Puppet On A String
It’s a year-long three hundred and sixty-five day multi-billion dollar business , but for all the vagaries , the NFL remains a league entity still bereft of leadership, albeit , NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is still being praises for his leadership since assuming his role from the previous occupant Paul Tagliabue . If nothing else, Goodell has proven himself to be an imbecile at every turn , with his ham-fisted decisions and lack of communicative skills. Not content with the league’s mishandling of several legal issues as well the Deflate-Gate Affair , Roger Goodell is now intent in seeking recourse after an earlier Federal Judge’s ruling in Tom Brady’s favor. Using what appears to be a backdoor means in having the earlier decision overturned, the Commissioner is now seeking to use his authority as laid out in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement to suggest his authority is absolute, in rendering any punishment deemed proper when a player is known to have violated the NFL rules through misconduct or his on-field behavior.
Roger Goodell continues to cherry-pick the skirmishes he seeks to wage, while the league continues to lose the most important battles of all. Football will continue to remain popular among its hardcore fans , but I seriously doubt they have a great deal of confidence in the hierarchy led by Goodell! The NFLPA (Players’ Union) under the leadership of DeMaurice Smith , continues to be adversarial , rather than seeking a bilateral partnership with the league to discuss the numerous problems of the league. What appears to be the primary concern of the league and union , is how much money they can continue to make , while the product being served up to the consumer remains as bland as ever. Now there are many who will suggest this past season in the NFL was among the best in recent years and the fairy-tale ending which provided the right send off to the ending of Peyton Manning’s career was the right one. Manning and the Denver Broncos won the Superbowl over the highly favored Carolina Panthers , but only one team turned up to play in the game. The Panthers offered nothing by way of offense or defense, in a game which was error filled. Manning had one of his most undistinguished games of his postseason career , but it was enough for the Broncos to come out ahead as the victors. With it came the adulation , Vonn Miller being named Superbowl MVP for his heroics , while Peyton Manning stepped down in style.
With the off-season in full swing and the NFL Combines having taken place , teams will be seeking reassess their needs while also look at their cap positions and then seeking to restructure their rosters accordingly. Already we have seen a number of unexpected moves , with several players being cut by their teams and a number of trades being made. Brock Osweiler , the backup to Peyton Manning last season with the Broncos has now moved on as a free agent joining the Houston Texans where he will now become the new starting quarterback for the franchise. With his acquisition comes a lucrative contract for Osweiler , while he is expected to live up the expectations of the head office and the Texans’ coaching staff .
Replacing Peyton Manning was never going to be easy, but Denver Broncos’ Head of Football Operations ‘ John Elway believes Mark Sanchez is the right player to fill the role. While I believe Sanchez to be a good player, I am not so sure he is capable of keeping the Broncos ahead of the pack within the AFC ! The Broncos remain a very good team on paper and undoubtedly Elway will be seeking to bolster the roster during the off-season by way of trades, the re-signing of free agents and then off-course, there is the upcoming NFL Draft where the Broncos where the Broncos have their customary number of picks. ‘
In what might be considered either an audacious move or one sheer stupidity , the Los Angeles Rams (St Louis Rams) have traded up to take the number one over all pick for this upcoming Draft. Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher along with GM Les Snead made the decision to offer up picks from the 2016 NFL Draft as well as future picks for 2017. Fisher is the eyeing the team’s urgency in seeking a top-flight quarterback among the eligible quarterbacks in this class. Les Snead has already met with Jared Goff , quarterback of the Cal State Bears as well as Carson Wentz of North Dakota State . Both players are thought to be the two best quarterbacks among this current crop passers available. And as audacious as this perceived move might be for the Rams , it is not really all that surprising the entire organization is seeking to make as big a splash possible after relocating back to the greater Los Angeles area , with their almost two decade absence from the state of California.
By Jason Keidel
When the Los Angeles Rams — the back-to-the-future franchise — shoved their draft coin to the middle of the table to get the top pick from the Tennessee Titans, most football fans wondered if this is 2016 or 1994, the last year the Rams were in Los Angeles.
So many similar trades have bombed. Further, the Rams are banking on a big variable — a rookie quarterback. And we can’t even agree on which one they will take in 10 days. All we know is either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz will lead the Rams back to Hollywood, and into the future.
Jerry Jones, the loquacious owner of the Dallas Cowboys, chimed in on the matter, sardonically saying he didn’t know Herschel Walker was still around. The reference, of course, is to the trade between the Vikings and Jones’s fledgling Cowboys, who were getting smacked around the NFL, with Troy Aikman and little else.
The Vikings surrendered a king’s ransom in 1989 for Walker, a good player who didn’t make the Vikings great. Meanwhile, the Cowboys used those draft picks, along with Jimmy Johnson’s keen eye for college talent, to build a dynasty.
History is on the side of the team that stockpiles draft picks, or at least against the team that gives them away. The Vikings never reached the Super Bowl with Walker. The Saints hemorrhaged an entire draft 10 years later for Ricky Williams, who wound up in Miami. The Redskins bet the farm 13 years later for Robert Griffin III, who’s now in Cleveland.
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The Los Angeles Rams’ reemergence in Los Angeles might well be deemed to be a positive thing for the city , the fans of the franchise as well as the NFL in general, but the real test for the NFC West based Rams might well be how successful they are in the upcoming season . There was no denying the team fell way short of expectations last season as they were barely competitive within their division , conference and the league. Nick Foles was the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams in 2015 and the team failed miserably on all fronts , with the Rams posting 7-9 record , good enough for third within their division , missing the postseason and barely being competitive to be seen as a contender within the NFL. St Louis Rams’ owner Stanley Kroenke will make a great deal of money from the franchise’s move from St Louis , Missouri to Los Angeles , California . The land on which the Rams stadium is to be built is owned by the real estate mogul and the venture which will see a mix of commercial enterprises as well as some residential properties , will bring about a large economic impact for the area. Kroenke has worked with Los Angeles County and the cities of Industry as well as Los Angeles , to make sure the venture met with the requirements sought by both municipalities, while in the background the league hierarchy was pulling all the strings to make sure Roger Goodell’s dream came to fruition.
Moves are likely to be made by the St Louis Rams to bolster their roster , with Jeff Fisher embarking on a whole new chapter for a franchise whose last appearance in the postseason came back in 2004 when the team made it to the divisional round of the postseason before finally falling to the Atlanta Falcons in a lopsided loss . In the later years , with coaching and player personnel changes the franchise has squandered every opportunity available . The best finish during the season which the St Louis Rams have been able achieve since 2004 , were second place finishes in 2005, 2006 , 2010 and on each occasion they failed to make the postseason.
The Los Angles Rams will begin their 2016 schedule with a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara , California on September 12th 2016, week one of the regular season schedule. Their preseason schedule will offer the fans the chance to see their team face the Dallas Cowboys , Kansas City Chiefs , Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings as part of their quartet of games during the exhibition games being encompassed by the league’s thirty-two teams . The St Louis Rams in seeking to have the overall number one pick and the clear indication Les Snead and Jeff Fisher they’re in need of a quarterback , may well stem from the belief Nick Foles was unable to give the team the insurance needed at the position . St Louis’ offense last season was not only anemic , but the defense also left a great deal to be desired . There are issues which need to be addressed across the depth of the team’s roster at a number of positions. Decisions likely to be made will have a long-term impact on the franchise’s future and in particular for this upcoming season.
Through their first six games of last season the St Louis Rams were not as competitive a team as Jeff Fisher might have hoped. Other than the play of their rookie running back Todd Gurley , there was not much to suggest the team was ever in with a chance of challenging anyone within their division or the league over the course of last season. The challenge for Gurley this upcoming season will be to prove to his detractors last season was not an aberration .
Adam Gase has become the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins and Gase has seen fit to assemble a coaching staff he believes will be able get the best out of a roster which has failed miserably over the past five seasons . Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross in spite of his wealth has presided over a franchise bereft of genuine leadership and proven managerial acumen. The front office led by general manager Chris Grier and EVP Mike Tannenbaum , in part , are now expected to resurrect the fortunes of this franchise. Yet in the midst of this all, the continued belief remains , this team lacks leadership and the players ready to be held accountable for their actions. Ryan Tannehill , the Dolphins’ quarterback has yet to show the skill-set needed to get the job done and Ndamukong Suh , acquired as a free agent to bolster the defense , has not <a href=http://pr shown the ability that made him a Pro Bowl caliber player. One should bear in mind both Tannehill and Suh are being rewarded handsomely for their services. This season the Miami Dolphins’ cap figure will exceed $160 million dollars , though it will not be the highest among the NFL’s teams.
Coming off a rather disappointing season where during the course of their schedule the Miami Dolphins went through two head coaches , with Joe Philbin being fired , then to be replaced by Dan Campbell and it is easy to understand why there was no consistency to the team over the course of 2015. Finishing with 6-10 record within the AFC East , good enough for a fourth place (last place) place finish within the division and their failing to make the postseason after a poor finish in the AFC , simply dashed the hopes of the fans and the franchise last season. There very few positive signs of improvement in the team and I believe the Miami Dolphins will once again struggle during this upcoming season ! Adam Gase, Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum will undoubtedly look at the makeup of the team’s roster assessing the strengths and weaknesses they believe will need to be addressed. Moves will be made to improve the lineup and I can see that the front office and coaching staff will look to make prudent choices concerning the upcoming NFL Draft.
The NFL preseason tends to offer up nothing but meaningless entertainment and games which the fans are expected to pay full ticket prices merely to see second and third-string players still seeking to make their way unto the full roster of the teams. The standings at that point of the season have no bearing on the final regular season standings at all. Adam Gase and the Miami Dolphins will play a three-game preseason schedule against the New York Giants , Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons , before embarking on their regular season schedule. In week one their opponents will be the Seattle Seahawks , who will they will be playing at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington on Sunday 11th September , 2016. If the Miami Dolphins are to be successful this upcoming season , then a great deal will be expected of not only Ryan Tannehill , but from the entire coaching staff and roster.
In the lead-up to the NFL Draft it will be interesting to see if there will be any other bold moves being made by other teams as they seek to improve their draft order position. As they say, “ nothing ventured , nothing gained “ .
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