Something old, something new, something borrowed though not necessarily blue
By Tophatal …
Today, in an NFC conference game , the Carolina Panthers are the guests of the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The match-up pits the top two picks from the 2011 and 2012 NFL Draft , in Cam Newton , and Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III. Newton this season has been inexplicably poor in his play , whereas, his Redskins’ counterpart , Griffin has been excelling in the environment of the NFL .
The two players are seen as part of the NFL’s rich future , as seasoned veterans such as , Eli Manning , his brother Peyton, Drew Brees , Tom Brady , Aaron Rodgers , Matt Scab , Joe Falco and Matt Ryan have established, or are seeking to establish themselves in the upper echelons of the game , in the positions they currently play. And during this decade we might just be witnessing some of the best play possible of this or any other era during which the NFL has become known as the Superbowl ”era”
Cam Newton, if he is to be seen as a leader of this Panthers’ team , then beyond his poor play , he will undoubtedly have to show a great deal more maturity than he has been currently showing. Granted, when you are playing on a 1-6 team , as Newton has been , there is not a great deal of positives that can be taken away from those experiences . And for head coach , Ron Rivera , the most exacerbating situation facing him , has been the fact that his quarterback become so inconsistent , while his game has regressed to such a level, that there is a feeling that without some real guidance , Cam Newton’s career in the NFL could very well be short-lived.
Robert Griffin III, for his part, has brought back the excitement long sought by the Redskins’ franchise. Thankfully, the team’s offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan , has not found a way to mess a good thing up , as Griffin has excelled while leading this Redskins’ team . Head coach, Mike Shanahan, might well be coaching the “ best pure talent”, he has coached over the course tenure of his career , with the exception of Hall of Fame quarterback , John Elway. High praise indeed, for a young quarterback who has exhibited all of the prerequisite abilities that Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen sought , when they made him their number one pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. If the previous meetings of the Panthers and Redskins are anything to go by , then Sunday afternoon’s game should prove to be an explosive and offensive laden treat .
There are two games played during week nine , which I firmly believe will determine the seasons of the quartet of teams involved ! The New Orleans Saints play host to the Philadelphia Eagles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , in New Orleans , Louisiana, in Monday night’s game. There are constant excuses being made by fans and analysts alike concerning the inconsistent and poor play of not only Michael Vick , but also the team as a whole . Foreseen as what was said to be a legitimate contender within the NFC , the Eagles have been anything but that, over the course of the season , as they have seemingly struggled to find a footing and some semblance and consistency to their game. While everyone, may well feel compassionate towards head coach Andy Reid, after the death of his son, Garrett Reid, there can be no denying that the coach has done an exceptionally poor job in his capacity as the head coach , in the preparation of his team this season.
In the case of the New Orleans Saints, it has been the team’s off the field issues that still remain in the spotlight. And just when you thought that things could not possibly get any worse for the franchise , it has been made public that Commissioner Roger Goodell, has voided the contract of head coach Sean Payton , making the beleaguered and suspended Saints’ employee a free agent at the end of this season . It would appear in the way the coach’s contract was worded , made it ambiguous and most certainly in the view of many , by no way a legally binding contract given the stipulations in the contract’s details. What might be more asinine concerning this all, is the very fact, that all NFL employee contracts as it relates to NFL personnel , has to be approved by the commissioner’s office. In light of this , one might ask who within Roger Goodell’s office gave this deal , their “final seal of approval” , if not the commissioner himself ? It has been bad enough to witness Goodell’s handling of the Saints’ bounty scandal , and the now laughable assertion and notion that by the commissioner recusing himself from presiding over the appeals’ process of the four players embroiled in and at the center of the ongoing controversy , by inserting Paul Tagliabue into the mix , this now makes things better. It is clear that Roger Goodell’s comprehension of the “rule of law” has nothing to do with the law itself , but more to do with his hanging on to his considerable power and influence within the NFL. The idiocy however, is the very fact that the team owners have continued to back Goodell’s play. And the last time I looked , the commissioner was not holding a good hand in terms of his risky stake of poker here or determinedly sheer lunacy , as he seeks another PR win , after some highly debatable and embarrassing losses suffered by the league hierarchy.
At this point , it would be realistic to suggest that Sean Payton will remain with the New Orleans Saints , because of the extremely amicable relationship that he has with the team owner , Tom Benson , but specifically with the team’s quarterback, Drew Brees. The duo of Payton and Brees are the primary reasons why the Saints were victorious in their 31-17 Superbowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2009 , after an entirely exciting 2008 season , in which we witnessed the franchise reach unprecedented heights , as the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana sought to recover from the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina . In 2012, and we are witnessing an entirely different set of circumstances concerning the Saints , as they have simply labored along while becoming one of the league’s more erratic teams, as evidenced by their results . A loss on Monday for the Saints , would do a great deal more than simply stall their season’s ambitions , as I do not believe they can be taken as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl this season. There has been far too much off the field drama , and it certainly hasn’t helped with the high-wire circus act, concerning Joe Vitt and Aaron Kromer sharing the head coaching responsibilities , while Sean Payton serves his year-long mandated suspension.
Atlanta Falcons’ head coach, Mike Smith has got his team off to an unbelievable start as they remain undefeated at 7-0 , which just happens to be the franchise’s best start in their history. When the Falcons host the beleaguered Dallas Cowboys in NBC’s Sunday night coverage , we should get to see whether or not Matt Ryan can lead the team to a league leading eighth victory .
Jerry Jones , the ever colorful owner of the Dallas Cowboys has done more to hype up the Cowboys than anything than is said to have taken place on the field of play from the team this season . At 3-4, a mark which they currently share with the Philadelphia Eagles , the franchise currently sits in second place , behind the NFC East leading New York Giants (6-2) . There is no denying that the team has under-achieved , while the knock remains , can Tony Romo lead a Cowboys’ team deep into the postseason, much less win a meaningful game during the NFL’s postseason fare ? While that conversation remains a “water cooler” topic and a continued point of many heated debates , and the Cowboys quarterback’s career will continue to be defined by that one premise alone. In my honest opinion, the judgment of many has simply been clouded by the fact that Romo plays for this renowned franchise. The giant shadow, cast by the careers of Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach have pretty much shown us that Romo still two giant pair of shoes to fill. The pressure is being brought to bear upon the shoulders of not only Tony Romo, but also the team’s head coach Jason Garrett. And you can bet , the speculation will arise concerning whether or not Jerry Jones would be bold enough to seek out Sean Payton, to gauge his interest in returning to the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to being hired as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints , it should be remembered that Payton served as the quarterbacks’ coach and offensive coordinator , while serving under , then coach Bill Parcells . It would not be remiss to suggest that in the ensuing years since the departure of Parcells , there have been some extremely lean years for the Dallas Cowboys .
You can fool some of the people some of the time you can’t fool all of the people all of the time . They may well have started fast out of the gates this season , but there’s now a reason why the Arizona Cardinals have fallen down back to earth with an emphatic thud . Now losers of three straight, Ken Whisenhunt now has to deal with a team that is bereft of an identity, and the lack of real presence at the quarterback position. John Skelton and Kevin Kolb , have proven to be not exactly the pick of the litter, in terms of the options at Whisenhunt’s disposal. Neither player has commanded the position with any great authority and it has been inconsistency or injuries to both , that has pretty much summed the team’s woefully inept season. Somehow , Kolb was able to parlay several makeshift games whilst on the Eagles’ roster to avail himself with an audacious and preposterous 6 year $63.5 million deal , of which $12 million was guaranteed money . Whatever was going on inside of the Cardinals’ front office at the time to suborn this idiotic offer , simply explains another reason why this franchise has been in the wilderness over the past few seasons. GM , Rod Graves , must now feel that the contract offer to Kevin Kolb has been a monumental waste , not that Skelton has been a considerable success for the Arizona Cardinals this season .
Today, like any other day, that has the Cardinals on the field of play and somehow they once again failed miserably , in a giving a rather lackluster display against the Green Bay Packers , when the two met at Lambeau Field , in Green Bay , Wisconsin . Don’t let the Packers’ 31-17 victory fool you , as the margin of victory could have far greater , than is reflected on paper , as a matter of record. It is my belief that Ken Whisenhunt’s position as the head coach of this franchise will be in jeopardy , should he not be able to turn things around in a timely manner. Guess what, nine weeks in , and Cardinals’ record of 4-5 simply reflects what this team just happens to be. Sub .500 , and it is not exactly going to get any better at this juncture .
Week nine , what if anything has been of the biggest surprise you in the games played and about to be played on this schedule ? And which of the current head coaches do you believe will be in jeopardy to take the fall at season’s end? Chime on this, and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.
Picture, and slideshow details below.
(1) Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy , left, hits Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and is charged with a roughing the passer penalty during the first half of an NFL football game , Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….
(2) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, left, greets Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III after an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Landover, Md. The Panthers won 21-13. AP Photo/Richard Lipski …
(3) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid speaks to the media after NFL football practice at the team’s training facility, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …
(4) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick throws a pass during NFL football practice at the team’s practice complex, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …
(5) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is hit as he throws by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson (99) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game , Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Denver. AP Photo/David Zalubowski ….
(6) In a moment of levity Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett is seen here with team owner Jerry Jones . Team owner , Jones, knows that should the team fail this season , to make the NFL postseason , then questions will arise concerning not only the future of the franchise but also the long-term future the head coach , and the team’s Probowl quarterback Tony Romo . A great deal is riding on tonight’s game against the Atlanta Falcons . AP Photo /Mark Hall …. ….
(7) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is seen here with his predecessor Paul Tagliabue . The commissioner has recused himself presiding over the appeal’s process for the four NFL players embroiled in the Saints’ bounty scandal . Tagliabue has been requested by the NFL to preside over the hearing , but the NFLPA (Players’ Union) seeks an injunction stopping this procedural hearing , questioning Tagliabue’s impartiality in this whole process. When asked why the league had not sought to utilize the services of a Federal Court judge concerning this matter , Goodell was essentially non-committal and non-responsive . AFP/REUTERS / Max Averill …