Puppet On A String …..

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.

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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.

Will Trading Up Be Rams’ Downfall?

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.

Click on link to read this article in full.


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 “ .

Tophatal ……. 2014/04/18

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Author: tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal

23 thoughts on “Puppet On A String …..”

  1. If the judgment now goes against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady’s reinstatement is overturned . then it could prove to be devastating for the franchise should they lose the former League MVP , multiple Superbowl MVP for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season . In all likelihood the Patriots would seek to challenge such a verdict in the US Supreme Court , further bringing the league unwanted attention at a time when its image and leadership remains under fire. It certainly doesn’t help the NFL’s cause , when one considers they’re also seeking to challenge the $1 billion settlement they are forced to pay current and former players with regard to injuries suffered under blunt force head trauma (CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy ) .

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be more concerned with punishing Tom Brady and the Patriots , rather than dealing with the ethical and moral obligations the league has towards current and former players. Furthermore , it would appear the continued hypocrisy shown by the NFLPA and its Executive Leadership remains boundless and unfathomable. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith remains a buffoon and an incredible self-absorbed individual who has not done enough to represent the interests of the old-time veteran players of the union, who gave their all on the field to make the game what it is today .

    In 2015 the New England went through their first four games with a 3-0 unbeaten run . If the Patriots are to lose Brady for their first four games in 2016, then it would appear in all probability Bill Belichick and team GM Nick Caserio will seek to obtain a veteran quarterback via free agency as a backup to Jimmy Garappolo , while providing depth at the position for the team .

    New England will begin their regular season with a game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium , in Glendale, Arizona. Tom Brady has a 1-1 record against the Cardinals .

    Jimmy Garappolo & Tom Brady (right) .

    New England Patriots (team profile)

    New England Patriots’ front office and New England Patriots’ coaching staff

    New England Patriots news

    New England Patriots current roster and depth chart

    New England Patriots transactions

    New England Patriots (current contracts) and New England Patriots cap (2016)

    New England Patriots 2016 NFL Draft order


    Tophatal …………………….


  2. So six weeks into the 2015 NFL season we were under the impression the NFC East would be a bastion of competitiveness in the league , but instead the division turned out to be a monstrous nightmare of utter incompetency on so many levels. The fact the Washington Redskins (9-7) came out of the division as the champions bore witness to how bad their play and the division’s occupants just happened to be . Now in spite of it all, we have fans of the New York Giants (6-10) claiming how great a quarterback Eli Manning just happened to be and the team’s wide receiver Odell Beckham just happened to be the best at his position in the league. Bear in mind over the course of their season , the Giants did not face one top-ten defensive team in the league , the lowly and mediocre Dallas Cowboys .

    The departure of Tom Coughlin led to the front office making far-reaching decisions concerning the immediate and long-term decisions for the franchise.

    New York Giants’ GM Jerry Reese.

    Eli Manning is seeking a long-term commitment of a six-figure deal paying him in excess of $120 million. Whether or Manning is now worthy of such a deal at this stage of his career , when he failed to the Giants to the postseason for the last two seasons cannot justify such an extravagance. It was abundantly clear from last season the New York Giants had issues up and down the field and across their entire roster , but you would be hard-pressed to convince their apathetic and ambivalent fans of that very fact.

    Ben McAdoo will be the New York Giants’ head coach heading into this season where they will open in week one with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium , Arlington , Texas on the 11th September , 2016. McAdoo and the front office headed by GM Jerry Reese will be looking to bolster the roster via free agency and through the upcoming NFL Draft .

    New York Giants’ head coach Ben McAdoo.

    New York Giants’ profile

    New York Giants front office and the coaching staff

    New York Giants news

    New York Giants’ roster , cap figure 2016

    New York Giants’ free agents

    Tophatal ………………..


  3. The death of New Orleans Saints’ defensive lineman Will Smith while tragic , indicates how senseless the world just happens to be when an athlete is a victim of an act of violence. Smith lost his life to an assailant after vehicular road-rage of which he was a victim. Will Smith now joins another Pro Bowl defensive player who also succumbed to a violent act. Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins died at the hands of assailants whose intent was a home invasion and robbery . Taylor was at home with his young daughter, when his residence was robbed by two former employees who tended to his garden and maintenance to the exterior of his South Florida residence. Formal statements issued by the league hierarchy took the same tone concerning both deaths, with a spokesman from the NFL simply acknowledging Smith’s and Taylor’s deaths were tragedies and their condolences were sent to both families. From my own perspective , the responses from the league were mere rhetoric and pragmatism.

    Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints .

    Sean Taylor , of the Washington Redskins .

    Rarely has the NFL sought to become a part of the social fabric when dealing with any type of deep seated issue within society. Under Roger Goodell , the NFL has far too often sought to distance itself from any type of issue , unless they are caught in the midst of a controversy. We saw how reluctant they were in dealing with the fallout from the Richie Incognito and his behavior towards former Z teammate Johnathan Martin . . Incognito in a racially charged disparaging epithet , described Martin with racial disparages and also directed a number of derogatory terms at Johnathan Martin’s mother and sister , describing certain sexual acts he would like to have performed on both. Yet somehow , we had fans with their ignorance , suggesting Martin was soft and needed to man-up . This is the typical asinine stupidity , one now regularly sees within the mainstream among fans whose intelligence is barely above average in terms of an IQ. If you have nothing sensible to say, simply shut the hell up , because your thoughts are not necessarily those which reflect how society feels about the issue of racial bigotry, unless you happen to be a damn bigot , yourself ?

    The issue of misogyny and sexism , continues to raise its head in the league and when you the idiotic sales’ pitch used by the Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers in using to objectify women as sexual objects to sell the Buccaneers’ brand to the female demographic . All you need to know is that an aging bunch middle aged Caucasian males with the similar approach to Donald Trump and his views on females , sums up the entirety of the league and how they view women in general .

    For the New Orleans Saints , 2015 was a disastrous season for the team , with Drew Brees having one of his worst seasons as player for the franchise . Head coach Sean Payton and his coaching staff appeared to be out of ideas , as was the team , as seen with their performances throughout the season and the Saints’ final divisional standing within the NFC South. Other than the Carolina Panthers , the other three occupants of the division were barely noticeable within the conference , much less the division.

    During the off-season New Orleans Saints’ GM Micky Loomis along with Sean Payton will have to reassess the makeup of the roster and address their most pressing needs , by way of free agency and through the NFL Draft. The New Orleans Saints’ will kick off with their preseason schedule before embarking on their regular season with a game in week one against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana ,. on the 11th September , 2016. preseason schedule has playing games against

    New Orleans Saints news

    Tophatal ……………….


  4. In what can only be seen as an act of sheer desperation the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a coup-de-gras by moving up in the draft order to take the second pick overall in the 2016 NFL Draft . Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman in conjunction with the coaching staff headed by head coach Doug Pederson made the decision and engineered the maneuver .

    From left to right , Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman , head coach Doug Pederson and team owner Jeff Lurie .

    Browns trading No. 2 pick to Eagles for five picks

    By Phil Sheridan, Staff Writer , ESPN

    PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles have completed their journey to the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

    The Eagles acquired the Cleveland Browns’ pick Thursday with a blockbuster trade. To make this deal, the Eagles used draft picks acquired in two previous trades. Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said the team had been trying to move up ever since January.

    Roseman acknowledged Wednesday that the Eagles intended to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick. The Los Angeles Rams already acquired the top overall pick from Tennessee for a slew of picks and have indicated they will take a quarterback. The Eagles will likely take either Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, whichever is not taken by the Rams.

    It is the fourth time the top two selections in the draft have been dealt.

    “You have to be very comfortable with both of those quarterbacks and believe they have a shot to be great, Pro Bowl-caliber,” Roseman said. “It’s hard to be great if you don’t take some risks.”

    Eagles coach Doug Pederson said of Wentz and Goff: “These guys are pretty even. From all the physical tools, both of them are extremely gifted. Good arm strength, good mobility. Obviously, Carson is a little bigger, maybe a little better athlete right now. There’s not much separating those two.”

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    With Jared Goff and Carson Wentz being deemed the top-two players in this Draft Class and the top quarterbacks in this NFL Draft . It seems likely both of these players will be the top-two quarterbacks taken this season.

    Given the fact last season the quarterback play witnessed within the NFC East was among the worst possible of any division within the NFL. It is not at all surprising the Eagles would choose to make such a decision. Doug Pederson in what will be his first full season coaching in this league , would rather have a player he believes he can place his trust in , than seeking to go with the alternatives currently on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster at the quarterback position . At present the only options the Eagles have at the position are the often injured Sam Bradford and the inexperience of Thad Lewis .

    Tophatal …..


  5. In the aftermath of their Superbowl loss to the Denver Broncos this past season , the Carolina Panthers will be looking to restructure their team . Unfortunately , coming out of the loss this off-season has been the Panthers losing their Pro Bowl defensive corner-back Josh Norman who opted for free agency rather than re-signing with the team and a deal which would have paid him $13.5 million . The Miami Dolphins appear to be out of the running for Norman’s service , but it is widely believed there might be as many as six or seven teams still interested in the defensive player.

    Josh Norman of the Panthers.

    Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera , his coaching staff and the front office cannot be entirely happy with the loss of Josh Norman . Yet circumstances being what they are , one would have expected the Carolina Panther might have made a greater effort to sign their defensive star to a long-term deal commensurate to a player of his caliber.

    David Gettleman general manager for the Carolina Panthers might well have felt it better to rescind the franchise tag on Josh Norman and then seek to draft a corner-back in this upcoming NFL Draft or quite possibly obtain a player through free agency . Norman was one of the major reasons behind Carolina’s success last season.

    Josh Norman will likely sign with a team which is willing to pay top dollar for his services . Norman’s peers at the position and seen as the among the best in the business are Darrelle Revis , Richard Sherman , Devin McCourty and Aqib Talib . The Carolina Panthers will be playing a three-game preseason schedule before embarking on the opening game of their regular season schedule with a match-up against the Denver Broncos for the official opening of the season .

    NFL news

    Carolina Panthers news

    Tophatal ……..


  6. Over the last eight years it is hard to tell how the fans of the Oakland Raiders should feel . Each season during the time-frame in question , there has always been a great deal of optimism on hand in their displays of loyalty. Yet, when it comes to realism , they remained in complete denial. Such as their idiocy that the now retired Nnamdi Asomugha was one of the best corner-backs in the game and where his skill-set made him such a preeminent player at the position. Granted , Asomoghua had his success , but rarely was he or the Raiders winning when it mattered the most .

    Nnamdi Asomugha , whose career spanned ten seasons .

    Postseason appearances have been rare for the Raiders since 2004 , while the incessant coaching changes have remained prevalent . Team owner , Mark Davis having succeeded his father , has continued with the franchise’s spiraling downward demise. GM Reggie McKenzie and Davis have blown Oakland’s chances of ever gaining anything notable from their draft choices or trades since 2012.

    Jack Del Rio is now the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Del Rio and his coaching staff witnessed a disappointing season from the team in 2015 , with their not being competitive enough within the AFC West .

    A 7-9 third-place divisional finish , did nothing to alleviate the Raiders’ problems while there might have been signs of improvement from quarterback Derek Carr . This upcoming season there will be a great deal on the line for the team . Jack Del Rio and the front office will now seek to address the strengths and weaknesses of the roster as they prepare for their preseason before the beginning of their regular season schedule. The Oakland Raiders will kick off their schedule week one with a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana , on 11th September , 2016 . On defense and offense the Oakland Raiders will have to make significant improvements over last season .

    Derek Carr (4) and Jack Del Rio (right).

    I believe with the upcoming NFL Draft which is five days away and takes place from 28th-30th April , 2016. It will be imperative for the Raiders to make the right decisions by way of their draft choices if they are to have a productive and successful season in the NFL .

    Oakland Raiders news

    Tophatal ……….


  7. One year removed from another disastrous season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the midst of an identity crisis and something of a moral dilemma as well as their perceptions and views on the female demographic of their female fan-base. A marketing strategy which blew up in their face. Yet , there was no rebuke from the NFL hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    I will continue to maintain , Goodell has caused more harm to the league than all of his predecessors combined , never mind in large part the majority of the fan base of the NFL is made up of misogynistic anal retentive males, whose penises make up for their thinking , rather than their perceived self-worth and intelligence. The firing of Buccaneers’ former head coach Lovie Smith was not unexpected , but to my mind GM Jason Licht should have been fired for his utter stupidity , as well giving his blessing for the marketing and sales’ strategy placed within the media market. If the Buccaneers’ Marketing & Sales Department are so devoid of intelligence , then it goes a long way in explaining why this franchise remains an abysmal failure on so many levels.

    Smith was replaced by Dirk Koetter and an entirely new coaching staff was assembled to aid Koetter. The new head coach was hired , based on his relationship with the team’s quarterback Jameis Winston who last season had the best year of his fledgling career . However, while Winston broke several rookie franchise records in 2015, what could not be hidden was the abysmal record put together by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season .

    Jason Licht, left and Dirk Koetter .

    Tampa’s preseason schedule will see them facing the Philadelphia Eagles , Jacksonville Jaguars , Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins . In week one of their regular season schedule the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick-off with a game against the Atlanta Falcons . Jameis Winston’s record against the Falcons is still at an early stage, though his counterpart Matt Ryan might well feel he will fare a great deal better than Winston during the course of this season.

    Jameis Winston , left and Matt Ryan ,

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

    Tophatal ……………


  8. Six games into the NFL season of 2015 and it was interesting to see how the divisions stood at the time of the league’s seventeen week scheduling for all thirty-two teams . What was abundantly clear was the fact over the final five games of the season gave a true indication of the resolve of the teams how good they actually were as the case maybe. The Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) went 5-0 over their final five games , with the best record of any other team over their final five-game stretch. Having made the postseason , the Chiefs would then fall to the New England Patriots in the , divisional round of the NFL postseason . For Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid the defeat was a bitter pill to swallows as it was also for the team and the entire organization .

    Chiefs’ team owner & CEO Clark Hunt , along with GM John Dorsey will be taking the opportunity during the off-season to survey the issues of the team and likely make the necessary changes as they see fit ,while working in conjunction with Andy Reid’s coaching staff .

    Clark Hunt, (left) Kansas City Chiefs’ CEO & Chairman is seen here with team GM John Dorsey.

    Integral to the Kansas City Chiefs’ success will continue to be the play of their quarterback Alex Smith , whose years with the San Francisco 49ers were considered to be something of a bust. Smith has made a home and name for himself with the Chiefs and the franchise has become more consistent under the reign of Andy Reid. This season I expect the Kansas City Chiefs to be one of the main challengers to the Denver Broncos within the AFC West , with the Broncos likely to have regressed with the retirement of future Hall of Fame bound player Peyton Manning . The Chiefs should be able to take full advantage of the situation , as I believe neither the Oakland Raiders or the San Diego Chargers will have improved enough to be seen as a prohibitive favorite to win the division.

    Like each of the NFL teams this preseason the Kansas City Chiefs will play four preseason games and the fans will get the chance to see the team’s rookies and new acquisitions on the field , looking to play themselves into contention for a starting spot on the roster . Last season the Chiefs’ lineup for their sixteen-game schedule pretty much stayed the same for the most part , which led to consistency from them for most of the season and their 11-5 record overall . If Andy Reid can get the same sort of resolve in 2016 , there could be a great deal of competitiveness seen in the AFC West from the Chiefs and throughout their schedule as they seek make another postseason appearance alongside a deep playoff run . The Kansas City Chiefs will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on the 11th September , 2016.

    Kansas City Chief news


    Tophatal …………………


  9. So you were the worst team in the NFL during 2016 and having the privilege of taking the number one pick in the NFL Draft. For the Tennessee Titans this was another year of unfulfilled promises and the wasting away of the talents of Marcus Mariota. The Titans’ coaching staff led by Ken Whisenhunt failed miserably and now Whisenhunt is succeeded by Mike Mularkey. For Mariota , many of his supporters still remain loyal to the player as they believe him to be the future of the franchise . Marcus Mariota was a great talent at the collegiate level with Oregon . His successes in the NFL however , have been few and sporadic , yet it remains to be seen how will adapt to this upcoming season. Tennessee’s front office is headed by GM Jon Robinson . With Robinsion’s decision to give up the position as the first team to have the top pick in the Draft might well bring about questions as to why franchise would seek to

    Mike Mularkey and Marcus Mariota(8). Courtesy of Donn Jones Photography.

    The array of issues faced by the Tennessee Titans will need to be addressed if they are to have any degree of success in the AFC South and AFC . Marcus Mariota will undoubtedly have to raise the level of his play, while his teammates will have to provide him with the necessary support needed. One of the glaring weaknesses for the Titans came last season, with the secondary , as they were unable to stop the run or the pass , while giving up a slew of yards and points during each game .

    Tennessee’s preseason schedule has them playing the San Diego Chargers , Carolina Panthers , Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. The Tennessee Titans’ regular season schedule in week one will see them facing the Minnesota Vikings in a home game .

    Titans’ GM Jon Robinson (foreground) .

    Tennessee Titans news

    Tophatal ……………..


  10. Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger have taken different paths to NFL stardom with each having been Pro Bowl players , while Roethlisberger had the luxury of appearing in the Superbowl and winning the title twice with the , Pittsburgh Steelers. Last season the two quarterbacks were teammates on the Steelers’ roster. Vick would stand in for Roethliberger while he was injured and unable to appear in a number of games for the team during 2015.

    Michael Vick (2) and Ben Roethlisberger (7).

    A second place finish within the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals placed the Pittsburgh Steelers , back in the postseason where they would fall to the Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the NFL postseason. Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin , his coaching staff and the front office will seek to address certain issues the team faces and their wanting to bolster the roster in the lead-up to the NFL Draft .

    Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert will certainly be prudent concerning the Draft while not wanting to burden the cap position for the franchise. While I believe Ben Roethlisberger is still capable of playing at a high level for at least another three years and given his production for the Steelers over his career. There is the thought the front office might well have to plan ahead with the player’s career likely to be winding down in the NFL. I don’t believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to take a quarterback in the first round and while Landry Jones remains on ” rel=”nofollow”> the roster as a work in progress. Quite possibly Kevin Colbert may feel it prudent to take another quarterback as insurance should Jones fail to progress . Michael Vick is likely to be released unless the Steelers seek to re-sign him at the veterans’ minimum. .

    One of the things we have always been aware of concerning the Pittsburgh Steelers has been the very fact the franchise has always been adept with their play on offense and defense . Historically this has been the basis of the Steelers’ success and their six Superbowl triumphs .

    The Pittsburgh Steelers’ preseason schedule is nondescript , but it is their regular season schedule which has to be scrutinized . They will open that schedule with a game against the Washington Redskins on the 12th September , 2016.


    Pittsburgh Steelers news

    Tophatal …………..


  11. Shahid Khan the billionaire owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars bought the NFL based franchise on the premise he would make them a success while being able to , compete and with the ultimate goal of winning a Superbowl . The struggles for the Jaguars have been well-chronicled as too have the issues faced by Jacksonville’s quarterback Blake Bortles.

    Shahid Khan is seen here with his wife , Ann Carlson-Khan as they cut the ribbon at a charity event the couple are the patrons of .

    Last season was an immense struggle and a major disappointment for a team which failed to compete throughout much of the year.

    The AFC South has been the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars ever since they entered the NFL and the franchise is one of the three which located in the state of Florida , alongside the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Coaches have come and gone, but the greatest success achieved by the Jaguars came early in their formative years under the guidance of then head coach Tom Coughlin . Yet, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ , last postseason appearance came in 2007 with an early exit. Jack Del Rio current head coach of the Oakland Raiders and his coaching staff , helmed the team at the time . Jacksonville’s loss to the New England Patriots in the divisional round ended their foray in the postseason .

    For Blake Bortles a first round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2014 NFL Draft , his entrance into the NFL has seen their high and lows. Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley and the coaching staff are now racing against time to get the team in a position to win. I certainly believe GM David Caldwell and the front office will be judging Bradley and his staff by their achievements this season . Failure again and the coaching staff will be be fired . As to the current makeup of the roster , everything would suggest a makeover is inevitable. The Jaguars continue to struggle on defense as well as offense and unless those issues are comprehensively addressed , then there is no way they are going to be in a position to compete . The team’s preseason schedule will feature four games , but the opening game of their regular season will pit them against the Green Bay Packers .

    Jacksonville Jaguars news

    Tophatal ……………. 2016/04/25 06:07:44 am


  12. The lukewarm relationship between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the New England Patriots and in particular with team owner , Robert Kraft has now become an open sore, likely to be even worse . With a US Federal Appellate Court now overturning a Lower Court ruling , we may well see the Patriots seeking recourse with hearing at the US Supreme Court level in front of Chief Justice John Roberts and his associates . Such a hearing is somewhat unprecedented , though not without merit , given the lack of transparency shown by the league hierarchy. The Lower Courts’ ruling had its merits for rescinding Tom Brady’s suspension , but the basis under which the Appellate Court overturned the decision was somewhat arbitrary and only went to the argument in agreeing the commissioner should be given wide latitude in rendering punishment for any type of apparent league misconduct.

    Courtesy of NPR

    Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Tom Brady, Says He Must Serve Suspension

    By Eyder Peralta

    Tom Brady of the New England Patriots .

    A federal appeals court has reinstated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension over his involvement in the “Deflategate” scandal.

    In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that found NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not fair when he handed down the suspension.

    As we reported at the time, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman did not take issue with the facts of the case, instead chastised Goodell for what he called “significant legal deficiencies” in the way he handled the case.

    Overturning that decision, the 2nd Circuit judges ruled that Goodell had “properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness.”

    In his dissent, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann made some of the same arguments that the lower court did. Mainly, Katzmann argues, that Goodell acted unfairly because when he changed the factual basis for disciplinary action after the hearing, he denied Brady a chance “to confront the case against him.”

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    The NFLPA (union) will likely monitor the situation and provide support to Brady , while the Patriots may well consult with their General Counsel Jim Cobery and then take the necessary steps to seek a hearing date in front of the Justices of the US Supreme Court.

    Jim Cobery , standing , left , Chief Legal Counsel for the New England Patriots .

    Should the New England Patriots be granted a hearing with the Supreme Court Justices , then such a hearing would have to take place by no later than late July . With the regular season due to start in the first week of September and the preseason of four games set for the month of August. It is imperative the hearing be granted and heard expeditiously. A challenge to Roger Goodell’s totalitarian leadership has been long overdue , because the the Commissioner has simply made up the rules as he sees fit and then points to minutiae for his actions without offering up anything bearing up the legality of his stance.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a compulsive liar , who has no regard for the rule of law. This has been clearly seen with how the NFL has dealt with their ongoing legal dispute involving the $1 billion settlement concerning the injuries suffered by current and veteran players and their chronic brain injuries. Though a settlement has been reached it does not stop further plaintiffs stepping to the breach and lodging their own independent action against the NFL.

    NFL news

    New England Patriots news

    Tophatal ……………


  13. With the cutting of Johnny Manziel the Cleveland Browns curtailed the career of the Heisman Trophy winner and one of the biggest busts to have hit the NFL in last decade. All of the hype could not hide the all too well-known fact , Manziel was immature , did not possess the intelligence , leadership ability or skill-set to play in the NFL . His record is evidence of that and the fact his agents and management teams have since torn up their contracts with the player , further indicates the misfortunes which encompassed Manziel.

    Johnny Manziel , formerly of the Cleveland Browns .

    Off the field Johnny Manziel proved to be an obnoxious narcissistic moron with a penchant for misogyny, and domestic violence , apart from his well-chronicled issues with alcohol abuse. Manziel has now been indicted one account of domestic violence, aggravated assault and battery. In all likelihood any prospect of a return to the NFL is not in his foreseeable future given the gravity of the charges he now faces.

    Courtesy of CNN.com

    Johnny Manziel indicted in alleged assault of ex-girlfriend

    By Jill Martin, CNN

    (CNN) A Texas grand jury has indicted free agent quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel on a misdemeanor assault charge, according to Dallas County court records.

    Manziel’s former girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, accused the former NFL quarterback of restraining, hitting and threatening her during an alleged assault on January 30. She says in an affidavit that Manziel grabbed her by the hair and hit her, causing her to lose her hearing in one ear.
    Manziel, 23, has denied hitting Crowley.
    The indictment accuses Manziel of “intentionally and knowingly and recklessly (causing) bodily injury to” Crowley. The NFL also is investigating the incident. Manziel could face a league-imposed suspension if he is found to have violated the personal conduct policy.

    Jim Darnell, an attorney for Manziel, said his client respected the grand jury’s decision but said the panel heard only what the district attorney presented in a closed hearing.
    “Johnny will certainly plead ‘not guilty’ and we believe the evidence will support that plea. Out of respect for Ms. Crowley, we will not try the case in the press. We do, however, believe that Johnny will be acquitted at the conclusion of the case,” he said in a statement.
    The maximum penalties for a Class A misdemeanor in Texas are one year in jail or a $4,000 fine, or both.

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    LeBron James’ management company , who first represented Johnny Manziel dropped the player after it was revealed he lied to executives within the Browns’ front office concerning recent legal and private issues. Manziel would then sign with uber-agent Drew Rosenhaus , only for the agent in recent days, again bidding farewell to the troubled player. At this juncture, the only thing we are entirely sure of , is the fact , the former NFL quarterback will be judged by a jury of his peers , as he answers charges as a defendant over the alleged charges leveled against him.

    Cleveland Browns

    Tophatal …….


  14. If we can get past the idiocy of Deflate-Gate and the crass appeal of Johnny Manziel , there seems to be little of note which seems to be newsworthy in the NFL other than the surprise decision of the Carolina Panthers to allow the departure of their Pro-Bowl defensive star, Josh Norman . Norman left as a free agent signing a lucrative contract with the Washington Redskins .

    NFL news and NFL transactions

    NFL free agents , restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents

    Tophatal ………………..


  15. So we’re now on the cusp of the 2016 NFL Draft and we have a number of fans offering their thoughts on their teams will go about this draft and which players are the best at the respective positions. From my own perspective , there is no sure thing, as there are so many vagaries often overlooked by those making the prognostications. Unfortunately , the likes of Mel Kiper and other so-called NFL inside whizzes , will offer up their thoughts without offering any real insight whatsoever. Clearly the case, when rave reviews were being made about the likes of Robert Griffin III , Ryan Tannehill , Tim Tebow and even the recent downfall of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel . All of these quarterbacks have one thing in common and it is they were all overrated , not particularly good , lacked the leadership skill-set to lead a team to a Superbowl victory.

    ‘Take it from me , I know football’ ! ESPN’s Mel Kiper

    This year we are have seen moves made with a number of teams swapping their draft positions in chasing what they believe will a prized asset deemed to be the face of their franchise for years to come. Away from the encompassing stories around the NFL Draft , the story which has now come to the fore in the NFL , has been a Appellate Court decision to reinstate the four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his involvement in the Deflate-Gate scandal. What this now means for New England Patriots , the organization’s relationship with Roger Goodell and whether or not it will continue to decline. Goodell has chosen to distance himself from the scene , but in reality, the suspension has now placed this whole chapter back into the news’ cycle and to be even more of an embarrassment for the league.

    ‘Roger , I have news for you there are pictures which are about to be circulated showing you , with your penis stuck in the @ss of a goat ‘. Bob Kraft speaking with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Philadelphia Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman has engineered the move which saw the Eagles move up several places in the first round , which now provides them with the second pick overall in the first round of this year’s draft and their chase for one of the top college quarterbacks . Brandon Goff and Carson Wentz are thought to be the top passers in this crop of college passers. It will be interesting to see how both will fare in their first season in the league. By comparison the quarterbacks taken in 2015 , many of them struggled to find their way in the NFL .

    NFL news

    Tophatal ……………..


  16. As if to prove how nonsensical and stupid the writers who cover the NFL , we now have a writer from noted publication USA Today offering up their asinine prognostications as to which teams performed poorly and which were advantageous in their NFL Draft picks for 2016. From my own perspective, such opinions have no validity to them at all ! You simply cannot take away anything from such decisions without having any real insight as to how the teams are likely too perform this upcoming season. Moreover, grading the draft itself is more or less idiotic and senseless, but if anything, it simply points to the fact the writers have nothing better to offer up by way of an opinion.

    The 2015 NFL Draft provided nothing by way of the decisions made by the teams and provided no real indicator as to who the protagonists were during the postseason . I’d dare say the writers themselves might well convey their own thoughts as to who they believe will be the favorite for Superbowl (LI) , but they cannot be entirely sure their choice will prove to be ultimately victorious.

    NFL news

    NFL salary cap (2016 projected figure $157 million)

    NFL transactions (March 2016) and for the month of April .

    Tophatal …..


  17. After the dust has settled on the NFL Draft the rookies are now signing their contracts with the teams where their careers may well lay. For the reigning Superbowl champions the Denver Broncos their crop of young players drafted the upcoming months leading up to the start of the regular season will be about the preparations and acclimatizing to the rigors of the NFL game. Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak alongside his coaching staff will be looking to assess not only the draftees , but also the newly acquired players signed to the roster .

    Gary Kubiak and the Denver Broncos will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of the Superbowl. Mark Sanchez having been brought in to succeed Peyton Manning after Manning’s retirement and the departure of Brock Osweiler as free agent , to join the Houston Texans. It will be interesting to see what Sanchez is able to do with his new team and whether or not there is continued success for this Broncos’ franchise .

    Mark Sanchez of the Denver Broncos .

    I believe the Denver Broncos will be favored to repeat as the AFC West champions as they remain the best team within the division by far. The only challenge forthcoming is likely to be from the Kansas City Chiefs , while I believe the Oakland Raiders will remain in turmoil and a listless San Diego Chargers’ organization will only be as good as Philip Rivers happens to be on a given day.

    One of the troubling issues which the Denver Broncos will likely face is the fact , should Mark Sanchez not pan out, the alternatives at the quarterback position remains very thin and untested. Having drafted Paxton Lynch the Broncos took a player whose upside is very good but whose technique has come into question. Lynch played his college football at Memphis where he had moderate success.

    Broncos’ rookie Paxton Lynch (12) is seen here with Gary Kubiak.

    Denver Broncos news

    Tophatal ….


  18. All of a sudden idiots are singing the praises and possibly suggesting Blaine Gabbert might prove enough of a challenge to unseat Colin Kaepernick as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. I believe the Niners’ front office went way out on a limb to hire Chip Kelly after the disaster seen under Jim Tomsula last season . Kelly for his part remains an overrated head coach whose teams cannot play a lick of defense . If there were any faults to his coaching acumen while with the Philadelphia Eagles , then it began and ended with the fact his teams were ill-disciplined and completely overrated. Now he lands in San Francisco where team CEO Jed York and GM Trent Baalke still remain out of touch as to what is now required to turn things around for the franchise. They have remained far too occupied with their move to Levi Stadium rather than seeking to improve the team lineup over the past two seasons .

    49ers’ head coach Chip Kelly.

    Courtesy of NFL.com

    Blaine Gabbert ‘taking control’ at 49ers workouts

    By Marc Sessler , NFL Staff Writer

    With Colin Kaepernick still rehabbing from a rash of offseason surgeries, Blaine Gabbert is making the most of his snaps in San Francisco.

    “He’s definitely taking control,” tight end Garrett Celek said of Gabbert, per CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. “Whoever’s at quarterback needs to take control and be our leader out there. And he’s definitely doing that. He’s making good decisions on the field.”

    Both Gabbert and Kaepernick are tasked with learning coach Chip Kelly’s offense from scratch, leaving Celek to say of Gabbert: “I think he’s definitely developing more and more as the days go on. But, right now, we’re all in the same boat learning this offense.”

    Veteran guard Zane Beadles had never met Gabbert, but told Maiocco that he received a text from the former Jaguars passer upon signing with the Niners.

    “He carries himself very well in the locker room,” Beadles said. “He seems like a true professional. He’s always in there studying and he knows what we’re trying to accomplish and what he needs to do at the quarterback position. I’ve seen all good things from him.”

    Celek said Gabbert has “absolutely” taken charge, noting that “everyone has a good relationship with him, and him motivating us is good.”

    It’s quite a rebound for Gabbert, laughed off the stage in Jacksonville as one of the club’s most notable draft busts. He played well in place of Kaepernick last season, though, showing plus athleticism and better decision-making.

    “(I’m) impressed with Blaine,” Kelly said in March. “You watch him the last couple of games he started. He’s another guy, you look at his skill set. He took off against the Bears and went (44) yards for a touchdown. He ran 4.61 in the combine when he was coming out.”

    Click on link to read in full.

    Blaine Gabbert (2) and Colin Kaepernick (7).

    From my own perspective , Blaine Gabbert’s failings with the Jacksonville Jaguars has indicated whatever upswing Kelly believes the quarterback may well have are simply not there. Colin Kaepernick for his part, lost his psyche as he became obsessed with his own invincibility and the obscene contract signed with the franchise. Granted , he was able to take the San Francisco 49ers to multiple postseason appearances and a Superbowl berth where the team lost to the Baltimore Ravens . Yet in all of this , the real issue remains how are the 49ers going to rebound from their woes and is Chip Kelly the right man to lead this team as they seek a change in their fortunes ?

    The San Francisco 49ers’ draft class for 2016 had Chip Kelly’s indelible fingerprints all over the makeup of the draft and it remains to be seen whether or not there was a great deal of consultation between the head coach and GM Trent Baalke over the choices made.

    San Francisco $9ers news

    Tophatal …………………………….


  19. Having finished the NFL season with a 10-6 record within the AFC East the New York Jets under head coach Todd Bowles and the coaching staff entered the off-season with a number of questions which needed to be answered , among which , the top one involved , was whether or not to resign free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a multi-year deal. The player while effective for the team is not deemed worthy of a contract he and his agent believe he is worth . Fitzpatrick was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL last season in terms of passing touchdowns . I do believe the front office of the Jets are willing to pay a ten-year veteran more than $12 million a year for his services at this stage of his career.

    Todd Bowles (above) , Ryan Fitzpatrick (below) and Geno Smith (right) who still remains on the team’s roster at present.

    Alternatives for the New York Jets at the quarterback position are not bountiful , albeit they chose to draft a rookie at quarterback during the 2016 NFL Draft . Christian Hackenberg drafted out of Penn State is likely to be at number two or three on the depth chart for this upcoming season , with his likely to be given a number of opportunities during the New York Jets’ preseason schedule .

    Christian Hackenberg , a second round pick of the New York Jets .

    New York Jets’ GM Mike Maccagnan heads the front office and he will be looking to have a team commensurate to the skill-set needed to remain competitive enough to take on all challengers this season in the NFL . As to the future of Ryan Fitzpatrick , it remains to be seen if a contract can agreed upon between the player and the franchise .

    New York Jets news

    Tophatal ………………..


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