Defensive ends -- John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons: After a Pro Bowl season, Abraham has fallen off. His three sacks and 13 tackles make it unlikely that he will make it to Hawaii again this season. He was particularly off in the Falcons' loss to the division rival Buccaneers.
Corey Wootton, Chicago Bears -- Playing behind Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije, Wootton was expected to rotate in to give both players a break. Known as the man who sacked Brett Favre into retirement, Wootton's coaches raved about him in the preseason, but he has not turned into the reliable back-up the Bears need.
Defensive tackles -- Barry Cofield, Washington Redskins: (Note: Though we broke this down into a 4-3 defense, Cofield plays nose tackle in a 3-4.) The offseason acquisition for the offseason champs has barely made a blip this season, with just two sacks and 13 tackles. Does that sound like someone worth a six-year, $36 million contract?
Albert Haynesworth, New England Patriots: Remember how Haynesworth signed with the Patriots, and that Bill Belichick was going to change him? How the Pats got a great deal on this one-time great player, and how he was going to return to his All-Pro form? The Pats cut him Tuesday.
Linebackers -- Bart Scott, New York Jets: The man behind the best postgame interviews has lost a step this season. He had big games against Baltimore and Dallas, but that's about it. The last two games have been particularly bad, with Scott getting just six tackles and zero sacks in the Jets' wins over Buffalo and San Diego.
A.J. Hawk, Green Bay Packers: The long-haired man with the penchant for flipping the bird is also not playing up to his billing. Last season, he had 111 tackles and 10 pass deflections. At the midway point of this season, he has 30 tackles and one pass deflection. The Packers' defense is great, but it's not because of Hawk's efforts.
Takeo Spikes, San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have many problems, like a QB who is making dumb mistakes at the worst times, but it doesn't help that their best defensive player is not playing all that well. His 56 tackles is low for a player leading his team, and he has one sack, two pass deflections, and that's it. He hasn't created any turnovers, which his team needs when the QB is so fond of turning the ball over himself.
Cornerbacks -- Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles: The top free-agent acquisition signed a $60 million, five-year contract. In return, the Eagles received 20 tackles, two interceptions and zero forced fumbles. Looks like Nnamdi got the better end of this deal.
Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers: There was a point in his career where Taylor helped the Steelers become one of the league's most-feared defenses. Now, he has just 24 tackles and hasn't forced a single turnover.
Safeties -- Antrel Rolle, New York Giants: First off, it's probably not the best thing for the Giants to have a safety lead the team in tackles. Maybe that's why they give up 365.6 yards per game. Secondly, Rolle isn't doing much to disrupt offenses, with just one interception all season long.
Sean Jones, Tampa Bay: Like the Giants, the Buccaneers are giving up way too many yards, and a safety is making too many tackles. He is also not doing much to take the ball away, forcing one fumble and zero interceptions.
- John Abraham
- Corey Wootton
- Atlanta Falcons
- Chicago Bears