Darrell Henderson Jr. , the other in this family, will continue to be a major factor for rams this year. Henderson has cut out
Akers in every game so far, seeing the field for 69 percent From Los Angeles Attack Plays vs. Mere 30 percent For a mate in the back field.
Unless the Akers have a breakout game and take over that back field soon, it will be one of the biggest disappointments to be in the center of the retreat this year.
Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears
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Darnell Mooney No. 11 of the Chicago Bears warms up before the pre-season game against the Cleveland Browns at First Energy Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Camett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Darnell Money was one of the few bright spots during the Chicago Bears’ 2021 Try-out campaign. He established himself as the best player on the team – vastly outperforming current WR1 Allen Robinson II – and began building a relationship with rising quarterback Justin Fields.
After hitting 45 catches and 605 yards over his last eight games in 2021, Mooney appeared to be on his way to an amazing 2022 season.
Fields had been preparing for his first off-season as a starter and had a lot of work with Mooney during training camp, Robinson had left in free agency, and no sophisticated alternate passing tools were brought in to take goals away from the top- and next-receiver.
Despite the advantages, Mooney could not benefit at all. In fact, with two games in hand, it would be easy to say that no wide team has had a disappointing start to their season.
The 24-year-old had five minuscule goals, shooting only two of them for a total of four yards.
To put that in perspective, at this point last year, Mooney already had 11 catches for 92 yards on 15 targets. He has never played a game in 2021 with fewer yards than he scored in the first two weeks of this season.
Bad weather is partly a fault – the monsoon season’s opener was played at Soldier Field, and Lambeau Field conditions were wet the following week – and Chicago’s passing game was less than awful across the board.
League yards generally average less than team yards at 216 yards per game, with 76.5 passing yards per game largely responsible for this. That average isn’t even half of what the No. 31 ranked team has been generating through the air.
Mooney will get a chance to bounce back against the Houston Texans in Week Three. If he can’t face a defense that has given up 270.5 yards per game in the air this year, the Bears will have some major problems to sort them out.
Kyle Bates, TE, Atlanta Falcons
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Kyle Bates #8 of the Atlanta Falcons prepares before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Kyle Bates became the highest tight end in league history last year when the Atlanta Falcons took him fourth overall. He rewarded the organization’s belief with a promising rookie year, with the 1,026 receiving yards representing the second-largest player ever in the first year at a position where immediate success is historically difficult to achieve.
Rather than taking another step forward in 2022, Bates appears to be posting a sophomore slump. In two games in the campaign, the 21-year-old managed to capture just four of his 10 goals and netted a total of 38 yards.
Bates held for 19 yards in each of the first two weeks, a modest mark he exceeded in all but two games during the junior season.
While the move from Matt Ryan to Marcus Mariota as the starting signal caller in Atlanta was likely to bring some growing pains, Bates was expected to be Mariota’s safety valve as he adapted to the new system. Instead, Drake London was widely in his first year of choice in the passing attack, absorbing 19 goals total.
London was much more effective than Bates with his looks, too, as he blasted off for 160 yards and scored 13 goals.
Given that the Hawks lost both games by five points combined, a stronger performance from Bates out of the gate could have left Atlanta sitting 2-0 instead of their current 0-2 record.
Head coach Arthur Smith does not appear to be concerned about Bates’ performance, tell reporters The narrow end ‘targeted as preliminary [receiver] A lot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the ball is going to go there.”
Smith also believes that the ball will “find” more Bates, which leads to Atlanta wins – an expectation the team desperately needs to make if it’s ever going to get a shot (albeit a long shot) into the supplement berth.
Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos coach
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Head coach Nathaniel Hackett watches the Denver Broncos before the game against the Houston Texans at Empower Field at Mile High on September 18, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
The Denver Broncos were supposed to be among the top-grossing teams in the league in 2022.
By trading for Russell Wilson, the organization finally found the franchise quarterback it had been coveting since Peyton Manning retired six years ago. Broncos also made a head coach change, appointing Nathaniel Hackett to replace ineffective Vic Fangio.
Big things were expected of the new coach and midfielder, but so far, the tandem hasn’t been out of sync. The offense looked inconsistent at best in two weeks and averaged 16 points per game in that period, 3.7 points less than the Broncos’ tepid 2021 attack led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater thrown in every competition.
Wilson to reject
To blame his coach for his mediocre production — the nine-time Pro Bowler completed his career low with 58.9 percent of his passes for 559 yards, two points for one interception and five sacks — but it’s hard not to see that the team’s performance is a reflection of Hackett’s failings.
The former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator oversees an undisciplined team that made countless fouls during their first two games. There were penalties for false starts and game delays, missed timeouts and prime-time scratch calls.
The most glaring issue Hackett faced was his reluctance to play at stake in the season opener. With all three time-outs in his pocket and an access point to the Seattle Seahawks, the coach squandered 40 seconds of precious hour time before sending Brandon McManus to attempt an unlikely field goal at 64 yards that he predictably missed.
That same hesitation emerged late in the third quarter of Week Two with the Broncos trailing, and although it didn’t cost them the game this time, it did delay the game on Days 4 and 2 from the 36-yard streak at the Houston Texans. Instead of making a still 58-yard attempt at Mile High air, Hackett sent the shooting team this time around.
The Broncos need to clean things up—particularly in the red, where they failed to score in all five moves aimed at hitting the net and stumbled twice at the 1-yard line—before a crucial Week 3 game with the San Francisco 49ers.
If Hackett and offense don’t show rapid growth and decisiveness, Denver could dash their Super Bowl hopes early in the year.