The Luck Of The Irish …………

The Luck Of The Irish …………

Granted week 5 of the NFL season comes about and there seems to the considered belief that a number of teams now simply struggling to stay alive . Four winless franchises and as pitiful as these performances have been for the ball clubs I am not so sure what to now expect !

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The Miami Dolphins are complete mess on both sides of the ball and incumbent starting quarterback Chad Henne now injured has been lost to the team and it would appear for their entire season . Henne’s backup Matt Moore is clearly not the answer as to the organization’s most dire need. Coach Tony Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland now have a decision to make as what is the Dolphins’ best interest as they seek to move forward without a true starting quarterback on the roster. David Garrard as a free agent remains unsigned but the player’s asking price may well be too high . In what now appears to be an act of desperation on the part of the Dolphins’ front office they have signed Sage Rosenfels . The less said on the matter , it is essentially for the better !

Now rooted firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East and there seems no apparent signs that things are about to change for the better as the team embark on their schedule . Team owner Stephen Ross might now have to make take a closer look at his coaching staff and the decisions that have been made the coaches. With the influx of draftees and offseason acquisitions the thought that these players would be able to make an immediate contribution has not materialized . As to what now awaits the Miami Dolphins over the remainder of this season remains to be seen.

If there has been a surprise to this season then it must be the fact that the St Louis Rams remain one of the quartet of teams that are winless . Injuries have plagued Steve Spagnuolo’s roster and the fact that incumbent starting quarterback Sam Bradford has suffered what seems to what many thought to be an innocuous injury but it has somehow affected the quarterback’s play and the team’s overall effectiveness.

The NFC West remains a division of where the quality of play can be best described as being anemic . And with Stephen Jackson simply having somewhat of an indifferent start to his season it certainly doesn’t bode well for the fortunes of this team at present.

There’s not much more that can be said about the Minnesota Vikings that hasn’t been said about this team already. Poor play and a coach in Leslie Frazier who appears to be out of his depth and who has a coaching staff that simply brings nothing to the table by way of their coaching acumen. With Christian Ponder about to be thrown into the fray after Donovan McNabb playing so ineptly the time was ripe for Ponder to be given the chance to prove himself to the Vikings’ fans. If the former FSU Seminole can by any measure showcase his college ability then this team certainly will be better off than having McNabb quarterback the ball club. .

Everything about the Minnesota Vikings would suggest that ” the window of opportunity” for the team has been slammed shut and is not about to open again anytime soon. For years the franchise has sought to be relevant during the modern era of the NFL . Now in the midst of this malaise there seems to be no sense being shown by anyone within the organization from the upper echelons of the hierarchy down to the players themselves.

We are all aware as to the issues now facing the Indianapolis Colts and the loss of quarterback Peyton Manning for the forseeable future . Such has been the conjecture and speculation regarding the future of the player that the statements from the front office of the Colts seemingly changes from one moment to the next . Perhaps none more so than the retraction of a “tweeted statement “ made by owner Jim Irsay . Now with the team off to an 0-4 start to their season and the inconsistent play of Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter one wonders how much worse things can now get for the organization . It is not as if the team is in a position to run off four or five consecutive wins and make themselves a contender within their division much less the conference as a whole .

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff will now have to coax and cajole this team to play with a great deal more aggression than they have been exhibiting . And with the fact that there seems to be no one on the roster who is looking to assume the role of a leader , it leads me to believe that the Colts will be in for a tough time over the course of this season !

With the problems that the Colts now seem to be having at the quarterback position and there not being what one might deem an abundance of talented free agent quarterbacks available it will be interesting to see what maneuvers will be made by GM Bill Polian in conjunction with the team’s head coach in order to remedy the situation .

At the end of the regular season schedule all eyes will be on the postseason and the teams that have garnered the respective berths for the NFL’s season finales. Those left by the wayside in terms of the teams will be looking to the 2012 NFL Draft and the talent available amongst the declarees . With what appears to be an abundance of talent at the quarterback position the consensus will be that Andrew Luck will be the number one overall pick. The Stanford quarterback has had an outstanding collegiate career and it bodes well for any of the teams in question with the desire to make Luck the face of their franchise . Alongside the Stanford player there’s also Denard Robinson , Kellen Moore , Case Keenum , Landry Jones , Brandon Weeden , Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles to name but a few who may well declare for the NFL Draft.

Given the uniqueness of the situation for a number of NFL franchises and their situation it certainly will be interesting to see the choices being made by the respective head coaches and that of general managers when the time comes to make their draft choices . But as of now we will just have to see the season pans out for the teams mentioned within this article .

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the immediate future of the four franchises discussed within this piece . Which of the quartet do you believe if possible may well end up taking that number one pick overall ? Furthermore , do you believe that the choice in question has to be a quarterback taken by that prospective team ? Simply a comment as to your thoughts anything else that you believe pertinent with regard to this piece .

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

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(1) SAN DIEGO, CA – OCTOBER 2: the Miami Dolphins the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …..

(2) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 2: Sam Bradford (8) of the St. Louis Rams playing with a nagging injury passes the ball against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 2, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Redskins beat the Rams 17-10 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….

(3) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after throwing for a touchdown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 2, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ….

(4) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings is hit by Tyson Jackson (94) and Tamba Hali (91) of the Kansas City Chiefs as he scrambles during the game on October 2, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……

(5) TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 3: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett (71) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles quarterback Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts October 3, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(6) Quarterback Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 3, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images ……

(7) Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (12) waves to crowd after Stanford defeated UCLA —- 45-19 in an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Luck threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma …. ….

(8) Landry Jones (12) of the Oklahoma Sooners passes against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. Oklahoma would go on to defeat FSU 23-13 . Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

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Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out

Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out …….

Well week five of the NFL schedule awaits and we shall see which teams are set to make a move in order to stave off what appears to be a mediocre season . Clearly for the likes of the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins at 0-4 there now seems to be a real belief that these two teams are in the midst of abyss that neither seem able to retrieve themselves from .

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In large part we all knew that once the decision was made by the Colts’ front office to curtail Peyton Manning’s season this team would be in for a rough time . The four time league MVP winner having yet to fully recover from off season surgery has since been told that he will have to undergo further surgery for nerve damage in his neck . The injuries that have befallen the roster makes the Colts’ chances of even being in with a remote chance of winning the AFC South seem with all the more unlikely . Kerry Collins’ performances have left a great deal to desired and with backup Curtis Painter having been installed as the incumbent quarterback it now seems things will remain with regard to the anemic performances we have seen from the team.

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff knows that they are in for an arduous season ahead if this team is to have any chance of turning things around . Though there are a number of fans who state it would in the organization’s interest to “tank their season” in order to be the prime contender for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes who’s viewed as the consensus number one overall pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. Should that scenario arise then it would be very interesting to see how team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian will choose to address the matter. With Peyton Manning having signed a 5 year contract extension that has been widely publicized ___ the player is due a roster bonus of $28 million including incentives due in April 2012 . Chances are Irsay and Polian will have a number of tough decisions to make concerning their Pro Bowl quarterback .

If the Indianapolis Colts’ season is said to be on the verge of going up in smoke then for Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins theirs’ is a season that is instantly being flushed down the toilet with such speed that the fecal matter that one could as the team’s performances have already begun to stink up the entire NFL . GM Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen M Ross now have ti gauge not only the performance of their beleaguered head coach but also his staff but the entire roster. Starting quarterback Chad Henne is now injured having left Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers . That 26-16 loss mirrored much of the malaise that has become the core of the Miami Dolphins’ numerous problems and seemingly Tony Sparano doesn’t seem to possess any answers for his team’s anemic performances.

Acquiring Reggie Bush as via a free agent acquisition does not seem to have added one iota of real assertiveness to this team and they seek to make their presence felt within the AFC East . Winless and it does not appear that the Miami Dolphins’ fans can continue to endure this madness. Chad Henne has shown that he is simply no more than adequate backup quarterback at best but given what we have seen by a number players at the lower echelons of the quarterback rankings .

The Miami Dolphins’ draftees for the 2011 season seem to be a work in progress and it clearly shows that the coaching staff has a great deal of work on their hands. Vontae Davis perhaps one of the team’s best young players has been one of the omnipresent reasons why this ball club has been so slow out of the gate . But it certainly hasn’t helped also that there does not seem to be anyone that you could simply as a vocal leader on this franchise. Reggie Bush still remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one. With a bye week coming up for the team it will give the injured players on the roster time further to recuperate.

Well the Minnesota Vikings remain a team that you can no longer make excuses for . All this talk about Donovan McNabb looking to prolong his career and at the same time viewed as still being productive . Coach Leslie Frazier in conjunction with his coaching staff have yet to indicate he has this team heading in the right direction. Clearly not , when one considers the travails of this team last season and their subsequent free fall within the NFC North . Even with this 22-17 loss to a listless Kansas City Chiefs’ team I have to wonder what we are now seeing from the large majority of these ball clubs from the inaction caused by the NFL lockout or simply from the fact that the brand of football we have been seeing is unduly bad ! Off-season training amongst the players at a neutral site doesn’t seem to have added anything for a number of franchises and as we know there’s so little that we can gauge from the preseason .

John Fox succeeded Josh McDaniels as the coach of the Denver Broncos but I seriously doubt that he would have thought that this team would be so inept . Analysts were of the opinion that incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton gave the franchise the best chance of winning and improving over the course of time. There has been little evidence if any of that to suggest that they are in fact even heading in the right direction. Orton if anything has been abysmal and his backup Tim Tebow considered a work in progress seems to be showing that he is still not ready to be considered an NFL ready quarterback . His game still more suited to his college playing career and certainly cannot matriculate to the NFL in its present form and it is clear that this draft choice made by McDaniels in 2010 could be considered a bust were it not for the fact that beyond Tebow the only alternative left to the coaching staff is to have Brady Quinn be thrown into the lion’s den. That option at present doesn’t seem to be the one which favors the fans or quite possibly the front office of the Broncos led by John Elway .

Clearly what would appear to be less than viable options for Elway are the only ones at his and the coach’s disposal. The franchise now faces a daunting task , do they stick with Orton in the hope he can regain some semblance of consistency or do they make the switch to Quinn or Tebow and see what the players makes of the opportunities given to them ? At this juncture there does not seem to be all that much to lose given the team’s woefully inept start to the season and their on field performances .

At 4-0 the two unbeaten teams this season now seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL . The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are off to very fast starts and appear to be viable candidates for the the postseason should they continue with their present form. Matthew Stafford as the starting quarterback for the Lions is healthy and playing with a great deal of authority and leadership. But it has been the productivity of the team as a whole that has been impressive but even more so from Calvin Johnson the team’s talented wide receiver. With the defensive prowess being shown by Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley it is now easy to see why this Lions’ squad has been so successful this season under Jim Schwartz and his staff .

As defending Superbowl champions it has been said …..”winning the title is easy defending it is even tougher ” . For the Green Bay Packers they are proving that it is their intention to make a successful defense of that title . Aaron Rodgers seems to have left from where he stood last season and quite possibly can be now held in the same esteem as the elite quarterbacks within the NFL . Certainly his play this season bears this out as he and the team make a mockery of the NFC North and conference .

It is now becoming abundantly clear that all roads to the Superbowl within the NFC will have go through the Green Bay Packers if they continue to maintain their present form . It has become so scary to see how good this team actually is , and that is with due credit to the performances of the Detroit Lions .

The Baltimore Ravens remains an an enigma for me ! Here is a very good regular season team led by a good young quarterback in Joe Flacco . But come the postseason when the franchise happens to be part of that ensemble they just don’t seem capable of proving themselves worthy of that privilege . John Harbaugh either has to get tough with his players or they have to hold themselves accountable . One would have thought that with such seasoned veterans as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis as a part of this roster that would not be a problem . Somehow it does seem that is the biggest obstacle that the team faces and that’s proving their worth as a legitimate contender . With the team’s offseason acquisitions in line with their draft choices of this year things now appear to be looking up for the franchise . Over the course of this season however , we shall see whether or not the Baltimore Ravens can finally be viewed as a perennial contender within the NFL .

Cautiously optimistic perhaps would be the best way to describe the play of the Buffalo Bills at present . At 3-1 within the AFC East the team shares the divisional lead with the New England Patriots . Bills’ coach Chan Gailey has to pleased with the play of his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and in particular with the defense of the team . But it has been Fitzpatrick whose solid leadership , maturity and play that seems to be a real confidence booster for the Bills , that now seems to have their fans harkening back to the days of the Marve Levy led Bills’ teams that made their way to four consecutive Superbowls ( SBXXV, SBXXVI, SBXXVII & SBXXVIII ) . Are the Buffalo Bills in their present guise capable of even making the postseason much less a Superbowl appearance remains to be seen . Over the course of the season we shall no doubt find out .

If being conceited were a virtue then no other coach in the NFL would be clearly representative of that than Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots . Granted, we all know of his actions during the “Spygate Affair” and the rather lax disciplinary action taken against the coach by the NFL . As an avowed fan of the team I found it utterly reprehensible that the league hierarchy chose not implement a much harsher sentence for the Patriots’ head coach ! His actions were totally dishonest , disadainful and definitely harmful to the image of the league. But there again the very same actions that Belichick was reprimanded, for is still being practiced within the NFL ___ it was simply the fact that he got caught while others have gone unpunished .

Fast forward to today , and this Patriots’ team once again seems to playing up to the usual level we have come to expect from the organization. However, if they do have a flaw and that is the defense has been uneven and often sporadic in its play . I know that the likes of Albert Haynesworth brought in to add stability , depth and leadership for this young unit has yet show its strength in that department . For the coaching staff and in particular the defensive line coaches this will have to be a situation that needs to be addressed urgently if the Patriots are to have a season that has some semblance of normalcy much less success to it . .

Now while the New England Patriots have struggled defensively the offense has been sensational with Tom Brady leading the way for the team in that aspect with his productivity . With the weapons at Brady’s disposal such as Benjarvus Green-Ellis , Wes Welker , Danny Woodhead , Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch it is understandable that the team would always be considered amongst the leading favorites to make it to the postseason.

The New England Patriots find themselves tied atop of the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills with a 3-1 mark within the division. Seated beneath both teams are the New York Jets (2-2) and Miami Dolphins . With Rex Ryan’s Jets off to an inauspicious start to their schedule I seriously doubt that he will allow his team to languish amongst the lower depths of the AFC . He’s (Ryan) far too irascible a character and no doubt will place his foot firmly up the ass of any player he feel that is not carrying their weight , including his young quarterback Mark Sanchez .

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And which of the teams mentioned do you believe will have a successful season or quite possibly not live up to perceived expectations ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………..

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(1) Linebacker Jason Taylor (99) of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(2) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(3) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers pats Von Miller (58) of the Denver Broncos on the chest after a game at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images ….

(4) Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos is sacked by Desmond Bishop (55) of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Broncos 49-23. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(5) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) ……

(6) Sergio Kindle (94) of the Baltimore Ravens rushes Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17 . Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ……

(7) Oakland Raiders fans in the Black Hole cheer on their team during their game against the New England Patriots at Oakland Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(8) Tom Brady (12) hands off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) of the New England Patriots who ran in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …..

(9) Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots tries to run away from Chimdi Chekwa (35) of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(10) Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots runs in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Raiders 31-19 . Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

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Pick Your Poison …… With Manning ….. Without Manning ?

Pick Your Poison …… With Manning ….. Without Manning ?

It seems strange that the Indianapolis Colts could go into the preseason without their four time winning league MVP and Superbowl winning player Peyton Manning . The player having had off-season neck surgery is now committed to a full recovery in time to make the regular season for the Colts’ roster . With the team having Austin Collie now their injury list along with Manning the trials and travails of coach Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff could come undone before it has even started .

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Clearly the Indianapolis Colts’ fans would like nothing better than to see Manning taking the first snap of the regular season rather than Curtis Painter , Mike Hartline , or Dan Orlovsky for that matter . I am not so sure that the Colts’ front office led by Bill Polian has really thought ahead about the day ahead when Peyton Manning is no longer available to this organization . And given the success that the that the Colts have had over the years with Manning at the helm of this team , it has to be said that the loss would be seen as seismic to say the very least . Over the course of his outstanding career Peyton Manning has led this organization with class and distinction and there is not a doubt in anyone’s mind that once his career has come to an end he will be Canton bound to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame .

This organization during the off-season made some moves to bolster the roster as well making the customary draft choices one would deem to be prudent . It certainly gives the fans the impression that the organization is once again set to be dominant not just within the AFC South but also the conference as a whole . Certainly there’s a lot to suggest the Colts are once again the team to beat within the division as I simply don not believe that either Houston Texans , Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans will be a match for this organization over the course of this season . The indications are were that the Texans were making great strides but that simply wasn’t borne out over the course of the 2010 regular season as they simply petered out when it mattered most . For the Houston Texans’ Gary Kubiak this may well be his last chance to prove himself worthy as the coach of this team .

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 19: Mike Hartline (9), Dan Orlovsky (6) and Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts look at play sheets during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

In the preseason for the Indianapolis Colts we have seen the frailties of this team without Manning at the helm quarter-backing the team . And it could very well be that if the player hasn’t fully recovered enough in time for their regular season opener against the Houston Texans on September 11th we could see Manning’s longevity in terms of consecutive games’ record will come to an end . From my own perspective I feel that the player will have recuperated enough to don his number 18 jersey and be his customary and efficient self ! There are few players amongst the elite within the NFL who perform with the prowess of Manning at the quarterback position .

I certainly do believe that the Indianapolis Colts will very much have the AFC South to themselves and that is in spite of the offseason moves made by the teams within the division . What may well detract from the possibility of the team repeating as divisional champions could very well be the health of Manning and his ability to last through the rigors of a regular season .

The rookies drafted by the staff will almost certainly be looking to have a productive season having had their initial baptism of fire in the preseason games . Anthony Castonzo, Ben Ijalana , Drake Nevis , Delone Carter and Chris Rucker are sure to prove that the faith shown in them by Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff is justified .

If anything however , it will be imperative for the seasoned veterans on this roster to lead by example should Peyton Manning not be available to them for the first couple of games of the regular season . That has to be the caveat here with regard to the fortunes of this team and how they could very well fare over the course of this year . Certainly last season we saw what the team was capable of in terms of adversity when they were faced with the possibility of failing to make the postseason . The fact that they were able to do so having fought tooth and nail to win the division (AFC South) in spite of the injuries and other obstacles showed the true mettle of this team .

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Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, left, and running back Joseph Addai talk during the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ………

Amongst the seasoned veterans that I believe will step up to the plate for this team are Reggie Wayne , Dallas Clarke , Joseph Addai , Dwight Freeney , Gary Brackett and Robert Mathis . But in reality the Indianapolis Colts’ way has been there to be a collective effort from all the members of this team. Most certainly that was something instilled into them by Jim Caldwell’s predecessor Tony Dungy , a coach who simply communicated with his players and made them fully aware as to what was expected from each, on game day .

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By your own estimation do you feel that Peyton Manning could miss the first two or three games of the regular season given his ongoing health concerns ? It hasn’t been confirmed that he will miss the entire preseason but all estimations that seems the likelihood with neither Caldwell , Bill Polian or for that matter Jim Irsay will to make an emphatic statement on the matter . How do you see the Indianapolis Colts faring over the course of the regular season ? And do you feel that without their league MVP quarterback their chances to win the division will be less likely ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this subject matter and any other thoughts you believe to pertinent . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) FILE – This July 31, 2011, file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaking during a news conference with the NFL football team’s owner Jim Irsay, right front, at the teams training camp, in Anderson, Ind. Manning says he won’t play the last two preseason games and Colts owner Jim Irsay says his team must be prepared to open the season without Manning behind center. AP Photo/Alan Petersime …..

(2) Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, left, talks with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning following an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. Washington won 16-3 . AP Photo/Michael Conroy …….

(3) Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, right, greets Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan following an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. Washington won 16-3. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……..

(4) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 19: Mike Hartline (9), Dan Orlovsky (6) and Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts look at play sheets during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

(5) Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, left, and running back Joseph Addai talk during the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ………

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Out Of The Chaos Now Comes The Bedlam ……… And A Great Deal More

Out Of The Chaos Now Comes The Bedlam ………. And A Great Deal More

So out of the chaos even more bedlam will be created as the NFL seemingly returns to work. The NFL team owners of have voted with a majority decision to approve the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA ) which will by all accounts if we’re led to believe there will be peace for the next decade between the league hierarchy and the new soon be re-certified NLFPA . That being said in the midst of the vote there just happened to be one abstention in the voting by the team owners. Suffice to say with those very same owners glad handing and patting themselves on the back but it remains to be seen whether or not the player representatives and their members will vote to ratify the agreement from their end.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Team facilities will now be open for the players to conduct training activities , meet with the coaches and their respective staff members to discuss their own fitness level and no doubt other issues that should arise . To my mind now comes the hard part not only for the teams but also general managers because there will now be a plethora of free agents that will come to the market . Imagine if you will an abundance players and the very fact that the coaches and the GM’s will now act like kids in a candy store looking to pick out the best out of a selective assortment of edible confectionery . I am not so sure that the carnage that will no doubt take place because of this whole scenario is exactly what the league would like to see ! But such has been the idiocy shown by both sides throughout this whole episode that as a fan you can have absolutely no sympathy for either side . And as much as this now appears to be all over bar the shouting the one thing I find somewhat suspicious has been the league’s wish to have the details sealed as to the $1 billion set aside to aid the retired veterans of the NFL. Somehow all of the hard work of Carl Eller could well be for nothing even in light of the fact that he has been part to some of the deliberations that have taken place between the two sides . My question is if the league is now open to such transparency then why the facade with regard to the agreement as it relates to the veterans ? What have they to hide and what is it that they simply don’t want the public to know ?

And though Roger Goodell and his chief aide Jeff Pash will try and sell this all as the best deal possible and the owners such as Jerry Jones , Jerry Richardson and Jim Irsay have to be entirely happy with this all . I can’t help but wonder if say five or six years down the road their might well be disruptive to the peace . It is not out of the realms of possibility even if this is meant to be a ten year deal. Wars have been have been fought over less and it only takes one skirmish and disquiet to the accord and the ramifications could be once felt again _ litigation ensuing or not there is now a lot hanging on this agreement being a long lasting one over the next decade.

For coaches such as Marvin Lewis , .Tom Coughlan , Jon Fox , Gary Kubiak and Chan Gailey it will be very interesting what they seek to do to improve their teams during this period of free agency . There’s a great deal that the league has made public about the agreement and one of the most salient points seems to be the salary cap which we are informed will be in the area of $120 million for the 2011-12 season. A sizable figure to say the least and one that will not be lost the teams or the players for that matter . But I am sure that agents such as Drew Rosenhaus , Tom Condon , Eugene Parker and Mark Bartelstein to name but a few will be amongst a throng of movers and shakers chomping at the bit to get their clients signed to a lucrative deal. It’s now open season and the NFL teams are the prey in question .

If this off-season is anything to actually go by then the upcoming regular season itself and what will now be a shortened preseason will become a comedy of errors. There is no way in hell that teams will be game ready when the season commences on the 8th September as I feel that in large part that the vast majority of the teams won’t be anywhere near where they need to be in terms of preparation . And that is even with many of the players meeting amongst themselves and carrying out their conditioning and training regimen . What may well be a season of redemption in the eyes of the league could very well turn out to be initially one monstrous eyesore for the fans who choose to attend the first two or three games of the schedule .

For certain finesse teams such as the Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints where timing is certainly everything ____ I do believe that Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Drew Brees may well struggle initially with finding their receivers so we could well see a great deal more of a ground attack with the running backs bearing the brunt of their teams’ burden .

Inasmuch as this whole spectacle has all been put to rest with the both now sides seemingly back on the same page I can’t help but wonder what might have happened had the league hierarchy , team owners and the NFLPA been more cordial with one another during their deliberations. Instead it all came down to each trying side trying to outdo each other with Judge Arthur J Boylan having to sit in the midst of this all cajoling and scolding the individuals like prepubescent schoolboys to merely sit down and break bread together . So much of this could have been avoided had calmer and cooler heads prevailed in the first place . But then again we are discussing the NFL are we not ? You could not ask these idiots to show common sense unless their very lives depended on it !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a fan of the NFL are you happy that the stoppage is now over ? And how do you see the season unfolding ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in College Park, Ga. Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson looks on in the background. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….

(2) Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney speaks during a news conference where it was announced that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, July 21, 2011. In the background is Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. AP Photo/John Bazemore …..

(3) NFL general counsel Jeff Pash listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference where it was announced that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, July 21, 2011. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(4) Agent Tom Condon (center), counts Eli Manning , left, and Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning ,right , amongst his NFL clients . Getty Images / Chris Trotman …….

(5) Chan Gailey, head coach of the Buffalo Bills readies to to call a timeout against the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Getty Images / Rick Stewart ……..

(6) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints warms-up before taking on the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images North America / Johnathan Ferrey …….

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NFL news

PTI (Pardon The Interruption) But You’re Going To Pay Him What ? How Much ? Get The **ck Out Of Here !

PTI (Pardon The Interruption) But You’re Going To Pay Him What ? How Much ? Get The **ck Out Of Here ! ……….

Having led the organization to their second Superbowl appearance in three years. The Indianapolis Colts’ hierarchy and front office are looking to lock up their 4 time league MVP and Superbowl MVP (SBXLI) winning quarterback, Peyton Manning to a contract extension, that could in effect net him in excess of $ 120 million dollars , if he fulfills the obligations of the contract that’s allegedly being drawn and which awaits the player’s signature at the culmination of this year’s Superbowl. Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay, the team’s GM, Bill Polian and team coach Jim Caldwell are all in accordance with this. As to what this would suggest to Manning’s teammates is only a matter of speculation and conjecture. But suffice to say ‘….Peyton is getting his just like any other player , who expects to be amply rewarded for their exploits on the field of play. Manning , himself is said to earn in excess of $ 20 million a year, in terms of commercial endorsements from corporate sponsors , alone. That supplements his NFL salary rather nicely , placing him amongst the 40 highest paid athletes on the planet.

Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning answers questions during a media availability,Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Indianapolis will face the New Orleans Saints in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV Sunday. It's  widely  being  rumored  that the  Colts'  quarterback <strong>  is  about  to sign the most  lucrative  contract in  the  NFL history</strong>. Though  figures  have  yet  to be confirmed .  It is believed  that the  contract  will  eclipse  that  signed  by his younger  brother Eli,  worth  at the time <strong> $97.5 million  over   6  years</strong>.  photo appears  courtesy of Associated  Press / Eric  Gay ......
Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning answers questions during a media availability,Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Indianapolis will face the New Orleans Saints in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV Sunday. It's widely being rumored that the Colts' quarterback is about to sign the most lucrative contract in the NFL history. Though figures have yet to be confirmed . It is believed that the contract will eclipse that signed by his younger brother Eli, worth at the time $97.5 million over 6 years. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Eric Gay ......

If as expected, the player does sign the dotted line on the contract extension then he’ll not only become one of the highest paid players in the NFL . But he’ll also eclipse the contract signed by his younger brother, Eli Manning of the New York Giants. If one remembers that was also an extension that will pay Giants’ quarterback $97.5 million over six years. Netting him an average of $16.25 million per year (of that $97.5 million-$43 million was guaranteed). Now as to whether or not the younger Manning is worth that sort of money , I’ve leave that up you to decide. Granted , he’s led the team to a surprising Superbowl (SBXLII) win over the New England Patriots in 2008. But since that win, the Giants have been something of anathema as a team.

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Irsay plans to break bank for Peyton

By Len Pasquarelli , ESPN.com

MIAMI — Negotiations to extend the contract of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will begin in earnest after the season, Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed on Tuesday, and the new deal is expected to make the Colts’ star the highest-paid player in NFL history and to keep him with the franchise for his entire career.

Manning’s current deal, the final two years of which have been technically voided, will expire after the 2010 season.

“You know it’s going to get done,” Irsay said during media day interviews. “I think it’s clear, and we’ll start on it this summer. That’s been the way we do things [to hammer out an extension when a player is entering the final year of his contract]. And it’ll be the biggest [contract] in history; there’s not much doubt about that.”

Irsay has said in the past that Manning will be “a Colt for life,” and he reiterated that stance on Tuesday morning.

Manning, 33, signed a contract extension for $99.2 million in 2004, and the deal included a record $34.5 million singing bonus, all of it paid up front. The final two seasons of that contract were voided because Manning met predetermined playing-time incentives, making 2010 the final year of the deal.

The Manning contract, Irsay said, “is the easy one to do, because you know it’s going to have to be the highest ever.” The Colts’ owner noted the “harder deals” are the ones involving good, but less important players, and cited former Indianapolis starters like guard Steve McKinney and linebackers Marcus Washington and David Thornton, veterans whom the Colts could not afford to pay because of the franchise’s salary structure, and were forced to sacrifice to free agency.

“It simply comes to one question, and that’s replaceability,” Irsay explained. “Everything is based on the replaceability factor. You make decisions based on who you can afford to target and keep. … Other guys you really want to [re-sign] you might have trouble doing it, because of what it costs you, and how much attention they’re getting [from other teams in free agency]. We don’t have that luxury and we’ve had to work hard.”

Team president Bill Polian said during the season that the club, because it had such high-profile players, often had to determine “how fungible” some players and positions were. But Irsay, who invested about $100 million into the club after his father, Robert Irsay, died in 1997, is prepared to make Manning a very rich man. The younger Irsay, in fact, has dipped into his own wallet in the past to fund the contracts of some key players.

Ironically, the contracts of Manning and New England quarterback Tom Brady are both up after the 2010 campaign. Irsay allowed he will “watch closely” the bargaining on the Brady deal.

“We didn’t have the luxury [of not having a salary cap],” Irsay said. “Without one, not having those [constraints], we would have done an incredible job.”
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In order to read Len Pasquarelli’s article in
its entirety just click unto the link provided .
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NFL  Commissioner ,<strong> Roger Goodell</strong>  inset,  seated   left    is   seen  here   with  his   union  executive   counterpart  NFLPA  Executive  Director ,  DeMaurice  Smith  ,   seen  here   up   on  Capitol   Hill,  DC ,  in  front  of  the  empaneled   Senate  Judiciary  Committee.   photo  appears   courtesy of  Associated Press   /  Charles Dharapak   .......................
NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell inset, seated left is seen here with his union executive counterpart NFLPA Executive Director , DeMaurice Smith , seen here up on Capitol Hill, DC , in front of the empaneled Senate Judiciary Committee. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Charles Dharapak .......................

It is by no means a surprise that the Colts’ organization would want to lock Peyton Manning up to a long term deal. And if as suggested, by the owner ,Jim Irsay , that it is his intention to have the player play his entire career with the team. Then they’re now pretty much sure that this is the way that they want to reward him. Without a doubt, Manning himself, has been one of the best quarterbacks ever to have graced the NFL. But that asides, it leaves somewhat of an unsavory taste in one’s mouth when you consider that he couldn’t have done it without the full complementary of players that he’s been surrounded by. And how are they, then to be rewarded when their contracts are up for renewal or extension ? With this upcoming season (2010-11) very well being an uncapped season if the NFL , the owners and the NFLPA (Players’ Union) are unable to make an assertive effort in reaching common ground, with regard to a renewal of the collective bargaining agreement. Then the whole rationale and inner workings of a great many teams within the league could be turned upside down. As it is, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is itching for a fight and looking to derail the somewhat autocratic rule of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. As contentious as the two sides appear to be with regard to the ongoing negotiations and the very fact that both sides addressed the members of Congress and then met in convened meeting in-front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Nothing was accomplished , other than the usual amount of posturing and pandering by both sides. Never mind the fact that at times it looked as if the empaneled members seemed to be in awe of the NFL players who addressed them. But should we really expect anything else from these legislators ?

(Left to right) General manager Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning (#18) of the Indianapolis Colts look on during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Doug Benc  ..........
(Left to right) General manager Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning (#18) of the Indianapolis Colts look on during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Benc ..........

The hard part here is to fully comprehend how both sides were one minute all sync with one another concerning going forward. And the next accusations are being leveled by both sides against each other , as to the greed and disingenuousness shown by both sides. Neither side it appears wants to acquiesce to the others’ wishes , as they feel that it would show a sign of weakness on their part. It may well be that they aren’t overly concerned as to what the fans are indeed thinking about the situation at this juncture. A lockout, reminiscent of the labor dispute that shut down the entire NFL in in 1987 for several weeks and that led to a great deal of discord between the union and the NFL . Something along those lines once again and we’re liable to see the fans quite possibly abandon the game and the NFL altogether. But were the NFL to use replacement players as they did in ’87, and we would be liable to see the tension build up even further between the two parties. There’s nothing like a ‘bunch of greedy owners’ and ‘their self serving counterparts’ ,as in the ‘highly overpaid players’ bickering about how many more millions that they can slice off the piece of an ever diminishing slice of an already big piece of pie. One thing is for sure , neither the players or the fans will take kindly to seeing replacement players taking to the field and then calling it an NFL game. At the same time one doubts that the NFL owners and its hierarchy are stupid enough to do such a thing ?

Courtesy of ESPN.com


Harsh reality: Labor pains ahead

By Tim Graham , ESPN.com

Miami — The NFL will be in full glory this week. A marvelous Super Bowl matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints is days away.

Soon after the confetti flitters about Sun Life Stadium and the Lombardi Trophy is hoisted triumphantly, football’s showcase event will give way to uncertainties and insecurities about an imminent labor clash, one that will have significant ramifications on the 2010 season, could lead to a 2011 lockout and might even scuttle an entire season.

You’ve ignored the NFL labor situation, hoping it would fix itself before you invested one minute of your life, one ounce of worry.

“I’ll just watch football,” you thought. “I’ll concentrate on the season, the stars, the X’s and O’s. I’ll carry on as though the NFL is simply in the greatest league in the world, a game, a diversion from real-world issues — not an industry.”

Time to start paying attention to the big business, folks.

Big trouble is near.

Collective bargaining agreements, economics, uncapped seasons and revenue haggling aren’t nearly as entertaining as game highlights and chalk talk.

But if you want to follow along with what could evolve into the most important off-field storyline in recent sports history, you’ll need to learn the issues. (The NFL, league and owners are synonymous. So are the NFL Players Association, the union and the players.)

What’s on the line?
The owners and players have until March 5 to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, essentially the off-field rule book for an $8 billion industry. If they do not reach new terms, a host of provisos will be triggered.

Most significantly, the 2010 season will be played without a salary cap or floor, allowing teams to spend as much or as little as they wish. Two weeks ago, New York Giants owner John Mara indicated that an uncapped season appeared unavoidable. If a new CBA isn’t struck by March 2011, a lockout would be highly probable.

How did we get here?
The players got the upper hand on the owners in 2006, the last time they hashed out a CBA. The players were able to renegotiate what revenues were considered a part of the financial pie, from which they would receive about 60 percent.

The salary cap skyrocketed from $80 million per team in 2005 to $102 million the next year. In each subsequent season, the cap climbed to about $109 million, $116 million and $128 million for the 2009 season. The salary floor — the amount of money teams are forced to spend — was $112 million this season, or $32 million more than the highest ceiling under the previous CBA. By doing so, the owners froze the percentage of revenues dedicated to player costs at 57.5 percent.

In 2008, the owners voted unanimously to exercise a clause that allowed either side to opt out of the CBA one or two years early.

What does the league want?
The owners’ objective is to retain more revenues, because they’re assuming virtually all of the risk in this business venture. Their mission statement is that they want to provide long-term stability and growth opportunities, but their margins are thinning because of the U.S. economy. Sponsorship dollars are scarcer. There were 22 blackouts this season, up from nine in 2008. Money has been sunk into stadiums and practice facilities.

At the top of the league’s wish list is an 18 percent rollback in salaries and a rookie salary cap that would redirect money to proven talent rather than players who might not have what it takes. Another way for the owners to grow the revenue pie would be expanding the regular season to 18 games.

What does the NFL Players Association want?
Maintaining the status quo would be just fine with the players.

What would an uncapped year mean in 2010?
It sounds like an uncapped year would favor the players, because it gives the impression that freewheeling owners would start throwing money around in their quest for a Super Bowl title. But the uncapped year is a bit of a misnomer. It’s true there wouldn’t be a salary cap. Deep-pocketed teams such as the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots could spend as much as they want. But in reality there would be no financial limitations at all. Teams would have no salary floor to maintain, although minimum individual player salaries still would need to be met. The salary floor for 2009 was about $108 million.

How would the uncapped year affect free agency for the upcoming season?
These changes would be unfavorable for the players. The requirement to be eligible for unrestricted free agency would jump from four years to six. Rather than being allowed to hit the open market, 212 players would be restricted free agents instead. Teams have the right of first refusal on restricted free agents and would receive draft compensation if they chose not to match the offer.

Some of the bigger names who would have been unrestricted but would not be in an uncapped year include Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson and linebacker Shawne Merriman, Houston Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans and Cowboys receiver Miles Austin.

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Click on the above link shown to read Tim Graham’s piece
in its entirety.
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For the Colts as an organization they’ve been somewhat fiscally prudent but at the same time when one sees in large part one player taking up in excess of 1/3 of a team’s salary in order for that player to re-sign and remain with the team. One has to ask the question how much is enough when it comes to the players and their ever burgeoning need to earn even more ? It’s OK in the good times when the money is said to be plentiful a bullish economic times. But when there’s an acute crisis within their midst what would it suggest that the NFL and their teams ought to be doing ? If they can’t seemingly show some constraint and then expect the fans to make the outlay to see their games. Then surely there’s something amiss with the whole business concept and template with which the NFL continues to operates under ?

At age 33 , it could well be that Peyton Manning could play another decade in the NFL. And with the proposed contract that’s being offered that scenario seems to be all but a certainty. As to whether not it’s a 6 year $100 million contract or something akin to 10 years $150 million-$180 million remains to be seen. The one thing you can be sure of , is that the print and tv media will not let this story go. If anything it will become the piece’ de resistance for the likes of ESPN/ABC Sports , Fox Sport, NBC Sports , CBS Sports and the vast coterie of sports’ reporting organizations across the landscape. Money can be the ‘root of all evil’ but it can also come as a blessing in disguise. Somehow , for someone of Peyton Manning’s stature , I’m not so sure that it really matters or not. I get the feeling that if he were asked to simply play a game of ‘tag football’ in a playground , he’d still derive the same amount of pleasure as he does playing in the NFL.

What are your thoughts on the matter ?

The O’Jays perform their international smash hit ‘For The Love of Money’ on the famed r&b show ‘Soul Train’ , hosted by famed presenter, Don Cornelius .

tophatal ……….:)

Voluptuous  model and  aspiring  actress <strong>  Bianca  Holland </strong>.     Less  is more as  they   say  .  And  <strong>the  more  of  Bianca   that  we  see </strong> the  less  concerned  we  are  about  our  other  problems wouldn't  you   say  ?
Voluptuous model and aspiring actress Bianca Holland . Less is more as they say . And the more of Bianca that we see the less concerned we are about our other problems wouldn't you say ?