No fool like an old fool …….. this is the NFL
Well the NFL begins its season with the Hall of Fame enshrinement game this weekend , that will then lead into the preseason and then lead into a string of games , formally opening up the NFL preseason . I do not put a great deal of store into the preseason, albeit , that coaches and executives will be assessing their new draftees as well as their respective acquired free agents . And while much of this off-season has been encompassed by the arrest and detainment of Aaron Hernandez , on the murder charge of a former close acquaintance , Odin Lloyd . It must be said , that the NFL as a year-round source of entertainment and information, remains the abject scene of incompetency we have known it to be for several years now , ever since the ascent of Roger Goodell into the commissioner`s role , as the league`s highest ranking executive.
As if to further exacerbate the league`s already tarnished image. It now has to deal with the rather inexcusable and inexplicable behavior of Philadelphia Eagles` wide receiver, Riley Cooper`s racial tirade against an alleged antagonist, during an altercation at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cooper was said to have been behaving belligerently when approached by a security official at the venue during a Kenny Chesney concert . The player and the security professional exchanged words, before Riley Cooper went on his racial barrage threatening to fight every ni#ger there at the venue .
In what appears to be a less tan contrite apology, “ tweeted “ some forty-eight hours later. Cooper explained , that his actions and behavior were due to the fact that he had been drinking and was at the time, extremely intoxicated . To my mind it is a poor excuse from the player and if anything, his actions were truly indicative of his feelings at the time of this rather unsavory and unfortunate incident . With over seventy-two percent (72%) of the NFL`s makeup being African American and many of Cooper`s teammates on the Eagles roster , also being of the same ethnicity . I have to ask myself , first off , what the hell was the player thinking ? And secondly, is he simply that naive and stupid, to think that he could have got away with that type of behavior without it going unnoticed ? Do bear in mind also, that the scene of the incident, also happens to the home venue of the Philadelphia Eagles. So now , not only has Cooper caused a great deal of embarrassment to himself , but he has also heaped a great deal of unwanted publicity to a franchise going through transition , while at the same time their being a great many questions not only about the team , but also its first year head coach Chip Kelly . Suffice to say , GM Howie Roseman and team owner Jeffrey Lurie will have a great deal to contemplate concerning Riley Cooper as well as the ambitions of the franchise for this upcoming season .
The Eagles` front office looking to save themselves further embarrassment, have since fined Riley Cooper an undisclosed sum and have also sent the player into to a sensitivity training course . Pardon me for saying this , but a mere monetary fine and a psyche course , encompassing sensitivity and allegedly teaching a person about etiquette , is too little , too late . If Riley Cooper, is simply not intelligent enough of an individual, to realize that his actions were indeed stupid and infantile. Then, it now sends a clear message as to the type of unintelligent individuals now in the NFL , never-mind that the player just happens to be another one of the products from the University of Florida (Gators) football program where Cooper and Aaron Hernandez were teammates and who played under the head coach, Urban Meyer . It now seems ironic that both players drafted in 2010 , now find themselves at the forefront of unwanted publicity , for all of the wrong reasons .
Cooper`s recent act of contrition, seems to be falling on deaf ears as to its sincerity. Meanwhile, several of his Eagles` teammates have come out openly in support of the now beleaguered and troubled wide receiver. How this must all sit with several of the player who happen to be of African American descent, may well be best represented by comments of the Eagles` quarterback Michael Vick , who stated “ it was time to move on and turn over a new leaf in this chapter “ . Vick`s younger sibling , Marcus Vick , took the opposite view, by going on notice , issuing a $1,000-00 bounty for anyone prepared to take out Riley Cooper on the field of play during the season .
I guess for Marcus Vick , he is unable to escape is own foibles and peccadilloes, in terms of his own career as a collegiate athlete? The younger Vick sibling`s past as a college player, was littered with controversy and went and in and also in terms of the troubles of his now elder and more widely known sibling, and his less than dignified past as it relates to his troubles with law enforcement .
With the resurgence of the Washington Redskins and the expected return to competitiveness of the New York Giants after an understated season in 2012 . It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly`s Eagles will fare in 2013 , especially against their noted divisional rivals. Add into this all , the never-ending drama that always surrounds the Dallas Cowboys , and the NFC East could either prove to be a season of a comedy of errors or a season for fans to truly relish. Given the propensity of Cowboys` owner Jerry Jones to make bold predictions and the propensity of Tony Romo to simply implode in moments of undue pressure . I am inclined to believe that the fans are likely to be treated to a little of both over the entire regular season schedule !
The Eagles will start their season with an away game against Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins to be played at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland . Last season`s two eventful divisional games between these two stalwarts of the NFC , with the Redskins coming away victorious in both divisional encounters were endemic of the division as a whole . Both losses signaled the turning point and the end of Andy Reid`s reign in Philadelphia, as the Eagles` longest serving head coach. Reid`s blinding loyalty to Vick and the very fact that the veteran quarterback`s declining skill-set did not seem to deter the much maligned coach that was indeed time for a change at the position. A 4-12 season and three straight losses to end the year, pretty much summed up 2012 for the Philadelphia Eagles and the firing of Andy Reid . To state that this came as a surprise , would have to be looked upon as comical . Yet, it seemed a sad way for the coach to depart after all of the success attained by the franchise during his reign . As to what the future holds for Eagles under Chip Kelly remains to be seen and whether or not Vick can recover from a disastrous season in 2012 .
The Minnesota Vikings and their running back Adrian Peterson provided the league last season with an astonishing experience . Peterson single-handed made us all, as NFL fans sit up and take note , as he sought to break the single season rushing record (2,105 yards) . The fact that the player came within eight yards of breaking Eric Dickerson`s mark recorded in the 1984 season , is enough to remind us all how astonishing the feat remains and that it has taken almost three decades for anyone to come remotely close to surpassing the feat . This season however, I believe that Peterson`s concentration will be set more on casing after team glory , rather than the sole purpose of singular personal achievement . Granted , should the player get off to an extremely fast start and is able to average just over 131.5 yards per game over the Vikings` first six games , then all bets could very well be off , as the reigning league MVP sets out once again an improbable journey of trying to break one of the league`s most cherished and recognized records .
The NFC North this season could prove to be logjam , with all four teams , the Chicago Bears , Detroit Lions , Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings , all looking to be in the thick of things , in what should prove to a very competitive division . In spite of the departures from the Packers` roster during the off season, and what I believe to be some prudent acquisitions as well as a very good draft class . This division, once again , will be the Packers for the taking and to do with as they please. If Mike McCarthy and his coaching assistants can remedy the woes of the defense , then there is every reason to believe that they can repeat as the divisional champions .
Weeks eight and twelve will see the two divisional meetings between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in 2013. Yet , I believe the most attractive match-up on the Packers` schedule is likely to be their opening game of the year against the reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers , which will be played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco , California on the 8t September, 2013. It could very well be the most attractive of the regular season games to be played on the opening weekend of this NFL season . This game will pit the Niners` young and mercurial quarterback , Colin Kapernick against one of the league`s very best … passers , in Aaron Rodgers of the Packers . While I believe San Francisco to have a slight edge, as on paper, they do appear to be the better balanced team . As we know, this is a new season, with teams seemingly focused on putting last year in their rear view mirror, as they seek to start anew .
I will say this for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers` GM Mark Dominik , he is certainly looking to make a name for himself amongst his peers within the NFL. Last season was a compendium major mistakes in terms of draft picks , personnel decisions as it related to free agent acquisitions . Yet above all, the one constant remains the lack of progress made in the game of quarterback Josh Freeman . Four years in and Freeman has yet to have a truly standard bearing game or string of games , that Buccaneers` fans can point to and say “ wow “! Josh Freeman knows that this season may well be the last chance for him to prove himself to be good enough to be thought of as a starting quarterback in the NFL . The doubts have definitely begun to set in concerning the player and I firmly believe that Greg Schiano`s patience is growing thin with the young signal caller and passer .
There is no doubt in my mind, that if Freeman shows any signs in the lack of confidence in is game and the belief of his teammates that he is the player to lead this unit. Then it is quite clear, that the decision will be made to trust rookie quarterback Mike Glennon into to the role, as the starter on this team . The saving grace for the Buccaneers in 2012, was the growth and maturity shown by Doug Martin , who simply exploded onto the scene in his rookie season for the franchise . Freeman will be given his chance during the preseason to show the fans that he is game ready and ready for the rigors of the regular season. He is likely to play several series in each of the four exhibition games . The first of the quartet of those games will be against the reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens . As I alluded to earlier, I do not put a great deal of emphasis on the preseason, but I do believe that for Josh Freeman , this game be a make or break for him , based upon his performance and the confidence shown .
For the Buccaneers , a great deal will be predicated upon their season and how they are likely to fare against divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints . At best , I can see the team going no better than 3-3 within the NFC South , before taking aim against the remainder of the opponents on their 2013 regular season itinerary . The first of those games will be against the ongoing troubled and thought to be newsworthy New York Jets in game to be played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Encounters between the two teams are not often memorable , with the last three meetings , being something of a none event for the parties concerned . If fully fit , then Buccaneers` defensive player Darrelle Revis will get the first chance to meet his former team, since being acquired in a highly publicized trade , as Mark Dominik opened up the vault and made a big splash to obtain the Pro Bowl caliber corner-back.
Picture gallery .
In light of the recent behavior of NFL players , do you believe that the league hierarchy bears a certain a certain amount of responsibility in how those players conduct themselves on and off the field of play ? And do you believe that the Players` Union (NFLPA) should be working in conjunction more closely with the NFL in such matters ? Also, what if anything, are you most hoping to see from the preseason ? Finally, which team or teams do you believe could provide the biggest surprise of the regular and quite possibly the postseason ? Do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !
Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
(1) In this Sunday, July 28, 2013, photo, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper pauses during the NFL football team’s training camp in Philadelphia. Cooper has been fined by the team for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert that was caught on video, leading him to say he’s “ashamed and disgusted” with himself. The video of Cooper making the slur surfaced Wednesday, July 31, on the Internet. AP Photo/Michael Perez ….
(2) Eagles` wide receiver Riley Cooper receivers speaks to the convened press , while seeking to offer his apologies in what he claims was an altercation that took place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , between himself and an African American male at a Kenny Chesney concert . The player who claims he was intoxicated at the time, when he used several derogatory racial epithets in his encounter in what turned out to be a security personnel member at the venue . Cooper first `tweeted` an apology on Twitter before the viral altercation went live over the internet , having been seen by several hundred thousand viewers in the past few days . The Philadelphia Eagles seeking to distance themselves from the player have fined him and undisclosed sum and he as since been sent into a sensitivity training seminar . Teammates are said to be rallying around Cooper , offering him their support. As to how this will be viewed by other players around the NFL remains to be seen . AP Photo / Paul Castellano …
(3) Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick (7) is seen here alongside is younger sibling Marcus Vick , himself a former college quarterback who had somewhat of an undistinguished career while at Virgina Tech , where he was dismissed from the program in 2006 . In the aftermath of the Riley Cooper incident , Marcus Vick has offered a $1,000-00 bounty for any NFL player willing to take out Cooper during an NFL game preseason or otherwise. The elder Vick , sibling , has been quick to distance himself from is brother`s ridiculous statement , coming out instead, to offer his own support of his now besieged teammate , Riley Cooper . Getty Images / Mark Frasier …..
(4) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson hands a football to his son Adrian Jr. at the end of practice at NFL football training camp, Monday, July 29, 2013, in Mankato, Minn. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall ….
(5) There is no quarterback controversy , but the embers are beginning to reheat as Tampa Bay Buccaneers` quarterback Josh Freeman once again comes under a great deal of criticism after a lackluster 2012 season . The player is seen here alongside head coach Greg Schiano during a game played against the Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte , North Carolina , in a 2012 regular season meeting game between the two teams. The Buccaneers would go on to defeat Carolina 27-21 . Getty Images / Paul Ammon …..
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