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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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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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

NFL standings by conference

NFL standings by league

NFL player stats thru’ week 4

NFL teams stats thru’ week 4

Week 5 schedule

NFL player injuries

NFL transactions

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

The Heisman Trophy What Is It Really ?

In many respects I find sport’s awards and those fleetingly doled out in the film industry, merely nothing more than an item meant to adorn one’s mantel piece. The Oscars and the Golden Globes are nothing more than mere baubles and they do tend place style over substance when it comes to their recipients. And the ‘hype’ that goes along with it ? Well, it’s second to none ! Seemingly so, the hype over the Hesiman Trophy is met each season with the sort of brouhaha one would come to expect from a woman who’s just bought herself the latest must have outfit from Badgley Mischka or something from from Zac Posen ?

Former NFL great, Tim Brown makes the formal announcement on ESPN, as to the five nominees for the Heisman Trophy for 2009. Brown, himself was the winner of the trophy in 1987.

Now don’t get me wrong the Heisman has a wonderful legacy and its history is replete with the names of collegiate athletes from the world of college football that stands the test of time. But in recent years it has become nothing more than a boon-doggle around the neck of the winning athlete once they’ve been named the recipient, at the Downtown Athletic Club, in New York City, New York. And it may well be the same case , come Saturday night for the five finalists nominated for this year’s award. The nominees are assured of one thing at present , they’re about to have their initial fifteen minutes of fame. And thereafter, the recipient of the award will have a great deal to live up to. That being said, given the fact that some of his most recent predecessors have found their way into the NFL. And for whom, many of them have either had a great deal of success or simply faded away into memory. I’m of the opinion that the trophy itself and what it’s said to stand for, shouldn’t at all be equated with ongoing success at the next level.

ESPN's  college football analyst and NFL Draft guru,  Mel Kiper  Jr, seen here discussing  April's NFL Draft  from the  cable outlet's facility in Baltimore ,  Maryland,.  Kiper never  seems to be at a  loss for words  when it comes  to the  world  of  collegiate or  NFL football.  He'll  put 'it'  out there   as  to his  thoughts on  NFL  draft  prospects  be  they right  or  wrong.  And  rarely will  you hear him offer  a  thought  on  his prognostications when  they  in fact turn  out  to be  horrendously  wrong.  Can  someone  please remind  him  that  Akili Smith is  no  longer in the  NFL ?  A  player  whom he  admired  from afar  and  was  bold enough to suggest  that  Smith  would  become  a  major star  and  a  multiple time  Pro Bowler  in the  league.  None  of  which , ever  came to the  fore . I  wonder why  ?   picture  appears  courtesy  fo  ap/photo/ Gail Burton  ..................
ESPN's college football analyst and NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr, seen here discussing April's NFL Draft from the cable outlet's facility in Baltimore , Maryland,. Kiper never seems to be at a loss for words when it comes to the world of collegiate or NFL football. He'll put 'it' out there as to his thoughts on NFL draft prospects be they right or wrong. And rarely will you hear him offer a thought on his prognostications when they in fact turn out to be horrendously wrong. Can someone please remind him that Akili Smith is no longer in the NFL ? A player whom he admired from afar and was bold enough to suggest that Smith would become a major star and a multiple time Pro Bowler in the league. None of which , ever came to the fore . I wonder why ? picture appears courtesy fo ap/photo/ Gail Burton ..................

And unfortunately , when the likes of ESPN’s college analyst, Mel Kiper Jr., takes center stage with his college draft board. Much of what he talks about is predicated upon at times, on the very things I’ve just mentioned. Namely of which, a Heisman trophy nominee or recipient will turn out to have an outstanding career in the NFL. Personally, I’d like to believe that the only reason Kiper is in fact in-front of our tv sets, is to remind us bald guys why it is, we prefer our very look. Simply put, Kiper’s coiff’ and that of Donald Trump‘s can be far too disconcerting when either are on tv !

The nominees for this year’s award, are from a diverse set of players. And as appears to be the norm, quarterbacks are again on the verge of stealing the show. The added attraction here, is that we have the 2007 winner in, Tim Tebow , alongside last year’s runner-up , Colt McCoy of the Texas Longhorns. In addition to this duo, we have Mark Ingram, of Alabama, Ndamukong Suh, of Nebraska and finally Stanford’s running back,Toby Gerhart. The presumptive favorites to win the trophy, may well be, Alabama’s, Mark Ingram and Texas’ Colt McCoy. But by all account there’s also growing support for the Cornusker’s, Ndamdukong Suh. The defensive tackle from Nebraska has had, an outstanding season. The ‘dark horse’ amongst the quintet presumably would be the Cardinals’ Gearhart.

Archie Griffin , former Ohio State Buckeye and  a two time  recipient  of the Heisman Trophy   in  1974 and 1975.  The only  two-time  trophy  winner  in  Heisman  history .   picture appears  courtesy  of   buckeyenews - Alexander  Thompson  ..................
Archie Griffin , former Ohio State Buckeye and a two time recipient of the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975. The only two-time trophy winner in Heisman history . picture appears courtesy of buckeyenews - Alexander Thompson ..................

And while this season’s candidates are a diverse bunch and each is warranted with their respective nomination. I think in some respects it’s always better to make the award at the culmination of the collegiate football season. But things being the way that they are and customs being the apparent norm. Saturday, we’ll either see a new face announced as being the Heisman trophy winner. Or we could in fact end up with history being made , as Florida’s Tim Tebow seeks to become only the second player in Heisman trophy history to win the award for a second time. The first person to actually win the trophy twice, was Archie Griffin of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He won the award in consecutive years , first in 1974 and then again, in 1975. A feat historic in its achievement alone. And Griffin’s career in the NFL was nonetheless, was equally as impressive. Albeit, that in the end it was curtailed by injuries.

The Heisman itself, though there’s no clear definition as to exactly what the trophy means. It’s been the long held contention that the award is presented to the ‘best player’ in collegiate football for that given year. Whether or not this is meant to be a fair way of adjudicating a player’s productivity over the course of the year. I for one feel that if it’s not broken then why try to ‘fix it’ ? And seemingly, with the numerous other collegiate awards out there to be won amongst college football. A great deal of the time many players will go unnoticed, merely because they don’t play one of the more high profiled positions within the game. Far too often, as has been the case, it has either been a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, who in the end gets the nod. And this time around it may well be no different. But then again, I may well be wrong. The rarity when it does happen, when a defensive player wins the award, has been few and infrequent. There seems to be a fixation on the offensive prowess of a candidate, if he just happens to be a player on the offensive side of the ball.

Pictures of the Heisman Trophy candidates in no discerning order.

Heisman Trophy candidate and  Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Nebraska plays Texas in the Big 12 championship college football game on Saturday.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nati Harnik  ......
Heisman Trophy candidate and Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Nebraska plays Texas in the Big 12 championship college football game on Saturday. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nati Harnik ......


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Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) celebrates after their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. Texas beat Texas A&M 49-39. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Dave Einsel .....
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) celebrates after their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. Texas beat Texas A&M 49-39. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Dave Einsel .....

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Florida quarterback Tim Tebow walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.   picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/John Bazemore ......
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/John Bazemore ......

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Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Amis ......
Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Amis ......

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Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (7) is surrounded by fans after Stanford defeated Notre Dame 45-38 in their NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Sakuma ......
Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (7) is surrounded by fans after Stanford defeated Notre Dame 45-38 in their NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Sakuma ......

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My interest in the award’s ceremony if anything, will be only fleeting at best. I tend to think that the award itself if nothing else will be something for which the recipient can use as evidence as to the body of their work while in college. As to the thought that it’ll play some sort of ‘bargaining chip’ when they embark on a career in the NFL. Well, it’s only adds a precursor as to what not to expect as to their ambitions. It’s as I’ve alluded to earlier, many of the Heisman Trophy recipients have gone on to have productive , if not prolific careers in the NFL. But a great many of them have fallen by the wayside , never to be seen or heard from again. As to what awaits this year’s winner and their future . We can only presume to think what might happen and then watch it all unfold as that winner’s career gets under way in the NFL. What are your thoughts as to the this year’s prospective winner and their impending future in the NFL ? Good , bad or indifferent ?

Recent List of Heisman Trophy winners ….

2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma
2007 Tim Tebow Florida
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State
2005 Reggie Bush USC
2004 Matt Leinart USC
2003 Jason White Oklahoma
2002 Carson Palmer USC
2001 Eric Crouch Nebraska
2000 Chris Weinke Florida State
1999 Ron Dayne Wisconsin
1998 Ricky Williams Texas
1997 Charles Woodson Michigan

Click here to see a full list of the past winners in its entirety….