Now that we are well past the halfway point of the season, I want to look back on the expectations that people had at the beginning of the year and determine who, or what, the biggest disappointments and surprises are.

The most surprising move in recent weeks was the Denver Broncos’ decision to waive backup quarterback Kyle Orton and keep instead the presumed third-string man at the position, Brady Quinn. Just as surprisingly, yet disappointingly so, is that starting quarterback Tim Tebow is actually being labeled a quarterback, despite the fact that he only had two completions on a mere eight attempts against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 10.

The most surprising development on the team level is the San Francisco 49ers’ 9-2 record. If they continue to win under coach Jim Harbaugh, who has apparently revitalized a team that was in a decade-long slump, I think that the 49ers may be able to take home their sixth Lombardi Trophy. On the other hand, the most disappointing team in the NFL is easily the Philadelphia Eagles. After revamping their defense into what should’ve been a point-preventing machine, they still have not been able to stop opposing teams from outscoring them.

As far as quarterbacks go, the Dolphins’ Matt Moore’s recent performances have earned him the title of most surprising player. With 1,607 yards, a 63 percent completion rate and eight touchdowns, Matt Moore is looking like his 2009 self, when he had a 98.5 quarterback rating. The biggest disappointment is clearly Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman. Last year was phenomenal for Freeman, who recorded 3,451 yards and 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions. It would be unreasonable to expect Freeman to repeat last season, but 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions is unacceptable.

As for running backs, Miami’s Reggie Bush and Dallas’ DeMarco Murray have both been nice surprises for their respective teams. Bush, like Moore, has taken some time to get going, waiting until week eight to have a 100-yard game. He only has 567 rushing yards on the season, but that is because rookie backup Daniel Thomas has shared the load, rushing for 431 yards. Bush leads the team in rushing touchdowns, and more impressively, will most likely beat his personal record for touchdowns scored in a season, which he set his rookie year.

Bush is a surprise because he is commonly thought of as a bust, but Murray is a surprise because, as a rookie, he ran for 253 yards in a single game, setting a franchise record. He has 834 yards and two touchdowns under his belt so far this season and has replaced Felix Jones as Dallas’ starting running back. Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson’s 699 yards and two touchdowns, which are a far cry from the 2,009 yards and 14 touchdowns he recorded in 2009, speak for themselves. He is the largest disappointment in the rushing game this season.

In Dallas, wide receiver Miles Austin’s replacement Laurent Robinson has been a touchdown machine, recording seven over the past five games. With only four touchdowns over the span of his last four seasons — two in St. Louis and two in Atlanta — it is safe to say that this is Robinson’s breakout year. In a very disappointing piece of news (involving another former St. Louis receiver) the injured Jacksonville Jaguars’ Mike Sims-Walker has 150 yards on the season. Over the past two seasons, Sims-Walker had caught 14 touchdowns and recorded 1,413 yards receiving — one reason why Rams fans believed him to be the answer to their team’s recent offensive struggles and why St. Louis took him on this season. They were wrong; he was unable to beat coverage or connect with quarterback Sam Bradford, and now he’s back in Jacksonville on injured reserve.

As for tight ends, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham has had an outstanding season that exceeded most people’s expectations. He has averaged 14.3 yards on 67 receptions, finding the end zone eight times. The biggest disappointment at this position must be former Oakland Raider Zach Miller, who just last year was selected to go to his first Pro Bowl. In Oakland, he hauled in 226 receptions, 12 of which were touchdowns. A Seattle Seahawk this season, due to no fault of his own he has caught 16 passes for 135 yards and has remained scoreless.

Ondo is a member of the class of 2014.



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