I told you so !

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 .

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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 Sanchezโ€™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 franchiseโ€™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 .

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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 .

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(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 .

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tophatal ________ 08/26/2013
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Come Get Some …………….

Come Get Some …

Try as hard as I can it sometimes come down to complete idiocy when I hear a former player of a team being critical of current players on a franchise ! Ridiculous as it may seem we now have a once great quarterback in Joe Namath being critical of Rex Ryan and in part the team assembled in his guise and that of the front office of the New York Jets . From my own perspective anything that Namath has to say on any subject be it on the subject of the NFL or domestic or foreign policy is simply not worth listening to ! Beyond the fame and accolades the player’s greatest accomplishment in recent years was to embarrass himself in front of the public whilst in a semi drunken stupor by suggesting to ESPN on air reporter Suzy Kolber that he would like to kiss her rather suggestively . . Can someone remind me beyond his achievements in the organization’s lone Superbowl win , is there anything else that Namath has achieved that has been notable in his professional career or beyond that ?

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With the New York Jets off to an inauspicious start to the season at 2-2 within the AFC East the team and its coach now find that they are being questioned as to the competitiveness of the players ans whether or not they lack the will to win. For the past two season the New York Jets made the AFC championship game 2009 and 2010 . Clearly many felt that this team was finally ready to stop the dominance of the New England Patriots and the apparent stranglehold that they have had on the AFC East. And as dominant as the Patriots have been the New York Jets have been the Achilles’ Heel and the irritant in the ointment , that of the fans and their divisional foe . The swagger of Rex Ryan was exemplified by the attitude of several players on this team , most notably Darrelle Revis , Santonio Holmes and to a lesser extent Mark Sanchez .

Like many of the teams during the NFL lockout the New York Jets sought to be competitive through the usual free agent acquisitions one would usually be accustomed to seeing . And most certainly through their draft choices from the 2011 NFL Draft Rex Ryan and his assistant coaches are now looking to make this team a cohesive and competitive unit .

As I alluded to earlier , the Jets’ start to the season was an inauspicious one and the very fact that the team now finds itself sitting above only the Miami Dolphins within the AFC East. Things are not about to get any easier this weekend as the New England Patriots play hosts to the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts. Bill Belichick knows that his team needs to answer more than a few questions especially with regard to the defense . The Patriots rank dead last within the NFL in total defense AND within the AFC overall things simply embodies the real problems that they face altogether. And as combustible and prolific as the offense is , there is no denying unless the New England Patriots can shore up the defense then they will be in for a great deal of trouble once the postseason comes around .

There is an animus between these two teams ___ the Jets and Patriots that I don’t believe is typified by any other current rivalry in the NFL today, with the exception of a meeting between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers ! If there is currently as combative a match-up beyond these two rivalries existing within the league currently , then I have yet to witness it . Sunday afternoon should give us a peek into the mindset of both teams , with Tom Brady , Wes Welker , Rob Gronkowski , Steven Ridley and Benjarvius Ellis-Greene will be looking to stamp their authority on this division as well as sending a signal to the rest of the NFL that they are a team to be reckoned with .

Now while I’m not under the pretense that the New England Patriots will have this game all to themselves I do believe that if they are not complacent then they will prevail over their most hated foe . During the playoffs last season when the two teams met the Jets under Sanchez’ leadership made a mockery this Patriots’ team . In order for the New York Jets to win I think that it will be incumbent upon Mark Sanchez to get his passing game at his optimum level to take advantage of the Patriots’ very suspect secondary . This will become a test of wills between the two teams as well as the respective coaching staffs of the New York Jets and New England Patriots .

I have no doubt that Bill Belichick would like get this game over and done with , placing the Jets in his rear view mirror and take advantage of putting his team at the top of the AFC East with there being some separation between themselves and co-leaders the Buffalo Bills who are off the a surprising start to their season (3-1) under their coach Chan Gailey . The Bills for their part will play host to the surprisingly lax Philadelphia Eagles who at 1-3 clearly are defying all logic in terms of being viewed as the early prohibitive favorites in the NFC for the Superbowl . Clearly Andy Reid , his coaching staff and the team have great deal to worry about . ” Dream Team” or not the Eagles are currently the ” laughing stock” of the NFL . And with the demise of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS at the hands of the St Louis Cardinals do you get the feeling that things could very well erupt within the city of ” Brotherly Love” this weekend should Philadelphia Eagles also meet the same fate as their baseball counterpart ?

While Andy Reid now has to be looking over his shoulder while the Eagles’ front office staff assess not only his performances , that of the coaching staff as well as the team . Clearly in the case of Chan Gailey for now, all appears to be right in the world for he and his players . Well that’s until they face their first sense of real adversity and since the start of their season the team has been playing with the heart and passion not seen from the organization in a number of years. If the Buffalo Bills are truly back as their fans now believe them to be then this will be the season for the team to truly show that they belong amongst the elite within the game. If not , then they will be considered what we have all contended that they are meant to be ………….. an also ran .

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Which of the weekend match-ups within the NFL are you most enthralled by ? And which game or games you least interested in ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter.

Alan aka tophatal …………

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(1) BALTIMORE – OCTOBER 2: Head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens shakes hands with 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 ….

(2) Head Coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets hugs head coach John Harbough of the Baltimore Ravens after the game 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 …

(3) LaQuan Williams (5) of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against Jim Leonhard (36) 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 …..

(4) Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets hands off against the Baltimore Ravens 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 …….

(5) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick listens to a reporter’s question during an NFL football media availability in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …..

(6) OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 02: 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 …..

(7) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots celebrates after the Patriots scored a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……..

(8) Kevin Boss (87) of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by Gary Guyton (59) of the New England Patriots at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(9) Heartfelt commiserations to the Oakland Raiders’ fans and the untimely death of the team’s owner Al Davis at the age of 82 . Davis seen here looks on from the sideline as he watches the Raiders 32-27 pre-season victory over the New England Patriots on August 25, 1995 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California. Davis the long time owner of the Oakland Raiders was reported as passed away on the team’s website. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/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 ………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

E mail rapptu@gmail.com

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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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NFL news

NFL standings by division

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NFL player stats thru’ week 4

NFL teams stats thru’ week 4

Week 5 schedule

NFL player injuries

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Teams with byes in week 5 : Baltimore Ravens , Cleveland Browns , Dallas Cowboys , Miami Dolphins , St Louis Rams & Washington Redskins

I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

Well the Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) was somewhat anticlimactic to my mind a game (31-25) which was essentially beset by the mistakes made by both teams . I think that much of that came down to the fact that both teams never really settled down to the cavernous atmosphere of the stadium and the expectations that many felt was there to be had. The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking to win their seventh Superbowl title and cement themselves in the annals of the game. The Green Bay Packers not without a legacy themselves were looking to win their fourth Superbowl in the team’s history .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The respective coaches in this case Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy have been the epitome of class throughout much of the season . We’ve had the bombastic attitude of Rex Ryan and we all saw how quickly the bottom fell out of the New York Jets’ season and their and languid their performance was in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That game pretty much summed up the Jets’ season and how overrated they actually were. I even remember one patron trying to suggest that Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez wasn’t a player that was being asked to do too much by Ryan and his coaching staff . Those of us who witnessed that game saw a player who struggled in large part and a player that was simply let down by his teammates as well.

The Superbowl itself was a game which I watched with several of my work colleagues at a local VFW as a number of them are former military vets or members of the Florida National Guard . We all vary in age from 35 to 65 and having served in the British military as a member of the Royal Marines in various parts of the world for a nine year stint ( Northern Ireland , Eritrea , Cyprus and the Ivory Coast ) . Along with my cadre of colleagues it goes without saying that others in attendance were obviously former service members. The USMC, US Army , US Navy and Air Force were all well represented. Many of them there had their allegiances to the teams participating or one should say specifically to the conferences. I simply wanted to see a game that was competitive and in some ways it actually fell short of that . It may well have been that this was the highest rated Superbowl in television history with an estimated audience by all accounts of 115 million viewers domestically. For Fox and their advertising partners this was a ratings’ bonanza and with ad rates said to be in excess of $150,000 per second a thirty second spot during peak viewing time would garner the network $4,500,000 . It’s pretty safe to say that not only was the network making a great deal of money but so too was the NFL .

I’ve got to admit being around these guys and watching the game was very much in essence like being around some of my former military buddies I’d served with. Now don’t get me wrong attuning myself to the sports’ landscape here and aligning myself to many number of teams once this country became my permanent home. Two decades on and I can categorically say that my allegiances are with the San Antonio Spurs , New England Patriots , and Duke (Blue Devils) Basketball . Admittedly at one time I was also an avid fan of the Florida Marlins and the USC Trojans but that all fell apart one I saw that the front office of the Marlins led by owner Jeffrey Loria couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth as to the team’s financing and viability. Let’s just say that team’s plight and anything that’s now said to be coming from Loria publicly can’t be trusted as being factual.

The same can be said of the Trojans’ athletics program and the mere fact that the university’s former AD Mike Garrett took winning to heart even if it meant doing so by unscrupulous means as a way of gaining untold riches and notoriety . At the center of it all was the behavior by former coaches Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd , athletes Reggie Bush and O J Mayo . And as we now know what transpired there was enough to indict everything that’s wrong in collegiate athletics today and the mess that the NCAA itself has created and condoned in many respects with the idiocy of their actions.

In the UK I still follow religiously my two favorite soccer teams Manchester United and Chelsea of the Premiership (EPL) . And not a day goes by when I’m no online checking on both teams’ progress in their various competitive endeavors. As many of you know also I’m somewhat passionate about the sport of boxing and there my alltime favorite boxer is Marvin Hagler perhaps the most underestimated middleweight champion in history. But with the sport now becoming something of a misnomer and with there now being a complete lack of credibility in many of the weight categories I now find myself more interested in MMA and specifically the promotions of UFC . As a martial arts practitioner I’ve got to admit that watching these bouts unfold now gives me greater pleasure than what’s now being served up in the world of boxing by the sport’s most prominent promoters such as Top Rank Inc , Don King Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions Inc . That triumvirate in large part along with the multitude of boxing’s international governing bodies have brought the sport to depths it’s now at , completely lacking in any credibility at all !

While watching the game I couldn’t help but wonder where many of us might be were it not for the circumstances that’s led us to where we are at present. A number of the veterans in attendance were also young vets who’d served in both Afghanistan , Iraq , as well as older veterans who’d served in the the first Iraqi conflict , World War II , Vietnam and Korea . However it also pained me to see number of the vets who’d recently returned from both Afghanistan and Iraq , who having served their country gallantly are having difficulties acclimatizing themselves back to civilian life. The Dept of Veterans Affairs as well meaning as it is overwhelmed with way too much bureaucracy and the fact that in some cases the facilities at which some of these veterans are treated at can at times best described as deplorable and outrageous. Having worked in conjunction with a number of organizations such as the PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) and charities specifically that deal with the well being of former vets I have to say that the conditions I’ve witnessed first hand as well as through some of the work that some of my work colleagues have done as pro-bono work as lawyers , has simply indicated to me that the US government does treat their veterans deplorably ! A lot of the time the utterance coming from members of Congress and the Senate is simply a sound byte merely to be politically correct and to seek empathy from the electorate.

To see a military veteran who’s now confined to a wheelchair having because of an IED and the fact that in many cases these incidents could have been avoided had former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seen fit to plan with some insight and not utter the rather asinine sound bytes while the propaganda war being waged came to a grinding halt as repeatedly this conflict has become completely out of control. Two wars , $1.6 trillion ($1,600,000,000) has been spent and there’s no sign that there’s light at the end of the tunnel ! . We’re told that the US troops will be leaving Iraq in an orderly fashion once the Iraqi security forces are able to secure their borders and the civilian population. Unfortunately what President Obama , Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now seem to be forgetting is that the Iraqi government has become so corrupt where the rule of law has become non existent . The less said about Afghanistan and the government led by President Hamid Karzai the better as that’s another cluster fuck that’s getting worse by the minute , and the fact that coalition lives are being sacrificed for no other reason than the pomposity now being shown by the US government and its allies. Democracy as always , there’s a steep price to pay but when the cost is that of US men and service women’s lives with there being nothing tangible to show for it at the end of the day has me now asking what is the stance of the US and its diplomacy as it relates to the Middle East ?

Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers having led the Green Bay Packers to their first Superbowl win in almost fifteen years . It has to be said that this was a long time coming for the fans in Green Bay . Mike McCarthy had this team playing with a great deal of resolve and it showed throughout much of the preseason , regular season and into the playoffs . And statistically the team led by Rodgers simply more than a pleasant surprise . And it augurs well for the prospects of the organization as a whole . A chance of a successful defense isn’t out the realms of possibility if they’re able to show the same sort of attitude shown throughout the 2010 season. But as we all know winning is the easy part the hard part is to successfully defend a title as everyone places a target on your back aiming for that bullseye, with the intent of knocking that team off their pedestal.

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Spending time with my colleagues in such a way was nurturing on a number of levels merely because I felt at ease around many of these individuals with whom I had something in common with. We’ve shared stories about our experiences in the military but we’ve also formed a bond over love of sports and all that it brings . What else could one really ask for and how else would one want to spend a Superbowl Sunday ? Unfortunately the event itself from my own perspective had been something of a downfall with the fact that during the pregame ceremony you had 5 time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera butcher the National Anthem and then the halftime show headlined by The Black Eyed Peas was a complete cacaphony of noise that if anything sounded like lead singer Fergie was unsure what the hell she was doing on stage. I’ve got to wonder wasn’t there a sound check instituted before the group took stage and if anything was the original sound check conducted by Hellen Keller ? The game itself while entertaining in part did leave a lot to be desired but then again it met the expectations with the fact that it was once again a monumental and financial success for the NFL . And as we all know the NFL has simply about their image and the money because nothing else really matters to the hierarchy !

What impressions if any did you have on the event itself and how did you feel about the entertainment that was provided throughout ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slide show details below

(1) Green Bay Packers fan John Magnin celebrates after the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 . AP Photo/LM Otero ……

(2) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 with his family at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ……..

<p (3) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) talks with the media after winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(4) Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson, right, celebrates with teammate Andrew Quarless after scoring a touchdown during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLV football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(5) U.S. Army medic SGT Tyrone Jordan (top) of Charlotte, NC attached to Dustoff Task Force Shadow of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade works on Marine LCpl. Michael Staley aboard a MEDEVAC helicopter after Staley suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder September 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. Task Force Shadow is responsible for evacuating wounded Afghani and Coalition forces as well as local nationals throughout southern Afghanistan. Scott Olson/Getty Images AsiaPac ……….

(6) Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds a press conference at the Presidential Palace on February 8, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Karzai called on his Western allies to close down civil-military provincial reconstruction projects (PRT’s) that have served their purpose, likening the PRT’s to a ‘plumber’ whose services were no longer required. Majid Saeedi/ Getty ImagesAsiaPac ……….

(7) US Air Force Senior Airman, Lisibeth Payano closes the door of a mortuary vehicle during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base on December 3, 2009 in Dover, Delaware. The dignified transfer was for US Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Taylor of Jacksonville, Florida and US Army Cpl. Kenneth R. Nichols, Jr. of Chrisman, Illinois, both killed in Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ….

(8) Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) (L) thanks U.S. Army Specialist Eric Edmondson (C) and his father Ed Edmondson (top) during a news conference about Democratic efforts to pass an omnibus veterans? health bill at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. Specialist Edmondson, who suffered severe traumatic brain injury in an improvised explosive device attack in October 2005 while serving in Iraq, is cared for by his parents. Democrats indentified Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as the sole Republican holding up the passage of the bill designed to help Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and family caregivers of the seriously wounded. However since this bill became law what many veterans are now finding out is that the VA (Veterans Administration) hasn’t been all that quick meeting their obligations in facilitating the expedition of the paperwork . The agency itself is undermanned and being mismanaged never mind the absence of well trained medical professionals needed . Getty Images North America / Chip Smodoville ……….

(9) A marine checks a weapon as eighty Royal Marines of Zulu company 45 Commando prepare to leave their base RM Condor for six months tour in Afghanistan on October 2, 2008 in Arbroath, Scotland. A total of 500 Royal Marines from 45 Commando are going to Afghanistan, Whiskey Company left last week, and the rest of the marines will leave in the next two weeks. Jeff Miller / Getty Images Europe ………….

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[ In my military active service I saw action while being on the front lines of the troubles in N Ireland as the troubles there and where the violence actions of the IRA who in essence were a para-military organization _____ a precursor for what we now see in Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Jeemah Islamiyah . ]

๐Ÿ˜›

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

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John Legend ……………….feat’g Andre’ 3000 …….”Green Light” Music as it should be with actual instruments and vocals !

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It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !

It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………….. Triumph Or Go Home !

The wildcard rounds of the playoffs begin this weekend and with a number of games set to get the fans salivating at their outcome . No game might be more intriguing than the NFC match-up that pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the Green Bay Packers . To my mind these are two evenly matched teams that are well coached by Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy respectively. Furthermore even with the advent of the play of Michael Vick I for one don’t believe this is by any means a foregone conclusion ! There’s enough here to suggest even with their records and play late in the season this game could go either way just like the flip of a coin.

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As good as Michael Vick has been playing, his counterpart Aaron Rodgers in spite of his injuries appears to be as tough as they come and willing to do battle in order for the Packers to win. And not only that it’d appear that the Lambeau faithful have taken Rodgers to their heart while onetime hero Brett Favre now remains a distant memory. He may well be still beloved in certain parts of Green Bay but I’m not so sure that holds through for the entire state of Wisconsin much less the rest of the country. This Packers’ team has shown a great deal of resiliency in spite of repeated adversity and when many may well have felt all was lost , they’ve risen to the challenge and this may well be one of the reasons why they could upset the apple cart as far as this match-up is concerned .

Defensively at times both teams have struggled but the Packers might well have the edge in that department . Where the advantage lies is in the fact that McCarthy’s coaching staff will have to deal with the mercurial and enigmatic play of Michael Vick . And as we know given his play this season a game can be turned at the drop of a hat. And I’ve no doubt that both defenses will be rigorously tested by the respective offenses at game time. This may well also become a game of attrition if neither side can find an opening but if it isn’t, then look for it to be something of a one sided affair with the winner showing the tenacity needed to seek out a win.

While many of us will have no doubt question the merits of a 7-9 team making the playoffs the Seattle Seahaws as winners of the NFC West are now there by right. And given what we’ve come to expect from that division within recent years I’m not entirely surprised. Sadly this is now what the league and to an essence the competitiveness of that division has now become where mediocrity is immediately rewarded rather than substance. How else can you explain when teams such as the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with better records but failed to make the playoffs ?

The Seahawks will have the privilege of hosting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend and it remains to be seen whether or not the reigning Superbowl champions have overcome their recent slump of late. Both teams come into the postseason with a great deal to prove …….. the Saints in proving that they’re worthy champions and looking to make a successful defense of their title . Whereas Pete Carrolls’ team is simply looking for respect and a chance to upset the apple cart .

This game will certainly down to as the stealth of the Saints’ potent offense and how good this Seahawks’ defense is presumed to be. And given what we’ve seen from that defense this season they will have to be at the very top of their game . Having been ranked in the lower echelons of all of the defensive categories this season it remains to be seen whether not they will be able to counter act whatever the New Orleans Saints will be able to throw at them . What the Seahawks will have to their distinct advantage will be a home crowd of raucous fans at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington who will essence become the team’s twelfth man. If Matt Hasselbeck can rise to the occasion and lead this Seahawks’ team with any semblance of competitive instinct then this game could be a great deal closer than most would expect it to be . Discerning a victor from the midst of this all will come down to who has the greater appetite for the win.

With all of the off the field antics and some might say the overbearing personality of the New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan one can’t help but wonder what the coach will do next. Apart from one time proclaiming the Jets the best team in the league this season Ryan has repeatedly put his foot in his mouth with some of his rather outrageous statements. Needless to say fans far and wide have either ridiculed the coach or supported his claims in part. Now comes crunch time for the team as they meet the Indianapolis Colts in a highly anticipated game that’s a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game .

Ryan and his team are certainly looking for redemption and the same can be said too for the Peyton Manning led Colts after their immense letdown in last season’s Superbowl against the New Orleans Saints . Many believed that the Indianapolis Colts would have the better of that Saints’ team on the day but that was clearly not the case as the defense of the Colts was exposed as flawed and extremely slow. Brees simply shredded that team almost at will and nothing could hide the disappointment from Manning’s face at the end of the day. To top it all off we then had the rather asinine claim by Colts’ GM Bill Polian that the reason for the team’s loss was the fact that the offensive line didn’t play well. This was a collective loss on all parts as the Colts were simply outplayed in every facet of the game and nothing can hide that fact not even the infantile rants of the team’s general manager.

It will be interesting to see how this Jets’ defense measures up against the Colts’ offense and how in fact they’re able to deal with Peyton Manning . One thing is sure this game won’t be short on drama whichever way you look at it and if Mark Sanchez is keen to prove that last season’s form was no fluke then now will be the time for him to prove that fact. As he goes so does this team and if he’s not performing at the highest caliber then the Jets’ postseason ambitions could come to an abrupt end once again at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

In this season of surprises within the NFL perhaps none could have been more of a surprise than the turnaround initiated by Todd Haley and the coaching staff of the Kansas City Chiefs . Having handily won the AFC West where many had expected to make the San Diego Chargers to make their normal late season charge the Chiefs simply held on whereas the Chargers fell by the wayside . Can someone please remind the Chargers that the NFL season is one played of sixteen games and not eight or nine as they and their fans have now come to expect ? Sooner or later it had to catch up with them and it’s safe to say that even with the exploits of Philip Rivers this season way too much was being asked of the player to lead this team into the postseason.

The Chiefs will have the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Ravens and somehow I get the feeling that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed of this Ravens’ team will be baying for blood as they look to seperate Matt Cassel’s head from his shoulders . I’m not suggesting that this won’t be a baptism of fire for this Chiefs’ team but I just hope that there are several fire engines and marshals in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium once this game begins. There’s liable to so much heat brought to this party by the Ravens that I’m not too sure that the Chiefs might be able to withstand the onslaught.

On the flip side of this , the Chiefs offense led by Cassel has a number of offensive weapons that could waylay the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s team. Thomas Jones , Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are liable to give the Ravens’ defense all that they can handle if they’re left to their own devices as they’ve become the main threats on offense this season for the Kansas City Chiefs. And the trio are one the main reasons behind the success of the franchise this season in convergence with the team acquiring both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to take over the coaching responsibilities of the offense and defense respectively. If the Chiefs are to endure then it will come down to the coaching strategies put into place by Haley and his staff and how his team goes about executing that plan.

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What thoughts if any do have with regard to the wildcard round of the playoffs and which game do you anticipate will be the most entertaining to watch ? Simply chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB : Click on the link shown to view the latest news in the NFL .

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Teams receiving a bye are the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………….

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Continue reading “It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !”

Since When Did Mediocrity In The NFL Become Synonymous With The State of New York And In Particular New York City ?

Since When Did Mediocrity In The NFL Become Synonymous With The State of New York And In Particular New York City ?

I sat and watched three NFL games over this past weekend and in doing so I saw all three teams within New York State literally fall apart at the seams. The Buffalo Bills , New York Giants and New York Jets have respectively seen their seasons simultaneously come apart at the seams. The Bills were ripped apart like a hyena feasting on the carcass of a dead animal. So much so that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots weren’t at all tested by the lowly Bills in an AFC East divisional matchup. Suffice to say that by the second half the result of this game was a foregone conclusion .

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It’s hard to see how this Bills’ coaching staff can return to the organization next season as there’s little to really suggest that this team is actually heading in the right direction. Head coach Chan Gailey hasn’t really been able to gain the confidence of this team and there’s no reason to believe that the front office can truly believe that he’s the answer to what’s really needed for this team from a coaching standpoint. Gailey in all probability will be a coaching casualty in the offseason.

The New York Jets for all of the perceived hype surrounding this team have been literally in a downward spiral since their merciless beating ( 45-3)at the hands of the New England Patriots . And as a reminder to a somewhat opinionated patron of my site who suggested to me that Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez is a player who’s not restrained by the playbook of coach Rex Ryan . Anyone who witnessed what took place in the game against the Chicago Bears really needs to look intensely at the game between the two teams. Sanchez and his teammates were inept on both sides of the ball. And anyone who’s of the belief that this defense is good enough to even to stop the run much less the pass really needs to look at this team in great depth. Not only that but Sanchez when placed under a great deal of pressure becomes like a deer caught in headlights. I guess that patron really doesn’t know what the hell he’s actually talking about as he must simply watch these games through rose colored glasses ? The 38-34 loss to the Bears itself though not entirely surprising adds fuel to the fire that the Jets in recent weeks have become all too complacent and wrapped up in their own belief that they’re now amongst the elite within the NFL . Is it any wonder that Rex Ryan breathed a sigh of relief once he found out that the Jacksonville Jaguars had essentially foregone their chance of making the playoffs by losing to the
Washington Redskins ( 20-17 ) in overtime at Everbank Field (Alltel Stadium) , in Jacksonville,Florida.

Jay Cutler and the Bears’ offense were allowed to run wild all over the Jets and for any of the Jets’ fans out there they can’t be entirely happy with what they’re now witnessing from their team or the coaching staff on the whole. Rex Ryan has to be extremely disappointed with what he’s now witnessing from his team. And you’d be hard pressed to suggest that even with a favorable seeding as a wildcard in the playoffs that the New York Jets would be successful in the divisional rounds . There’s a great deal that needs to be addressed with this team on both sides of the ball.

I know that the New York Giants must be shellshocked after their shellacking by the Philadelphia Eagles . But what took place against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field where this Packers’ team led by Aaron Rodgers had several members of their roster team on the injured reserve list but they simply laid the wood to the Giants and made Tom Coughlin’s position with the team now look all the more precarious . It certainly didn’t help that the Giants turned the ball over eight times during the game with quarterback Eli Manning throwing four interceptions. I guess $100 million in this day and age doesn’t get you a great deal at all ! As to Manning being given a pass because he’s led the team to a Superbowl may well mean a lot but t the NFL nowadays has become more about what have you done for me lately and not what you did yesterday ! The Giants are now in so much of a tailspin that were they in a popularity contest their approval rating would be lower than that of the Democrats and the members of Congress and Senate . To say that the Giants are stinking up the joint would be an understatement as the team now makes fecal matter smell a great deal better than a bouquet of red roses .

The city of New York is a proud one that looks upon its professional sports franchises with a great deal of pride especially when it comes to their baseball and football teams. But in essence what those fans have been witnessing recently now seems to resemble mediocrity to the “nth degree” . As good as the teams mentioned are perceived to be it’s hard to believe that simply based on their form at present that they’re simply good enough to be even thought as being amongst the elite within the NFL at present ! And say what you will about the fans in New York but when their teams tend to play badly rarely at times do you simply hear those fans come out and be openly critical of their teams. Instead they remain obnoxious self opinionated and not always willing to accept criticism when it’s aimed their way.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have about how all three New York teams have played in Week 16 ? And how do you now see the future of the Giants and Jets as they embark on their postseason ambitions ?

NB Week 17 schedule

NFL news

NFL Divisional Standings

NFL Team Statistics — Defense & Offense

NFL Players’ Stats …..

NFL Tie break procedures

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………..

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Eye candy … Rosa Acosta does her bit to enhance this model courtesy of Lowrider Magazine.com

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Nikki Lowri shows that she too is a fine figure of a woman !

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Who’s Going To Protect The Players If The NFL Itself Can’t Do Its Best To Protect Them ?

Who’s Going To Protect The Players If The NFL Itself Can’t Do Its Best To Protect Them ?

It’s becoming extremely difficult to find some reason to give credence to the events that took place on the sidelines of the game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets . The actions of Jets’ strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi and that of a number of players who are on the teams’s injured reserved list . As the Dolphins’ Nolan Carroll raced down the sidelines Alosi made sure that his leg was there to impede Carroll causing him to fall to the ground. Now while an apology has been forthcoming from Alosi , one could clearly see that the move was intentional and not an accident as he was trying to suggest at the time. What might be even more unconscionable is the mere fact that Mike Westhoff the assistant coach to Rex Ryan is now coming to the defense of the beleaguered Alosi and suggesting that the incident was unfortunate mistake by his associate. The question I’d ask of Westhoff would he be of the same opinion were that a Jets’ player and the player in question were Mark Sanchez ? I guess we’ll never know but somehow I do believe that Westhoff and the Jets’ organization would be asking for their pound of flesh with the offender’s head being served up and placed on a silver platter !

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Alosi has since been suspended by the Jets’ organization indefinitely and the NFL is now conducting its own investigation into the incident. Roger Goodell and his office have to do more to stop this sort of irresponsible behavior and furthermore for the players who were on the sidelines at the time of the incident and stated this is done by them all the time, it begs the question why didn’t they speak out at the time of Alosi’s stupidity ? Two of the players who were on the sidelines at the time of the incident have stated that Sal Alosi asked them to be on the sidelines during regular game-time play and to be there as a way of depriving the opposing player room while in motion. Now what I’d like to know is what would have been done had Nolan Carroll been seriously injured during his fall after Alosi’s idiocy ? It’s bad enough that with the repeated injuries such concussions being suffered by a number of players after rather dubious plays in some instances we now have the NFL coming and imposing fines upon the players who are actually enacting these hits. To date the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ____ James Harrison has been penalized to the tune of $125,000 and it’d be fair to say that before season’s end that sum could rise exponentially.

Those of us who may well have seen the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will have witnessed the mind numbingly physicality of the game between the two teams and there were several hits aimed at Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick . The player who has been having a tremendous season to the extent that he’s now the top vote getter in the NFL for the Pro Bowl . That asides those hits and the fact that they were not called leads me to believe that Vick was fair game for the Cowboys’ defensive players . Were that say, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , Philip Rivers or Drew Brees I do believe that the referees officiating the game would have called the penalties …….. roughing the passer ! But invariably the calls were not made even in light of the fact that many of the hits were most definitely after the play. It’s now being left to the league and certain officials after a game to determine what’s fair concerning a hit by a player on another player on the opposing team . If there’s no consistency by the officials officiating during a game then how can anyone believe that a decision made after the result has been determined makes things right ? If anything by perception alone this smacks of incompetency and sheer stupidity on the part of the NFL . But as Goodell’s office now determines what they deem to be appropriate then I guess that the focus and mindset within the game somehow changes in terms of the competitiveness of players and how to some extent a game will be determined.

We all know that the NFL is a ‘star driven league’ that’s essentially about the pre-eminent faces there and in this case those stars are inevitably the highly prized and well known quarterbacks around the game . As I alluded to earlier, the likes of Brady , Manning , Rivers and Brees are well protected by the officials and I’ve no doubt that this is being done at the behest of the commissioner’s office. The Green Bay Packers’ ___ Aaron Rodgers has now suffered his second concussion in as many months this season and is probable for the team’s —— game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts . That being said without Rogers at the helm the Packers’ season could very well go up in smoke as they’re fighting for not only a playoff berth but also with the possibility of winning the NFC North . Things are tightening up within the NFC and it could very well be that the Green Bay Packers who were heavily favored as a playoff contender will now be on the outside looking in.

Speaking of quarterbacks isn’t it now time for Brett Favre to put an end to this farce and the possibility of him now returning to play the final three games of the Minnesota Vikings’ season ? As bad as things have been for the Vikings this season much of it has come about as Favre has seemingly fallen apart not only professionally but also privately , as there’s still an open ongoing investigation into the allegations that the player had sent sexually explicit pictures to Jenn Sterger a former New York Jets’ employee. If that wasn’t enough Favre has admitted to sending explicit messages to Sterger but states that pictures allegedly of him are in fact of someone else. Commissioner Goodell has stated that he’s close to making a decision concerning the player’s actions and that it will be in line with the league’s personal conduct policy. At best Favre would be looking at a suspension and perhaps some form of rehab which to my mind is all too little, too late considering the nature of the player’s actions and the fact that he’s married man, a father and grandfather. The league is all about its image but the fact of the matter is when it comes to doing what’s appropriate they continue to come up short repeatedly. It’s as if at times the league condones misogyny and acts such as this which are so egregious and unlawful. It now begs the question also why weren’t law enforcement officials brought in to investigate this matter when it first came to the fore ? This has been one story that Favre and the NFL wishes would go away.

The season itself now has come down to a number of teams looking to remain consistent and those looking for a backdoor into the playoffs. I’d recently suggested to a patron of my site that I felt it was ludicrous that we could very well see a team from either of the AFC West or NFC West win their division with a sub .500 record . And far be it for me to suggest but when that happens and a team with a much better record within the conference is denied a place merely because of a divisional winner’s record that to my mind smacks of stupidity ! And inasmuch as the league deems it a fair system there is nothing at all on appearance that is really fair. It’s all a matter of perception and what the league itself wishes as a proponent of the present format.

Rich McKay who’s the President of the Atlanta Falcons has proposed that the league re-seeds the teams once the regular season is over and wherein teams with a better record than those of a divisional winner within their respective conferences are given a higher seeding and home field advantage. This isn’t as complex as it might first sound but there are a number of detractors of McKay’s proposal and the fact that those teams who’d be affected aren’t entirely with these changes. But to my mind these changes would be far more beneficial to the league and for the fans but as we know the league has an aversion to change in a number of ways. Change is normally seen as being good but somehow I feel that at this moment in time the NFL would rather be at a standstill as it deals with a number of other obligations. Case in point they are no further along in their negotiations with the NFLPA and DeMaurice Smith the Executive Director of the union. And one would have thought that speeding up the labor negotiations and coming to an amicable agreement would be a great deal easier given the things at stake and possible loss of goodwill amongst the fans. In many ways I view the NFL hierarchy , owners and players as top heavy bureaucracy that’s laden with a group of idiots at all levels from the top on down.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NFL , the season and how the direction that things seem to be going for a number of teams around the league ? Chime in with a comment on your thoughts and views .

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Alan aka tophatal …………………… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sasha-XXL

Eye candy ………… Sasha . The month of June’s eye candy from XXL Magazine.
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Kimbella

The delectable Kimbella !. Is there anymore that needs to be said about her at this juncture ?

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