The offensive line has had no clue how to adjust to blitzes, often getting Ryan Tannehill crushed. Tannehill isn't able to change the plays at the line of scrimmage, and he's shown no ability to improve the talent around him. His accuracy comes and goes. Offseason wide receiver pickups DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings have made a minimal impact. It's like the league caught up to the Eagles/Dolphins offense all at once.
Ndamukong Suh is getting all the blame for the defense, and he hasn't played his best. He's also been the best player on the defensive line by far. It's the rest of the line that has been the problem. Cameron Wake is a shell of his former self, likely because of a lingering hamstring injury. Olivier Vernon has been mysteriously absent. Even nose tackle Earl Mitchell has regressed. The Dolphins have a thin secondary, and it's getting exposed with no pass rush up front.
The Dolphins aren't the only disappointments as we hit the quarter point of the season. After looking at the league's pleasant surprises last Monday, here's a quick list of the biggest disappointments:
Colin Kaepernick's awareness: Kaepernick has thrown some pretty passes this season, especially in the second half against Pittsburgh. But Kaepernick and the 49ers' offensive coaching staff don't seem capable of making adjustments. Wide receiver Torrey Smith noted after Sunday's loss to Green Bay that the Packers played man coverage without a deep safety all game, and the 49ers couldn't take advantage. The 49ers had no answer for blitzes in each of the last two weeks. That's on the offensive line, the coaches and Kaepernick.
Kaepernick is still a great runner and can spin occasional beauties, but he hasn't shown much development in seeing the field well. Just look at the open receivers here:
Andre Johnson and the Colts' offense: One of the best receivers of his generation has been living a nightmare with Indianapolis. The Colts have thrown 20 passes in his direction. Seven have been completed for 51 yards. He's not getting open or making tough catches when given the chance. He's essentially the team's fifth receiver, an example of a passing attack that has consistently struggled despite looking so good on paper. Only five teams have scored fewer points than the Colts.
Pass protection in Baltimore, San Diego and Detroit: It's hard to pick which offensive line has failed its respective quarterback the most. The Ravens were known last season for being tough up front, but they have looked miserable this year. The Chargers have been wildly banged up, forcing Philip Rivers to play near perfect football to survive. The Lions and Matthew Stafford struggle to recognize blitzes, forcing the Lions to throw short passes to overcompensate.
Detroit's inability to fix its offense: Sure, the offensive line is struggling. But it's crazy that an offense featuring Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah can be so unexplosive. It makes us wonder if Megatron is the same dominant player he once was. Stafford's first seven seasons has been less impressive than Jay Cutler's first seven seasons, with half the criticism.
Bills consistency: Buffalo only makes this list because it authored two of the most fun, comprehensive beatdowns of the year. The destruction of Andrew Luck in Week 1 was an incredible opening statement. The Bills looked like a potential title contender during their win in Miami. Yet, they are 2-2 after mentally melting down the other two games. Rex Ryan has helped make the Bills a fascinating team to watch, but the results aren't any different than Doug Marrone's results thus far.
Brandon Browner: We thought it was curious when folks all offseason bemoaned the Patriots losing Darrelle Revis and Browner from their secondary, as if they were remotely connected. Revis is an all-time great. Browner was an average starter in New England, although he'll always have free drinks for life in Boston for his role in Malcolm Butler's interception. Bill Belichick knew how to cover up Browner's weaknesses. In New Orleans, opposing quarterbacks pick on him mercilessly. I went to double check ProFootballFocus to make sure including him on this list wasn't crazy and found out PFF ranks him dead last among 104 cornerbacks.
C.J. Anderson and the Broncos' running game: Denver's offensive line and Gary Kubiak's struggle to implement his scheme both bear some blame. Anderson has also struggled playing through injury. The team is 28th in rushing despite being supported by an outstanding defense that gets them plenty of possessions. Ronnie Hillman has looked like the best back on the team since early August.
Hard Knocks hangover: The Texans surprisingly gave us one of the best Hard Knocks seasons of all time. Yet, Bill O'Brien's quarterback crisis has turned the Texans into one of the most unwatchable teams in the league, which is hard to pull off with J.J. Watt on the roster. Perhaps they shouldn't have cut Charles James; it was bad for team morale.