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#pounditSaturday, May 15, 2021

5 NFL veterans who need a bounceback season

Odell Beckham Jr

Even veteran players are prone to bad seasons. Despite their experience and talent, sometimes things just don’t click, be it an underlying injury, a bad supporting cast, or a poor scheme fit. It’s particularly troublesome when vets go through bad seasons, as NFL teams rely on their most experienced and accomplished players to drive them forward. If that doesn’t happen, the whole team suffers.

So which NFL veterans really need to turn things around and get back on track in 2020? Here are five to watch for.

5. JJ Watt, Texans

Injuries have been the big issue for Watt and have really sapped his production over the last couple years. He played in just eight games and collected four sacks last year, a far cry from the 16 he had in 2018, his last fully healthy season. Watt’s skillset isn’t in question; he simply has to find a way to stay healthy for Houston’s benefit. If he can, their defense will be much better for it.

4. Jared Goff, Rams

At the time he signed his contract extension, Goff got the most guaranteed money of any quarterback in NFL history. That should lead to expectations of elite production. Instead, Goff had a middling season that saw him regress in most categories, with a modest 22 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Unsurprisingly, the Rams subsequently slipped to 9-7. Goff needs to be better if the Rams want to go back to being an elite offensive team. Entering his fifth season, the time for that is now.

3. David Johnson, Texans

It’s not Johnson’s fault that he was the one ultimately traded for DeAndre Hopkins in what was, on paper, one of the more lopsided NFL trades in recent memory. That’s what he’ll be saddled with, though. Coming off a year with just 715 yards from scrimmage, Johnson has a lot to prove. There are serious doubts that he is still the elite running back he once appeared to be when he had 20 touchdowns and over 2,000 combined yards in 2016. Perhaps that can be motivation for him. The Texans sure hope so.

2. Le’Veon Bell, Jets

Bell signed with the Jets to much fanfare, but the results never matched the hype in his first season in New York. Bell ran for 789 yards but only three touchdowns, and his production in the passing game wasn’t much better. The Jets are working on ways to make him more effective, and that’s a must for 2020. Bell was once one of the league’s most productive running backs, but he desperately needs his supporting cast to be better this year.

1. Odell Beckham, Browns

On the surface, Beckham’s numbers in his first season with the Browns weren’t awful. He did surpass the 1,000-yard threshold for the fifth time in six seasons, after all. However, he was a big disappointment. His four touchdowns were underwhelming, and it never seemed like Baker Mayfield developed a good rapport with the wide receiver. Beckham blamed injuries, which appear to have been sorted out. Now he has to produce to pay back the Browns’ investment in him.


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