Shutdown Corner - NFL

Shayne Graham(notes) and Neil Rackers(notes), Kickers, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals. Rackers got bailed out and Graham didn't, but if I were their coaches, they'd both be forced to wear bells around their necks, glue horns on their heads and speak in this voice all week long (very naughty language alert there, but it is football-themed).

Are we running out of reliable kickers in 2010? What's happening? Where did this Neil Rackers go? I'm not asking for an army of guys that can consistently boot 65-yarders, but Rackers missed from 34, and Graham missed from 35 and 28. It seems strange to me that the world cannot produce 32 men with the athletic ability and mental focus to consistently make field goals from those modest distances. I'm not saying it's easy, of course. I'm just saying it's weird that we can find 32 finely-tuned, athletically-freaking running backs, but we can't find 32 guys who can kick.

Tom Brady(notes), Quarterback, New England Patriots. So, um ... what the hell was that? Where was this one going, Tom? I understand that losing Wes Welker(notes) is a big deal, and I understand that the Ravens have a solid defense, but that's not the kind of performance I expect from Tom Brady against anyone.

If I would've bet on anything this weekend, it would've been that Brady would have a good game against the Ravens. Maybe not a great game, and not necessarily a win, but I really believed he'd find a way to move on without Welker and show the world that he's still the NFL's most shining beacon of masculinity. Today, he seems like just another quarterback who turned the ball over four times and needs a haircut.

Joe Flacco(notes), Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens. If we're going to pick on Tom Brady, it wouldn't be fair to let Flacco slide, either. He had a quarterback rating of 10. Yes, he won, but he completed 4-of-10 passes for 34 yards and one interception. If nothing else, it underscores how badly Brady played, that a quarterback with those numbers was able to beat him.

Carson Palmer(notes), Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals. Well, now the question for Bengals fans is, "Will Carson Palmer ever be Carson Palmer again?" The Jets make things rough on anyone, and I think a lot of quarterbacks will struggle against them, but Palmer's problems are a little bigger in scope.

There's no way that Carson Palmer should be a middle-of-the-road NFL quarterback, and that's exactly what he was this season. He's too talented for that. His numbers are right there in line with guys like Jason Campbell(notes), David Garrard(notes), Alex Smith and Kyle Orton(notes), and no disrespect intended to those gentlemen, but they are roughly as talented as Carson Palmer's bathrobe. Given his ability and the weapons he's blessed with, at a minimum, Palmer should be up there with Roethlisberger, Schaub and Romo, but he wasn't. Next year's a big one for him.

DeSean Jackson(notes), Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles. He talked a nice game, but only got around to producing in garbage time. The touchdown he scored there was pretty sweet, but again: garbage time. Before that, he had contributed two catches for 10 yards.

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