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SCOUT'S HONOR: Most disappointing teams

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foxsports admin

 
   
 
We know all the reasons why most losing teams struggle. They either have very bad talent or suffer numerous injuries. I'll take a look into where these teams are headed over the next several weeks.

No. 1 St. Louis

Credit Mike Martz for finally making needed adjustments. It just has taken an inexperienced quarterback to make these changes. And focusing the offense around has paid dividends. That's taken pressure off at quarterback. But the defense remains a bit inconsistent. They must tighten up the front seven and get to the quarterback more often. Look for to be groomed as a long-term starter at cornerback. Look for the to continue building a close chemistry through this adversity and make things a little interesting over the latter half of the year.

No. 2 New England

Limitations have shown up for the . The front seven can't generate a pass rush, which has exposed their secondary. is getting eaten up at middle linebacker, and and have been exposed in pass coverage. They will have to make a lot of upgrades in personnel next spring. What has happened with ? He hasn't gotten much help. And Brady isn't a quarterback who can carry a team on his shoulders. The offensive line has been missing some parts. has got off to a slow start trying to generate the run game. The coaches lack confidence in their run blocking right now. Getting the offensive line healthy and finding a rhythm on the ground with Smith will be keys during the second half. They must also stay within the strengths of Brady.

No. 3 Pittsburgh

The finally are looking in rhythm with at quarterback. The passing game is moving more consistently. But it all comes down to finding consistency and health on the ground. The will need to rely heavily on the ground game down the stretch. The defense will be challenged again at some point and must respond. Getting back at some point will be a boost. And cornerback will be counted on to display more consistency. The should be dangerous down the stretch if they can run the ball consistently and create some turnovers.

No. 4 Chicago

The are in trouble right now. Injuries have decimated their defense. Losing for several weeks has made the run game a lot more vulnerable, and their pass defense strongly needs to be addressed next spring. They aren't making enough plays and depth has been erratic. Injuries have played a key effect on the offense. hasn't been as effective during his second season. That has taken some consistency away from the offense. Injuries have also prevented the from finding at true chemistry.

No. 5 Tennessee

Injuries are killing the . This team is built on defense and strong play on both lines. But age and injuries have led to the ' decline. Should Jeff Fisher be fired? No. Fisher isn't the problem. But defensive coordinator Jeff Schwartz is in trouble. He's been overmatched by opponents, but several injuries have prevented him from being dealt a strong hand. Tennessee must add size at cornerback next spring and hope that their defensive tackles mature further. Adding new faces on the offensive line could become a strong consideration.

No. 6 New York

The are continuing to have problems defensively. hasn't rebounded at cornerback after injuries plagued him with Jacksonville in 2001. hasn't been a good fit at strong safety. The defensive line is still struggling at times and needs further upgrades. And they must add more speed and athleticism at linebacker. Letting two starters head elsewhere last spring has taken its affect along the offensive line. They need a true left tackle to build this unit around.

No. 7 Dallas

The ' organization has been disappointed in how this team has played. The offensive line hasn't been as consistent as they hoped, and was too erratic for the first several weeks. has been pure passing skills, but inexperience means he'll face some inconsistencies. The secondary needs better play at cornerback. They lack a true shutdown cornerback who can make plays. And playing two strong safeties — and — has also put some limitations on their pass coverage. If makes enough progress this season and they make an upgrade in the secondary, the will position themselves for a playoff berth next season.

No. 8 Washington

Steve Spurrier has been forced to make adjustments already with his offense. He's quickly learned he simply doesn't have the personnel to win right now. He's prepared to roll up his sleeves for the long-term. I think they have a quarterback to build around with . He's struggled a lot over the past two weeks and has been benched, but I like his makeup. They just need a lot more speed across the board on offense. Spurrier needs players who can make something happen with the ball in their hands.

No. 9 Seattle

I think its time for the to move in another direction. Mike Holmgren has given this club no true focus. They do have an intriguing core of young players on offense, but the defense continues to show limitations across the board. They really need to find a better core to build their defense around. Holmgren has spent the past few years trying to patchwork a squad together to make an immediate impact — but that hasn't helped develop any cohesion on the field.

No. 10 Minnesota

Further distractions have hurt the this season, but they simply have a lot of problems with personnel on defense. The secondary is a liability. The are extremely raw here. They like their future here, but I don't see any certainties. They also need more help at linebacker and another dominant defensive tackle alongside . It's becoming inevitable that something must be done with their team chemistry. And is beginning to slump bad enough to question whether he's the answer at quarterback. 's holdout hasn't helped the offensive line. I honestly think the need to consider their options on trading and taking the cap hit. Then, they must continue rebuilding the core of their roster for a few seasons. They need to focus on adding several defensive players this spring to become more competitive. Brian DeLucia is a respected college and pro personnel consultant around the NFL. Formerly a consultant with Rivals.com, and currently a contributor for ProFootballDigest.com, Brian heads into his third season with FOXSports.com providing commentary around the NFL and NFL Draft.
Tagged: Bears, Cowboys, Rams, Vikings, Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Redskins, Steelers, Marshall Faulk, Marc Bulger, Randy Moss, Chris Hovan, Daunte Culpepper, Otis Smith, Tom Brady, Antowain Smith, Ty Law, Roy Williams, Bryant McKinnie, Travis Fisher, Patrick Ramsey, Tommy Maddox, Chad Hutchinson

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