For an 11-5 football team that won its division and won a playoff game, it sure feels like we have a lot of candidates for the Dud of the Year this season. The APC staff identified four primary nominees for this year's honor, but feel free to put in a vote for a write-in candidate. Also keep in mind that we're considering players only, and that you'll have your opportunity to vent your frustration with Mike McCarthy's play-calling and Dom Capers' defensive schemes at a later time.
We have to start off the Dud list with everyone's favorite whipping boy. Walden actually seemed to play fairly well at the start of the season, and looked to be benefiting from sharing snaps with rookie Nick Perry. Once Perry went down for the season with an injury and Walden became an every-snap player by necessity, the wheels fell off. While not impressing against either the run or pass, Walden's crowning achievement was getting repeatedly washed out on zone-read plays against the Vikings and 49ers in the playoffs.
Billed as the Packers' premier free-agent acquisition, Saturday was supposed to provide a stable presence at center while the team searched for a long-term replacement. Instead, he played so poorly that he was removed from the starting lineup late in the season in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith. Saturday graded out poorly in both run and pass blocking, and earning an absurd Pro Bowl honor gave his abysmal performance even more attention across the league.
Starks came into camp expected to be the top dog in the running game, but wasted no time getting injured and missing the bulk of the preseason. That injury was a primary driver for the Packers signing Cedric Benson. Starks then made the active roster for week one, but didn't play until week 6 against Houston and only participated in six games all season. He averaged a bleak 3.6 yards per carry, and scored only one touchdown. Like Saturday, Starks gets Dud consideration because much was expected of him before the season, and he totally failed to live up to those expectations.
Crosby had the league's lowest field-goal percentage this year, converting on 21 of 33 attempts for for 63.6%. That was so bad that you have to look all the way back to Paul Edinger's 2004 season for Chicago (15-24, 62.5%)to find a kicker with a lower percentage on 20 or more attempts. To make matters worse, Crosby tended to miss at inopportune times and went through that awful stretch where he went eight games in a row with a missed field goal. While it's true that many of Crosby's misses were from 50 yards or more, field goals of that length are a part of the NFL now, and a decent kicker needs to be able to hit from that distance with regularity.
Who earns your vote for Dud of the Year? Let us know in the comments if you think that someone like Alex Green or Tramon Williams should have made the cut.