Every year there are NFL players who progress in their development and sometimes take the league by storm. On the opposite end, there are players who regress.
Regression doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a diminishing talent, but rather, it could be a product of a variety of factors. There could be coaching staff changes, scheme changes, a decreased role or any number of things contributing to regression. Sometimes it’s all of the above, and sometimes it really is just time to call it a career.
Here’s a look at 10 NFL players who could, for one reason or another, regress in 2019.
10. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
After a wildly impressive 2018 campaign in which he tossed 35 touchdowns at a rate of 8.2 percent, it would be hard to imagine Wilson falling off a cliff. However, when considering that the aforementioned 8.2 percent touchdown rate was the seventh-highest in NFL history, it’s unlikely Wilson is capable of repeating or improving upon that number. And despite the added presence of rookie second-round pick D.K. Metcalf, the Seahawks don’t exactly boast an impressive cast at wide receiver or tight end, so it stands to reason that Wilson will regress simply because his career-best performance in 2018 is unsustainable.
Patrick Mahomes laughed off some ridiculous criticism from Colin Cowherd.
Mahomes received attention on Friday for throwing a ball out of Arrowhead Stadium.
— 41 Action News (@41actionnews) July 12, 2019
It was a cool display of physical talent. Of course, Cowherd had to come along and ruin the moment by drawing a Tom Brady comparison.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) July 13, 2019
Cowherd’s jab had no place here, but that’s what he does best. At least Mahomes and his 50-touchdown MVP season didn’t let it bother him.
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) July 13, 2019
Cowherd continues to be one of the biggest trolls in sports media. He must enjoy that distinction.
The security guard who was allegedly assaulted by Ezekiel Elliott will press charges against the Dallas Cowboys running back.
Kyle Johnson was allegedly bumped and shoved over a metal railing by Elliott during an incident in Las Vegas in May. The guard said he originally sought an apology and would have been satisfied with that. He claims he changed his mind after Elliott escaped punishment from the NFL. He also deemed Elliott’s apology to be insincere.
“To not have anything happen to him, the NFL is basically saying it’s okay to go to Vegas, get obliterated and shove people over fences,” Johnson told Enzo Marino of FOX 5 Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police will investigate the guard’s claims. If they deem there is enough evidence to charge Elliott, the Cowboys running back could be charged with battery.
You can judge for yourself the sincerity of Elliott’s apology, but it hasn’t been enough for Johnson. It remains to be seen whether new evidence will come to light as part of the investigation, and how the NFL would react if it did.
- Ezekiel Elliott
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is holding out of training camp in search of a new contract, but that doesn’t mean he actually wants to leave the team.
Gordon said Saturday that he does want to end up with the Chargers, saying that the team “changed my life” by drafting him and giving him the opportunity to play. Ultimately, however, he admitted that he wants to get paid.
— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) July 13, 2019
Gordon is pretty clear that this is business, but he’s very serious about getting what he feels he’s owed. The former 1,000-yard rusher makes it sound like his optimal solution would simply be that the Chargers pay up and he stays, but he’s also made it clear he’s willing to force an exit if they’re not going to cooperate.
Miami Dolphins assistant and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell was a big addition to the team’s staff this offseason, but he’s now stepping away for health reasons.
Caldwell will take a leave of absence due to unspecified “medical complications” and will spend the 2019 season serving as a consultant to the Dolphins and head coach Brian Flores.
#Dolphins assistant head coach and QB coach Jim Caldwell will take a leave of absence to address health issues, the team says. Caldwell will serve as a consultant to the team for the 2019 season. Jerry Schuplinski, a respected QB voice from New England, will take on a big role.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 13, 2019
“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said. “I want to thank Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, Coach Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.” https://t.co/W0yJRl5861
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) July 13, 2019
Caldwell, regarded as a great coach for quarterbacks, was likely looking forward to helping Josh Rosen tap into his potential this season. Unfortunately, he’ll have to take a step back. Hopefully Caldwell will successfully deal with his issues and be back in a larger role by 2020.
- Jim Caldwell
Richie Incognito will have to wait a couple weeks to make his return to the NFL.
The NFL suspended Incognito on Friday for the first two weeks of the 2019 season. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, the suspension is the result of an arrest at a funeral home last August.
The NFL has suspended #Raiders G Richie Incognito two games for violating the personal conduct policy. GM Mike Mayock was aware of likely discipline for a pair of incidents last year before signing Incognito to a one-year deal and has said they’ll help him help himself.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 12, 2019
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 12, 2019
Incognito was arrested after allegedly threatening funeral employees while making arrangements following the death of his father. The controversial guard signed with Oakland in May after sitting out the 2018 season.
- Richie Incognito
Derrius Guice was unable to play at all in his rookie season with the Washington Redskins last year after he suffered a torn ACL in a preseason game, and he is reportedly banged up again this summer.
Erin Hawksworth of 106.7 The Fan reports that Guice is battling a hamstring injury that could force him to miss the start of training camp later this month.
— Erin Hawksworth (@ErinHawksworth) July 12, 2019
It’s hard to get a real read on the severity of the injury, as the Redskins will likely play it safe with Guice after what happened a year ago. The former LSU star was expected to be leaned on heavily after he was drafted in the second round, but the injury obviously threw a wrench in those plans.
Washington re-signed Adrian Peterson this offseason, and the veteran has set an incredibly lofty goal for himself. However, the Redskins would almost certainly prefer to limit his touches while also working Guice into the mix. Hopefully injuries don’t once again prevent Guice from doing that.