I told you so!
Now into week three of the NFL preseason and a troubling trend has already began to arise and that now is the number of season ending injuries that have been suffered by a number of players around the league . With teams, now having to trim their rosters to seventy-five players, by no later than 4:00PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday afternoon . Coaches around the league must be praying that they can enter the first full week of the regular season with fifty-three able and fit bodies. Between Tuesday and the final week schedule of preseason games , the final cut will be made as to the final roster are for the NFL`s thirty-two teams .
Several teams have been presumptuous enough to make their first initial cuts , with no real outright major surprises. However, in light of that , it was with a great deal of comical relief that I read of the signing of Matt Leinart , the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner by the Buffalo Bills . I can only assume that with Kevin Kolb having suffered another concussion , the fifth of his career. Leinart was brought by head coach Doug Marrone to provide an able backup for the team`s presumed starter and first round draft pick E J Manuel . From my own perspective seeing Matt Leinart being taken as a first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft , to now becoming a journey man quarterback in the NFL , all in an astonishing five years , has been truly astounding .
Another of Leinart`s contemporaries from that season`s draft, was former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young . The once troubled player seems to have rededicated himself , gotten over his psychological disorders and found his way back into the good graces of the league. Young was able to beat out Graham Harrell , to become the backup quarterback to Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers , for the upcoming season . Now whether or not, Young will get to see any regular season playing time , will ultimately be left to Packers` head coach Mike McCarthy . Mop up duty in the latter part of a game, is better than, no duty at all.
Now we can now all attest to the idiocy of what took place with the New York Jets in 2012 . A disastrous season for the team and their complete failure to live up to the fans and organization`s expectations . Head coach Rex Ryan was even bold enough to make the prediction that the team was good enough to win the Superbowl . Well, no such guarantees this season , and it might well be prudent to add that Ryan`s position is now under a great deal of scrutiny by the general manager John Idzik . Truth be told, a great many of the outside observers felt that the coach should have been relieved of his duties, along with his entire assistant coaching staff. Instead, the only person amongst the staff to have been let go, was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano .
Tim Tebow`s departure from the New York Jets , came as no great surprise, with the player being given relatively little playing time with the team during the regular or preseason in 2012. If anything, the circus sideshow and the indulgence of the New York print and television media in showing their complete stupidity, simply added to the comedic elements of the Jets season, along with Rex Ryan`s own self-indulgence and exuberance. Throw in the fact that the team`s starting quarterback Mark Sanchez became a walking nightmare, more prone to being a liability rather than an asset , and it was easy to understand why 2012 had to be looked at as a disaster for the franchise.
Having witnessed Mark Sanchez’s failures in 2012 and regression as a player, the front office came to a decision that the drafting of a quarterback was necessary , if the team was to succeed in every aspect of its offensive game. As to who that quarterback should have been, did come as a surprise, when it was finally made. Geno Smith was said to be the most accurate of the college quarterbacks declaring their eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft , but the opinion that he was the best fit for the New York Jets will now come into question. While Smith gave solid performances at West Virginia , questions were raised concerning his maturity level and leadership skills. If there is one thing that we have come to know about the NFL and it is that, above all, beyond the quarterbacks` skill-set , their greatest attribute has to be to be the ability to take command and lead. I certainly do not believe that Smith possesses any of the traits in question ! Does he have the capability to learn ? Well that will be dependent upon the player`s willingness to listen and at the same time learn from the mistakes made by Mark Sanchez not only as a player, but the very fact that the incumbent starter, now seems to genuinely lost the confidence of his teammates , as well the coaching staff and front office . This much is certain, if Mark Sanchez is made the opening day starter for the Jets` regular season , then his reign will be entirely predicated upon his performances and the number of wins attained by the team. Anything sort of that, and he is liable to be demoted and in all certainty see his NFL career taking an abrupt change, to the point of him now becoming backup or a journeyman around the league.
Geno Smith for his part has done himself no favors with his lackluster displays during the Jets` training camp or in his first preseason start in a starting role for the team. In a game against the New York Giants . The rookie quarterback lacked composure, became errant in is throws and lacked the accuracy needed to advance the team down the field. Three interceptions (before the end of the third quarter) and a safety does have a way of making a player look bad and blotting out whatever positives were said to have come out of the game for Smith . Granted , the New York Jets came away with a narrow victory in overtime , where the only positive thing one might say, is that Matt Simms can actually throw a pass. Mark Sanchez came on during the game, was injured and casting another doubt about his ability and whether or not he should still be made the opening day starter in week one .
Inasmuch as I am an avid fan of the New England Patriots and with all of the drama that has surrounded the organization during the off-season and preseason . The fact of the matter is, head coach Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio will have a lot riding on this season . I still believe them to be the best team within the AFC East and were they are most likely to be challenged by the Miami Dolphins , if form actually holds true . The departures of Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead were meant to be offset by the acquisition of Danny Amendola . Yet Amendola is no Wes Welker , and no amount of backtracking by the head coach and owner Bob Kraft can defray the fact that they made a monumental mistake in allowing the player to leave . Tom Brady may not have voiced his displeasure, but having given up personally , $9 million for the team to pursue re-signing of the utility wide receiver, . how can Belichick now come back state that the reason for Welker`s departure had nothing at all do with money ? As to this idiocy that the receiver and the head coach did not get along, if Wes Welker was able to endure all of Belichick`s foibles and idiosyncrasies in five years of playing for the Patriots . Then what could have happened in 2012 to really have allegedly soured their relationship ? Much ado about nothing, and in reality simply the press not being intelligent enough to actually do their jobs intelligently to begin with !
The loss of Aaron Hernandez , now under indictment, having been charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd , as well as several weapons` charges, leaves the New England Patriots without its entire leading tight-end receiving corps of last season . Factor in also , that Rob Gronkowski is unlikely to return before week five of the regular season . And it easy to understand why there is now even greater concern for this Patriots` team and what the fans ought to expect this upcoming season . Fueled by a group of young receivers as well as a very talented running back in Stevan Ridley , the offense of the New England Patriots will be asked to reproduce the form shown in 2012. Easier said, than done, and it is unlikely to be the case where the team in its current guise will be able to surpass those achievements.
Tim Tebow, remains an enigma, with the player stating simply, that he will try his best to contribute to the team . Pardon me for saying this, but that sounds like a player with a defeatist attitude and who knows that his time is running out , to prove himself to be a valued member of the Patriots` , much less a contributor to this team on any level . I certainly do not believe that Tim Tebow has done anywhere near enough to remain a member of the Patriots` fifty three man roster, going into the start of New England`s regular season schedule ! And it remains debatable whether or not he is likely to remain a part of the team as of Tuesday afternoon`s deadline for teams to cut their rosters to seventy-five players . What is likely to happen , will be Tebow making the team`s practice squad and not much more beyond that . Merely calling it , like I see it!
If there is still such a thing, as fool`s gold as it pertains to the NFL. Then simply look no further than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and unabashed stupidity now being shown by the local beat writers in the franchise’s market-place . Ric Brown , a writer of some note within the Tampa Bay area and who covers the NFL franchise for The Ledger , a Polk County paper. Brown continues to sing the praises of the team and most notably the Buccaneers` beleaguered quarterback , Josh Freeman . The Buccaneers at present are 1-2 in the preseason and although the schedule does not mean a thing, one should consider the fact that Freeman has continued to struggle in the starting role as the team`s quarterback . The player is in a contract year , becomes a free agent in 2014, and will no doubt be seeking to gain a long-term contract from the Buccaneers` organization. GM Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano , no doubt wary of the player`s issues will be reluctant to offer Freeman the type of contract he and his agent Erik Burckhardt may well be seeking .
The Buccaneers obviously seeking to make even greater inroads in the NFC South during this season , will be in for a tough time , in what is sure to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL . The three other divisional occupants are certain to have gotten better and from an offensive standpoint , it could well be the Buccaneers who are the weakest of the quartet made up of themselves , the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints . Though Tampa Bay came away with a 17-16 win over the Miami Dolphins, in what turned to be an unevenly paced game . Once again, it was Josh Freeman casting doubts in everyone`s mind, as to the makeup of his psyche as an NFL quarterback. Ric Brown tried to suggest that the Bucs` incumbent starter is learning and has made great strides in terms of his overall play. The statistics simply do not bear this out from the game or for much of the preseason concerning Freeman.
If there is another issue a that most definitely needs to be dealt with by the Buccaneers` coaching staff . Then it is the continued non-appearance this preseason of the Buccaneers` defensive back Darrelle Revis . I understand that the player has yet to regain full game fitness, but to have him sitting on the sidelines garnering further rust, adds noting to what Greg Schiano believes it is that he is doing to protect the player or the alleged monetary investment , albeit that Revis was signed to a six-year $96 million non-guaranteed contract . Acquiring the player was one thing, but then to sign him to such a deal, based upon the supposition that he passed a team physical and then not having Revis suit up at all for a play in the preseason , simply makes no sense whatsoever and only adds to the lack of credibility of Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano concerning this issue . Revis , himself does not seem overly concerned by this as of yet , but clearly there has to be some sort of frustration setting in for a player whose last regular season game came in September , week three of the 2012 regular season , in a Jets` 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Revis would be lost to the New York Jets for the rest of season to a quadriceps` injury having only been a starter in two of the team`s sixteen regular season games from last season.
Greg Schiano and the Buccaneers will be the guests of the New York Jets, when the two teams meet at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey in their regular season opener . Darrelle Revis will hope to be a starter against his former team. As for the two opposing quarterbacks, be it Josh Freeman against either Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez , it is certain to be an interesting season for both signal callers , as each seeks to take their respective teams to postseason glory .
This season a number of milestones are likely to be reached by a number of players seeking to add to NFL history as well as their own respective legacies . New Orleans Saints` quarterback Drew Brees needs only 4,081 to reach the 50,000 career yards` plateau . Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos having already accumulated 59,487 career passing yards , needs a mere 413 to pass 60,000 yards for his career , with only Dan Marino and Brett Favre now ahead of him in the career passing yards` total amongst quarterbacks. Manning and Brees are the active number one and two leading passers in the NFL in terms of career yardage , with both likely to be Canton bound , having met the criteria upon their respective retirements, for induction into the Hall of Fame . Yet, I believe that for both Brees and Peyton Manning, the singular achievements are only the bye-products of individual success, as each would prefer to lead their respective franchises to another Superbowl victory .
Away from the field of play in the NFL, as the league enters the final week of the preseason. The 1,000lb gorilla in the room remains and that is the league`s yet to be adopted policy of in-season testing for human growth hormones and steroids . The league hierarchy and NFLPA (Players` Union) remain at odds on the issue, even though it was agreed to, voted upon and certified by the union in their last collective agreement in 2010. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Dominique Foxworth have become avuncular, when questioned on the matter, simply that until there is an uniformed testing protocol in place, that is totally in accordance with the league and union`s agreement, they cannot proceed in a positive direction . NFL Roger Goodell , in his continued vein of appearing even more of an imbecile than we already know him to be, issued a statement proclaiming that it would be his intent to see some form testing, beginning with recently retired players and then proceed to begin the active testing of current players in the league. It is this sort of stupidity, why the NFL commissioner and the union itself, cannot be taken seriously on any issue that relates to the safeguard of its members .
At the same time in Congress, both the House Commerce Committee and House Government Oversight Committees seemed nonplussed by the responses of the league and union , after both bodies issued statements to each of the legislative committees that a policy would be in place no later than 2011. It now 2013 , and we have yet to see any concrete evidence that the NFL will ever get around to begin testing for either HGH or any form anabolic steroids, banned under the league`s policy. Even more worrisome is the very fact that the NFL is now holding up MLB (baseball) as what they wish to avoid in a case as it relates to the gathering of evidence for use against a player charged with violating the league`s policy . If the league (NFL) is now seeking to use the ongoing incompetency of baseball as an excuse , then it simply shows another sport`s hierarchy completely lacking in credibility .
Picture gallery .
What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? By all means, do take time to offer up a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Buffalo Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The veteran quarterback was injured during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins , suffering a concussion and is likely to miss number of the Bills` initial games of their regular season schedule . AP Photo/Gary Wiepert …
(2) FILE – In this Aug. 13, 2012 file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart (7) passes against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif. Free-agent quarterback Leinart signed with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. AP Photo/Tony Avelar ….
(3) Vince Young (13) of the Green Bay Packers is seen here rushing for some additional yards in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks played Lambeau Field , in Green Bay , Wisconsin . The player was signed by the Packers as the immediate backup to Aaron Rodgers . AP Photo / Marty Cousins …..
(4) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) reacts to an injury during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. He left the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ….
(5) New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) reacts after throwing his third interception during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….
(6) DeAndre Levy (54) of the Detroit Lions forces a second quarter fumble during a run by Brandon Bolden (38) of the New England Patriots during a preseason game at Ford Field on August 22, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Patriots would go on to lose the game 40-9 against the Lions. Getty Images /Gregory Shamus ….
(7) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by Detroit Lions defensive end Jason Jones (91) in the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Detroit, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….
(8) Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by the Patriots Brandon Spikes in a preseason game played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts ,. New England came away victorious in a 25-21 victory against the Buccaneers . Freeman was erratic in the game and followed up that performance with a sub-par showing against the Miami Dolphins in a remarkably average preseason game . Freeman has been inconsistent throughout much of the preseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Getty Images / Paul Simmons ….
(9) Buccaneers` defensive back Darrelle Revis , center , is seen here alongside GM Mark Dominik ,left and team head coach Greg Schiano . Revis has remained sidelined for the past year recovering from a quadriceps` injury. The player has yet to play a minute of the preseason for his new team and is likely to be used sparingly in the Buccaneers` final preseason home game against the Washington Redskins . Once again , the game will be blacked out , for televised coverage in the local area market , due to remarkably low ticket sales .
(10) NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth, left is seen the Players` Union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. The union and league hierarchy are now in something of a contentious battle as to what type of testing protocol should be in place for the league`s mandatory in and out of season testing for anabolic steroids and human growth hormones . Having agreed to begin testing for the substances as part of the collective bargaining agreement in 2010 . Neither side has yet to instigate a start , much to the annoyance of two federal committees during which bot NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith agreed that a policy would be in place by no later tan 2012. Three years later and tat policy as yet to be initiated .
NFL preseason divisional standings