Ranking the five most dysfunctional NFL teams
The drama between Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III is just one reason the Washington Redskins are a disaster. The Washington Post/Getty Images
The point of professional sports is to put a winning product on the field, yet there are some NFL teams that are making a hot mess out of the attempt.
With the 2015 NFL season fast-approaching, it’s time to take a look at the teams that have been set up to fail.
These upcoming franchises represent the most dysfunctional teams in the NFL right now.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
This isn’t a “bad” football team from year to year, but there are some funky things stuck in the woodworks in Cincinnati.
Marvin Lewis is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the league. In fact, only New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been in charge longer than Lewis, who is sandwiched between “The Hoodie” and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
One must ask why the Bengals continue plugging along with Lewis at the helm, however. Since taking over for Dick LeBeau in 2002, Lewis has managed to lose all six of the playoff games the Bengals have reached (all wild-card games).
Further evidence of dysfunction is the franchise’s undying loyalty to quarterback Andy Dalton, who must be one of the worst playoff quarterbacks in league history for someone who has played in more than one game.
In four playoff contests, Dalton has completed just 55.7 percent of his passes for 873 yards with one touchdown and six interceptions for a passer rating of 57.8. These numbers are abominably putrid, yet Cincinnati continues to stick with Dalton for reasons that defy explanation.
4. San Francisco 49ers
If not for the fact that San Francisco is just one year into its current state of dysfunction, the 49ers would be higher (or is it lower?) on this list.
The front office got tired of Jim Harbaugh’s relentless need to push the team, as did his players. This led to an abysmal 2014 campaign during which everybody knew Harbaugh was on his way out. And, rather than bring in another big name like Mike Shanahan or Mike Holmgren, the 49ers chose to promote defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
Tomsula may end up being just what the doctor ordered for this franchise, but then again, the upcoming season could end up being an unmitigated fiasco.
But that’s not the point.
Trent Baalke, for better or worse, runs this franchise with an iron fist. Anyone standing in the way of his vision will be crushed underfoot.
And, under his guidance, the 49ers have become a league poster boy for off-field problems with 12 arrests since 2012. Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith—both cornerstone defenders—were jettisoned after multiple arrests, and Ahmad Brooks appears to be following suit after being indicted on sexual battery charges.
Should Brooks be cut, then that means the 49ers will have lost 11 starters from last year’s team that went 8-8. This kind of brutal turnover, along with the circumstances surrounding many of the departures, could be disastrous for San Francisco in 2015.
3. New York Jets
New York is a mess, despite the crazy talent the team features on defense.
In addition to the transition from being a Rex Ryan-coached team to Todd Bowles, who has never before had a head-coaching gig, the Jets have one of the worst quarterback situations in the league.
This isn’t a new problem, either.
Since Mark Sanchez “led” the team to the AFC championship game two years in a row, New York’s offense has been nothing short of embarrassing.
After Sanchez left, the Jets drafted Geno Smith, who has actually been a downgrade at the position. And, now that Smith is sidelined with a broken jaw suffered at the hand of former teammate IK Enemkpali, it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick’s turn to suck behind center for the Jets.
Throw in a volatile Brandon Marshall, who has sparked controversy wherever he goes, and this burning pyre could soon get an injection of jet fuel.
The worst part for Jets fans?
New York’s defense will probably be good enough to keep this franchise from having a chance at landing a top quarterback in the draft for the next few seasons, meaning the offense will continue dragging the team down for years to come.
2. Cleveland Browns
You can cross out Johnny Manziel and add Josh McCown to this travesty of a jersey, which represents the unbelievable run of bad choices made by Cleveland’s brass at the quarterback position over the past two decades.
And, just to prove how much the football gods are against Cleveland ever winning again, Manziel is now dealing with chronic elbow issues stemming from an unorthodox throwing motion. He’s missing the final two preseason games this year due to the issue, meaning McCown is completely in charge of the offense this year unless/until he gets hurt.
It’s been two decades since Cleveland won a playoff game, and the way things are going, it might be another two before this curse is lifted.
Making matters worse, the front office of the Browns isn’t exactly on the level. Ray Farmer won’t be attending the first four games of the upcoming season because he was texting plays to the coaching staff last year.
Maybe just let the coaches coach this time around, eh?
1. Washington football team
There isn’t a team in the league with more long-term dysfunction and chaos than the one owned by Daniel Snyder in Washington.
Currently, the franchise is a complete, abject disaster.
Head coach Jay Gruden has, up until now, had his hands tied behind his back when it comes to Robert Griffin III as the starter. Perhaps out of spite, or perhaps because he wanted to see if RG3 could work his way out of a funk, Gruden left his “star” quarterback in the game against Detroit to be brutalized in Week 2 of the preseason.
Not surprisingly, Griffin sustained a concussion in the game after being sacked three times. He was then declared ready to go just days after, and the team said he’d be ready to play in Week 3. Then, on Friday, it was announced that an independent neurologist ruled him out for one-two weeks because of his concussion.
And this is where the story gets really weird.
After rumors came out that Kirk Cousins would not only start in Week 3 of the preseason but also in Week 1 of the regular season, another report emerged that shows just how dysfunctional this franchise is at this time.