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Week 14's five least valuable players

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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Aaron Rodgers(notes), QB, Green Bay Packers.

Slide, brother. Be like Rickey Henderson and slide. If you're a good quarterback, learn from Aaron Rodgers' mistake: There is no glory in diving for extra yardage. It wasn't even for a first down!

Don't do it. Not when you're a top-five quarterback in the league. Not when you've already been concussed once this year. Not when your team needs you so badly. Not when they'll score three points against the Lions without you.

There's a reason the league tries so hard to protect you quarterbacks. It's because you're so important to the quality of the game. If you don't believe me, watch Sunday's Lions/Packers game from the point when Rodgers left. See how that treats you. Nothing against Matt Flynn(notes), but the Packers without Rodgers ... well, they're a lot like the Lions. If he misses any time at all, the playoffs suddenly seem like a longshot.

Do not Aikman yourself. Again, that's two concussions in one year for Rodgers, and now it's something that lingers over him every time he takes a hit.

Mark Sanchez(notes), QB, New York Jets.

So, Jets ... you're just not very good then? Gotcha. I'll remember that next preseason when you're talking again about how awesome you are.

If you're looking for another example of what a football game looks like in the absence of good quarterback play, check out the Jets vs. Dolphins game from Sunday. Sanchez, for some reason, threw the ball 44 times. He completed only 17 of those throws, was intercepted once and fumbled four times (though he lost only one).

It's also fair to point out that Sanchez could've avoided this list entirely if it wasn't for this LVP honorable mention play from Santonio Holmes.

Hunter Smith(notes), Punter/Holder, Washington Redskins.

The snap was a little high, but come on, Hunter. Have you been watching Redskins games this year? Can you imagine what it might be like to try to root for your band of misfits? Are you trying to get people to throw themselves in front of moving Metro trains?

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers.

Alex Smith was really good Sunday. That's the problem. If things continue to happen in the traditional 49er way, Alex Smith will continue to be good, the 49ers will win their last four games, and going into next year, everyone will say, "Hey, how about Alex Smith in the last four games of last year? We might finally have our guy!"

And then the 49ers will go 1-7 in the first half of the 2011 season.

Do the decent thing here and keep being Alex Smith. Don't attempt to fool anyone with your late-season trickery, because your front office will believe it. Keep throwing interceptions and let everyone move on.

Carson Palmer(notes), QB, Cincinnati Bengals.

Carson Palmer had three touchdown passes Sunday, if you count the ones he threw to the Steelers. If you don't, though, then he had a pretty bad day.

Bad days have been par for the course for Palmer in 2010, though. It wasn't that long ago that he looked like one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. In 2005, his third year in the league, Palmer had a season QB rating of 101.1, with 32 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. In 2006, he was just as good. It looked like the Bengals were set at the quarterback position for the next 10 years or so.

Now, it's like Palmer's trying to be the next Akili Smith, David Klingler or Scott Mitchell. In 13 games this season, Palmer's had a quarterback rating better than 80 in just five of them. That's nowhere near good enough. Sure, he could be getting better protection up front and the Bengals have had injury problems. That only excuses so much, though. Palmer's supposed to be the strength of this team, not what's holding them back.

One wonders if both sides wouldn't be better off with a divorce next year.

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