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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If Curiosity Killed The Cat Then Who Led The Cat There In The First Place ….. ?

If Curiosity Killed The Cat Then Who Led The Cat There In The First Place ….. ?

Well now that there’s a peace accord within the NFL and all parties appear to happy the preseason is under way questions will abound as to what we the fans ought to expect from the teams this upcoming regular season as well as what we have all witnessed so far in the preseason ? And as such it’s pretty much safe to say we will have our contenders and pretenders within the league this year.

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Certainly questions will abound as to the lofty expectations for teams such as the San Francisco 49ers , Carolina Panthers , Denver Broncos , Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns . The Forty Niners come into this season with a new coach in Jim Harbaugh along with new coaching assistants and once again the onus will be upon Alex Smith to prove that he’s capable of leading this team . Far be it for me to suggest but the player has had his gamut of criticism over the course of his career , much of it valid ! . But then again, consider what he’s had to endure since his introduction into the NFL ? A coaching carousel , several changes in offensive coordinators and the very fact that the front office of this organization led by John York and his wife Denise DeBartolo York have never really had the presence of mind to even give this team their undivided attention. Instead they’ve simply paraded it around as a bauble for their socialite friends to gaze upon .

In the NFC West where the San Francisco 49ers reside their regular season schedule dictates that they take on their inhouse rivals the Seattle Seahawks , St Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals . Given the impressions of last season within the division you get the feeling that the quality of football played there won’t be up to the usual standards one would come to expect . Albeit , that last year the Seattle Seahawks would make the postseason , go on to knockout the then defending Superbowl champions , New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

This season if I had to pick a team to come out of the NFC West to make the postseason then I might have to go with the St Louis Rams ! Steve Spagnuolo has proven to me that he’s a good coach who can get the best out of his players. And in Sam Bradford he has one of the young rising stars in the league who may well go on to do some great things in the NFL if given the prerequisite tools , in being surrounded by a very good team . That being said this season the Rams will have to give it their all and show that the progress made under Spagnuolo hasn’t all gone unheeded . Certainly from an offensive standpoint you would expect this team show signs of progress based on last season’s figures . Most certainly with the offseason moves made and the draft choices you would expect to see some solid contributions from the likes of

Defensively if this team can hold its own and take heed of the lessons being taught by defensive coordinator Kevin Flajole then they ought to fare well over the course of the season . Certainly there’s reason to believe that the St Louis Rams can have and make this division truly competitive . Granted , the NFC West has never really been highly looked upon as one of the more competitive divisions within the NFL as it has its detractors as well as supporters across the nation. That being said every division within this league has its highs and lows , some more so than others .

If there’s one thing that Jim Harbaugh has to deal with and make it an absolute priority , then that will be settling upon of a starting quarterback for the regular season . Other than Alex Smith the coach has Colin Kaepernick and McLeod Bethel-Thompson but it is being rumored that the coach will be bringing in seasoned veterans Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper . This may merely be a backup plan should things not work out concerning Harbaugh’s insistence that Alex Smith is the team’s starter but given the player’s inability and lack of productivity in preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints where the team was simply outplayed in a rather lopsided 24-3 defeat . If anything , the coach had to have been perturbed by what he saw from his starter but he’s prepared to show his implicit faith in Smith until all else fails. Given that display , I’d say that scenario is likely to happen sooner rather than later !

The Forty Niners have been prudent in the draft seeking to bolster the roster with prudent choices that will complement this team overall. Along with their offseason acquisitions it is thought that Harbaugh and coaching staff will seek to progress with this squad systematically looking for improvements over the course of the season from their rookies as well as greater contributions from the veterans on the team. And for the likes of draft choices Aldon Smith , Colin Kaepernick , Chris Culliver , Kendall Hunter , Daniel Kilgore and Ronald Johnson .

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ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talks to quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..

We certainly know what the San Francisco 49ers are capable of from an offensive standpoint given the right set of circumstances as can be seen from their play over the course of last season . But it has been the defense that has been as such the team’s Achilles Heel apart from the inconsistent play of Alex Smith over the course of last year.

Clearly this will be a season of can we , or will we be able to overcome all forms adversities placed in our way as far as Jim Harbaugh and his team are concerned . The task ahead for this rookie NFL coach will be an arduous task but the faith shown in him by GM Trent Baalke and team President & CEO Jed York must have been fortified in the success achieved at Stanford as a college coach .

As much I believe that the St Louis Rams are capable of winning the NFC West outright, my choice is predicated upon there being an immense contribution from seasoned veterans on this team such as Steven Jackson , Jerious Norwood , Brady Poppinga and Josh Brown to lead this squad throughout the season . Last season these players played their part contributing to the success of the team which narrowly missed the postseason by failing to win an additional game that would have guaranteed the St Louis Rams winning the division , thereby toppling the Seattle Seahawks .

The moves made by GM Billy Devaney in conjunction with Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff sets this organization up for the future and the immediacy of now. Most certainly with the draft choices and the existing roster in place there’s a very good reason that we ought to see real progress throughout the course of this season . It is clear that the organization now feels that they have found their man in Sam Bradford as the franchise quarterback to lead this team well into the future . And if the player shows the growth and maturity already exhibited then we are liable to see this team reach excel once again . The fans yearn for it and so too do Bradford’s teammates at this juncture after some pretty languid years , ensuing their Superbowl ( SBXXXIV) triumph .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the upcoming NFL season and in particular with regard to the teams within the NFC West ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you believe to be pertinent .

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

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(1) FILE – This Aug. 12, 2011 file photo shows San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh prior to an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Before he transformed Stanford from a laughingstock to a powerhouse and achieved his goal of being an NFL head coach tasked with rebuilding the floundering San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh got his full-time coaching career started across the bay in Oakland AP Photo/Bill Feig …..

(2) In this Aug. 12, 2011 photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) calls for the snap from New Orleans Saints center Olin Kreutz (50) during an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Drew Brees is coming to grips with the fact that a couple familiar faces will be missing from the table when he takes the offensive line out for dinner each week. New Orleans lost their starting center of the past three seasons when Jonathan Goodwin opted to go to San Francisco in free agency and then head coach Sean Payton released starting right tackle Jon Stinchcomb. AP Photo/Bill Feig …….

(3) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith pulls back to throw during NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …….

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli (3), Alex Smith (11), Colin Kaepernick (7), and McLeod Bethel-Thompson practice during NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …….

(5) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford drinks on the sidelines between drills during NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011, at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(6) FILE- The July 31, 2011 file photo shows St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson runs with the ball during NFL football camp at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. The Rams have planned to get Jackson on the field for the second preseason game. Jackson missed much of Tuesday Aug. 16, 2011 practice, though, with a hip flexor issue . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …….

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: Robert Quinn (94) of the St. Louis Rams gets past a block by Anthony Castonzo (74) of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

(8) St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, left, shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell at the end of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011 in St. Louis. The Rams won 33-10 . (AP Photo/Tom Gannam ….

(9) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: Mardy Gilyard (81) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room to run on a punt return against the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ….

(10) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talks to quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..
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A Tale of Two Teams ……….

A Tale of Two Teams

As with the Dickens’ novel ‘ A Tale of Two Cities’ , here we have two teams in the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who seemingly are going in opposite directions. But we are talking about quite possibly two of the worst teams in all of the NFC and the entire league.

Bucs'  fans  in the  hope  of an  early  Christmas  wish  and gift  in the  team's  game  against the  Seattle Seahawks  on   Sunday  afternoon  played  at  QWest  Field  in Seattle , Washington,.    picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ted S.  Warren  ............
Bucs' fans in the hope of an early Christmas wish and gift in the team's game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon played at QWest Field in Seattle , Washington,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ted S. Warren ............

On the one side, you have the inexperience of Raheem Morris as the first year coach of the Buccaneers and the more experienced but less consistent coach, in Jim Mora Jr. of the Seahawks. Both teams this season have definitely had their problems. Much of it has been self inflicted, in terms of both teams’ level of play and their inconsistency. But beyond that, it is now their immediate future that may well be the guide that will indicate the ultimate direction that both organizations are said to be heading in. Seattle is now without a general manager, as Tim Ruskell has now left the organization. And from what we’ve been led to believe,overtures were made to former coach, Mike Holmgren to return to ‘the fold’ and become the President of Operations for the Seattle Seahawks. Holmgren refused the offer and is now set to take a similar position with the Cleveland Browns.

Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture  appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr,. ........
Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr,. ........

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their best football of the season in defeating the Seahawks 24-7, in a thoroughly lopsided display and victory. The Seahawks are a team lacking in confidence and ability. The play of the team’s quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck is showing his age, as he now looks more like an octogenarian in need of multi-vitamins, instead of a player who at his peak was one of the better and more reliable players at the position. But if you think that this was the only problem that Jim Mora and his team faces, then you’d be sadly mistaken. They’ve now seen a resurgent San Francisco 49ers within the division (NFC West), without having to see the triumvirate of Boldin , Fitzgerald and Warner, of the Arizona Cardinals now start to lay waste to the division with an alarming amount of ease. For Mora and the Seahawks this is a time for contemplation and regrouping. But one seriously doubts if Mora and his coaches actually know what it is they’re striving for. My own thoughts are that Holmgren wasn’t the person to be making the decision as to who his successor ought to have been. There were far more noteworthy candidates who could’ve assumed the vacancy. No ’Rooney Rule’ was followed here. Only the fact that the organization somehow acquiesced to Holmgren’s demands.

Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr .........
Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr .........

Courtesy of News Chief

Buccaneers prey on struggling Seattle for second win of the year

Seattle-Washington ,. Josh Freeman walked over to Tampa Bay’s sideline after his ninth interception in just over two games. The 21-year-old rookie looked first-year coach Raheem Morris in the eye and calmly said: “I got it.”

Morris’ reply: “Go get it.”

He did.

Freeman threw two touchdown passes in the second half, Tampa Bay’s battered defense forced five turnovers from Seattle’s reckless Matt Hasselbeck, and the Buccaneers rallied to a 24-7 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (2-12) won for just the second time in 17 games, and won on the West Coast for the first time since beating Oakland in the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 2003, in San Diego.

With maybe 500 angry Seattle fans watching by the end, the young Bucs smiled triumphantly pointed to the sky after the team’s first win away from Tampa in 10 tries, since Nov. 23, 2008, at Detroit.

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Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks.  The  young  rookie quarterback  would  lead  his team with  authority  on their  way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory  over the  Seattle  Seahawks  in an  NFC match up  between the  two teams.   picture  appears   courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr  ..................
Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks. The young rookie quarterback would lead his team with authority on their way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC match up between the two teams. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ..................

With this win, the Buccaneers had finally stemmed the tide of losses, albeit that this was a game that was won away from home, away from their long suffering fans. For Raheem Morris and his Bucs’ team this was the best that they’ve played this season. Josh Freeman, the team’s starting quarterback showed a great deal of poise and he led this team with authority. Also following suit by example, was the play of Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward who ran with a great deal of gusto. Something that we’ve not often from Williams over the course of his career, so far. But most surprising of all ,may well have been the play of the Buccaneers’ defense as they stifled anything that the Seahawks tried to achieve during the game. Having attained just their second win of the season, this may well be something that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can build upon over the remainder of the season and show their fans that the tides may well be changing for the better. Certainly, it’s a great deal better than many of their woes that we’ve witnessed over the course of this season.

 Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/  Otto  Greule Jr ................
Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ................

This will be something that they (Buccaneers) can build upon and take into the off-season and into the next. With the upcoming draft in April, we’ll have to see the decisions that’ll be made by team GM, Mark Dominik, as to their needs. And mark my words their needs are many. On both sides of the ball the Buccaneers are in need of a playmaker and on appearance alone this roster is lacking a player in the assumed role. It certainly hasn’t come from either Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant or Michael Clayton. But from the start of his reign as the coach of this team, Raheem Morris has let it be known that he was happy with the players he had at his disposal. But at the halfway point of the season it became increasingly clear that not only had he misjudged the talent on the roster but also the players’ resolve to play as a cohesive and competitive unit. However, what was even more asinine was his outspokenness as to the merits of the team. Shamelessly making an ass of himself, he continued with the mantra that the team was merely lacking in the opportunities. What was that ‘lacking the opportunities’ ? No, in the NFL you aren’t afforded opportunities , you play to the best of your abilities. And if anything the Buccaneers’ record (2-12) reflects that. So whatever it is that Morris presumed it was that he saw in the team wasn’t forthcoming until late into the season.

Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to  show their disgust  at the  team's  effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........
Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to show their disgust at the team's effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........

The 2010-11 NFL season will bring a great deal of turmoil to the league, if the game’s hierarchy and the players’ union (NFLPA) can’t come to some agreement as to the collective bargaining agreement. In all likelihood, if both sides can’t come to some sort of resolve in sorting out their issues, then the turmoil of an uncapped season awaits the league. Certainly not something that the vast majority of the teams would even contemplate, given the present economic climate. And though the NFL salary cap, at $112 million is at its highest it has ever been. The thought that next season could become all askew without the salary cap keeping everyone’s budget in ’check’. We will end up seeing the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins spending money like drunken sailors on a weekend furlough.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/  Ted  S Warren  ....................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Ted S Warren ....................

And now comes the hard part for everyone to think about. What happens next ? As to the fortunes of both the Buccaneers and Seahawks and the paths that they’re now said to be on. Well this has all been about the tale of two teams and their travels. Where do you see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks, as to their impending future ?

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