Have you noticed that some of the best players in the NFL have been benched for key plays or even entire games over the past few weeks? I just wrote a piece about Norv Turner’s inexplicable decision to go with Darren Sproles on the goal line vs. the Broncos. While LT missed out on a key play, players like Jevon Kearse were “healthy scratches” from entire games.
Others, like Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas have been benched as well. You’ll note from the tenor of the questions and the responses (click the picture to see the discussion) that the quality of Thomas’ play is not at issue.
The three-time Pro Bowler Kearse simply went home after hearing he was a scratch vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning threw for 309 yards and led the Colts to a 31-9 pasting of the Titans. Could the Titans have used Jevon Kearse in that game?
At this time of the season, it is curious to see talented veterans on the bench. Only Thomas was in a situation where his contributions could not be missed. Still, he is a professional who puts in time at practice, and ostensibly earns the right to play each week.
Something is going on.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert is reporting today (10.22.09) that former first round draft pick (#5 overall) A.J. Hawk has been benched by the Green Bay Packers. It’s not a complete benching. However, according to Seifert’s reports, Hawk has only been in on about 25% of all snaps.
Hawk has been a big disappointment since being hailed as the next great middle linebacker coming out of Ohio State. It hasn’t happened. He hasn’t supplanted Brian Urlacher as the “defensive face of the division.” He hasn’t even unseated Nick Barnett. He is currently ranked 5th in tackles among linebackers drafted in the 2006 class.