Being All They Can Be ……………….

Being All They Can Be

by tophatal

Well the first of the NFL teams have now began their preseason workouts with the preseason itself now less than a month away . The first of the franchises reporting just happens to be Arizona Cardinals reporting , with the team looking to redeem themselves after a lackluster season in 2011 . Having recorded an 8-8 mark last season in failing to qualify for the postseason . Head coach, Ken Whisenhunt will be under a great deal of pressure get this team heading in the right direction after a disappointing 2011 foray .

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Team owner , William “Bill” Bidwill and general manager Rod Graves have slowly sought to resurrect the fortunes of the Arizona Cardinals , after years sheer of mediocrity . The franchise in subsequent years upon the retirement of Kurt Warner , has struggled to find a suitable successor to the former league and Superbowl MVP . This season , Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will entrust the signal calling duties to Kevin Kolb . The former Philadelphia Eagles’ starter having signed a lucrative contract with the Cardinals , has yet to live up to or fulfill the obligations of that deal . Albeit, that Kolb’s backup John Skelton has a proven , and better track record as a Arizona Cardinals’ starter than the incumbent . This season , if Kevin Kolb is not able to perform up to par , then it is my belief that John Skelton will be installed as the permanent starter for this team .

Rod Graves , Ken Whisenhunt and team’s coaching staff were very judicious in 2012 NFL Draft and the choices that have been made over the years have proven to be fortuitous . The drafting of Michael Floyd , Jamell Fleming , Bobby Massie , Senio Kelemete` , Justin Bethel , Ryan Lindley and Nate Potter , are the pieces that the front office feels are complementary to meet the team’s needs , beyond that of their off-season acquisitions made via free agency . The Arizona Cardinals remains an efficient offense , with a potent receiving corps led by Larry Fitzgerald , Early Doucet , Andre Roberts and Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells makes for an explosive group of receivers . At the same time the team’s rushing offense should not be overlooked , with Wells leading the way for the team. However , as a resident within the NFC West , it should prove to be interesting to see whether or not the Cardinals can contend with a resurgent San Francisco 49 ers’ organization , a team intent on redeeming themselves after last season’s foray in the playoffs .

If anything , for Arizona Cardinals to be a success this season not only within the NFC West but the conference as a whole , then their play has to be at a heightened level and a great deal more competitive as well. Other combatants within the division are Seattle Seahawks , St Louis Rams and the Niners .

The struggles however , remain for the Cardinals , in terms of the team’s defense and the very fact that they remain one of the poorer defenses in the NFC as well as the NFL as a whole . Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton has a great to do , in order to make this tier of players amongst , one of the better defensive units within the NFL . This much however , we do know , a great deal of the Arizona Cardinals’ success will be predicated upon the play of Kevin Kolb . As great as the claims were being made , that the player was one of the most sought after free agent quarterbacks in 2011 , I do believe that those claims were vastly overstated ! Kolb has struggled to gain the confidence of this Cardinals’ teammates and that has been pretty much indicative over the course of his NFL career . Offensive coordinator , Mike Miller and quarterbacks’ coach John McNulty will have to do their utmost in getting the very best out of Kevin Kolb as a quarterback . Based on the QB ratings (81.1) alone , Kolb would rank as the seventeenth best player at the position in the NFL over the course of last season , albeit that he only appeared in eight games for the beleaguered Arizona Cardinals . Throw out the QB ratings and simply concentrate on perhaps the one stat that is the most pertinent , and we can truly see Kolb’s worth as a quarterback in the NFL and more astutely within the NFC West in 2011 .

Defending NFC West champions , the San Francisco 49ers after the 13-3 season , which in essence , made believer s out of many , who longed for a return to the glory days of Jerry Rice , Steve Young and Joe Montana . This young and vibrant version of the team in 2011 left their fans clamoring for more . Perhaps no one person on that team of last season was more representative of that , than a rejuvenated Alex Smith . The Niners’ quarterback had the best season of his professional career , as he led this team with a great deal of authority . Now granted , during the off-season GM Trent Baalke , at the insistence of team CEO Jed York made overtures to Peyton Manning in seeking the four-time league MVP’s interest in signing with the organization . Manning , however , would parlay his worth by signing a lucrative multi-year deal with the Denver Broncos .

Alex Smith may well choose to use that slight in showing Jim Harbaugh that the front office’s overlooking his contributions will not go unnoticed . The player has seen “ his stock “ rise within the NFL , albeit the financial rewards are not on par with the “elite “ at the position or at the upper echelons of the NFL in terms of a salary . Smith however , for the moment is being handsomely rewarded by the San Francisco 49ers but undoubtedly he will seek to prove to Jim Harbaugh , Trent Baalke and Jed York , that he is an invaluable asset . As a free agent 2015 , the seven-year veteran and number one overall pick from 2005 knows that the expectations for this young team at its core , the window of opportunity is now here . They can either choose to break through or simply sit back , remain complacent or as they have been doing for the past few years , just being inept , until they laid sway to their opponents in 2011 .

At $7.5 million a year , I truly believe that Pete Carroll is being overpaid as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks . Team owner , Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen undoubtedly believes in hype over substance . Otherwise , why would he hire a coach who departed from USC (Trojans) under a cloud of suspicion and with his integrity not being fully in-tact ? Questions that remain answered , and ones which Pete Carroll , has chosen not to answer as it relates to the sullied football program of the USC Trojans . Not that Carroll’s successor Lane Kiffin has actually improved the situation with his own missteps , having succeeded Carroll .

If there is one thing abundantly clear and which was on display as it relates to this team , and it is that the Seahawks are vastly overrated , and that as an NFL coach , Pete Carroll still has a great deal to learn in spite of his success at the collegiate level . Not that his successes during his previous tenures within the NFL were a resounding success to begin with. If anything , abject mediocrity with Pete Carroll appears to “ be the norm” in terms of his coaching ability within the ranks of the NFL . Yeah baby , the NFL has long chosen to overpay for “mediocre coaching talent “ in the NFL , and it will continue to be that way for years to come .

Draft picks asides , upon perusing this Seahawks’ roster , there is little to suggest that the team will be a major factor within the NFC , much less within the division itself once their regular season schedule gets underway . The franchise ranked in the lower echelons in a number of meaningful statistics ( 23rd points scored per game , 28th in total offense , 22nd in passing yds[194.1 per game] and 21st in rushing [109.1 yds per game] that you simply know that this season Carroll and his coaching staff will need a major miracle , if they are to overcome many of their regular season opponents . And where the Seahawks are the most vulnerable , just happens to be defensively where in 2011 they allowed an ever of 332.2 yards per game in total defense , which ranked third highest within the NFC . . So much for the Seattle Seahawks and their ambitions for the upcoming season, if only there were as good as some actually believe them to be . But that is a story for another day ! .

The departure of Jeff Fisher though something of a tragedy , indicated to me more than anything else how much of an asshole , Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams just happens to be as an NFL franchisee ! Clueless , dumb and perhaps more than anything else , he thought to undermine his head coach , alienating him amongst the players but even more asinine was Adams’ choosing to side with a piece of fecal matter like Vince Young ! . The player , himself , not long with the Tennessee Titans will undoubtedly live out his professional career as a journeyman backup quarterback around the NFL . Think , Rodney Peete but with the IQ of a mentally challenged individual !

Jeff Fisher , having departed that hell hole known as the Tennessee Titans has landed on his feet but he now has a tough season ahead of him as he embarks on his first year with the St Louis Rams , as that franchise’s head coach , with a new coaching staff in tow . This franchise has been beset by problems with their being ever-growing uncertainty as whether or not Sam Bradford is indeed the quarterback to take the team to the next level . Fisher is an astute head coach who has the respect of his peers and the vast majority of players around the league . Herein , lies the caveat to this all , winning and respect go hand-in-hand but what gives the fans the greatest pleasure is to see their teams winning on a consistent basis while remaining a perennial contender . As of late that clearly has not been the case for the St Louis Rams , as team owner ….. Stanley Kroenke and the front office yearn for the days when the franchise was known as “ The Greatest Show on Turf “ were laying waste to the entire NFL .

The Rams’ team of 2001 went on to obliterate a number of NFL statistics that many thought could not be possibly surpassed . As we now know many of those records have subsequently fallen the NFL has now become more than a pass-happy form and brand of football being played to entertain the masses . Does anyone play defense anymore , within the NFL (No Fun League ) ?

From my own perspective, if Sam Bradford is not back to full strength , then his inability to lead this team will greatly impact the franchise . As Bradford goes , then so does this team , and it will be incumbent upon the young quarterback to prove to management and his teammates that he is back to his very best . In his rookie season (2010) , we saw the reasons why Bradford was made the number one overall pick from the NFL Draft of that year . The young quarterback showed a great deal of composure and leadership skills , not often seen in a rookie . That being said , 2011 and the history books were rewritten , as Cam Newton exploded unto the NFL arena . And I seriously doubt that we will see Newton’s exploits being matched during this season , by the likes of either Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III , Ryan Tannehill or by any of the other quarterbacks taken in this year’s NFL Draft who may become a starter in their rookie season ! .

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As a fan of the NFL , what if anything , are you most looking forward to witnessing this upcoming season ? And which rookie player do you believe will have the biggest impact in 2012 ? Of the points raised within this piece , simply leave a comment as to what you believe to be pertinent .

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(1) TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) of the Arizona Cardinals practices in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Tight end Todd Heap (86) of the Arizona Cardinals practices in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(3) TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals stands with Ryan Lindley (14) as they practice in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(4) TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Quarterback John Skelton (19) of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass as he practices in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(5) Quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals talks with head coach Ken Whisenhunt after defeating the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime . Getty Images North America/ Christian Petersen ….

(6) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes in front of quarterback Colin Kaepernick , left, and Scott Tolzien , second from left, during NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, May 29, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(7) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith prepares to pass as coach Jim Harbaugh watches during NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, May 23, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

(8) Former Tennessee Titans’ head coach , Jeff Fisher , and Vince Young are seen here at the funeral service of Steve McNair , the former Tennessee Titans’ quarterback , who Young called a “mentor ” and ” father-figure” . Unfortunately , none of the traits that McNair is said to have possessed rubbed off on his protege` Vince Young . The relationship between Young and the Titans’ head coach became fractured , leading to Fisher’s departure from the franchise after his authority was over-ridden by the imbecilic attitude of the team owner Kenneth “Bud” Adams , who sided with the player . Not long after , Young , himself would be waived by the Tennessee Titans . In 2011 the player was a backup to Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles . He was not re-signed by the team but was subsequently picked up as an understudy for Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills . Associated Press / George Clark …..

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It’s All In The Numbers Stupid ……………..

It’s All In The Numbers Stupid ……..

Much is being made of the fact that Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is now what is reported to be the largest contract offered to a wide receiver in NFL history to a wide receiver . Cardinals’ GM Rod Graves at team owner Bill Bidwill’s behest gave this all his seal of approval in formally granting this deal. The player’s contract is said to be worth $120 million covering eight years , of which $50 million is guaranteed money.

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Now pardon me for saying this but at what point did Rod Graves and Bill Bidwill thought it appropriate to simply show their complete stupidity ? The NFL hierarchy , front office executives (general managers) and team owners have simply pled poverty as to their financial plight . Have NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the hierarchy been “juicing” ? This whole idiocy as to the lockout itself and the very fact that we simply have the owners themselves making the most asinine of decisions as it relates to financial matters ! At what point did it not occur to either Rod Graves and the Cardinals’ ownership that this wouldn’t have some serious ramification for the NFL ?

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In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2011, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) smiles in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. The Cardinals and Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as $120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …..

There’s no denying that Fitzgerald isn’t one of the most productive and dynamic wide receivers in the NFL as can be proved by his career statistics . But herein lies the caveat , this now raises the bar as to the expectations of other high profiled offensive players looking for their payday. At the same this provides an incentive for agents such as Drew Rosenhaus and Mark Bartelstein to seek even bigger compensation for their clients .

In the midst of this all now stands the impasse between Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson and the Titans’ front office of which the team’s general manager Mike Reinfeldt has to deal with a dissatisfied running back who feels that he’s not being properly rewarded with regard to his perceived worth. And amongst the running backs in the league Johnson has been one of the most prolific in the past five years . Now with Titans’ owner Bud Adams mocking the player , calling him petulant , one wonders when and how that ongoing saga will now end ?

I’ve always maintained that this most recent stoppage in the NFL had more to do with greed than it had to do with being about a labor dispute ! The NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith essentially ran over the league hierarchy and all that was left was the road-kill ! To suggest that the owners and the league hierarchy are entirely happy with the outcome of the NFL lockout and its aftermath would be suggest that the French were entirely happy with being invaded by Germany during WWII . In the wake of this all the team owners have are trying to paint a rosy picture as to the present setting but in reality the picture that has been painted on the canvas isn’t quite as impressive as Roger Goodell would have us believe.

If the Arizona Cardinals are to have a successful season then much of that will be predicated upon the play of their new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb acquired in an off-season trade from the Philadelphia Eagles . Now for those who might view Kolb as the answer to the Cardinals’ needs , given the inconsistency of the play last season from the team’s quarterbacks , I would say that while this move could viewed as an upgrade, it isn’t as great as one might perceive it to be on the surface. Kevin Kolb at best, is a moderately talented quarterback who doesn’t even place amongst the top 12 players at the position within the NFL . But such are the vagaries of the game that we have analysts simply lauding mediocrity for the sake of creating a sound byte that resonates with the fans . And nowhere is this more indicative than the rather asinine commentary that’s provided by the wide eyed analysts of ESPN .

Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will be asked to get this team back on track and fighting for at least fighting for the division (NFC West) or at least a wildcard berth within the NFC . Whisenhunt saw fit to players that he feels will be complimentary to this roster . The veterans on this Arizona Cardinals’ team will be asked to lead this young roster as they embark on the season and it remains to be seen as to the challenge that will be mounted amongst their in-house rivals within NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers , St Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks while not being viewed amongst the elite within the conference it has to be said
these teams have their inconsistencies that we have all witnessed throughout the course of last season .

Defensively the Arizona Cardinals are a team that has its deficiencies within its secondary which essentially has become their Achilles Heel . Now while the bone of contention appears to be over the contract signed by Larry Fitzgerald , would we be actually discussing this all were it not a player , playing on a team that has struggled to make their presence felt , albeit that they made an appearance in the Superbowl that ended with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers . That defeat and the subsequent retirement of Kurt Warner simply led to the Arizona Cardinals’ fall from grace that seemed all the more emblematic of an organization that no longer had a sense of purpose or direction.

I do believe with the additions of Patrick Peterson , Ryan Williams , Robert Housler , Sam Acho , Anthony Sherman , Quan Sturdivant , David Carter and Demarco Sampson we would see some great contributions from these rookies drafted by the organization. Granted, it will be up to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald , Kolb , and the seasoned veterans on this roster to lead by example if this team is to have any semblance of success over the course of this season. Hamza Abduallah , Clark Haggans , Darnell Dockett , Vonnie Holliday , Mike Leach , Todd Heap , Paris Lenon and Joey Porter will have to step up to the plate and contribute greatly . The prevailing thought however, will be that Kevin Kolb has to prove that Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt’s faith in his abilities are justified . From my own perspective I believe that the jury will be out until that first snap of the season is taken and then we will be able to see what the player is truly made of .

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From your own perspective do you believe the contract offered to Larry Fitzgerald was warranted ? Or do you feel that this further typifies the stupidity of the owners and general managers of the NFL , especially given the league hierarchy’s claims of the imbalance of the revenues shared between the league and union ? Simply chime in with a comment on the subject matter and any other points you feel pertinent to this article .

Alan aka tophatal …………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2011, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) smiles in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. The Cardinals and Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as $120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(2) GREEN BAY, WI – AUGUST 19: Ken Wisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals looks on against the Green Bay Packers in a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …

(3) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) tries to avoid the rush of Green Bay Packers’ Howard Green (95) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …….

(4) Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals looks to hand off against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 11, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ……..

(5) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) can’t come up with a pass while being defended by Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash …..

(6) Bill Bidwill (left) , Cardinals’ team owner is seen alongside Ken Whisenhunt (center) and Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Rod Graves . Getty Images / Nick Doan …….

(7) Chris Johnson (28) of the Tennessee Titans speaks to members of the media after being named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year at a press conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 3, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images North America/ Doug Benc ……

(8) Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak , left, and general manager Mike Reinfeldt, right, answer questions during a news conference on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The NFL football team’s training camp begins Saturday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

(9) Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams who’s said to be aggrieved by the actions of the team’s running back Chris Johnson and his demands for a new contract. Adams has told GM Mike Reinfeldt to hold firm and not acquiesce to the player’s demands . However , further heating up the impasse has been the owner’s intent to resort to name calling and belittling the player . Hardly conducive to creating an environment under which an agreement can be worked out between the two parties . Courtesy of Forbes.com / Matt Holt ……..
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It’s Never Too Late ……………

It’s Never Too Late ……..

There’s been a lull on the sports horizon and very little of late that has been happening . It was however sad to hear and read about the death of Hall of Famer John Mackey . The 69 year old died in his sleep at an assisted living facility during which he suffered many ailments such as dementia , epileptic seizures and the early stages of Alzheimers but the troubling thing related to Mackey’s untimely demise is the mere fact that this former NFLPA President saw that the NFL has done little to assist former players with aid benefits . John Mackey a prodigious and productive player over the course of his career but the sadness in his passing should be something that the NFL can perhaps learn from.

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And as saddening as it was to heat of John Mackey’s passing , consider this concerning what can be described as part of the former of NFL player’s last moments on the earth . He had to have constant around the clock assistance as he has lost many of motor neuron skills , a colostomy bag was part of the player’s regimen as he was unable use a restroom under his own volition . Unable to care for himself with a sense of dignity this was how this former NFL player spent his final days on this earth , not quite in a place of degradation but it was simply has to be humiliating to know that this simply is an untold story that seems to another episode that the NFL would rather not let the world actually have an eye on . The underbelly and the dark side of what happens to many of the players that sacrificed so much for their love of the game and with a view to finding success and fame. In retirement we are under the impression that many of the players from Mackey’s generation and prior have all the means where they will be able to take care of themselves with all of the amenities one would deem available to them . But that was certainly not the case and it would now appear for many of his contemporaries from the era he played in a similar position .

We are constantly bombarded with the message that the NFL cares about its own but in reality how true is that to begin with ? Far too many players are actually falling through the cracks when it comes to the so called care that’s said to be provided by the NFL and in particular by the players’ own union the NFLPA . And inasmuch as the alleged assistance that was being provided to the player at the time of his death in terms of benefits to assist him in his time of need , so much more could have been done to assist Mackey and many of his kind who are suffering

The sad part to this all is that while the NFL labor stoppage now in its 116th day very little has been mentioned as what the league’s intent will be with regard to retired veterans and how they will be assisted . More we have been led to believe as part of these labor negotiations has been to do with how the league heirarchy and the NFLPA will split their $9 billion revenue stream . DeMaurice Smith as Executive Director of the NFLPA much like his predecessor Gene Upshaw has said little about the issue of current veterans as to their benefits . And though Mackey died in an assisting living facility what might be even more surprising was the mere fact that the former NFL great’s benefits were actually cut to such an extent that it seems inconceivable that the league now feels that is doing more now than ever before in providing assistance for their former now retired members . If that is the case then perhaps they can somehow explain why it was that former Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Webster and Dave Duerson died under such degrading circumstances ? This player part of the Steelers’ Iron Curtain and was a man of honor but his death was in such a stark contrast to what his career was said to be all about. We know that his story has been well chronicled , bouts of alcoholism , depression but again Smith suffered from chronic headaches all due to his career in the NFL .

Throughout the course of his career Mike Webster is said to have suffered as many as a dozen game concussions over the course of his career through much of which the medical observations and advice given to the player was extremely poor. And granted the NFL has progressed a great deal in the years since Webster retired from the game with regard to information and research that the medical establishment has provided from their research into the cause and effect of concussions and head traumas. It hasn’t been the NFL that has actually laid the groundwork in this research but academia and in particular such noted colleges of medicine such Boston University School of Medicine & Neuro Sciences , Harvard School of Medicine & Neurology , Stanford School of Medicine & Neurology as well as the AMA’s own conclusive and incisive research. That being said it has been the NFL’s reluctance even with their own medical counsel who have simply said to the contrary that there was no discerning cause and effect with regard head trauma , concussions and the debiliatating maladies suffered by the players in the aftermath of their retirement from the NFL . Dave Duerson suffered from extreme bouts of depression having suffered multiple concussions over the course of his career but the sadness under circumstances that led to the player taking his own life cannot simply be misplaced as another act of another suicide. There has to be a real reason behind these cases and much of that can be related to the mere fact that the NFL itself has not been there to meet the needs of the retired players.

As I alluded to earlier with Mike Webster’s death came as a shock to many but the conditions surrounding his death are so inconceivable and beyond belief. We know that the player had fallen on hard times that he sought help but little had been forthcoming from the NFLPA and was beyond comprehension to believe that here was a real giant of the game who at the time of his death lived in squalor , suffered with dementia , bouts of severe depression. But what could be even more troubling was the fact that Mike Webster with his medical issues died under such dire circumstances where at times he would defecate and urinate on himself while trying to hold a normal conversation with family members or friends.I am not so sure that in the midst of this all the NFL fully understands the serious ramifications from the course of action that it has failed to take over the years.

I find it rather ironic however that players such as NFLPA President Kevin Mawae and Drew Brees now suggest that this lockout has more to do with asssisting the retired and veteran players than it has to do with dealing with a mere labor issue. Perhaps I’m mistaken but this discussion rarely comes up over the course of their negotiations or the formal statements made to the print and television media . It could well now be that the NFLPA much like the league hierarchy are now seeking to curry favor by seeking the public’s sympathy in the ongoing charade. This has never been a labor dispute in the true sense of the word because it has been in fact merely been about money and how best each side can try to outdo each other while simply not losing face in the eyes of the onlooking public ! It may well be too little too late at the end of the day as it appears that now more than ever before so many former NFL players are living in suffering in such dire circumstances and many of whom may well die in such in such abject squalor or perhaps in other such conditions beyond their control .

In the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement from the Arizona Cardinals it was apparent that the organization would face an uphill battle trying to remain relevant within the league . And for head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his coaches this past season”> season was a trying time for the fans , the team and in particular the Bidwill family as owners of the team.

Given the fact that the team having drafted Matt Leinart his lack of candor and command in learning the nuances of being a quarterback in the NFL . It is extremely understandable to see the reason why this team has failed so miserably in the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement . Leinart with having a heralded career with USC at the collegiate level he has completely failed to live up to the percieved hype that would suggest that he had the makings of a NFL caliber quarterback. His career in the NFL so far can be best described as mediocre for want of a better word !

Coming off a 5-11 season within the NFC West season where the team simply underperformed . Much of that came down to the fact that there simply wasn’t a quarterback on this roster that good enough to command with the respect of the team much less play with any degree of consistency. You cannot imply to me that the likes of Max Hall , Derek Anderson , John Skelton or Richard Bartel are what the coaches of this organization now have the belief in guiding them to the promise land less and a legitimate shot at the Superbowl ! There’s more chance to be had with Andre Bocelli spending a night of passionate unadulterated sex with several porn stars than the premise of seeing that trio of quarterbacks actually leading the Cardinals to a winning season much less raising the Lombardi Trophy in triumph !

From an offensive standpoint the Cardinals are quite an attractive team but without a signal caller of confidence and the ability to lead they will continue to come up short . It would be pretty safe to say that Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the league and certainly noteworthy enough to be considered amongst the top five overall ! But the real problem has that has simply bedeviled this team over the past season has simply been not being able to close out games with authority when they have their opponents on the ropes . This above anything else has to have been truly worrisome for Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff .

This upcoming season it will be very interesting to see whether or not the Arizona Cardinals can acquit themselves with any real degree of authority and simply be considered contenders within the NFC West and the conference overall . They’ve shown signs defensively that they’ve made some progression but clearly there has to be a great deal more consistency on both sides of the ball from this team !

One of the most pressing issues for the Cardinals also will be to quell the rise in discontent with Larry Fitzgerald as the player is now said to be genuinely dissatisfied with the direction that the organization is said to be apparently going in. It is abundantly clear that this organization can ill afford to lose a player of Fitzgerald’s caliber and simply become an also ran amongst the ranks of the NFC . And that is something that clearly Rod Graves as the team’s general manager or members of the Bidwill family would like to see isa disgruntled star player looking for a trade . But let’s face facts here if this team can’t take care of business this season then in all certainty Fitzgerald will want out ………. no matter what !

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below
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(1) John Mackey, left, and Ralph Wenzel were both on the San Diego Chargers in 1972, but have no memory of playing together. Courtesy of The New York Times /Brendan Smialowski ….

(2) John Mackey, left, seen here some five years prior to his death with his rings from Super Bowl V and the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and Ralph Wenzel at the Annapolitan Assisted Living Community in Annapolis Maryland. Mr. Mackey, 65, and Mr. Wenzel, 64, both have dementia. Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times ……..

(3) Dave Duerson (right) is seen here testifying before Congress in June of 2007 . In the background seated is former Dallas Cowboys’ player Darryl Johnston . Duerson’s testimony to Congress dealt with the issues of neurological disorders suffered by current and retired players . He was a staunch advocate also for the rights of players with regard their medical plight , denial of benefits and numerous other health related issues. He was only 50 years old at the time of his death. AP/ Malcolm Warren …………

(4) Webster and Bradsahaw seen here in Cantion , Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame . AP Photo/archives …

(5) First round draft pick, Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals speaks during a press conference at the team’s training center auditorium on April 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. Getty Images / Christian Petersen ……

(6) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) catches an 11-yard touchdown in front of San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith (30) in the second quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Cardinals would go on to lose the game 38-7 to the San Francisco 49ers . AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

(7) San Francisco 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson (99) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton in the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. San Francisco 49ers corner-back Shawntae Spencer was also credited on the sack. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(8) (L-R) Quarterbacks Matt Leinart (7) left and Kurt Warner (13) of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after winning the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 32-25 to advance to the Super Bowl. Getty Images North America /Jamie Squires ……
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NFL News

Arizona Cardinals news

I Did It My Way ………………

I Did It My Way ……………

I’ve always felt a great admiration for an athlete who walks away from the game on their own terms , rather than in the end for them having to be shown the door unceremoniously . It happens far too often with regard to the latter. And I know there’ll be those out there who will say that it’s their right to go on as long it’s humanly possible. But consider this , in the real world there’s a mandatory retirement age. And granted, we see people in all walks of working late into their years in a variety of fields. We’re not going to see someone in their late forties still playing in the NFL . Well , not unless your name happens to be Brett Favre. I can only surmise, that he wants to play ‘til he’s as old as Methuselah ? And for those of you who aren’t religious or perhaps have never read the Bible. Methuselah happened to be the oldest recorded person from that venerable book.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football with his family Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Associated  Press / Matt  York ........
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football with his family Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Matt York ........

Well after 12 years in the NFL, Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback, Kurt Warner , has to decided to call it a day. He goes out on his own terms having had a story book career . A two time league MVP, Superbowl (SB XXXIV) winner and Supebowl winning MVP. Amongst other accolades , Warner has three of the top five performances ever as a quart back in the Superbowl. If that’s enough to book him a place in Canton , Ohio, then they might as well shut the frigging place down once and for all ! Never mind the regular season stats that’ve littered his career. Kurt Warner has been an exemplary player, teammate and an outstanding human being. And there are not too many sport’s individuals that one can say that about in this day and age. I don’t care in what sporting endeavor you might care to name. There has never been any controversy surrounding Warner on or off the field. And his peers past and present consider him to be amongst the very best not only as competitor , teammate or opponent. But also in terms of his character and his compassion for other less well of than him. That will be the measure of Warner’s legacy upon the NFL.

Now having said this, I must admit that his retirement hasn’t taken me by complete surprise. I understand why he now feels it’s time to bow out from a stage he graced so successfully. He’s a family man but also someone who has devoted a great time in the pursuance of helping others. And his beliefs , as he’s a devout Christian , wills Warner now to a higher calling . In this case it’s not solely about spreading the world of Christ but also to as I’d previously stated is to help those in need. It’s the same approach that was taken by former Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Tony Dungy. And it is now the same path that Warner will now follow . Both men , their accomplishments and their calling are commendable traits !

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18. after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo  appears  courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Matt York  .....
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18. after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Matt York .....

Now looking at the Cardinals going forward, I think that they have a solid foundation, from which to build upon. That being said , I’m not quite sure as of yet that Matt Leinart possesses the temperament to lead this team. It’s all well and good that he had things essentially handed to him on a silver platter with USC. But since his arrival in the NFL , he’s yet to show that he has the capacity for learning the game , much less show signs of maturity. How else can one explain the petulance shown by him when he was replaced as the starter on the Cardinals’ team by coach, Ken Whisenhunt ? If that doesn’t indicate that Leinart, when at USC was all about self entitlement, rather than doing what is best for the team. Then it’s easy to understand the reason why he’s struggled to make his presence felt in the NFL. With Warner , having been given the starter’s role on the team they haven’t looked back since.

It will definitely be strange, next season to see this Cardinals’ team take the field and no longer see Warner there , with his name emblazoned on the back of his jersey. But as I alluded to earlier , he walks away from this game under his own steam , in good health , knowing that he’s accomplished a great many feats that perhaps none of us could ever have dreamed him doing . Warner did things his way and for that I for am grateful to say that it has been indeed a privilege to see him play. Anything beyond that is now just an after thought.

I don’t think anyone could’ve said it better than ol’ “Blue Eyes”… Frank Sinatra. ‘I Did It My Way’

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The  delectable Vida  Guerra
The delectable Vida Guerra

tophatal ……:)

Rumor Has It That Kim Kardashian Gave Reggie Bush A Little Somethin’ Somethin’ For Sho’

Rumor Has It That Kim Kardashian Gave Reggie Bush A Little Somethin’ Somethin’ For Sho’

I’ve spent much of Saturday keeping and remaining in touch with several of my Haitian American friends who reside in the South Florida area. And given the devastation of the earthquake that has seemingly left this tiny country in mess and taken in excess of 100,000 lives. It makes the spectacle of watching the divisional games of the NFL playoffs. To shed more light on this all in an too negative an approach, as only Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson can. It suddenly reminds me that this country isn’t as socially advanced as it claims itself to be. They say one oughtn’t to generalize the character of a nation by merely looking at a certain group within its citizenry. But here I think it’s an unfortunate when one has to look at the likes of Limbaugh and Robertson to see how mired in racial bigotry the country still is ! And it is boldly represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson . I’d even venture to say that there are some US citizens that are angered more by the fact that the President of the country is an African American, rather than the fact that he’s an alleged socialist ? What is it about caring for one’s citizenry that is so frightening for the some of the populace at large ? Hell it’s not as if the private sector or even the government for that matter has done enough to even look after its own. And when I see its own , I’m talking about its returning heroes from both fronts of the so called war on terror. As the Jack Nicholson character Col Nathan R. Jessep stated in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’ …… ’you can’t handle the truth’.

Reggie Bush (#25) of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against Jason Wright (#31) of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ......
Reggie Bush (#25) of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against Jason Wright (#31) of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ......

Well enough with the overt idiotic stance of both Limbaugh and Robertson as I’m sure that there’s a fu_king place in hell awaiting for them both and deservedly so ! The NFL match up between the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints has lived to the predetermined hype and more so. The struggles of the Saints have been well documented ever since Hurricane Katrina and for the citizens , its fans of the team have simply been exemplary.

Drew Brees (#9) of the New Orleans Saints is congratulated by head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals after the Siants won 45-14 during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears  courtesy  of   Getty Images/ Chris  Graythern  ...........
Drew Brees (#9) of the New Orleans Saints is congratulated by head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals after the Siants won 45-14 during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ...........

The Saints has put on a fantastic play of attacking none stop football and the team led by Drew Brees and their Heisman trophy winning running back, Reggie Bush simply put on a display that had to be viewed as redemption and somewhat serendipity for the team.

Darren Sharper (#42) and Roman Harper (#41) of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after Sharper broke up a pass play against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Chris  Graythern ...........
Darren Sharper (#42) and Roman Harper (#41) of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after Sharper broke up a pass play against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ...........

Arizona for its part came into this game riding on the crest of wave having defeated the Green Bay Packers in one of the highest scoring game in NFL postseason history. Ninety six points were amassed and over nine hundred total yards of offense. Can you say whatever defense that took place during that game may well have been when the opposing players were exchanging pleasantries prior to its start ?

Reggie  Bush (25)  of  the  New Orleans  Saints  looks to  hit a  seam  for a  run  against the   Cardianal  but  is denied  by  Cardinals  defensive tackle    Reggie  Walker  (55)  in  his  attempt.   Bush  would  end  up   with  205  all purpose  yards   during  the  game  .      picture  appears  courtesy  of Getty Images/  Ronald  Martinez  .......................
Reggie Bush (25) of the New Orleans Saints looks to hit a seam for a run against the Cardianal but is denied by Cardinals defensive tackle Reggie Walker (55) in his attempt. Bush would end up with 205 all purpose yards during the game . picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez .......................

Courtesy of The Houma Courier

Local fans help cheer Saints to victory

New Orleans — Finding words to describe the New Orleans Saints’ 45-14 win in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game was easy for Zachary P. Landrus.

Finding his voice, however, proved to be a challenge for the Houma resident. He lost it cheering as the Saints dominated the Arizona Cardinals in Saturday’s playoff at the Louisiana Superdome.

“It was electric,” he said. “Everybody was best friends. We were slapping hands, jumping up and down and hugging. At times, there were drinks flying all over. It was awesome.”

Saturday’s 45-14 win sends the Saints to their second NFC championship game in four seasons, this time at home in the Dome. This coming Sunday, the Saints will face the winner of today’s Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys game for the right to go to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.

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Darren Sharper (#42) of the New Orleans Saints leaps a teammate as he returns a recovered fumble for positive yards in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/  Ronald Martinez ............
Darren Sharper (#42) of the New Orleans Saints leaps a teammate as he returns a recovered fumble for positive yards in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez ............

With Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals having suffered a shoulder injury early in the game and the mere fact that his offensive line were about as protective as a roll of tissue paper might be against the H1N1 virus. They were nowhere to be seen throughout much of the game. The same cannot be said of Warner’s opposing number, as Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense simply ran roughshod over the Cardinals’ defense. And unfortunately ,Warner’s backup, Matt Leinart had about as much an answer for the Cardinals’ woes as Sarah Palin had in her series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric in their well discussed series of interviews. I’m not trying to suggest that Leinart hasn’t been befitting of a good education in college. But when one of your electives on your way to your degree was Ballroom Dancing , then what might that suggest to you on appearance ? I’m sorry Matt but your IQ and that of your football IQ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. USC is meant to be a bastion of academic education and achievement ? Since when ? More like a place where its’ student athletes and coaches are simply allowed to run amok and make a mockery of collegiate athletics altogether , whereby they’re ably assisted by their Athletic Director Mike Garrett and its faculty to perpetrate a massive fraud. Never mind the fact that the NCAA for all of its supposed virtue, merely has turned a blind eye to it all. And when questioned as to why it has taken so long to address the long held suspicions as to the USC Trojans’ seemingly never-ending transgressions and violations. Well let’s just say that the NCAA’s continued silence would do a mute proud.

Kurt Warner (#13) and Ben Graham (#5) of the Arizona Cardinals walk off the field dejected after their 45-14 win against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears   courtesy of  Getty Images/  Ronald Martinez ..........
Kurt Warner (#13) and Ben Graham (#5) of the Arizona Cardinals walk off the field dejected after their 45-14 win against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez ..........

If it was high scoring you were after, then this was the game to see . And finally Reggie Bush started to live up to the hype that’d been created from his days in college at USC. Now as to whether or not Reggie’s fiance, Kim Kardashian , put a ‘little somethin’-somethin’ on Reggie for good luck. I’ll let you form your own opinion on it all. Surmise to say , the only time I’ve ever moved that quickly is prior to earning a promise of getting copious amounts of sex as a good deed and then getting even more sex after performing that good a deed. As to what the deed was that Reggie performed ? Someone could perhaps ‘tweet’ Kim or Reggie to find out ? All joking asides though, let’s just say that the Arizona were never really ‘in this game’ after having scored the first seven points of the game. Everything seemingly went downhill thereafter for this Ken Whisenhunt coached team. And for Whisenhunt’s opposing number, Sean Payton , this was a game to be relished for the entire organization , the fans and the city of New Orleans.

The score of 45-14 might not be reflective of a game that was very entertaining but in essence if you’re a fan of the NFL. Then this was a game to be enjoyed and relished in all of its facets ! For the Saints with an NFC championship berth having been garnered , all that awaits them is a Superbowl berth in a meeting and the defeat of either victor of the Dallas Cowboys and the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings. Is there anyone of the opinion who feels that a ‘Favre envisioned Superbowl’ would be the ‘worse case scenario’ possible ? Or is it just me ?

Today’s pair of games pits the San Diego Chargers against the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings versus the Dallas Cowboys. As a fan I can only hope that both games will be able to live up to the perceived hype. And as for the New Orleans Saints and their prospective fortunes. Well let’s just say that should they end up raising the Lombardi trophy then I for one won’t at all feel aggrieved should they raise it as Superbowl champions. They’d be deserving of that fate and so too are their more than patient fans.

On an added bye note who knew that the Indianapolis Colts could play defense the way that they did against the Baltimore Ravens ? Not only did they shut down Ray Rice but they made Joe Flacco seemingly appear like a novice in the game. Kudos to Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts on a great game ! That 20-3 result didn’t tell half the story, as far as the game went. If they play like that in the AFC championship game , then they’ll be on their way to ‘SB XLIV’ in Miami for sure !

Well if this was indeed what Reggie was getting a piece of , then I can well understand his reasons for wanting to get home early from the game. Does anyone ‘now have a craving to eat absolutely anything’ from Car’s Jr ? Or is it just me ?

Kim  Kardashian  and  her  Carl's Jr  salad
Kim Kardashian and her Carl's Jr salad

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Wreckx-N-Effect ‘Rumpshaker’ ol’ school style . Get down with it y’all !

Worlds Apart, Then There’s The AFC West And The NFC West ……..

I think that it ought to be abundantly clear and plain for all to see that the NFL’s two western divisions might just be the worst that there is, in all of football. If you can categorically state to me what other divisions in the NFL are worst than that of the AFC West and NFC West. Then I’d be quite happy to listen to the arguments that you’re prepared to put forth to justify your claim or claims, as the case maybe.

Arlington, Tx,. December  13th, 2009.Chargers' offensive lineman Larry English (#52) gives  chase to Cowboys'  quarterback, Tony Romo (#9) in a  game played at   Texas Stadium  in  Arlington  , Texas.  The  San  Diego  Chargers  would  go on to  defeat  the   Dallas Cowboys  20-17 .picture appears   courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald  Martinez .....
Arlington, Tx,. December 13th, 2009.Chargers' offensive lineman Larry English (#52) gives chase to Cowboys' quarterback, Tony Romo (#9) in a game played at Texas Stadium in Arlington , Texas. The San Diego Chargers would go on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 .picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez .....

While on the face of it, one can allude to the fact that within those divisions the standout teams are perhaps , the Arizona Cardinals (NFC West) and the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos (AFC West). One could perhaps attest to the fact also that the other teams that make up those respective divisions are essentially at best, no more than average , given the lack of quality and inconsistency of their play.

Broncos’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall seen here playing against the Indianapolis Colts , on his way to an NFL career record. The player would complete 21 receptions during the game , while attaining 200 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a losing effort against the Colts. The single game reception record had been previously held by Terrell Owens, as a San Francisco 49er. Indianapolis remained unbeaten with their 28-16 defeat of the Denver Broncos. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andy Lyons ……

The same ‘old mantra’ is still being used that there’s ‘parity within the NFL’ and that on any given day, an extremely good team can be beaten by a bad team. That may well be the case, but based on the evidence of this season . It has been something of a rarity , albeit that we’ve also seen the likes of Pittsburgh Steelers get upended by the woefully inept Cleveland Browns. That being said , I’m of the opinion that much of the malaise we’re now seeing within the AFC West and NFC West, comes from the utterly poor coaching from within those divisions. The long suffering Oakland Raiders and their fans have had to put up with the continued ridicule of the franchise. Never mind that this time around one can’t really solely apportion blame upon their owner, Al Davis. This time around the brunt of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Raiders’ coach Tom Cable and that of his entire coaching staff. One could also argue that the team’s quarterback, JaMarcus Russell has led to a great many of the team’s woes from the outset. Whoever , was behind the scouting of Russell and the final decision to draft the player, clearly needs to have their head examined. And it appears that might come back down to Al Davis, again intervening and make a decision that has set the franchise back at least two three years. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Well , here the Raiders have gained one monumental headache in Russell, whose football IQ might just be slightly lower than that of Paris Hilton’s actual intelligence quotient.

The troubling thing for the Oakland Raiders now , is that with an injury to the newly installed starter at quarterback,Bruce Gradkowski. The team and Cable will now have to reinstall Russell back into the starter’s role. Gradkowski , has done everything asked of him in leading this team with due diligence and not making the mistakes that came with Russell’s nondescript and haphazard game. Cable for his part, seems to be at a loss for words in describing the franchise’s malaise. But therein, he was thrust into the position that he was ill equipped to handle from the very beginning.

The Kansas City Chiefs under coach, Todd Haley continues to struggle and much that comes down to sheer youth and inexperience on this team. And with former Patriots’ GM, Scott Pioli, now overseeing the personnel and development of recruitment for the franchise. It’d be safe to say that their future appears to be in safe hands. But for now, it is the immediacy of winning, learning how to acquire those traits and put them into practice in a competitive form. And for a team that is now 3-10 within the AFC West. Every win that they attain, is something to pin their hopes on and to the very fact that they’re learning something along the way.

San Francisco, December 14th, 2009. Running back Frank Gore (#21) of the San Francisco 49ers rushes with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.   picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/  Ezra  Shaw  ................
San Francisco, December 14th, 2009. Running back Frank Gore (#21) of the San Francisco 49ers rushes with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ................

In the NFC West where the Arizona Cardinals seemingly now have the division to themselves. The likes of the San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks and St Louis Rams, while eager to put up something of a challenge. They have either been all too inconsistent in their overall play or just exceptionally mediocre to begin with.

Last year’s NFC representative in the Superbowl , has played with a great sense of urgency. But more often than not, there have been slip ups made by Ken Whisenhunt’s Arizona Cardinals’ team. Monday night’s 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, leads us to believe that the margin between the top team within the division and that of its other domiciled teams might not be as large, as first thought. Somehow, the Cardinals were inexplicably outplayed by a resurgent and resilient team, coached by Mike Singletary. You’d have been hard pressed to guess which was the team had an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record. Such may have been the disparity in terms of their overall play on the night.

Houston , December 13th, 2009.  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8) of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by linebacker Brian Cushing (#56) of the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 34-7.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Bob Levey .......
Houston , December 13th, 2009. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8) of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by linebacker Brian Cushing (#56) of the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 34-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Bob Levey .......

Make of it what you will but I’m of the opinion that Mike Holmgren should not have been allowed to name his successor in waiting while he was the coach of the Seattle Seahawks. As great as a coach, as he has been over the years. Over the latter part his career with the Seahawks , the game essentially had begun to pass him by and personnel choices with regard to the Seahawks’ roster hadn’t paid any real dividends. Upon his retirement from the team, the reins were handed over to Jim Mora Jr.. To my mind they might as well have handed the reins over to Attila The Hun , for all of the good that it has done. Jim Mora Jr, is no more an NFL coach than Britney Spears can be considered to be a great singer. But yet somehow Mora has been entrusted with coaching this team ? Far be it for me to suggest but in Mora’s foray as an NFL coach , once he met with real adversity there in Atlanta with the Michael Vick saga. His apportioned blame elsewhere faster than a typhoon hits land. And when it was all said and done he still saw fit to denigrate the organization for the apparent way that he’d been treated. But then again, this was the same individual who when asked by Falcons’ owner , Arthur Blank, whether or not he’d been looking elsewhere for another coaching vacancy, he had the temerity to lie to the owner’s face.

Seattle Seahawks' coach, Jim Mora reacts to a play during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Houston. picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  David J. Phillip .........
Seattle Seahawks' coach, Jim Mora reacts to a play during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Houston. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David J. Phillip .........

Mora , now in position as the Seahawk’s coach. He has shown about as much perception and keenness for the position as a blind man being requested to play hop-scotch in a minefield. He has brought absolutely nothing at all to the table. And the Seahawks have fallen faster from grace than a meteor falling from the sky. No excuses ought to be made about the team being replete with injuries and the apparent loss of Pro Bowl quarterback , Matt Hasselbeck , due to prolonged injuries. Had Holmgren to begin with and then Mora seen fit to attain a backup for the aging quarterback. Then in some ways their problems would not be as acute as they now are.

Steven Jackson (#39) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room while running with the football against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins  ............
Steven Jackson (#39) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room while running with the football against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins ............

From being anointed ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’, to now being bogged down in quicksand and their own mediocrity. The St Louis Rams have become a team that is about as welcoming to watch as catching a strain of the H1N1 virus. Let’s just say that the scary thought is that, there’s still no cure for the virus or what ails the Rams as an organization. In spite of it all Rams’ coach, Steve Spagnuolo tries his level best to coach this team to some level of competency and competitiveness. He’d better of coaching ‘Pop Warner’ football at this juncture. This is a team that has no real guidance or any semblance of leadership on the field of play. And the talents of the team’s running back , Steven Jackson, are being sadly wasted on a franchise that has no apparent guts for a fight or the will to win.

Nashville, Tn,  December 13th, 2009.  Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7.   picture  appears courtesy of  Getty Images/  Joe Robbins   ............
Nashville, Tn, December 13th, 2009. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins ............

With each passing effort of an NFL game , one can slowly see how moribund that the Rams’ organization and the team has become. And there appears to be no end in sight as to the malaise that the team is now within. They, alongside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fighting for the record in futility for this NFL season. Both teams have a record of 1-12 as they both seek to at least attain one more win before the regular season reaches its climax. But that might allude to the fact that both teams don’t want to eschew the fact of missing out on taking the number one overall pick in next year’s NFL draft. The choices are a quarterback or a defensive player ? The Buccaneers have their needs, as do the St Louis Rams. But it’s safe to say that at this juncture none of us really knows what either of the two franchises will do in terms of a choice.

AFC West Divisional Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak
San Diego Chargers 10 3 0 .769 362 259 4-2-0 6-1-0 5-1-0 7-3-0 Won 8
Denver Broncos 8 5 0 .615 256 230 4-2-0 4-3-0 3-1-0 6-4-0 Lost 1
Oakland Raiders 4 9 0 .308 155 316 2-5-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 Lost 1
Kansas City Chiefs 3 10 0 .231 206 342 1-6-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 2-7-0 Lost 3

NFC West Divisional Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak
Arizona Cardinals 8 5 0 .615 306 258 3-3-0 5-2-0 3-2-0 6-3-0 Lost 1
San Francisco 49ers 6 7 0 .462 269 242 5-2-0 1-5-0 4-1-0 5-4-0 Won 1
Seattle Seahawks 5 8 0 .385 250 301 4-2-0 1-6-0 3-3-0 4-6-0 Lost 1
St. Louis Rams 1 12 0 .077 146 361 0-6-0 1-6-0 0-4-0 1-9-0 Lost 5

Unresolved Issues Do You Want Me Or Not ?……Is This What Anquan Boldin Ought To Be Asking ?

Unresolved Issues Do You Want Me Or Not ? Is This What Anquan Boldin Ought To Be Asking ?

As much as he may well have bitched and whined last year, as a member of the Arizona Cardinals and their improbable run to last season’s Superbowl. You can’t but help but now wonder, if the Cardinals’ organization is doing the right thing in the stance that they’re taking with regard to Anquan Boldin and his contract negotiations.

From left to right , Arizona Cardinals' owner, Bill Bidwill, the team's coach, Ken Whisenhunt and  the General Manager,  Rod Graves.    picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Paul Talbot ................
From left to right , Arizona Cardinals' owner, Bill Bidwill, the team's coach, Ken Whisenhunt and the General Manager, Rod Graves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Talbot ................

This situation has dragged on over from last year and while there were cries that the team should’ve traded the player. Calmer heads and common sense prevailed in the end. One would like to think that coach, Ken Whisenhunt and team GM, Rod Graves, may well have thought long and hard mulling the situation over. But in essence, this team without Boldin isn’t near as good, as it could be ! With he , Larry Fitzgerald , Early Doucet , Sean Morey and Steve Breaston. The Arizona Cardinals may well have the best receiving corps in the entire NFL. You’d be hard pressed to find a better duo in all of the NFL , than Bolden and Fitzgerald, at present. And if you can name a team with a better receiving corp , then I’ll stack what the Cardinals have at present against your choice !

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Cards’ Boldin worthy of a pay rise

By Michael Silver, Yahoo Sports

Glendale , Arizona,. – Five minutes into Sunday night’s showdown between NFC contenders on the road to repeating as division champions, the Arizona Cardinals were in trouble.

The formidable Minnesota Vikings had already forced a fumble and taken a seven-point lead on a Brett Favre(notes) touchdown pass, and the 64,121 fans at University of Phoenix Stadium braced themselves for a replay of the Vikes’ blowout victory here a year ago. Having missed the previous game while recovering from a concussion, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner(notes) seemed a vulnerable target for All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen(notes) and the rest of Minnesota’s physical defense.

And then, with an inimitable mixture of blunt force and sublime skill, Anquan Boldin(notes) put the Cards on his back and carried them to their most impressive victory since last January’s NFC championship game.

After that historic triumph, which put Arizona in its first Super Bowl, Boldin threw a bizarrely timed tantrum over his lack of involvement in the offense and left the stadium as if he were auditioning for a role in “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

On Sunday, following the Cardinals’ 30-17 thumping of the Vikings, a far happier Boldin stuck around to talk about the message he and his team had just sent to the rest of the league: While most people have been fixated on the undefeated New Orleans Saints and the Vikings, who’d lost just once before Sunday, as the teams to beat in the NFC, the defending conference champs remain a force to be reckoned with as the stretch run commences.

“I definitely wanted to set a tone,” Boldin said. “When one of us starts out big like that, it puts pressure on a defense and opens it up for everybody, and people feed off each other.”

In this case, “us” was a reference to Boldin and fellow Pro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald(notes), the NFL’s most dangerous receiving tandem.

Fitzgerald, 26, is in the second year of a four-year, $40 million contract befitting of his status as perhaps the NFL’s best receiver.

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As we all know, the 2010-11 NFL season will be an uncapped one and teams will either have to lavish their unrestricted and impending free agents with large sums of money as an incentive to remain with their teams. Or they’ll just have to turn them loose on the ‘open market’. And as to whether or not teams are willing to pay what no doubt will be escalating prices for those players. Well, it remains to be seen. One thing for sure however, is that the deep pocketed franchises, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will do their damned to secure the services of such players. The impending ‘free market frenzy’ that’s liable to take place could well have some serious ramifications, as to the future of the NFL and a number of its franchises.

Anquan Boldin (left) seen here with  teammate, Larry  Fitzgerald at the  Arizona Cardinals'  practice facility in  Tempe, Arizona.  The  two players  are  part  of the  'dynamic duo'  that has  been  often  described as  the  best  receiving  tandem in  the entire  NFL.  It certainly makes  life a great deal  easier  for  Cardinals' quarterback  Kurt Warner having  to  throw  to  either  of the  two  players.      picture  appears  courtesy of ap/photo/  Rob  Pearcey   ...................
Anquan Boldin (left) seen here with teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, at the Arizona Cardinals' practice facility in Tempe, Arizona. The two players are part of the 'dynamic duo' that has been often described as the best receiving tandem in the entire NFL. It certainly makes life a great deal easier for Cardinals' quarterback , Kurt Warner, having to throw to either of the two players. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Pearcey ...................

In terms of ‘elite receivers’ in the NFL at present , Boldin would most certainly stand up there alongside his teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, as well as the Houston Texans’, Andre’ Johnson , Randy Moss of the New England Patriots,his teammate, Wes Welker , Terrell Owens and the Indianapolis Colts’, Reggie Wayne.Each of whom, I view as consistent performers within the NFL on a week in, week out basis. And their body of work would suggest over that over the last five years, to say the very least. Currently one could add several players to that list merely by looking at their statistics for this year alone but it wouldn’t in any way justify the premise behind my claim.

Clearly, if Rod Graves is prepared to ‘roll the dice’ and gamble on the fact, that he can still work something out with Anquan Boldin. Then he may well have something up his sleeve or he’s prepared to call the player’s bluff. He could well be setting himself and the Cardinals’ organization up for a great fall should they not be able to negotiate an agreeable contract amenable to both parties.

While a great many people viewed Boldin as something of a malcontent, given the fact that he wanted his contract to be reconstructed so that he could be paid in line with that of premiere players at the position around the league. He’d seen his teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, resigned to a hefty contract and the team’s quarterback, Kurt Warner receive a two year, $ 24 million deal. Meanwhile , he (Boldin) was being left out in the cold, while management took care of others who they felt it was of an urgency to get something done. If that wasn’t met to be a slight by owner, Bill Bidwill. Then clearly the impression they wanted to create wasn’t met with any great conciliatory response by Anquan Boldin. If it wasn’t a slap in the face, then it may well have felt like a kick to the groin ?

Though the two sides still appear to be at an impasse and it’d be fair to say ,that the Cardinals would not be a better team without Boldin on the field of play. To suggest otherwise , would be to show sheer stupidity by anyone thinking along those lines. Can you hear me Mike Ditka ? At least have the temerity to make a case when putting forth your argument. Instead of just giving ridiculous sound bytes, merely because you’ve got nothing better to say. It just never ceases to amaze me as to the absolute lengths taken by the ‘on air personalities’ on many of the sports magazines and news’ programs. For guys, who are said to have been immersed in the game. They’ll repeatedly come up with something more asinine in the form of a statement, from one moment to the next. All the while, you as a viewer or listener begin to ask yourself ….’did he really just say that’ ?

Arizona Cardinals' Anquan Boldin (81) dives for a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings' E.J. Henderson runs in late to defend in the second quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz. picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/ Ross D. Franklin .....
Arizona Cardinals' Anquan Boldin (81) dives for a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings' E.J. Henderson runs in late to defend in the second quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ross D. Franklin .....

As the Arizona Cardinals (8-4) embark on garnering a postseason berth in the NFL playoffs. They’re comfortably leading the NFC West division with some ease. In all likelihood the chances are the team will give a good account of themselves in the playoffs. With them having defeated the high flying Minnesota Vikings with a great deal of ease , end result, 30-17 ,that clearly reflects this. I for one hope, that the team can show the same sort of resolve and attitude shown as last year.
Who’d have guessed that the long suffering fans of the Arizona Cardinals would live to see them make the Superbowl (SBXXXXIII)? Albeit, that they lost in the end, putting up a gallant effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The team needs Anquan Boldin, just as much as he needs them. He may well be allowed to leave for pastures green but I sincerely doubt that he’ll be to find the type of environment where his teammates and fans made him feel, all the more welcomed ! Money they say … ‘speaks all languages’ but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the success or happiness you’re said to be looking for. All it really does, is to provide you with the mere luxuries of life. It may well be something that has crossed the player’s mind. But in the end this will all come down to the desire of the parties concerned. As to what that final outcome might be, one can only speculate at this juncture.