Cam Newton, quarterback, Panthers. Newton threw for a paltry 141 yards against Seattle and rushed seven times for 42 yards. I like what Newton does as a read-option runner, but I think the Panthers need to realize they’ve got an incredibly talented quarterback. Keep the read option, but also let this guy be a true quarterback. Let him pass.
Steve Smith, receiver, Panthers. He was held to four catches for 40 yards against the Seahawks. Smith doesn’t have a touchdown catch this season. Most disturbingly of all, he started talking about retirement in the locker room Sunday. It’s kind of sad to see because Smith seemed so rejuvenated last year when Newton arrived. But the losing seems to have dampened Smith’s mood.
Dallas Clark, tight end, Buccaneers. He has nine catches for 81 yards and no touchdowns through four games. The Bucs said Clark was back at full health after struggling with injuries in his final two years in Indianapolis. Maybe Clark is healthy. Maybe it’s just that his age has caught up to him.
Mike Nolan, defensive coordinator, Falcons. There was a lot of debate in the offseason about if the Falcons got the best new defensive coordinator or if the Saints did with Steve Spagnuolo. It hasn’t even been a contest. While Spagnuolo and the Saints have struggled from the start, Nolan has had his defense playing well all season and it’s probably only going to get better as guys get more comfortable with the scheme.
Marques Colston, wide receiver, Saints. There was some talk earlier in the season that Colston might be washed up. The reality was he wasn’t completely healthy. He is now and he’s put together two big games in a row. With a bye coming up, Colston should be rested and should stay productive.
Dunta Robinson, cornerback, Falcons. Since signing with the Falcons in 2010, a lot of people have written Robinson off as a bust. That might have been partly true the past two seasons, but I’m seeing a guy who's playing well this season. Robinson had a crucial interception at Washington and it was one of the first true big plays he’s made since joining the Falcons.