Who among the NFL's big names are underperforming in 2013?
In this article, I am going to discuss some of the big-name NFL players whose poor play early in the year is now becoming an unfortunate trend. I am not going to include quarterbacks or skill position players, as we can all read the numbers and see that guys like Colin Kaepnernick, Trent Richardson, and Mike Wallace are not quite living up to expectations. Instead, I will be looking at lower-profile positions that are not discussed as much as the offensive playmakers. I will also be excluding rookies (because plenty of players take a few years to develop) and injured players. We'll start on the defensive side of the ball:
Julius Peppers (CHI): Signed to a massive $84 million contract in 2010, Peppers will be under scrutiny any time he's not posting lofty sack totals. When taking a look at the ultra-athletic pass rusher this year, you'll see that his run defense has taken a significant step back for the third consecutive season, and has now become a weakness. If Peppers were getting to the quarterback, he would surely be forgiven for his poor run defense, but he has registered just 2.0 sacks all season.
Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG): JPP's name blew up during his breakout 2011 campaign, in which he racked up 16.5 sacks, but it's time to start wondering if that season was a fluke - Pierre-Paul has just 7.5 sacks in 24 games since then, and only one of those sacks has come in 2013. He has actually done a nice job sealing the edge in the run game, but he's not going to make big bucks in free agency after next season if he doesn't jack up those sack numbers.
Darnell Dockett (ARI): The only 3-4 defensive end on this list, Dockett has had one good game this season - in a blowout loss to the Saints. Other than that three-sack performance, Dockett has just one sack in seven games, and has been mediocre against the run.