It’s not Football ‘til you hear the crunch of that first hit
The NFL preseason began with a game between two NFC teams with aspirations towards this season’s Superbowl . The Arizona Cardinals faced the New Orleans Saints, with the Saints coming away with a 17-10 victory over their opponent . And in reality , though this was a preseason game , we learned nothing new beyond the fact that Cardinals’ quarterback Kevin Kolb simply isn’t as good as advertised , and it is becoming questionable if the front office were justified in signing the player to a lucrative contract .
Kolb was replaced early in this game , having suffered a rib injury , to be replaced by back-up quarterback John Skelton . Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Ken Whisenhunt must now have reservations as to whether or not Kevin Kolb is the player he wants to be the “signal caller” , calling the shots for this team . Personally , I have never been impressed with Kolb as a quarterback , even during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles ! His inconsistency has been a plague and a liability , that has followed him over the course of his career. Given the issues that the Cardinals now have on both sides of the ball , it does have me wondering how Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will remedy the problems that his team now has .
The Arizona Cardinals’ preseason schedule will undoubtedly give the coach a chance to assess the draftees acquired from this season’s NFL Draft . In the off-season also the Cardinals were quite active as they sought to bolster their roster , in order to a make full onslaught on the NFC West . What we evidenced throughout much of last season , there is no doubt in my mind that the San Francisco 49ers will be the team to beat within the division ! What awaits the fans is open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation as it relates to the division.
The New Orleans Saints for their part , as they seek to rebuild their image after the fallout of the scandal . It would appear that the NFL is now prepared to offer an olive branch to Jonathan Vilma , in order to stop the procedure of the litigation by way of the player’s defamation lawsuit against the league and commissioner Roger Goodell . Having filed his suit in the US Federal Court (5th Circuit) in New Orleans , Louisiana , for which a date has yet to be set for a trial . Goodell has not spoken publicly on this matter but it would appear that Jeff Pash , legal counsel to the NFL, has been the individual seeking out a response from Vilma and his legal representatives . If the suit is dropped , the league would then reduce the player’s year-long suspension to one encompassing eight games of the regular season. Image is everything , and here , the NFL’s , the Saints and that of Vilma’s has seen irrefutable damage, beyond repair .
With interim-coach Joe Vitt , now being entrusted to lead the coaching staff through the first half of the Saints’ regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see how team acquits itself , once they embark upon regular season play . Drew Brees , will seek to surpass the record-breaking efforts of last season while leading a new-look Saints’ roster . There were a number of departures from last from the team through free agency and players simply thought to be superfluous to the organization’s needs. However, a large part of the core remains in-tact , with the names of Jimmy Graham , Brodrick Bunkley , Marques Colston , Mark Ingram , Chris Ivory , Pierre Thomas and Lance Moore remains at the heart of the team. In the NFL Draft, GM Micky Loomis sought to address the Saints’ needs by picking judiciously in taking five players , through rounds three to seven , in order to fulfill their requirements .
Coming off a 13-3 season in 2011 , which saw the Saints come away with the NFC South division with considerable ease. This season however , with the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers , each having what has been said to be exceptional drafts . One has to believe that the division will become all the more contentious in 2012 , with the Saints having to fend off the challenges of their divisional rivals during their upcoming regular season schedule .
You somehow knew it had to happen , Chad Ochocinco , readopt the name Chad Johnson , legally . All this , is being done, to further explain and gain exposure , having been signed by the Miami Dolphins . Johnson, recently married tv- reality show star, Evelyn Lozado , and the two have seen their profile and popularity raised with their show on the VH1 Network . Don’t ask me why but I can never understand why such individuals would seek to embarrass themselves on television for the whole world to see ! Furthermore, with Johnson’s career now on the decline , does anyone truly believe that he will be able to make a difference to an already questionable Miami Dolphins’ offense ?
While Johnson is not being handsomely rewarded by NFL standards , the salary afforded the player , should keep him from running afoul of his new spouse . As to the Dolphins under their new head coach Joe Philbin , I would hazard a guess that this will be a season that will truly test his mettle as a rookie NFL coach ! The franchise embarks upon its preseason schedule with a game —- against instate rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , this upcoming Friday at Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida.
Philbin and his coaching staff have a number of decisions to make , most notably, who will be the starting quarterback on this team . The choices are not that enlightening , given the fact the players in question have no proven pedigree . . The choices are not that enlightening , given the fact the players in question have no proven pedigree . David Garrard , Matt Moore , a seasoned NFL veteran and the team’s 2012 first round draft pick , eighth overall , Ryan Tannehill are the duo in question, from which, Philbin will make his choice . Given what was exhibited last year by way or the team’s passing game , I get the distinct feeling that neither player will be able to add much to the Miami Dolphins’ cause this season !
Miami’s issues are widespread and the belief is , they and the Buffalo Bills could very well be vying for last place within AFC East this upcoming season. I certainly cannot see the Dolphins challenging the “ might” of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots , under any circumstance ! Whereas the NFL’s answer to the Ringling Bros’ traveling circus act , will be encompassed around the “ freak-show “ in the making , with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow trying to lead the New York Jets back to NFL prominence .
While much of the Jets’ talk during the off-season has been about how the team’s new offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , will try to incorporate Tebow’s strengths into the Jets’ offense . I have to ask, when and where did Sparano become an offensive minded guru ? Certainly , while he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins , they had their moments but they were few and far between any major triumph. He rode his “one trick pony” come unicycle known as the “wildcat offense” into the ground . Once, the Miami Dolphins were exposed , as an offensive and defensive challenged team , during Sparano’s tenure . Well, the rest as they say…. is history , and not long after , the head coach was shown the door by GM Jeff Ireland .
Two years removed from his last game while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals , Terrell Owens now seems to be back in the good graces of the league . What the f#ck is that all about ? In what I believe to be an act of desperation by the Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks , the NFC West franchise has signed the player to a one-year $ 1 million deal ! The Seahawks cut the under-achieving Mike Williams whose erratic and inconsistent performances were only outdone by his complete lack of preparation as an NFL wide receiver . It is hard to believe how this once prolific player at USC (Trojans) could have fallen so out of favor with his former college coach. Well, once you are considered a “bust” in the NFL , the only direction to go is down . See the likes of Ryan Leaf , Akili Smith and Heath Shuler as evidence of that and you are quite right , there are others who could be added to this short list of considerable failures !
I will not dare to comprehend or try to explain what it is that Peter Carroll hopes to gain out of this maneuver but I can only surmise that he was duped into this move by Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus . Who may well have pointed to the fact that the Seahawks’ divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers —– signed fellow veteran wide receiver Randy Moss to a one-year $2.5 million deal . So now we can start to compare apples to oranges and Moss to Owens ? I think not ! Whatever Owens brings to the table for the Seahawks , I certainly don’t believe that it will be enough to derail the ambitions of the 49ers , as they seek to make a successful defense of their NFC West divisional crown ! Are the Seahawks capable of upending the San Francisco 49ers this season ?
Picture gallery .
What plot-lines do you believe will be the biggest <b of the NFL preseason that may well carry over into the regular season itself ? And of the teams, to have made the postseason in 2011 , which do you believe has the best chance of making a return and which franchise will not ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt walks the sidelines during the preseason match-up in the Hall of Fame exhibition football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin ….
(2) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) pass the ball under pressure from Arizona Cardinals’ Calais Campbell (93) during the first quarter of the Hall of Fame NFL exhibition football game, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin …
(3) New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (28) turns the corner past Arizona Cardinals’ William Gay (23) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin …
(4) Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) of the New Orleans Saints tackles quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals during first quarter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium on August 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. Kolb was injured on the play and left the game. Jason Miller / Getty Images North America …
(5) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) is helped by a team trainer after being hit by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. Photo: Scott Galvin / AP ….
(6) DAVIE, FL – MAY 4: Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins talks to the media after the rookie mini-camp on May 4, 2012 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images ….
(7) June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) listen to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano during mini-camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE….
(8) FILE – In this June 5, 2011, file photo, Terrell Owens watches the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. Owens is coming back to the NFL, hoping the Seattle Seahawks’ search for another veteran wide receiver will get him off the sidelines. The 38-year-old Owens had a tryout with the Seahawks on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, and hours later the team announced it had agreed to terms with the former star receiver. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….