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Zebras in the doghouse: ATL picks Week 3's goats


Every Wednesday, Around the League throws a handful of players, coaches and NFL-oriented hot messes into our theoretical doghouse. This ugly dreamscape is reserved for those who simply didn't get it done over the past seven days. Fail-level: HIGH.

This week's doghouse vibes more like a zoo. Filled with zebras. Mistake-prone, artificial zebras. They're joined by a collection of malcontents, hobby horses and problem-children. Let's proceed:

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(1) The replacement officials: No explanation needed, except to say that piling on these fill-ins doesn't finish the job. The NFL and our dearly beloved locked-out officials have allowed this national drama to wander into a dangerous corner. The replacements were cute for a stretch in August, but there's nothing humorous about watching a Monday Night Football game go down in flames in September. With any luck, these second-stringers will be out of the doghouse and meshed back into society before long.

(2) Golden Tate: I don't have a problem with a young player like Tate accepting the referee's (incorrect) touchdown call and moving on with life. But trying to tell us there was no push-off on Sam Shields is up there with pitching the Zapruder film as a children's epic. The Seattle Seahawks receiver thrust himself even deeper into this mess by arguing what all of America saw on the game film. 

(3) Reggie Bush: He's arguably the best player on the Miami Dolphins, but his take on the Darrelle Revis injury was beyond shabby. Suggesting karma had its way with Gang Green after New York Jets coach Rex Ryan joked about pouring a little "hot sauce" on Reggie? Disturbing visuals and rapidly this week's most tiresome festival of white noise.

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(4) Chris Johnson: Fantasy owners who grabbed this guy in the first round (a) should never have done that; and (b) deserve a gingerly worded phone call from a friend. The Tennessee Titans might feel the same way. Who body-switched CJ2K with Ovie Mughelli roughly 12 months ago while the nation slept? Thirty-three attempts for 45 yards -- Hochuli in pads could pull this off. Absurd.

(5) Cam Newton: The frisky cartoonist nailed it. Newton remains one of the most entertaining and dangerous offensive talents of this age, but his Superman act rubbed people the wrong way because it suggested that he simply didn't get it. You're down 26-0 to the New York Giants. You cap an awful performance with a meaningless frolic into the end zone. It's 26-7. Go back to work. Instead, we're forced to watch Cam prance around as if he's done something special. He's got the brightest future of them all, but learning when he's played like Lois Lane would help.

OK, we're done. Who's in your doghouse?

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.