- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

The field for this season’s NFL Turkey of the Year honors yields an embarrassment of riches - accent on embarrassment. Three teams have 1-9 records. Traded stars and big-time free agents aren’t performing up to their contracts. Coordinators were fired before the regular season. And, of course, there is the fiasco that is the Washington Redskins’ campaign.

As you munch on Thanksgiving leftovers and decide whether heading to the mall is worth the aggravation, here’s the list of turkeys through 11 weeks.

Jay Cutler, Chicago quarterback

Coveted by many teams this offseason because of his age (26), salary cap number (about $1 million) and statistics (27 TDs last year), Cutler arrived in Chicago to much fanfare, but the Bears are headed toward a third straight year without making the postseason since they reached the Super Bowl.

Cutler has 15 touchdowns along with an NFL-high 18 interceptions for the 4-6 Bears. He ranks 24th in passer rating (74.5).

The Broncos’ collapse last year cost Mike Shanahan his job. Chicago coach Lovie Smith could be in trouble if the Bears’ slide down the NFC North standings continues.

Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay coach

He was the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator for about 13 minutes before coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were shockingly sacked, replaced by Morris and GM Mark Dominik.

The results so far have been an utter disaster.

On the field, the Bucs are 1-9, can’t move the ball (29th in yards, 27th in points), can’t stop anybody (27 in yards, 31st in points) and have been through three starting quarterbacks.

Off the field is even more troubling. Morris turfed offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the season opener and this week, he stripped defensive coordinator Jim Bates of the playcalling. While some say Morris deserves credit for being bold, he’s a dud because every move makes it seem as if he’s in constant panic mode.

Roy Williams, Dallas receiver

Jerry Jones gave up first-, third- and sixth-round picks in last spring’s draft to acquire Williams from Detroit. He then signed him to a five-year, $45 million extension that included more than $20 million guaranteed.

Williams isn’t playing like a No. 1 receiver, or a No. 2 receiver. He entered Thursday’s game against Oakland tied for 103rd in receptions (24) and 54th in yards (429).

Against the Redskins last week, Williams was targeted four times but had no catches. He looked hesitant to go up in the air over the middle after being drilled by safety LaRon Landry.

Despite his contract, Williams has fallen behind Jason Witten and Miles Austin on Tony Romo’s radar.

Entire Cleveland Browns franchise

When he gave up on coach Romeo Crennel (right time) and GM Phil Savage (wrong time) last year, owner Randy Lerner sought somebody with NFL head coaching experience. Whether that experience was as a failure was immaterial.

Enter Eric Mangini. By midseason, Mangini’s reign of terror cost GM George Kokinis and other front office personnel their jobs. The coach has screwed up the quarterback situation and lessened his talent roster by infusing so many of his former New York Jets players (none had ever made a Pro Bowl).

Lerner is the hook for nearly $20 million to people who no longer work for him. The only way he isn’t on the turkey list next year is if he can lure a Mike Holmgren to revamp the broken operation.

Ralph Wilson, Buffalo owner

He may be a Pro Football Hall of Famer, but Wilson deserves recognition for renewing his habit of firing coaches in the middle of a season.

When Dick Jauron was whacked last week, it was the fifth time in Bills history that Wilson had given up on the season by changing coaches. It also happened in 1968, 1976, 1985 and 1986.

And it has yet to make a huge difference. The season following a midseason coaching change, the Bills have gone 4-10, 3-11, 4-12 and 7-8, so Buffalo fans shouldn’t expect a grand turnaround next year.

Wilson should also be panned for trying to persuade Mike Shanahan to come to Buffalo. Not happening, Ralph.

Washington Redskins front office

Anything said at this point seems like piling on, but let’s proceed anyway.

It’s going to make for a great story when players and coaches provide details about how the team is run and how coach Jim Zorn first had Sherm Lewis thrown at him and then, weeks later, how Zorn lost his playcalling responsibilities.

Owner Dan Snyder faces his most important offseason since buying the team. Does he stand pat with the front office structure and continue to alienate his fan base or does he say, “What we’re doing isn’t working,” and go the general manager route?

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