All Of This Power In Just One Man’s Hands …

All Of This Power In Just One Man’s Hands

I’ve said it all along and will continue to say it , the Oakland Raiders are an NFL franchise in need of a fresh infusion of executive leadership and if nothing else a new owner. The halcyon days of Al Davis
, became the latter years of woe with the franchise shipping off Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , where Gruden would come back to bite the Raiders in the ass by leading the Buccaneers to their only triumph in the Superbowl . And while people might say Jon Gruden won with Tony Dungy’s players , the fact of the matter is , after that Superbowl triumph things would never be the same again for either franchise. The Raiders sank to new levels of depravity and the Buccaneers were never able cash in on the success achieved after that victory . Jon Gruden would then be fired by the Glazer family, owners of the franchise , only for the Buccaneers to go through several coaches, who seemingly couldn’t coach or find their way out of wet paper bag , much less proves themselves to be competent in their roles.


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In what could only described as a shocking turn of events, Jon Gruden was lured away from the ESPN broadcast booth to return back to coaching and rejoining the Oakland Raiders. Team owner Mark Davis , son of the late owner Al Davis made the decision in conjunction with GM Reggie McKenzie to sign Gruden to a ten-year $100 million contract, by far the richest deal of its kind in NFL history. Gruden it is believed will carry additional duties beyond that of coaching , having the final say in all Player Personnel decisions as well as the hiring of his own coaching staff. Anyone who’s in the know concerning Jon Gruden’s track record when it comes the drafting of players and their development, will know that his success rate has been very minuscule indeed. As to why Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis would agree to hand over the reins to Jon Gruden, can only surmised by saying that might well have been the demands made by the head coach and his agent. It was all or nothing as Gruden now seeks to wield that power with the hope of leading the Oakland Raiders back to some semblance of success.

During this off-season the Oakland Raiders have been quick to reshape the team’s roster , through the NFL Draft as well as by free agent acquisitions and the re-signing of several free agents. The main focus however will be on making sure that this will be a team of players able to complement the skill-set of quarterback Derek Carr . As to the player himself , it remains to be seen if he can regain the form that made the Raiders’ front office believe he was worth the six-figure deal signed , as they believed he was on the verge of becoming a marquee quarterback in the NFL . I believe Carr is still a long way off from that particular plateau when judged against his current peers within the league.

It will be interesting to see how good the Oakland Raiders can be during this upcoming season with Jon Gruden steering the team from the sidelines and Derek Carr leading the team on the field. In week one of the regular season the Raiders are set to face the Los Angeles Rams , their in-state rivals in a non-conference match-up , one of several due to take place during the opening week of the season . From my own perspective I feel that the Raiders will face something of an uphill battle this season as Jon Gruden seeks to reacquaint the franchise with success.

Billionaire hedge fund manager and venture capitalist David Tepper has become the newest owner in the NFL , having purchased the Carolina Panthers for a reputed $2.35 billion , making the sale the most expensive in NFL history. Tepper purchased the franchise from the now disgraced former owner Jerry Richardson , whose misogynist and racist behavior had been well-chronicled and known to the NFL hierarchy for years , but somehow Roger Goodell and owners sought to do nothing about Richardson’s behavior. Bear in mind , given the behavior of owners Jerry Jones and Robert McNair , would you really be surprised that Jerry Richardson, is not the only owner in the NFL of or with a similar mindset ? Middle-aged, and older Caucasian males in positions of power showing racist tendencies in 2018 ? Sound familiar , given the antics of Donald Trump on his way to the White House and since becoming President ?

The fact that Jerry Richardson was allowed to get away with his misconduct on such a scale , where they were allegations of sexual misconduct along with racially abusive comments directed at subordinates seems unbelievable but yet this all happened within the confines of the Carolina Panthers’ organization and outside of the franchise. I get the feeling that Roger Goodell was unconcerned by this all , until it began to threaten the image of the NFL , its bottom line and notwithstanding the actions of Colin Kaepernick which really brought so many more things into focus and within the public domain.

With David Tepper now in charge , there will be changes in how this franchise was ran and there will undoubtedly be accountability for everyone within the Carolina Panthers franchise. Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton offered very little commentary as to his own thoughts concerning the departure of Jerry Richardson. Likelihood being, the player believed his departure is now for the better of the franchise and the fans. Seven years into his NFL career and Cam Newton has proven himself to be a worthy adversary and one of the better quarterbacks now in the league. A number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and taken by the Carolina Panthers , Newton has now become the face of the franchise. If the Panthers are to succeed this season , then they will have a hell of a fight on their hands in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL where the NFC South is likely to turn into a dog-fight between three of the four teams occupying the division . Sorry Tampa Bay Buccaneers , but this won’t be your year
to bounce back at all !!!!!

Ron Rivera , Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers will be hoping for a fast start to the regular season, as his team looks to reclaim the top spot within the division. . Cam Newton and the Panthers will begin their season with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at home between these two NFC teams. Newton’s record against the Cowboys is even with a 1-1 record and the last meeting taking place in 2015 , week eleven of the season with Carolina , coming through unscathed winning the game 33-14 over Dallas.

John Lynch will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season as the San Francisco 49ers look to carry on from where they left off at the end of last season . Over their final five games there wasn’t a better team in the NFL, with the 49ers lighting up the scoreboard and the team going on a five-game win streak to end the season . As the General Manager of the Forty Niners , Lynch has been entrusted to put the franchise back on the right track . He lucked out in acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garopollo , with the player leading the team with a great deal of maturity and sense of urgency . Lynch in having succeeded Trent Baalke was given full authority by team CEO Jed York to rebuild the roster into a competitive unit. The NFL Draft proved to be fortuitous as have the trade acquisitions made under this new front office regime. With Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff providing insight along the way , there is every reason to believe the San Francisco 49ers could be a very competitive team during the 2018 NFL season .

Jimmy  Garopollo  and his teammates will open their regular season schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings on the road match-up between NFC based franchises. As with the NFL’s twenty-nine other teams there will be the customary preseason schedule , starting with the Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy have all but assured the fans, that this upcoming season will begin with controversy after coming to decision where players not standing to the National Anthem while being played at regular season games can be subject to and be fined for their non-participation . From my own perspective , I believe this ruling to be draconian and certainly impugning on the right of a player to freely express himself, bearing in mind First Amendment Rights’ . This is a dangerous maneuver by the league and one that could very well be challenged as a collective by any player seeking legal recourse within the Judicial System at the Federal Level . So far there has been nothing said by any senior member of the NFLPA (Players’ Union) , as I believe they will look for some way to challenge this legally , while there are likely to be continued protests from their rank and file members . New York Jets’ team owner Woody Johnson has stated that, he will stand behind the players on the team who choose not to participate and is willing to pay their fines no matter what the cost .

The fallout from this latest move by the NFL cannot be quantified until the start of the season and then we are likely to see how impactful this all could be . Both sides have a great deal to lose, while proponents of this move will be greatly satisfied by the stance taken by league . President Donald Trump has applauded the move, likening it to the NFL showing that it has a backbone.

It is extremely funny to think that the league (NFL) will seek to punish the players for expressing a right , freedom of speech , but will often overlook player misconduct and sometimes serious legal infractions . Does that make any sense at all ?

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the latest news now emanating from the National Football League ?

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Tophatal ………


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Up in the air , heads above the clouds ….

Up in the air , heads above the clouds …

By Tophatal

It was interesting weekend in the weekend in the world of sports , acclaimed Hollywood actor and former Oscar, Best Actor nominee, Mickey Rourke at the age of sixty-two decided to to resurrect his boxing career. Well, with his acting career , somewhat on the decline, Rourke has painstakingly fought to get himself back into shape, for what he says is a serious attempt to legitimize himself as serious athlete in the sport. At an age in Hollywood, where leading man status are so few and far between , Mickey Rourke’s attempt as a boxer now seems comical. His bout in Moscow , Russia against a journeyman boxer , the loser of nine of his last ten bouts was not only idiotic, but his this contest against Elliot Seymour , was simply a non-event.


Rourke’s bout in its entirety against Elliot Seymour .

Rourke’s opponent in this match, put up as much resistance as the French, when they were under siege in Paris during the second World War (WWII) . Claims that the bout and result was staged as nothing more than a gimmick, with the state authorities governing the sport under pressure to conduct an in depth investigation in the match, has to be met with a state of realism and I would say derision ! Personally, from my standpoint, nothing concerning the outcome happens to be a surprise at all anymore ! The sport of boxing has now become a paradoxical paradigm and a complete joke ! With fans now yearning for a multi-million dollar mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao , the thought process has to be any damn gimmick to heighten the interest in a waning sport has to be better than nothing at all.

Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

Elsewhere , within the AFC West both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers came away with victories, that kept their divisional and postseason hopes alive. Peyton Manning and the Broncos had an easy victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , while the Chargers came away with a narrow win over the Baltimore Ravens, leaving John Harbaugh’s team in a tightly contested divisional race in the AFC North. John Harbaugh’s sibling , Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers saw his team put up a rather inept performance as the Forty Niners went down without much of fight in a 19-3 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The loss might well have sealed the fate of the Forty Niners with this divisional loss and their chance of the NFC West divisional title outright. There remains mounting speculation also, concerning the future of Jim Harbaugh, as there seems to be a growing discord between the head coach and senior executives within the organization’s front office. GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke may well come to the decision to relieve their head coach of his duties at the end of the season. Among the NFL teams said to be interested in the services of Harbaugh are the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.

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The best contest of this past Sunday in the NFL was the eagerly anticipated match-up between Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This was only the second professional meeting between two of the league’s most outstanding quarterbacks. With everything to play for including the best record in the league, this contest lived up the expectations and a great deal more. Brady was unable to mount a game-winning drive or come from behind win as the Packers came away with a home victory.

Green Bay not normally known to have a stout defense held the Patriots’ offense to five first-downs and under one hundred rushing yards in the contest .New England for their part face a tough clash when they go on the road to play Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego, California on Sunday afternoon.

The College Football season has seen its highs and lows but this past weekend may well have sent reverberations around the game’s landscape with the death of Ohio State Buckeyes’ player Kosta Karageorge . The defensive lineman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, with his body being found in a dumpster not far from the college’s main campus in Columbus , Ohio,. Columbus Police Department are not treating his death as suspicious, but their ongoing investigation has revealed that Karageorge had been suffering with bouts of depression as well as repeated headaches brought on by concussions likely suffered during his playing career with the Buckeyes. Kosta Karageorge was also an accomplished wrestler and member of of the Buckeyes’ wrestling team as well as being part of this season’s sixth-ranked team in the nation. It has been seen as a devastating blow to the program as well as to his teammates and his fellow students on campus .

Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer has offered his condolences to Karageorge’s family on their loss, but I cannot help but wonder where were the coaches and the team’s medical staff as well campus counselors in the midst of this all ? For years we have been told by the NCAA and many of the more prominent coaches within the game, stressed that safety has been of the utmost importance, but neither NCAA President Mark Emmert or Urban Meyer himself, have ever stressed that to be of utmost importance and whereby the schools or college athletics’ governing body have jointly conducted an in-depth study of the cause and effects of blunt force head trauma from an extremely physical and violent sport such as College Football. While this issues still remains something of a ” hot potato” in the NFL , with Roger Goodell either backtracking or seemingly trying to be proactive on the issue, it is becoming abundantly clear, the only things that seems to matter to the conference commissioners and coaches , are the burgeoning financial windfalls to the sport and the level of publicity raised for the respective programs. Whether not Karageorge’s death will lead to a rethink on the part of the NCAA or Ohio State and how they treat the issue of concussions suffered by athletes will be predicated upon the actions of the athletics department and coaching staff moving forward. As to the NCAA itself, it continues to be an archaic and corrupt organization devoid real leadership and ingenuity.

Ohio State (11-1 ,8-0) stand atop of the Big Ten Conference and on track to garner a playoff berth for the inaugural season of the postseason format in College Football. Next up for the team will be the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Wisconsin (Badgers) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana on the 6th December , 2014. That contest should be a rip-rousing affair with both teams seeking to impose their will against each other.

As Mississippi State’s season has been curtailed after their loss to Alabama (Crimson Tide) in a classic SEC game as has often been the case with the best conference in College Football. With the Bulldog’s fall from grace , so too possibly has the chances of Dak Prescott to win the Heisman Trophy . The Bulldogs’ quarterback is having an exceptional year and though the defeat has led to their dropping down in the rankings, while Alabama’s ascent to the top seems to have happened with the utmost of ease, although they are are a one-loss team. Defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) and their troubled Heisman Trophy star Jameis Winston remain unbeaten and on track it would appear, to make their way back to the national championship game. Any slip-up by the Crimson Tide or the number two ranked Oregon (Ducks) and the Seminoles will be a ” shoo-in for one of the two final berths for the title game.

Oregon’s quarterback Marcus Mariota and his team am are in still in the running for a championship berth and a case could very well be made they might be more deserving of one of the two berths than Florida State whose schedule might well be deemed inferior to the Ducks’ over the course of this season. The upcoming games for both teams are likely to prove to be intriguing with Florida St taking on Georgia Tech (Yellowjackets), while Oregon will pursue Arizona (Wildcats) in an all Pac-12 clash.

The NBA season has been dire and were not yet one-quarter of the way through the schedule. Suffice to say, a number of teams’ seasons are essentially on track to franchise leading paths to possible ineptitude and most certainly at this juncture it is definitely the case of the win-less Philadelphia 76ers, who now bear the mark of starting their season on a sixteen-game losing streak. At this point, it would be fair to suggest that the Sixers haven’t a shot in hell of winning the NBA title though they might well be on the path to leading the NBA for the second time in three seasons> for sheer ineptitude .

It is hard to imagine how the league hierarchy and a number of NBA analysts can continue to look the other way, when a franchise such as the Philadelphia 76ers can continue to demonstrate such monstrous ineptitude, while trying to point to the fact that the level of play in the league, is said to be great, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brett Brown and his Sixers’ team will have the privilege of facing the defending NBA champions at home on Monday Night when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. Neither defense or offense have been prerequisites of a 76ers’ team actually starved of creativity and the very fact Brown and his coaching staff appear to be out of their depth. A seventeenth consecutive loss does seem to be on the cards and the league’s longest losing streak of twenty-six games ought to be Philadelphia’s for the taking .

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If someone can impart some wisdom upon me, as why I should have any belief in two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, then I would like to hear from right now ! To witness how bad the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become is a question as to how inept their owners and respective coaching staffs are said to be . One can wax on lyrically about the fact Mitch Kupchak has won four NBA titles as a front office executive and Phil Jackson’s legacy as an NBA head coach makes him, perhaps the greatest NBA coach in the league’s history. Let us however, put it all into context, Kupchak has not actually been able to assemble a roster without the talents of two superstars to provide the Lakers with their most recent successes. I would dare say, without the insight of his predecessor Jerry West, their five most recent titles would not have come into being without the acquisitions of Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal. With the last of the franchise’s triumphs coming in 2010 , albeit, that O’Neal was no longer part of those two final series’ victories.

This season the Lakers’ 4-13 mark places the team at the bottom of the Western East Conference with no respite in sight. As to what this might suggest about the coaching acumen of Byron Scott and the mediocrity of the roster will play a great deal in how this organization is likely to move forward, as they approach the trade deadline. Coming off a seven-point victory over the Toronto Raptors may well provide the Lakers with the momentum needed, but it has become abundantly clear this team is far from being competitive enough to be in with a remote chance of winning their division, much less a conference berth as an eighth seed or better for the NBA Playoffs .

I am not saying the New York Knicks have capitulated , but even Phil Jackson had to have known James Dolan’s request for him to assume control for all player personnel decision moves, was not going to make his job any easier. He has a player roster that has marginal talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony and beyond that the pickings are threadbare.

The saying is , ” it’s not easy being cheesy “. Well , the Knicks have been that and a great deal more, with it being a reflection of their current record in the NBA. Feeling sorry for this team is akin to seeking to make an amends for an obese individual, who has no intent to look after their health .I mean, it is not as if this New York Knicks have actually shown a propensity to improve over the course of this season, as borne out in their standing within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, where only the Philadelphia 76ers lies beneath them in the division. To bear this out further, on Sunday night, Derek Fisher and his rag-tag of a team hosted their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York. As hosts, the Knicks succumbed to the Heat , with the utmost of ease, and their being no resilience shown by New York throughout this entire contest. Once again, it was left to Carmelo Anthony to try and carry the Knicks on his back, as he has so often done throughout his career with this franchise. If Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills cannot recognize the real issues on this roster, without this incessant idiotic belief that the ‘ Triangle Offense ‘ will aid this team , then the proponents of that idiocy, clearly have no damn idea as to what the hell they are talking about concerning this roster and their play , ultimately in this case, the lack of it .

Next up for Fisher and the New York Knicks will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets 6-9, the Big Apple’s other franchise whose own woes are no better than their conference rivals. New York ” bragging rights” or not , this is likely to be one spectacle that the NBA’s fans can do without as two pitiful teams face off against each other.

A last place finish in the AL East was enough to convince Tom Werner and John Henry , owners of the Boston Red Sox that something drastic had to done to bolster last season’s roster . GM Ben Cherington wasted no time in making a big splash signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez . Boston’s acquisitions are unlikely to be over as they may well seek to make further additions to their projected roster as well losing several players to through attrition via free agency.

Having committed almost $200 million in acquiring both Ramirez and Sandoval , you simply get the impression the Red Sox will not stand idly by while the Baltimore Orioles , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays seek improve their rosters. Oh wait, let’s be real, the Rays are unlikely to make that sort of financial sacrifice to begin with, as the front office would rather penny-pinch , bitch and whine all the way into next season , as to their dire situation, financially and dare I say it , logistically ?

The Rays lost their two biggest assets during this off-season when GM Andrew Friedman sought to take his services elsewhere, rather than having to deal with an off-season of uncertainty and the constant whining among the local political dignitaries as well managing partner Stuart Sternberg, as to how close the franchise might to getting a new venue to replace the archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Following Friedman through what has now become the Rays’ postseason turnstile, was the franchise’s most successful manager Joe Maddon. His signing a five-year $25.5 million deal to manage the Chicago Cubs , may on the face of it seem comedic. However, the Cubs are likely to move heaven and earth to give their new manager the tools necessary to get the job done , as they seek their first World Series’ title in over a century. Could the same thing be said of the Rays while Maddon’s tenure brought about a lone appearance in baseball’s showcase finale ? Tampa’s last postseason appearance came in 2013, when they were summarily dispatched with a great deal of ease by the the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS .

Tampa has yet to name a new manager to succeed Joe Maddon and it appears the interview process remains ongoing, but topping the list of potential candidates is Raul Ibanez . Rays’ GM Matt Silverman has not confirmed or denied that the ball-club is still pursuing the former player, but it would appear the organization would rather their cards closely to their chest, than divulge their apparent choice of a successor to Maddon.

While the Boston Red Sox will be hoping for quick turnaround in 2014, a return to the postseason, where their last appearance came in 2013 and unlikely run to the World Series’ that year. For the Tampa Bay Rays, it could very well be another forlorn season where the team lacks leadership both on and off the field of play. Evan Longoria continues to play the part of a Major League star, but what the franchise actually desires from the player are ” superstar exploits “ and a great deal more vocal leadership, none of which has ever really appeared to be evident with Longoria, during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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What if anything, may well have piqued your interest, of the sports’ stories which came into being during this past weekend ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of this site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) Mickey Rourke, right , is seen here taking on his opponent Elliot Seymour in what was said to be legitimate bout, but in some circles the contest is being viewed as simply an exhibition fight. The fact remains , it was something of a sham event , that took place at the Moscow Concert Hall as an under-card event . Elliot was said to be a former Golden Gloves’ champion with a credible record as an amateur . What is known about Rourke’s opponent, was that he has been homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles and was used as a sparring partner for some of the stable of fighters within Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing , managerial and promotional arm of Oscar De La Hoya’s sports’ interests . De La Hoya was not involved in the promotion of the bout and has distanced himself the controversy surrounding the fight. . Getty Images / Mattheus Huchtner …

(2) Mickey Rourke lands a blow to the head of his opponent Elliot Seymour during the first round of their five round bout . Rourke managed to knock down Seymour six times during the fight , three times during the second round . The bout was eventually stopped by the referee to stop the Los Angeles’ based fighter from suffering further punishment . UPI Press Syndicate Europe ….

(3) Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

(4) Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against DeMarcus Ware (94) of the Denver Broncos during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America /Peter Aitken …

(5) Tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) of the New England Patriots runs with the football after a reception past free safety Clinton-Dix (21) of the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Getty Images / Christian Petersen …

(6) Kosta Karageorge a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ football and wrestling team. The player’s body was found in a dumpster in what the local law enforcement agency believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound . The weapon was found close by with the victim’s body in close proximity to the main campus of Ohio State University. The Columbus Police Dept will be carrying out their ongoing investigation , but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances behind Karageorge’s death . AP Photo / Keith Jardine …

(7) Oregon Ducks’ starting quarterback and almost certainly the Heisman Trphy favorite for 2014 Marcus Mariota . AP Photo/ Chris Harper … ….

(8) Brett Brown head coach of the Philadelphia 7ers , the team currently with the worst record in the NBA. Getty Images / Angela Harris …

(9) Boston Red Sox senior executives , John Henry , left and media mogul Tom Werner . The pair are hoping to see an immediate turnaround for the franchise this upcoming season . Courtesy of The Boston Globe ….

(10) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, long considered to be the franchise’s best player and the outward face of the organization . Questions have arisen about Longoria’s ability to lead and be more vocal on a team , that is certainly desperate for success, where in the AL East they have to deal with the burgeoning financial resources of the four other occupants of the division . Tampa Bay Times ….. all rights reserved @ copyrighted material …..

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They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

It tells you a great deal about a franchise, when it just happens to be the team owner making many of the personnel decisions , rather than the coaching or front office staff of a team. We have all witnessed the machinations of Al Davis , former owner of the Oakland Raiders and how he continued to ruin the franchise during the latter years of his tenure. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has still not seen his beloved team win a Superbowl in over a decade . Now, while having the customary setback after their loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week nine , with Tony Romo now on the team’s injury reserve list and their being mounting speculation as to if he will be suited up for the Cowboys’ game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars . If Romo is unable to play , a game time decision is likely to be made by head coach Jason Garrett but with a great deal of input coming from Jerry Jones. It remains to be seen whether the incumbent starter will be replaced by his backup Brandon Weeden.

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With their defeat the Dallas Cowboys lost their grip on the NFC East , with the Philadelphia Eagles now leading the division over their arch rival . For the Eagles their worries have now manifested with the loss of starting quarterback Nick Foles for as many as three weeks. Foles’ loss will likely provide the opportunity for Mark Sanchez to resurrect his career in the NFL . Sanchez will get the start when the Philadelphia Eagles play host to the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, in the Monday night game on the 10th November ,2014.

Mark Sanchez will be asked to be conservative in his play, with the likely propensity for Chip Kelly to use the ground game against the Panthers in this all NFC contest . There is no denying the Eagles will need this win, if only maintain their lead over the Dallas Cowboys. These two NFC East adversaries still have to meet in their seasonal match-ups, which will take place during week twelve at AT&Stadium in Arlington, Texas and with the second of the two contests reverting to Philadelphia in week fifteen.

If Jerry Jones is said to have a high opinion of his own managerial acumen, then his peer, Daniel Snyder , owner of the Washington Redskins , who it is believed insisted Robert Griffin III , be given the start in week nine against the Minnesota Vikings. Griffin returning from an injury was less than stellar in the game where the Vikings came away with the victory. Ill-timed pass attempts and failure to connect with a number of his receivers played a part in the Redskins’ defeat and Robert Griffin’s poor play.

With their depth chart simply thin on experienced quarterbacks, Jay Gruden and his coaching staff have brought in Terrell Pryor with a view to assessing the player’s attributes and whether or not he would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins’ team. Pryor’s career in the NFL can be best described as lackluster and very much understated. This could be considered the desperate act of a head coach at his wit’s end , whose faith in the quarterbacks now on the roster, is are less than he expected to see , given the experience of Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III .

The Redskins are now in a dire position and great deal of the blame for their situation can be placed firmly on the shoulders of GM Bruce Allen, Gruden’s predecessor , Mike Shanahan , his former assistant , the team’s former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan . Shanahan and his son, were simply bereft of creativity and the relationship with Daniel Snyder was less then commendable , during the latter part of their tenure with the Washington Redskins.

Ben Roethlisbeger seems to be back at his very best, with the Pittsburgh Steelers now riding high within the AFC North and the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback now showing the poise and play with the performances, likely to put the Steelers back in the postseason for the first time in three years , when their last appearance came in 2011 as a wildcard entrant , where they fell to the Denver Broncos in a narrow six-point loss. The Steelers are winners of four of their last five regular season games, with their last defeat coming in a 31-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in week six. Roehtlisberger in those five contests, has simply been unbelievable , passing for over 1664 yards , fourteen touchdowns , one interception , with a 112.55 quarterback rating. Rarefied air , but nothing, coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t seen from the player since becoming the head coach.

Pittsburgh, with their lead in a very competitive AFC North, now down to a one-game margin, there remains a great deal to play for, with each of the four teams all in with a shot of claiming the divisional crown , barring any mishaps or major injuries . The Steelers’ passing game has always been based on the efficiency of their quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger has been resplendent in showing his prowess during the season , where he has been among the most successful quarterbacks in the the league up to this point of the NFL schedule. A week ten match-up against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey, will see the Pittsburgh Steelers take on their AFC East conference rivals . To describe the Jets’ seasonas dire would be an understatement , where there has been a convergence of ineptitude witnessed in the poor play of Geno Smith as well as the entire team under head coach Rex Ryan. Many are now wondering, if the head coach can survive the rest of the season or will he simply be allowed to coach the team until the end of their regular season schedule. Jets’ GM John Idzik has not been candid about the coach’s position , with criticism also being leveled at the front office executive for his decision making and handling of the organization.

An eight-game losing streak has seen the New York Jets’ pratfalls take on comical implications for the team and their fans in attendance for their home games. If there was decision to be made about “eating crow” or eating dog crap by the fans of the New York Jets, I get the feeling they would take delight in eating both , and then take aim at Geno Smith and Rex Ryan , showing their displeasure at the duo. If Smith’s backup Michael Vick is made the starter for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers , I am not so sure the veteran quarterback can lead the team to a victory. Vick still believes he can be productive for an NFL franchise at this stage of his career, but those grandiose ideas should now be placed on a back-burner for a player who has failed to live up to expectations. Geno Smith , Michael Vick and Rex Ryan’s career have now become intertwined and it is extremely difficult to see how the Jets as a franchise, can move forward, with all three still being a part of this organization.

Five straight games of passing for three-hundred yards or more , have placed the credentials of Andrew Luck under even more scrutiny as the top pick from the 2012 NFL Draft has seen his stature rise since he entered the NFL. There were doubts , as to whether or not he could succeed Peyton Manning and then lead the Indianapolis Colts to any semblance of success. Two consecutive postseason appearances have a way of bolstering a young player’s credentials and clearly that has been achieved by Andrew Luck. Now the question becomes, can he lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory ?

Though the Colts have not fallen short short in their last two games . In week eight they were on the wrong side of an entertaining and high-scoring contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, during which Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger combined for over eight-hundred yards of passing offense , nine touchdowns and a single interception . Chuck Pagano must like what he is now seeing from his young quarterback , with his only concern being the number of interceptions thrown by the player. Indiana’s victory over to the New York Giants was a timely booster , wasn’t perplexing , a great deal of which can be put down to the fact the Giants’ defense has performed inconsistently over the course of the season, rather than suggesting Eli Manning is now back at his very best . Manning , his teammates and the coaching staff are still trying figure out the conundrum that has become their season .

A bye-week in week ten, will Chuck Pagano’s players the chance to recuperate , study the playbook and then prepare for their week eleven contest agains the New England Patriots , their quarterback Tom Brady who once again is having an exceptional season.

Confounding critics, who may well have written them off , after their embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots are back on track and raring to go. The second half of the team’s schedule is a daunting one , with several difficult games on their agenda. Their week nine annihilation of the Denver Broncos was clinical , where the highlight , was meant to be the chance to witness another Tom Brady Peyton Manning match-up, didn’t quite live up to expectation, with the Broncos’ defense simply being in tatters after being shredded by Brady. If John Fox is said to have a concern , then it has to be the fact the Denver Broncos’ secondary even with the acquisitions made are no better than their lineup of last season. Struggled as they have, if the Denver Broncos are to rekindle their hopes of making the postseason and and completely eradicate the memories of the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl, then their defense will have to be far more efficient , than we have seen this season.

Peyton Manning remains one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history having broken several of league’s most revered records as he certainly goes on to become future inductee to the Hall of Fame. There is no denying the Denver Broncos are only as good as their quarterback is said to be on game-day , and granted, there are likely to be times where Manning will have an exceptional game , but the team will end up losing the contest , but more than not , it tends to be something of a rarity with this high-caliber player

Johnny Manziel might not have been the first quarterback taken in this most recent NFL Draft, even with their being proponents of the player to be taken higher, with many believing him to be a consensus top-five pick , if not the number one overall pick. The Cleveland Browns drafted the former Texas AM quarterback and he has become an integral part of the team , while being offered a number of opportunities to show his skill-set.

For the moment, Brian Hoyer has the starting role for the Browns and with the team being in contention for the AFC North , there can be no justification to have Manzel inserted into the lineup, as the starting quarterback , in spite of the clamor for him to be on the field. Mike Pettine knows there may well come a time at some point in the season where Johnny Manziel will be called on to take the reins , but for the time being I am inclined to believe he will will continue to ride on the ” hot hand ” of his current starting quarterback.

Cleveland’s defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added to the Buccaneers’ woes and has sparked the belief with the Cleveland Browns’ fans , this could be the season, where they challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals for divisional supremacy and a postseason berth. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will meet in a Thursday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium, in Cincinnati , Ohio,.

A case could be made where the Jacksonville Jaguars’ faith in Blake Bortles might well have been over-reaching with the belief if made a starter , the rookie quarterback could ignite this fading franchise. Hard to believe the last quarterback of note for the organization was Mark Brunell. Considering Brunell’s last game for the Jaguars was during the 2003 NFL season and that his last professional game as a quarterback came in week fourteen of the regular season schedule in 2011 , when he played for the New York Jets as a veteran forty-one year old. The fact that the Jets were on the wrong side of a demoralizing loss suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, should not come as a big surprise.

Gus Bradley and his coaching staff will now seek to guide Bortles through the landmines and trappings of being a rookie quarterback , the front office sought to be the future of the franchise. A 1-8 record is not at all inspiring and though Blake Bortles cannot be blamed for the team’s mediocre statistics , yet it does beg the question , if his baptism of fire can be so bad, what are the alternatives if any for the organization to take at this juncture ?

Jacksonsville will have the Dallas Cowboys as their guests this upcoming Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England , where the Cowboys will be hoping for Tony Romo to make his return after being sidelined in week nine due to an injury. Both teams are in need of a victory , but the signs point to a road win for the visiting team , in what is likely to turn out to be a lopsided contest.

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In the age of the quarterback , where NFL has now become systematically about the passing game and defenses being asked to slow down and actually negate that facet of the game. There is no denying the passers in today’s game are seen as the on field generals, with their salaries and contracts being among the highest offered in the league. How do you see the NFL manifesting itself in terms of how the game is perceived and the appreciation of the quarterbacks ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article .

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(1) From left to right , Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett , defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and the team’s quarterback Tony Romo. The trio arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game to be played at Wembley Stadium . AP Photo / Eric Barton …

(2) Brandon Weeden (3) of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 7, 2014 in San Diego, California. If Tony Romo is declared unfit for the Cowboys’ game against the Jaguars then Weeden is likely to get the start. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ….

(3) Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles is seen here during a game played against the St Louis Rams . With the unavailability of starting quarterback Nick Foles , Sanchez as the backup, will now be inserted into the starting role by head coach Chip Kelly. AP Photo / Howard Jones ..

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is congratulated by Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts after Pittsburgh’s 51-34 win at Heinz Field on October 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The duo of AFC quarterbacks put on an exhilarating display in providing the fans of the NFL with the highest scoring game of the day during week eight . Getty Images / Stephen Dunn …

(5) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) looks to make an offensive play on the ground in a game against the Minnesota Vikings . The Redskins lost the game and pretty much any chance of making a legitimate run to win their division or gain a postseason berth. AP Photo/ Michael Parsons

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos exchange post-game salutations . Brady and the Patriots defeated the Broncos in their AFC clash , which was somewhat , a lopsided affair , ending with New England’s victory over their arch rivals. Getty Images / Andreas Matsos ..

(7) Blake Bortles left , of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns , are two of this season’s NFL rookie quarterbacks looking to gain some playing experience in the NFL this year. The Cleveland Browns are looking to make a serious push to win the AFC North, where they currently sit in a Isecond place tie with the Cincinnati Bengals , one game behind division leaders the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) . AP Photo/ Tracey Atwater …..
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It’s not over ’til it’s over or is it ?

It’s not over ’til it’s over or is it ?

Well, week six in the NFL gave the fans a reason to believe this league has indeed decidedly taken a turn for the worse in terms of the play of the teams. Dire consequences were seen in the losses suffered by the New York Giants, New York Jets , Miami Dolphins , Jacksonville Jaguars , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers . As to what this might suggest about these teams can be best judged by their respective records within their division, conference and league.

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As troubling as these results are said to be, other than the firing of Dennis Allen, formerly of the Oakland Raiders , there has yet to be second dismissal of an NFL head coach this season.The Raiders remain win-less and it is hard to imagine where their first victory is likely to come from , given the continually poor play of the team . A narrow three-point loss to divisional rivals the San Diego Chargers dampened the hopes of Oakland getting off the and so now we have a situation, where, there once again seems to be, lack of leadership on the roster and coaching acumen from the coaching staff led by interim head coach Tony Sparano .

In week seven the Raiders will face a tough test when they take on their former quarterback Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals in a home game at the Oakland Alameda County Stadium (O Coliseum) in Oakland, California . If Oakland are to save their season much less redeem themselves, then a win is of the utmost priority for Tony Sparano and his team. This is not a game, which the Cardinals are likely to take lightly, even if they are seen to be the prohibitive favorites among NFL analysts and fans alike. I would dare say, the odds-makers in Las Vegas are licking their lips , savoring what they seem to be the outcome of a game that on paper would </aappear to be lopsided and favoring the visiting team.

I’ll say this for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , they are increasingly finding new ways to embarrass themselves as players, their fans and the franchise as a whole. Lovie Smith has inherited a mess , but it now appears , he and his coaching staff are now piling on even more ineptitude with each passing week. A week four victory over the injury riddled Pittsburgh Steelers has been the sole bright spot for the, team but it should be noted the win was then followed by two consecutive losses, with the Buccaneers being outscored 85-48 in those defeats. Sunday’s loss was as embarrassing as the score suggests (48-17) , with fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida already leaving the venue before the beginning of the second half of the game , in their totally lopsided defeat, suffered at the hands of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens</a>.

<a href=”http://pro-football-reference.com/players/McCoJo01.htm”> Josh McCown has not fared all that well as a starter this season and with the insertion of Mike Glennon into the lineup, things have gone from bad to worse , with absolutely no one on the team showing any signs of life. So much for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being seen as a likely challenger within the NFC South this season. About the only thing the Buccaneers might be on the road to challenging, has to be , who is actually the worst team in the NFL , not just by record but also in terms of sheer incompetence ?

There are several players on this current Buccaneers’ roster who are overpaid and not worth the salaries being paid out . GM Jason Licht may well have some serious decisions to make by the trade deadline and at the end of the season. In the short-term the team can be thankful , week seven is a bye-week , where they can lick their wounds and recuperate before proceeding to take on their next opponent the Minnesota Vikingsin week eight, a home game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III are two players who are likely to becomean enigma for Washington Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden as he seeks to coach and guide the team this season. With the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles now locked in a tight divisional race within the NFC East , I can only surmise the Redskins’ chances have all but disappeared , likewise also, for the New York Giants.

Daniel ‘Dan’ Snyder may well be one of the wealthiest owners in the NFL , but the acumen now being shown within the front office of the organization he owns, can be best described as imbecilic and impetuous. Redskins’ GM Bruce Allen and his decision making has to be a cause of real concern, beyond the all too obvious inexperience of Jay Gruden as an NFL head coach. The Washington Redskins (1-5) are now firmly rooted at the bottom of the division and coming off their 30-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the question has become , where does the team now go from here ? Up or down ? Taking their their play, I am inclined to believe the worst is yet to come !

Fedex Field, in Landover , Maryland, scene to some of the Washington Redskins’ greatest regular season triumphs will seek to add to that famed legacy when the team plays host to the Tennessee Titans this upcoming Sunday,19th October , 2014. With a great deal at stake , both teams will be seeking a much-needed victory. The contest could go either way but a great deal will be predicated upon the resolve shown by the opposing quarterbacks, likely to be Kirk Cousins and a fully recuperated Jake Locker , or whose backups on the Titans’ depth chart are Charlie Whitehurst and Zack Mettenberger.

Last season , Eli Manning made the statement , he believed , he remains one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Granted, as a two-time winning Superbowl quarterback he has every right to believe it to be the case, Yet, his statistics do not bear that out in 2013 or this season as we enter week seven of the NFL schedule . The New York Giants (3-3) are laboring under a great of pressure and with the loss of wide receiver Victor Cruz the team’s issues are now further exacerbated by his season ending injury.

Tom Coughlin head coach of the Giants’ most recent Superbowl successes is likely to be under the microscope over the remainder of the season. The front office are acutely aware of the team’s issues and the likelihood the head coach could be fired , there is a thought GM Jerry Reese could make the decision to fire the head coach. Coughlin appears to have lost the confidence of the team beyond the fact of the team’s injury woes and lack of consistency shown this season, borne out by the Giants’ 3-3 record . What may well push the front office to take some action could be the lack of determination shown when the New York Giants lost their week six contest , a 27-0 blowout loss to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles . The game itself, was simply horrendous to watch from the standpoint of being a Giants’ fan as the team could do nothing right from the first snap of the ball until the final whistle was blown to end the match-up in the fourth quarter.

Eli Manning’s own future with the New York Giants could come into question, as there seems to be a belief the player lacks the drive and determination to lead this team. He has to my mind, simply rested on his laurels, because of the two Superbowl victories, rather than seeking to improve his play and set future goals and priorities . Not due to become a free agent until 2016 , Manning could become a sought after commodity should the Giants not seek to re-sign the player, but it appears highly unlikely he will be cut by the franchise, with the team having few alternatives as a backup to Eli Manning. The Giants will be the guests of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, in a divisional contest where the Cowboys will be seeking to increase their lead within the NFC East over their divisional rivals.

In the contest, it will be interesting to see whether or not Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray can make it seven straight games of rushing for 100 yards or more , something achieved only by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown when he ran for seven consecutive games of over one hundred yards in 1958 . This is a feat never achieved at all by legendary Cowboys’ rusher Emmitt Smith over the course of his career.

The Dallas Cowboys are playing like a team on a mission, with Tony Romo having his best start to a season in quite a long time with the team on a five-game winning streak which places them atop of the NFC East as well as having the best record in the NFC and league overall based on their streak . In this match-up against the New York Giants , I firmly believe the only way the Cowboys can incur a loss , is if they become complacent and simply believe they can look at this contest as a cakewalk . Over the last three seasons these divisional match-ups with between the two divisional rivals have brought the best and the worst in both teams. DeMarco Murray , alongside Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning are considered to be the front-runners for the AP League MVP, a title wonby the Broncos’ quarterback a record five times since 2003.

The more things change the more they remain the same and it could be said the call for the departure of Mark Sanchez from the New York Jets , where the final two years of his career with the franchise saw highs and many lows, brought about the call for change. The Jets’ drafting of quarterback Geno Smith was seen as a step in the right direction, but who could have foreseen Smith’s career with the Jets could be described as an unmitigated disaster. Smith has yet to show the alleged talents which made him a star at West Virginia .

Rex Ryan and his hapless coaching staff have led the team to a 1-5 start to their season in the AFC East. All of the rhetoric and pragmatism in the world cannot hide the fact the Jets are a very mediocre team with their being no vocal leaderon the roster, much less among the coaching staff. As if to emphasize the problems of the New York Jets this season , consider the fact in their most recent outing against the Denver Broncos , the team was blown out 31-17 , with their being no signs they were in a position to score a point , through a field goal attempt , passing or rushing touchdown. Defensively , the team was found wanting and Geno Smith’s performance was among the worst in week six of the starting quarterbacks on the day.

For the Jets their season, is now mired in mediocrity and there seems to be little sign, either Smith or his backup Michael Vick can lead the team out of their abyss. Things will not get any easierin the New York Jets’ next game when they are scheduled to meet AFC East divisional leaders the New England Patriots. With Tom Brady and the Patriots coming off their decisive win over the Buffalo Bills , this game against New England could place Rex Ryan’s job in a great deal of danger, should the team come away from this game with a loss. Jets’ GM John Idzik will have to make a long-term decision concerning his head coach and the coaching staff at the end of the season , because it has become abundantly clear , the coach has no real solution for the team’s ongoing woes.

The shakeup has begun and what was meant to be a two-horse race within the NFC West , is becoming a story of resurrection, though not necessarily redemption for Carson Palmer, as the Arizona Cardinals are riding high in the division , where last season it was something of a lottery pick, as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks toughed it out it out for divisional supremacy. The Seahawks came away with the Superbowl , with Russell Wilson having a spectacular postseason for the team. This season, both the Forty Niners and Seattle have faltered , allowing the Cardinals to take advantage of a division in the midst of what appears to be a shift in dominance.

If Bruce Arians can lead lead the Cardinals into the postseason, then there is the likelihood, he would be seen as a clear favorite to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award . I don’t believe there are any other close candidates, albeit, some might want to suggest Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys is worthy of a mention because of the team’s early season start , but the season having already entered the second quarter of the season, there still remains a a great deal to play for , starting with week seven. Arizona will be the guests of the Oakland Raiders, who still seek their first win of the season, something I cannot see happening in this upcoming game , as I believe the Raiders are simply lacking in confidence, with Tony Sparano not being a great motivator of players, given his past head coaching experience and record .

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Through the first six games of this season what do you believe has been the biggest highlight of the year and which team or teams would you say have been the most disappointing ? Of the players said to be at the forefront of the League MVP race , which performance or set of performances have stood out the most ? By all means, do take time to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe is content related to this article and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants cheers on his team as they warm up before the start of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 12, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants suffered a 27-0 loss to the Eagles for one of the most lopsided defeats suffered by the team in a match-up between the two teams over the past eight seasons. Getty Images /Rich Schulz …

(2) Quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants throws a pass during a football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 12, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Evan Habeeb …

(3) Quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants is sacked by Trent Cole (58) of the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter in a football game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 12, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Rich Schulz

(4) Torrey Smith (82) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after a nine-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …

(5) Mike Glennon (8) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to throw a pass in the first half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / Joe Robbins …

(6) Quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) of the Washington Redskins talks with head coach Jay Gruden after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedExField on September 14, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. It was one of the few times during the season where the Redskins have played with some consistency , albeit , it was against a rather dull Jaguars’ team . Getty Images/ Patrick Smith …

(7) Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talks with his quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III (10) and Kirk Cousins (8) during a first half timeout against the New England Patriots on August 7, 2014 in Landover, MD. Getty Images / Mark Hart ….

(8) Free safety Barry Church (42) of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after breaking up a pass intended for wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) of the Seattle Seahawks in the end zone during the first quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on October 12, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images North America / Steve Dykes …

(9) Running back DeMarco Murray (29) of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) of the Dallas Cowboys after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 12, 2014 in Seattle,Washington. Steve Dykes / Getty Images …

(10) Demaryius Thomas (88) span> of the Denver Broncos runs the ball in the first quarter during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 12, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(11) Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos on October 12, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Denver Broncos defeated the New York Jets 31-17 . The two opposing quarterbacks had differing results on the day , borne out by their respective statistics . . Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez ….

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She comes baring some delightful fruits .

” The Tampa-Two Defense” now a takes on a whole new meaning , when Wendy Fiore comes into focus, unlike the Bucs’ defense which was nowhere to be seen this past Sunday .

No sleep ’til Brooklyn …………

No sleep ‘til Brooklyn

Week nine in the NFL offered few surprises , unless you just happen to be buying into the fact that Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles might now be the second coming of Joe Montana and Steve Young all rolled into one ? The fact of the matter is , when your opponent just happens to the Oakland Raiders , the opposition with all due candor , that is unlikely to prove to be a stern test . Let us just say at present , the Raiders’ season is already over , bar the shouting and Mark Davis , along with GM Reggie McKenzie are likely to bring about to an end , the tenure of Dennis Allen as the team’s head coach . The talent level on this Raiders’ team might just be at its lowest in several years , with the franchise likely to miss the postseason , as well as posting a sub .500 record or worse for the eleventh consecutive season . Consider, the fact also , that the Oakland Raiders’ last postseason appearance, came during the 2002 postseason . The franchise has now become historically woeful, with only the “Raider Nation ” faithful, standing by the team. As to what may well happen next, is now a matter of conjecture and speculation , as the Raiders prepare for their week ten opponent the New York Giants who they will face at the Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey , this upcoming Sunday .

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The Raiders’ rather lopsided 49-20 defeat suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles , should come as no surprise for those who bore witness the spectacle via the national broadcast . However , what has to be treated with a great deal of skepticism has to be the performance of Foles , who matched an NFL record for the most touchdown passes during a regular season game , with seven scores against a poorly coached and hapless Raiders’ team and secondary . As good as the Eagles’ performance just happens to be, at the midway point of the season, this Chip Kelly coached team has a sub .500 record (4-5) within a division , the NFC East , that at present, might the worst in the entire NFL .

In a season , where the Houston Texans were seen as the presumptive favorites to win the AFC South , with an explosive offense led by Matt Schaub , Arian Foster and Andre Johnson . This season , the Texans have proven to be all too inconsistent with starting quarterback , Schaub having a year on that he would undoubtedly like to see in a rear view mirror. Currently sidelined with an ankle injury , it appears unlikely that he will return this season in his former role . Inconsistency has plagued the veteran starter , with the Texans’ fans showing their pleasure, in seeing Matt Schaub sidelined for the present. Beleaguered head coach Gary Kubiak can for the moment take pleasure that he might well have found the answer to his prayers with the emergence of Case Keenum , and his play during the Texans’ game against the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. Unfortunately, for the home team , this contest ended in a defeat, that should have been a decisive victory against their divisional rivals . The heroics of the day once again belonged to the Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck who showed a great deal of composure in bringing his team back for this unexpected victory .

If you thought all of the drama simply took place on the field at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas on Sunday afternoon. Then seeing Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak fall to the ground from what appeared to be a fainting spell or quite possibly cardiac arrest . The coach was immediately taken to a hospital, having first been provided with immediate medical attention on the field and then in the locker room. It is likely, that Kubiak will be held at the medical facility, where he will undergo a battery of tests, before being released. No pubic statement has yet been made, as to the cause of the head coach’s condition , which is likely to kept private at the request of the family and the team , itself. Matt Schaub’s immediate and long-term future is now under a great deal more scrutiny than at any time during his nine-year career in the NFL , having been drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft . . Schaub who becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2017 , signed a five-year $66.15 million deal in 2012 , of which $29.15 million was guaranteed money . His base salary for this season is $ 7,250,000 with a further $3.500,000 due in part as a bonus . Whether or not the franchise will seek to retain the veteran, is now likely to be open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation , but I do believe that a great deal of that will be prefaced upon the progress shown by Case Keenum. If GM Rick Smith believes that Keenum is the future of the Texans as they proceed forward , then in all likelihood , Schaub will be supplanted in the starting quarterback position by his younger teammate , with the franchise seeking a trade of the veteran signal caller

In week ten, the Texans are the guests of the Arizona Cardinals , for whom week nine, was a bye for the NFC West based franchise . Coming off a decisive week eight 27-13 victory over the fast slumping Atlanta Falcons , there is every reason to believe that this contest will prove to be a stern test for Houston, as they seek to rebound from a heartbreaking loss to the Colts .

The struggles of the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be an ongoing issue that now seems to have not only the Steelers’ fans worried but also a great many observers around the NFL . It has been considerably long time, since we have seen this franchise sink to such lows, where one now has to question the heart of this team as well as the play calling of offensive coordinator Todd Haley . From my own perspective, I do believe that the Steelers’ issues stem from some poor draft picks over the past three seasons , with the players in question having not shown the progress sought by head coach Mike Tomlin and the GM Kevin Colbert .

Sunday afternoon, the Steelers came to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ , Massachusetts , seeking to inflict a loss on the New England Patriots. Instead, the Patriots simply used all of the offensive weapons available to Tom Brady , who simply raised the level of his game to give one of his : best performances of the season as the Patriots annihilated the Pittsburgh Steelers in game that became beyond the Steelers’ reach in the final quarter as England rattled of twenty-eight points on their way to a thoroughly convincing 55-31 victory . Where this now leaves players such as , Ben Roethlisberger , Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu , Will Allen , Ryan Clark , Jerricho Cotchery .a , Lawrence Timmons and several other of these experienced players on the roster have shown no heart , as this team has now slumped to a 2-6 record within the AFC North . The fact, that the Steelers were lambasted in a lopsided hammering by the New England for the Steelers’ worst loss of the season , now leaves a number of fans wondering where the franchise now goes from here .

The Kansas City Chiefs remain the league’s lone unbeaten team and at 9-0 , with and two more wins, guarantees the Chiefs a playoff berth . A further loss by the Denver Broncos and the AFC West , the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to become the divisional champions for this season . The Chiefs have a potential game of the season awaiting them in week eleven , when they meet at the Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado, on Sunday, 17th October , in a conference and divisional contest . That game will certainly have a bearing on the seedings for the AFC at season’s end, but for now the fans should take heart in the very fact that division and conference does not remain a forgone conclusion

Still early days yet, in the NBA season and the defending champions have shown a few chinks in their undoubted armor . The Miami Heat are seeking to rewrite history, cast their own legacy in the annals of NBA history, as they seek to win a third consecutive NBA title . New additions to the roster , Michael Beasley , Roger Mason Jr and Greg Oden are seeking to contribute to this Erik Spoelstra coached team . At 2-2, the Heat sit jointly atop of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference , alongside the Orlando Magic , whose quick start out of the gate has not exactly caught everyone off-balance . From my own perspective this , Magic team will be in for a rough ride over the course of the season as they seek to rebound from a rather lackluster year in 2012 . One which saw the departure of Dwight Howard , whose last season with the team was mired in a great deal of controversy that in the end , led to the dismissal of Stan Van Gundy .

. Miami’s next scheduled game, will see them head north of the border to play the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario , . That match-up should prove to be very interesting contest , as the Raptors seek to gauge themselves against the best team in the Eastern Conference over the past two seasons .

Four-time league MVP LeBron James , also a two- time Finals’ MVP will seek to add to his own legacy , as he seeks to join the ranks of the greats of the game. At this juncture , if James adds another NBA title as well as league MVP to his already distinguished resume` , then I would have to rethink my view as to whether or not he has been the best player to grace the NBA over the past fifteen years . Granted, James’ idol Michael Jordan , will be considered the greatest player to have played the game , but quite possibly , at the point at which LeBron James chooses to retire from the NBA , he may well have surpassed many of Jordan’s greatest personal achievements as a player in the NBA. James has yet to reach his maturation point as a player and over the past four season , we have seen the growth of his all-round game . In terms of a rival to match James’ play and skill-set , the analysts agree that the rivalry may well come from the Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant , a three-time league scoring champion and again a three-time runner-up in the League MVP voting .

Scott Brooks head coach of the Thunder must be greatly enthused by the fact that Kevin Durant has returned to the league this season with the mindset that the team has unfinished business . The postseason of 2012 something of nightmare for the team as they were swept aside in the NBA Finals by LeBron James and the Miami Heat , where the match-up between Durant and the Heat superstar failed to live up to the perceived hype , as the Thunder were brushed over in a lopsided 4-1 series’ victory . Last year’s postseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder was one of more heartache with the loss of the team’s point guard Russell Westbrook , as he suffered an injury in the team’s first round series against the Houston Rockets . Westbrook was injured in a collision with the Rockets’ Patrick Beverley , which would require orthopedic surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee. The point guard’s loss would prove to be impactful for the Thunder, as Russell Westbrook and the team would be unceremoniously dumped in the first round, with a 4-2 series’ loss. All season long, the point guard would prove to be one the most productive players on the roster, alongside teammate Kevin Durant.

A new season beckons, it will be interesting to see what type of mindset will be shown by Russell Westbrook when he makes his first appearance for the Thunder . His return would suggest that the player has not missed a step after the team’s 103-96 defeat of the Phoenix Suns , during which he scored twenty-one points , dished out seven assists , with four rebounds and a steal . Yet there were signs of rustiness displayed with some momentary lapses that led to four turnovers and 1 personal foul. As he begins to find his rhythm, we are likely to see Westbrook regain the form that has made him one of the most explosive point guards in the NBA over the past four seasons . I strongly believe that the Oklahoma City Thunder will be one of at least four teams in the Western Conference seeking to be dominant within the conference this season, as well as within their respective divisions . The other teams I see playing a part within this whole year-long scenario, are the Los Angeles Clippers , Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs . In the Clippers’ case , that is solely based on the mindset brought in by Doc Rivers and whether or not , he can get this team to actually play a modicum of defense . We are aware as to what they are capable of from an offensive mindset , as we all bore witness to that last season .

The Clippers now seeing a resurgence in not only their play but also fan-base , and now of the belief that they’re on an equal footing with their in-house residents at the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Lakers . This season, will be a test for both franchises , as they each seek to carve out a niche for themselves within the NBA landscape. As I alluded to earlier, while the Clippers are a robustly talented team on offense , their issues remain on the defensive side of the ball. With the mindset of Chris Paul , now a determining factor, things are likely to change after the point guard’s first season with the team in 2012 . Alongside , Blake Griffin , DeAndre Jordan , Darren Collison , J J Redick , Antawn Jamison , Ryan Hollins the rest of this cast , we will be able to gauge whether or not there is any justification for there to be a presumption that they are legitimate contenders for the NBA title this season . Evidence of that may well have been on hand last night, as they completely manhandled the Houston Rockets on their way to a 137-118 victory for the highest scoring game in the infancy of this NBA season . Houston with the off-season acquisition of Dwight Howard , were also being looked upon as a championship caliber team . To my mind , beyond James Harden , there is little to suggest that the addition of Howard will factor into the Rockets chances of lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of this postseason . Dwight Howard has yet to prove himself when it matters the most , and that is during the postseason and he certainly cannot be considered a player readily and willing to assume the mantle of leadership , should James Harden be otherwise indisposed due to a prolonged injury .

During last season within the NBA schedule , one of the more idiotic comments I read concerning the NBA, was that of a patron, who suggested that New York sports’ fans tend not to expect a great deal from or off their teams , even when the rosters assembled are considered to be that of a championship caliber team . Personally, I felt the statement, was lacking in intelligence and obviously from an individual, who simply does not spend a great deal of time informing themselves of what is routinely happening in the nation’s largest sports environment, where all four of the major professional team sports are well represented alongside having perhaps having some of the most gregarious and often most acerbic and volatile sports’ journalists in the country . With, both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks , having made the postseason in 2012, as the fourth and second seeds respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings . A great deal was expected of both teams, as each sought to make a respectable showing in the league’s showcase event of the postseason .

The New York Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony and an assortment of ill-fitting parts , made light work of the Boston Celtics in the first round of a highly competitive and volatile series . Meanwhile , the Nets, with their wildly exorbitant payroll of underachieving players , suffered the ignominy of bowing out in their opening round series to the Chicago Bulls , who were at the time without their best player , Derrick Rose . As to what that might suggest about a team , whose owner Mikhail Prokhorov , who remains of the mindset , that the best way to solve a problem is to simply to throw money at the issue and then let things fall where they may. Somewhat like this present White House administration , and that of the US Congress , and their omnipresent ideas , as how best to deal with an ongoing and still ailing economy. Print money, borrow money , spend money , on just about any damn idiotic idea that you think might fly or curry favor , not with the constituents , but their financial backers , by way of the funneling of monies by lobbyists and the special interest groups they represent .

Prokhorov as the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, has simply sought to play second fiddle to no one , not even to their in conference rivals the New York Knicks. The fact that these two teams have now created an intense rivalry , with both sets of fans now foaming at the mouth , while showing not quite utter disdain for their foe . I am not so sure , what this will amount to , even with the addition of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to a Nets’ roster whose team payroll of just over $70 million in 2012 , will balloon to over $102.6 million for this upcoming season and creating a liability for the Nets franchise where they will be paying in excess of forty-three million dollars for exceeding the league’s soft salary cap ($58.648 million) .

While, I believe that both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks to be very good teams , I simply do not believe, that either, are the equal of the Miami Heat, in terms of being able to mount a serious enough challenge to dethrone the defending NBA champions .

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Picture gallery . (By clicking on an individual frame , you can see that picture in its original formatted size)

With the NFL now its midway point , what are you hoping to see in the second half of the season by way of the play from the teams in the NFL ? Also with the NBA still in its infancy this season , have there been any teams , team , player or players that you believe will have a successful year within the league itself ? Leave a comment, as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it has always been greatly appreciated first and foremost !

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Nick Foles (9)/ is seen here attempting a pass during the game played between the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders played at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland , California on the 3rd November , 2013 . The Eagles would go on to defeat Oakland 49-20 , with Foles equaling an NFL single game record in passing for seven touchdowns during the contest. Getty Images / Brian Bahr …

(2) Tight end Zach Ertz (86 ) of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Nick Foles (9) against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter on November 3, 2013 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. Getty Images North America/ Brian Bahr …

(3) Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is loaded on a stretcher after he collapsed on the field as the team left for halftime against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(4) Case Keenum (7) of the Houston Texans breaks the tackle of Ricky Jean Francois (99) of the Indianapolis Colts as he rushes in the second quarter at Reliant Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(5) Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin and team GM Kevin Colbert are seen here at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . The franchise this season within the AFC North is having a horrendous year , bearing a 2-6 record which has them firmly placed at the foot of the division . The Steelers’ draft picks over the past four seasons has proven to be unfruitful , with several of the players failing to live up to the perceived hype . AP Photo / Carl Rogers …

(6) Michael Beasley of the Miami Heat is seen here in his official team photo for the franchise . Beasley is seeking to resurrect his often troubled NBA career in his second stop with NBA franchise . Beasley , along with Greg Oden and Roger Mason Jr are the newest members of the team , which has seen the retirement of Juwan Howard , who has since become a member of the coaching staff . AP Photo / Hector Hernandez ….

(7) From left to right , Brooklyn Nets’ GM Billy King , team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov , head coach Jason Kidd , Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . This season the Nets will have one of the league’s highest team payrolls which will exceed $102.6 million , with guard Joe Johnson being the highest paid player on the roster this season . It remains to be seen whether not franchise can be seen as a legitimate title threat to the Miami Heat as well as the rest of the NBA this season . The addition of the three former Boston Celtics’ players should add some vitality to the franchise . AP Photo / Gerry Thomas ….

(8) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks is seen here with teammates , J R Smith , center and Iman Shumpert . Anthony during the preseason stated that he was prepared opt put of the final year of his contract to test the free agency market in 2014 . Yet , is highly unlikely , that Carmelo Anthony will seek to go elsewhere, knowing that can get a max six-year contract that cumulatively earning $129 million six years averaging , $21.5 million per year while remaining with the New York Knicks. . AP Photo / Paul Hamilton …….

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tophatal ………………… 11/04/2013

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Booty-licious

‘Tasty cakes’

No praise can be gained from being this bad

No praise can be gained from being this bad

Of the slew of games played on Sunday afternoon , perhaps none could have been more disturbing to watch from a fan standpoint , than to see the Oakland Raiders in their divisional match-up against the surprise team of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs . With a new coaching staff and quarterback Alex Smith in tow , the Chiefs are off to a 6-0 start and are seriously challenging the Denver Broncos as not only the best team in the AFC West , but also the conference , as well the league (NFL) in its entirety. For the woefully inept Raiders, this appears to be just another season, where they are about to be another tremendous disappointment for their long-suffering fans. Incumbent starting quarterback, Terrelle Pryor just does not seem to have what it takes to lead this team , and with the recent decision to render Matt Flynn disposable by the front office , it leaves the franchise with very few options at the position , other than to use their backup , or once again bring in an unsigned a free agent or to trade for a player .

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In what should have been a competitive game , the Oakland Raiders simply proved that the continued troubles that have befallen the franchise have yet to be clearly addressed on both sides of the ball , as well as from a coaching standpoint , with Dennis Allen , being in charge as the team’s head coach . As to whether or not he survives the remainder of the season, will be dependent upon whether or not he can turn around the fortunes of this team. GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis must be extremely troubled by what they both witnessed on Sunday afternoon , with another anemic display in the Raiders’ 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs . Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor was sacked ten times , threw three interceptions , harried all afternoon and gave one of the most uninspiring performances of his NFL career . It begs the question, how much longer will the fans have to be forced to bear this sort of ineptitude?

For Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs , the start to this season has been more than expected , with the leadership skills of Alex Smith coming to the fore alongside his play , as well as that of both the defense and offense . Both of which are highly ranked within the NFL, with the Chiefs’ secondary being seen as one of the most efficient and stymieing in the league. The first of the two divisional contests between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos could prove to be one of the highlights of the regular season as well as providing a broadcast for the television broadcast outlets. Both teams are unbeaten and are atop of the AFC West division , albeit , that Broncos are getting all of the major headlines , because of Peyton Manning’s extraordinary season in 2013 .

There are no positives to be taken away in this defeat for the Oakland Raiders , and I cannot help but wonder where this organization now goes from here ! It would appear that they can either start to think about next season now , or simply carry on with , and offer the fans a paltry return for money not well spent to witness a very poor on-field product , by of the team’s continued play and the extremely poor coaching by Dennis Allen and his coaching staff . I have to believe that Allen will be given every chance to ride out the storm and try to turn things around , rather than being fired , something that Mark Davis’ predecessor , Al Davis , was not averse to doing, if he felt that his head coach was not making the grade . The firing of Dennis Allen , were it to happen now or at the end of the season , would undoubtedly bring about a great deal of angst and turmoil , yet this has become the norm for this particular franchise over the past few seasons , with so many nonsensical moves being made by the front office in terms of coaching and personnel turnovers. I am not sure that the Oakland Raiders would be the ideal destination for any first time head coach in the NFL , let alone for an experienced coach with an established record of excellence , who has already seen his fair share of turmoil . There just seems to be no consistency to the Raiders either on or off the field of play , and it has been mirrored in a number of decisions concerning this franchise and many of the most recent business decisions made, that has the organization going from being amongst one of the most profitable in the NFL, to one of the league’s more beleaguered teams from an economic standpoint .

This may well prove to be the season where the Houston Texans (2-4) will either sink or swim by way of their on-field trials and tribulations . Matt Schaub through much of his NFL career year has proven to be be one the league’s more durable quarterbacks, but in 2013 , he has proven to be anything but , hampering his team with his all too errant plays and with the Texans’ defense proving to be decidedly shoddy , it is difficult to see how the ball club will make it into the postseason , in what is now proving to be an extremely competitive AFC South division. The Texans did themselves no favors on Sunday, as they lost their fourth consecutive game , thereby dropping their record to an anemic 2-4 within the division , falling further behind the divisional leaders the Indianapolis Colts (4-1) . Texas’ opponents on Sunday were the St Louis Rams (3-3) , who themselves are looking to make some sort of impact within their division and on the season as a whole . Houston’s 38-13 loss at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas, in front of a packed home crowd , with millions more , by way of a national television audience , was just as inexplicable as the play of Matt Schaub and his replacement during the game T J Yates . The incumbent starting quarterback’s departure, due to an injury, was met with a raucous chorus of boos and cat-calls from the home crowd , with the player having playing with a great deal of indecision . Yates, as Schaub’s replacement, did not fare any better, impeding whatever chance the Texans may well have had in getting back into this contest on Sunday afternoon . Houston’s 38-13 defeat , might well have been of a wider margin , had Sam Bradford and the Rams executed more stoutly on offense .

For Texans’ owner Robert McNair and general manager Rick Smith , a decision is likely to be made concerning not only the future of head coach Gary Kubiak , his coaching assistants and Matt Schaub, but also a number of players thought to be superfluous to the team .

In an earlier post entitled “You are only as good as your record reflects “ , I suggested that teams in the NFL by way of their record are what they appeared to be in spite of their head coaches . In week five , the Pittsburgh Steelers remained win-less and you simply knew that it would be only matter of time before Mike Tomlin had his team playing at a level , expected of not only himself but also the ever loyal Steelers’ fans . Well on Sunday , the ever perplexing New York Jets granted their AFC North visitor’s wish by giving them a gift that is likely to keep on giving . Not only did the Jets lay down , but their performance went a long way in reflecting what is so wrong with this team beyond the alleged improvement in the play of the team’s rookie quarterback Geno Smith . The rookie may well have his issues , but so does the rest of this roster and the entire coaching staff , who simply had the roster ill-prepared for this contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers .

The 19-6 victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers pushes their record to 1-4 and drops the New York Jets to 3-3 within the AFC East .

A marquee match-up between two of the league’s best quarterbacks and leave it all, to a bone headed decision by a head coach , that led to his team’s defeat (30-27) on Sunday afternoon. In this contest between Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints . A brain seizure on the part of Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , would be his undoing and the last-minute heroics we have come to witness from Brady all too often ,when he has been asked to lead his team from the brink of defeat in the dying moments of a game, was once again evident for all to see .

Instead joining a group of teams at 6-0 in the NFL , the New Orleans Saints having fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten , now find themselves at 5-1 , and with questions being asked of the normally aggressive coaching style of Sean Payton , who for once , that it prudent to be conservative in his game calling . I believe that the New Orleans Saints can rebound from this loss but that air of invincibility that the team was said to have had , is now non-existent and so too has the NFC’s last unbeaten team . With the league now left with two unbeaten teams , with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs and their respective records at 6-0 , it remain to see what will be in store for the fans week seven . Kansas City will play host to the Houston Texans next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri, whereas the Denver Broncos will be the guests of the Indianapolis Colts , as Peyton Manning will face his former team , and where he laid the foundation for his now record breaking career .

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the week six results in the NFL , and which of the three remaining win-less teams will at season’s end be the league’s worst performing franchise? By all means, chime with your thoughts on the subject matter .

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Linebacker Tamba Hali (91) of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) of the Oakland Raiders during the first half on October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. This was one of ten sacks inflicted upon Pryor during the game of which Hali ended up with two sacks for the game as the Chiefs’ defense simply manhandled the Raiders’ offensive line almost at will . Getty Images North America / Peter Aiken ….

(2) Jamaal Charles (25) of the Kansas City Chiefs attempt to avoid the outstretched arms of D.J. Hayden (25) of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. . Kyle Rivas / Getty Images …

(3) Running back Jamaal Charles (25) of the Kansas City Chiefs dives into the end zone for a touchdown against defensive end Jack Crawford (91) of the Oakland Raiders during the second half on October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City won 24-7. Getty Images / Peter Aiken …..

(4) New Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen (L) greets Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (C) and team owner Mark Davis during a press conference on January 30, 2012 in Alameda, California. Dennis Allen was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Hue Jackson who was fired after one season. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

(5) Texans’ fans show their disgust with the team by donning paper bags during the game against the St Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas . The Rams would go on to defeat Houston 38-13 , with the Texans losing their fourth consecutive game of the season and dropping their record to 2-4 within the AFC South . AP Photo / Eric Gray ….

(6) Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub (8) leaves the game , during the fourth quarter played against the St Louis Rams . Schaub was injured in the fourth quarter and left the field to a round of boos and cat-calls from the home fans . His replacement T J Yates fared no better in the contest, throwing in an interception that was returned for a touchdown . adding to the team’s burden , with five games , where a Texans’ quarterback has thrown for an INT this season . Getty Images / Patrick Schneider ….

(7) New Orleans Saints’ wide receiver Kenny Stills makes a catch in the end-zone during the fourth quarter of a game played at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts . The Patriots would come back to win the contest in the waning the moments of the match-up , after an earlier coaching blunder made by Sean Payton of the Saints , allowing Tom Brady enough time on the clock to engineer a fabulous come from behind win for the New England Patriots . Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(8) Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady (12) manages to evade Tom Johnson (96) of the New Orleans Saints during a game played on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough , Massachusetts . New England would defeat the Saints 30-27. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …..

(9) Saints’ head coach Sean Payton shakes hands with the Patriots’ Tom Brady after the game , in which the New Orleans Saints relinquished a three-point lead in the dying moments of the contest between the two teams. Getty Images / Rob Carr ….

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tophatal ……………….

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SI model Kate Upton being a real sport .

My Bullshit is just as good as his, and it smells twice as good ….

My Bulls#it is just as good as his, and it smells twice as good ….

By Tophatal

I’ll say this for Urban Meyer , ever since his return to the ranks of D 1 Collegiate Football , as the head coach of Ohio State (Buckeyes) , not much has changed amongst the persona of the cocksure and always affable coach . Granted , he is taking over from the now disgraced Jim Tressel , whose idea when it came to telling the truth , was to embellish an episode beyond the realms of anything imaginable or simply seeking others to fall unto the sacrificial sword on his behalf . Never mind the fact that university President Dr. E Gordon Gee and AD Gene Smith showed about as much intelligence, as can now be found in both federal legislative chambers of the US Congress. In other words there’s not one fucking ounce of intelligence to be found there at all ! The duo of Gee and Smith were in complete denial after revelation after revelation came to the fore as to the egregious malfeasance of Tressel , members of his coaching staff and several members of the football teams covering the periods from 2008, right through until 2011.

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With the abrupt firing of Tressel in light of the findings on an ongoing NCAA investigation , it has to be said that this might well have been one of the more unsavory episodes within College Football. Although , I believe we can all now categorically agree that the events that are said to have taken place within the program have now been surpassed in its infamy by the now heinous and all too unsavory events that are said to have taken place at Penn State . The legacy of that school will forever be in tatters and it may well take a decade before all the wounds have healed and , that the legacy can be redeemed . The image of Joe Paterno is no longer that of a respected football coach, patriarch and counselor to the young men of the football program . Now, it is one of a disgraced elder statesman, who chose blind loyalty above those of the victims who were the subjects of the sexual heinous acts , of his close confidante Jerry Sandusky . While no one can be excused from this sorry episode because rarely was any common sense being shown by anyone of authority within the upper echelons of the hierarchical system of university. Such was the contempt and collusion of the cover-up, that it is still a disgrace that you have individuals still trying to excuse the actions of so many individuals at the center of this sordid situation !

Jay Paterno , while still seeking to defend the actions of his father , seems to forget that the victims of these crimes will never ever have any closure. And for all of the asinine claims of the Freeh Report are without basis in fact or cannot be recognized by a court of law. What the young Paterno should realize is that the report while not carrying the subpoena powers of a state judicial or law enforcement investigation , there were enough facts unearthed to suggest that should the state Attorney General’s Office conducted the investigation , rather than it being commissioned by the university , then there is every reason to believe that Joe Paterno could have wound up facing criminal charges for his actions in this sordid episode .

And while we are talking about action or lack of inaction thereof , Matt Millen has now lost all credibility and should keep his damn mouth shut about anything related to this episode ! . He sat idly by, even when it was revealed that Sandusky was at the center of an ongoing investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against these young male victims. The former Detroit Lions’ executive sat on the board of the charity (Second Mile) founded by Sandusky , that he used to procure many of his victims . But lo and behold , not once did it occur to Matt Millen to seek some sort of advice or perhaps speak with his fellow board members concerning the allegations . Instead, all we came to here from this buffoon, were some rather asinine comments as to the fact that nothing had yet been proven . Well , if many of the allegations of that had come to the fore, dated back almost two decades would it not have been in the best interest of Millen and his fellow board members to perhaps conduct an investigation , with the hiring of a seasoned professional ? Is it any wonder, that the Detroit Lions failed so miserably during his tenure as the general manager of that NFL franchise ?

Now we can all surmise what we believe the NCAA stands for, as the governing body for Collegiate Athletics. It has now come to the point that this body does not have the respect of the public , nor can it be trusted to do what is ethically or morally right . As a not for profit organization , the NCAA stands as entity in its present guise under the good graces of the House Judiciary Committee , House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and that of Senate Commerce Committee . Somehow , all four of these congressional committees have played their part in allowing the NCAA to become a quasi-bogus commercial enterprise, while being completely exempt from paying any federal taxes. Then again , we do have several bona-fide US corporations that have been allowed to get away with such a distinction, while the government and tax collecting arm of the US government continues to make excuses for not being capable to collect that taxes that they are rightfully due . Should you however happen to be a small business operator or a private citizen who just happens to be delinquent on your taxes and you will find the IRS , so quick to enter just about every bodily orifice that you possess, looking to collect what they believe to be due . Loopholes or not , the IRS under the tenure Tim Geithner and his predecessors have actually done a piss poor job with such objectives !

With the Buckeyes’ football program not being Bowl eligible this season , along with the loss of multiple football scholarships , head coach Urban Meyer and his staff will have to seek for new and improved ways to keep his current crop of players motivated . Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class was said to be one of the best in the nation and it remains to be seen as to whether or not many of the players in question can make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes this season . Warren Ball, Jacoby Boren , Bri’onte Dunn , Frank Epitropolous , Peter Gwilym and Najee Murray will certainly feel that they can play a part in the team having a successful season .

Concentration for this team will begin with the fact that their schedule remains somewhat nondescript ,albeit that Michigan State , Nebraska , Michigan , Penn State and Illinois remains a constant staple, as part of their seasonal calendar . The Buckeyes’ season opener will pit them against Miami (Ohio) in Columbus , Ohio , on 1st September , 2012 . And given the prevalence of the teams within the Big Ten Conference and the seismic moves that have been made across the landscape of College Football and the still-to-be announced proposed moves . There have been more behind-the-scenes surreptitious deals, that have been made, and that can be found in any corrupt and sordid electoral campaign . Playing their part in this all , have been the Machiavellian antics of the broadcast networks , as they have continuously plowed tens of millions , if not hundreds of millions of dollars into Collegiate Football. Jointly, overseeing this all , have been the major conferences that make up that “corrupt organization “ known as the Bowl Championship Committee (BCS) . And now anyone , who is now of the belief that the proposed changes in the year-end format that will determine a national champion in college football , will be a win for the college football fan. Well, they had better put such thoughts to rest, on the back-burner . All the BCS has sought to do, is lure us all in, we the promise of candy like a sexual predator lures in a victim. Nothing good can ever come of such a premise , and you goddamn know , it never will.

It may well be that the Buckeyes can seek to reestablish themselves after the disgraceful saga and tenure of Jim Tressel . There were high hopes for Terrelle Pryor while he attended Ohio State , and as we now know the former Buckeye was knee-deep in so many aspects of the malfeasance , that the only route left for him was to leave the program , not quite with his tail between his legs . Pryor knowing that he was embroiled in an ever-growing conspiracy not only did Tressel subvert and condone the lies of his coaching staff but there was growing evidence to suggest that the former coach sought to have the players on the team lie on his behalf . How those allegations have played themselves out can be addressed by the actions of Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor , who have sought to distance themselves in part from many of the claims that came about . Tressell’s career will become simply another postscript in the annals of Buckeyes’ history.

Terrelle Pryor’s leap from Ohio State to the NFL by way of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft , during which prefer before he could make his official professional debut for the Oakland Raiders , the player had to officially serve a five game mandated suspension rendered by the NCAA the part played in the Buckeyes’ scandal . When one considers the quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft , one might deem the very fact consideration for Pryor came with the beleaguered environment of the Raiders .

The Oakland Raiders under new style of leadership , with Mark Davis , having succeeded his late father , Al Davis at the helm of this historic NFL franchise . In comes Reggie McKenzie as the general manager , with Dennis Allen being named the team’s head coach. And it is clear for all to see that the franchise seeks to make a turnaround after the years of ignominy , it now becomes even more apparent that the Oakland Raiders can no longer afford to remain the laughing-stock “ of the NFL but more importantly of the AFC West . And the 2012 NFL Draft may well have been one of the ways that the front office sought to address that, along with their off-season free agency pickups . Tony Bergstrom, Miles Burris, Jack Crawford , Juron Criner , Christo Bilukidi and Nathan Stubar , as each seeks to make their contributions to the franchise this season .

Courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle

Raiders’ Pryor taking solace in his work

By Vic Tafar , San Francisco Chronicle

Terrelle Pryor, former college football star and current Raiders project, enjoys going to work at training camp.

“It’s a grind, man,” the quarterback said Saturday night in Napa. “Right now I am taking less reps, but that’s OK. I am just grinding and having fun. Smiling and getting better. One day I am going to be where I want to be.”

There were times Saturday, though, that the smile faded.

Pryor lost both his father and mentor in a span of seven days recently. Jeannette, Pa., businessman Ted Sarniak III died July 20 at 68, and then Pryor’s dad, Craig, died at age 44 on July 26. Craig Pryor suffered from a rare neurological disorder that weakened his ankles, feet and hands.

“The toughest thing is I can’t talk to Teddy or my dad, and they’re the only people I leaned on,” Pryor said. “I’m by myself now. I try to work around it and not think about it constantly.”

Pryor was born and raised in Jeannette, a town of 10,000, starring at Jeannette High School before going to Ohio State. Sarniak was founder and CEO of Jeannette Specialty Glass and a supporter of youth sports.

“Teddy was there for me for about 10 years, since I was 12 years old. My parents worked, but I never had much money at all, I could never get what I wanted. It’s a tough time for me, because this guy stepped in and he was a mentor for me.”

Pryor was able to attend his father’s viewing but skipped the funeral services Monday because he didn’t want to miss the start of training camp.

“I knew my father would want me to come here and get my reps in,” Pryor said.

He said his teammates have been very supportive, and practice has been therapeutic.

“It’s been a release,” Pryor said. “I can zone things out and just focus on my footwork and getting better as a quarterback. I thank God that he has given me the opportunity to play this; without that, my mind would be going crazy.”

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The preseason has not been too kind for the Raiders as they have posted an 0-2 record within the AFC West which sees them rooted at the bottom of the division and one of the four teams within the AFC that still remains win-less . Results , an 3-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week one of the preseason , then to be followed up by an equally abysmal 31-27 defeat against the Arizona Cardinals , that continues to show that the team still remains plagued by continuing woes . And it appears, Dennis Allen and his coaching assistants seems to have no answer for. What has been troubling for the Raiders, during the preseason, has been the inept play from the quarterbacks on the team’s roster . If anything, without an effective passing game to complement what we already know to be a proficient rushing attack , Carson Palmer , Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor , will certainly have to be more effective if the Raiders are to prevail this season . And that is especially true, when one considers that Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning , noted quarterbacks within the AFC East seem to be showing no real signs of regressing . And with the Raiders set to meet the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers , as well as the Kansas City Chiefs , as part of their scheduled divisional match-ups . It will be incumbent upon Palmer as the starting quarterback, to be at the top of his form in those highly anticipated games.

Weeks’ one , three and six will be the first of the six divisional match-ups that the Raiders will face off against their division foes. And the games against the Broncos , Chargers and Chiefs will go a long way in determining how the Raiders will fare, as they certainly cannot go into the games in question, being all too complacent.

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Picture gallery .

What if anything are you most looking forward to as the College Football season kicks off its regular season schedule ? And do you believe that the NCAA’s handling of the Buckeyes’ scandal was handled appropriately ? Are you of the opinion that the Oakland Raiders are about turn the corner, and quite possibly make a successful run in gaining a playoff berth ? Simply, chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) Urban Meyer speaks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of Ohio State football on November 28, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Getty Images North America / Jamie Sebau ….

(2) Athletics Director Gene Smith of The Ohio State University introduces Urban Meyer as the 24th head coach in Ohio State football history at a press conference on November 28, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Jamie Sebau / Getty Images ….

(3) Denard Robinson (16) of the Michigan Wolverines gets in for a second quarter touchdown past the tackle of Etienne Sabino (6) of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan would go on to defeat Ohio State 40-34 . Getty Images / Gregory Shamus ….

(4) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) looks to pass as offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (72) blocks Dallas Cowboys defensive end Kenyon Coleman (99) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. The Cowboys would defeat the Raiders 3-0 in a complete uninspiring game . AP Photo/Ben Margot …

(5)Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, right, talk with an official during the third quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. AP Photo/Tony Avelar ….

(6) Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, left, talks with owner Mark Davis at an NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Monday, July 30, 2012. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …

(7) Quarterback Terrelle Pryor (right) is competing for practice reps with starter Carson Palmer (3) and backup Matt Leinart (7) during a trying time. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle ….

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Outkast ………… Roses /Caroline “

An NFL Season By Any Other Name ………….

An NFL Season By Any Other Name ………….

By tophatal ……….

Well as the NFL season begins to wind its way down with week 13 schedule of games I can’t help but wonder what many of the fans made of the results we witnessed this past Sunday . Is it me , but are the Miami Dolphins that good or were the Oakland Raiders simply that bad ? I might hasten to add that given the fact that the AFC West continues to remain a conundrum I am liable to think that it has to be the latter ! That Raiders’ defense in terms of athleticism can be described as being so ambiguous that one could liken their talents to that of an effeminate group of gay weightlifters ! Injuries or not , that team simply did not come to play as Tony Sparano’s players continue to defy logic . As Charlie Sheen has so infamously stated …… ” duh winning !

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Slide show perusal .

Anyone who witnessed the 31-14 ass kicking that the Raiders were subjected to , will know that were Hu Jackson’s team to make the playoffs their foray would not be that long , based on the performance at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida . Given the fourteen “garbage points ” given up by the Dolphins in the waning moments of the game , the margin of victory could very well have been far greater , had the Miami Dolphins players thought to defend their home turf more resolutely . But then again , this a team that has somehow manage to win 4 of their last 5 games , albeit that it might not be enough to dissuade GM Jeff Ireland and team owner Stephen Ross to fire the team’s beleaguered coach , Tony Sparano .

Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore played with a great deal of calm unlike his AFC counterpart Carson Palmer who looked like a deer caught in headlights on the day . The acquisition of Palmer was meant to be seen as something of a transition with the loss of Jason Campbell for the season but it is clear that all of the ring rust cannot hide the fact that player simply , is not as good as first advertized . Never mind the salary that he’s now receiving courtesy of the organization which if anything further undercuts the belief that he is good enough to lead the team into the postseason .

When it is all said and done this victory might well be one that seals the fate of Tony Sparano in terms of immediate future . I certainly do know this , if it takes the second half of the season before his players get up off their ass to play with any kind of resolve , then I have to ask what was it the coach and his coaching staff had been doing in the prior weeks ? Respectability and pride now appear to be the only things that the players are now playing within this Dolphins organization . And I am most certainly sure that Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland may well bring about changes not just in terms of the player personnel but also as it relates to the coaching staff.

If the Oakland Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins might well have been viewed as upset given the fact that the Raiders stood atop of the AFC West . Then knowing that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos continue to turn the division and league on its ear now must be pissing off the members of “Raider Nation ” . Tebow and his band of gallant band of warriors slayed the Minnesota Vikings while at the same perhaps placing another nail in the coffin of Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier who clearly isn’t demanding enough from his players or actually holding them accountable for their actions. There’s no semblance of leadership from anyone on the playing staff and Christian Ponder , as good as he might well appear to be is perhaps at two years away from being considered a very good quarterback in this league . Baptism by fire or not he has struggled in large part over the course of this season .

The Minnesota Vikings playing at home lost a high scoring and error filled game in regulation 35-32 , sealing their own fate , much to the dismay of their fans in attendance . And any thought that Zygi Wilf and his partners might have that a $1.255 billion purpose built new venue would be in the organization’s best interests and that of legislators and residents must now be taking a turn for the worse given this laughable display by the team . I am sure that Governor Mark Dayton in knowing that his state legislature has a $5 billion ($5,000,000,000) budget deficit to deal with , has to be perturbed that he is being asked to finance this ostentatious request given the state’s economic plight . I mean , it is not as if Wilf and the front office of the organization are said to be stumping up any monies as a gesture of good faith towards the proposed edifice .

John Elway and the Broncos’ organization know that he may well run the wrath of the fans come the end of the season , with the preferred thinking that he and GM Brian Xanders might well choose to either draft a quarterback for the future while also seeking a free agent during the off season . It is clear for many, who have witnessed Tim Tebow’s play that he places himself at great risk while continuing to lead by example . Calmer heads ought to prevail but is clear that John Fox and Broncos’ quarterback’s coach Adam Gase will ride the ” Tebow train” for as far and as long as it may well take them over the remainder of their season . The Denver Broncos and their fans know that their quarterback is but a concussion or twisted ankle away from seeing their season quite possibly end in doom and gloom. Then what ? The culminating three weeks to the end of the regular season should tell us a great deal about the resolve of this Broncos’ team and whether or they have what it takes to win their first divisional AFC West title since 2005 . Jointly tied atop of the division at 7-5 alongside the Oakland Raiders that race now appears to be a dogfight between these two teams .

” The Dream Team ” in name only the Philadelphia Eagles’ (4-8) season is slowly descending like a piece of fecal matter as it winds its way down the S- bend of a toilet system . If team owner Jeffrey Lurie has any damn sense , then he ought to fire the entire front office along with the coaching staff led by Andy Reid . LeSean McCoy while being a prodigious player he has been under- served this season while DeSean Jackson simply has become a cancer in the locker room with his demands . And the contention that he deserves far more respect than he gets from the organization because he believes that he’s underpaid . Someone ought to remind the player before he gets respect , you simply have be deserving of it to begin with and by decrying the fact that your boss simply is not treating you right because of your salary demands , shows Jackson’s complete lack of maturity and intelligence ! But then again , look at whom he has , as his agent ? It should not at all come as a surprise that Drew Rosenhaus just happens to be the marionette pulling the strings once again !

At this point there is not much more that can be said about that the Philadelphia Eagles’ season that hasn’t been yet well chronicled . Suffice to say that the longer the fans have to endure this idiocy the more likely that it is that Andy Reid , Joe Banner and Howie Roseman will have to be jettisoned along a number of players on the Eagles’ roster . Far too much power has been wielded by the triumvirate , with little to show for it over the past few years .

At the start of the season there were a number of patrons simply jumping unto the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears’ bandwagon . And to a point there might well have been just cause but now herein lies the caveat to this all , where are those fans now , ……. that the wheels have began to fall of those erstwhile vehicles ? Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz has began to show that he simply cannot handle adversity well and neither can his team ! And nothing proved this point more than their complete annihilation 31-17 by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans , Louisiana , this past Sunday . Two straight losses for the Detroit Lions may not seem a great deal to worry about but when a playoff berth is said to be on the line and the NFC North is now simply out of reach with the Green Bay Packers having but all sealed the division it begs the question how “much heart ” is said to be left on this Lions’ team ?

I have repeatedly said this time and time again , Jay Cutler is simply overrated as a quarterback within the NFL ! Brian Urlacher for all of his leadership qualities and wanting to rally behind his quarterback , now has to understand that all the hype in the world won’t get you anywhere when you’re simply not willing to show that you haven’t an ounce of common sense ! And it is clear that Cutler has little of either in spite of the perceived belief that he’s said to be one of the better quarterbacks within the league . I tend to use the analogy ………” if you dress up pig and call it a sow it simply doesn’t make it one ” !

Jay Cutler is now quite possibly lost to the Bears’ for the remainder of their season and with backup Caleb Hanie having been asked to take the helm the consequences proved to be dire for the team when they took on the lowly Kansas City Chiefs (5-7) . Pardon me for saying this but when you’re held to a measly three points in a low scoring game (10-3 ) at home (Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois) where neither team either proved or showed that they had an ounce of creativity on the offensive side of the ball then your ass needs to be embarrassed in such a way ! Starting quarterback Caleb Hanie did the team no favors in throwing three interceptions whilst ending up with a QB rating of 23.8 in the Bears’ 10-3 loss suffered at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs .

Things now must be taking a turn for the worse if the rumors are to be believed , as Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith is said to be considering calling upon the services of either Brett Favre or Donovan McNabb . Clearly , the front office simply didn’t consider calling up either Jim McMahon , Jim Miller or Dave Krieg , not wanting to embarrass themselves ___ but the thought of calling upon either Favre or McNabb wouldn’t be seen as an act of desperation ? Yep, that’s what I thought Lovie Smith’s mental wits no longer seem to be with him ! I can only surmise that GM Jerry Angelo and his head coach (Lovie Smith) share a need to be seen as complete idiots !

Coaches , coach but it’s left to the players to win games . Then can someone honestly explain to me what just happened to be the thought process with Dallas Cowboys’ coach Jason Garrett , his coaching staff and the players during the waning moments in regulation of their game against the Arizona Cardinals prior to it going into overtime ? The fact that the Cowboys came off on the losing end of this result 19-13 and still stand atop of the NFC East with a 7-5 record with a one game margin , over the equally befuddling New York Giants (6-6) simply cannot underscore how insipid the division has been this season .

If the aftermath of that loss I am sure that Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones must have wanted to kick Garrett in the area of his genitals , as a way showing his utter disgust in his coach ! Ice the kicker by calling a timeout just as he was about to kick the game winning field goal during regulation ? In negating the play , and then only for kicker Dan Bailey to miss in his second attempt simply shows not only what an asshole Jason Garrett just happens to be but also if anyone is of the belief that this Cowboys’ team can usurp the likes of the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints then clearly they’re not sound of mind or sound in their thinking !

Now with everything on the line in determining the rest of their season the Dallas Cowboys still face two (Week 14) daunting games (Week 17) against their divisional rivals the New York Giants . Anything short of a victory in either game , could very well much seal the fate of the Dallas Cowboys . Jason Garrett may well have been Jerry Jones’ choice to assume the role as successor to Wade Philips but in all honesty what has he actually brought to the table since he assumed coach’s mantle of this team ? It is not as if we have seen any type of real improvement in the play of this roster . We may well have been in awe of DeMarco Murray’s exploits in breaking the franchise’s single game rushing record (23 carries , 253yds , 2 TD’s ) . But one game or season does not a player make , and thus far all one can attribute to Murray is that he is no more than a capable running back in this league .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the NFL season has unfolded what if anything has been of all the biggest disappointment or surprise to you ? And which teams do you feel this off season will be making what you feel should be the necessary front office and coaching changes ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your ongoing support as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below for your perusal .
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(1) Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour (92) walks off the field after he was ejected from the game for throwing a punch against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, in Miami. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 34-14. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) Tight end Anthony Fasano (80) of the Miami Dolphins is brought down by Kamerion Wimbley (98) of the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 34-14. Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images …..

(3) Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson shakes hands with Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano after a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 4: (L-R) Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings and Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos talk after the game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 4, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images ……

(5) Matt Prater (5) of the Denver Broncos kicks a 23-yard field goal in the final minute against the Minnesota Vikings on December 4, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Broncos defeated the Vikings 35-32 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(6) SEATTLE, WA – DECEMBER 1: Vince Young’s dumb ? Well well , who knew ? Vince Young(9) of the Philadelphia Eagles before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field December 1, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won 34-14 . Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images …..

(7) Vince Young (9) and Jason Kelce <(62) of the Philadelphia Eagles go up against Brandon Mebane (92) of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field December 1, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images …

(8) Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha walks off the field with Eagles coach Andy Reid after being checked for injuries in the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Seattle. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren …..

(9) This Dec. 4, 2011 file photo shows Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz complaining to an official during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, in New Orleans. The Lions were flagged 11 times for 107 yards in a 31-17 defeat. AP Photo/Bill Feig ….

(10) NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 4: Head Coach Jim Schwartz talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions during a game against the New Orleans Saints to score a touchdown at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images ….

(11) Jimmy Graham (80) of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Amari Spievey (42) of the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images ……

(12) Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (36) celebrates with Alfonso Smith (46) after scoring the game winning 52 yard touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(13) Runningback Beanie Wells (26) rushes the football against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(14) Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(15) Oops ! Jason Garret fu_ks up again ! Kicker Dan Bailey (5) of the Dallas Cowboys misses the possible game winning field goal in overtime during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..
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Hot chic pic of the day ……… Lucy Pinder (brunette) and a friend . With friends like that who gives a s_it about your enemies !

It Is What It Is …. ! It’s The AFC West For God’s Sake Damn It !

It Is What It Is …. ! It’s The AFC West For God’s Sake Damn It !


By tophatal

OK so the fans of the Oakland Raiders were in awe with the organization’s acquistion of noted former USC quarterback and former Cincinnati Bengal’s starter Carson Palmer . Sunday was meant to be Palmer’s coming out party against the Raiders’ divisional rivals , the Kansas City Chiefs . And never let it be said that we should expect any thrilling displays of football from within the AFC West because this might just be the worst division in all of football .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The four occupants of the AFC South , namely the Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs , Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are four teams that have become mind numbingly inconsistent over the years . And this season it has been no different for the four teams , as their results have been borne out this year . The collective records of the quartet is a combined 13-12 . In conference the teams have struggled to show a modicum of consistency this season.

With Hue Jackson making it a game time decision as to who the starter would be against Todd Haley’s Chiefs . This game was seen as view of what the fans were hoping to see from the renowned Carson Palmer . The former Heisman Trophy winner had a stellar collegiate career at USC before before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals . The player’s career with the organization has seen its highs and lows but over the past two seasons the Palmer has become disgruntled with the organization , coaches and former teammates . Having joined the Oakland Raiders , Palmer finds himself surrounded with a plethora of offensive weapons and a running attack that is amongst the best in the NFL .

Unfortunately for the Raiders’ fans seated at the Oakland Coliseum and a national television audience watching they witnessed an offense that was so out of sync and a collective performance from starting quarterback Kyle Boller and then his replacement Carson Palmer that left a great deal to be desired . Each quarterback threw three interceptions apiece and to make things so comical in the team’s overall performance . The end result with a 28-0 blanking of the Raiders , brought about an inauspicious start for Palmer and his tenure with the Oakland Raiders.

While Hue Jackson had to have been disappointed with his team’s performance he has to know this loss though did nothing to enhance the Raiders’ aspirations with regard to divisional honors. Though still atop of the AFC West with a 4-2 record the had some consolation in knowing that the San Diego Chargers somehow managed to lose to the New York Jets 27-21 . Not one , really wanting to lambast Norv Turner at present but when is Chargers’ general manager A J. Smith going to realize that the coach hasn’t got the wherewithal to get this team going when they face real adversity ? When you have a quarterback the caliber of Philip Rivers and . On a day when wide receiver Plaxico Burress made the announcement that he’s back in the NFL , he seemingly made the Chargers defense seem so damn awful that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about . The player’s reception yards might not have been all that impressive but his three touchdown catches were , as Rex Ryan’s team got themselves back on track .

Two of the worse teams in the AFC got together for a conference match-up that left little to desired unless you just happen to be a Tim Tebow and a Denver Broncos’ fan. John Fox and his coaching staff are still assessing the qualities of their now incumbent quarterback while at the same time we can now state categorically that Kyle Orton by no means gives this team the best opportunity to win ! If that were the case , then the Broncos’ record not be a pedantic 2-4 . I sometimes have to wonder what it is that these moronic NFL tv analysts on ABC/ESPN , CBS Sports , Fox and NBC might just be watching when they make their rather asinine prognostication ! If Orton is an NFL caliber quarterback then quite possibly we ought to have Richard Simmons playing in the NFL !

Tim Tebow played his part in guiding the Denver Broncos to a win over the Miami Dolphins but in reality it wasn’t that the team played that great . Simply put , the Dolphins as the opponents of the Broncos are a mediocre team at best . Tony Sparano’s season and that of his entire coaching staff might now be hanging on by a single thread . Billionaire team owner Stephen Ross and GM Jeff Ireland might as well place a call to all to each of the other 31 teams within the NFL seeking permission to interview their respective assistant coaches . If they are not successful there , then quite possibly they may week a prospective replacement from amongst the collegiate ranks .

And now that the former Gators’ quarterback has firmly placed himself amongst the current conversation as a water cooler topic water cooler for a vast array of NFL fans and fantasy geeks out there . John Fox and the team’s Head of Football Operations John Elway for the present may well be happy with the fact that they have a quarterback who can actually make the Broncos competitive for the present. But it remains to be seen how capable this team might well be as the rest of their schedule will ultimately determine that factor and their season’s end record. In eking out their 18-15 victory the Denver Broncos have placed the Miami Dolphins in another precarious position with a 0-6 record firmly now placing them alongside the Indianapolis Colts (0-6) and St Louis Rams (0-6) for the privilege in taking Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback Andrew Luck as the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft .

Now while we can bemoan the quality of the football being played in the NFL . I think that we can agree that the criticism of the AFC South is justified but at the same it’s scary to think that the NFC West , another division that struggles with some semblance of consistency and the combined records of the quartet of teams are 8-16 . Not exactly something that on paper looks at all that impressive but one could either surmise that this is cyclical within the NFL . That may well be the case but in reality this seems to be how the league tends to ebb and flow in terms of the consistency of the teams.

For now the fans will have to endure this morass of mediocre play from the teams within the division mentioned while taking solace that this hasn’t become widespread across the NFL . Well at least I’d like to think so ! But who knows as of now ?

Alas , just when I thought that Jack Del Rio couldn’t pull off another “Houdini Act” , somehow his Jacksonville Jaguars managed to derail the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s —- Baltimore Ravens . Disturbing as this might seem this was a game by its result ( 12-7) alone explain should be able explain how monstrously mediocre this Monday night match-up was . If only ESPN could have put us all out of our misery by having a technical issue during this game rather than having the tv audience endure this mess ! Then perhaps we could have forgiven the network and the two teams involved but somehow I think that’s now impossible to do .

Del Rio to my mind is merely treading water as he fights for his professional life ! GM Gene Smith and team owner Wayne Weaver by season’s end will have to make a decision concerning his beleaguered coach. My own thinking would be for Weaver to jettison not only his coach but the entire coaching staff as well as his general manager ! Smith and Del Rio combined have somehow managed to make this team something of a laughing stock , one way or another . Other than the drafting of Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert , the latter who appears to be a work in progress , I cannot think of one reason to retain the duo !

Though last night’s game was something of a mediocre effort offered up by both teams in no way was it the ” worst” NFL result to have taken place this past weekend . Anyone who had the dubious privilege of witnessing that monstrosity that took place between the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio , must’ve felt that they were being held prisoner and being tortured in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ! What the fu_k is going on with these two teams ? I’ve been told repeatedly that there’s no offense in soccer and that may well be the case with the MLS ! But I can guarantee you this , with the leagues in Europe ( EPL , Serie` A, La Liga ) and Latin America , at least the effort put fort there is far more exciting than the bulls_it exhibited by Pete Caroll’s and Pat Shurmur’s players . Good God almighty, the fans have to dole out their hard earned cash to watch this fecal matter but somehow Roger Goodell feels he can take pride in the NFL brand and product as a whole ? Well if a score of 6-3 is something that you can take pride in , no wonder the fans of the NFL are continued to be pissed and shat upon by the league hierarchy , franchise owners and NFLPA ! This is simply what the NFL has now become , owners , players and the league itself bilking the public , meanwhile they are laughing all the way to the bank and then some !

I am not one to normally disavow the NFL but please don’t insist that a number of the games we tend to witness repeatedly week in and week out can actually be described as the best that the NFL has to offer . That’s utter bullsh_t on the part of the apologists out there especially amongst the ranks of the NFL analysts and commentators , never mind some of the more anally retentive fans who might well subscribe to the analysis and give it credit !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have about the points raised within this piece ? Simply offer up a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Oakland Raiders line up to defend against center Casey Wiegmann (62) of the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0 . Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images …

(2) Starting quarterback Kyle Boller(7) of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines after being pulled out of the game in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images ….

(3) Carson Palmer(3) of the Oakland Raiders talks with Kyle Boller (7) against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum on October 23, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won the game 28-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images…

(4) Fullback Leonard Pope (44) of the Kansas City Chiefs scores a touchdown as the ball pops loose against linebacker Aaron Curry (51) of the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs lead 14-0 in the first half. However , they would end up blanking the Raiders 28-0 . Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images …..

(5) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against Cameron Wake (91) of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(6) Wide receiver Golden Tate (81) of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by defensive back Buster Skrine (22) of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images …….

(7) Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens tackle Maurice Jones-Drew (32) of the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville Florida. The Jaguars would defeat the Ravens 12-7 . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …..

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NFL news

NFL standings by division

Week 7 results

NFL transactions

NFL injuries

Denver Broncos news

Kansas City Chiefs news

Oakland Raiders news

San Diego Chargers news

AFC West final standings for the past 5 years

AFC West ( 2010 ) Champions : Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

AFC West (2009) Champions : San Diego Chargers (13-3)

AFC West ( 2008) Champions : San Diego Chargers ( 8-8 )

AF West (2007) Champions : San Diego Chargers ( 11-5)

AFC West ( 2006) Champions : San Diego Chargers (14-2 )

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

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Craig Mack ………………. ” Flava In Ya Ear “

Results of Note And Other Tidbits …………

Results of Note And Other Tidbits …….

Well week four of the NFL season now leaves us with two unbeaten teams within the NFL and it should come as no surprise that franchise is none other than the defending Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers who had their way with a listless Denver Broncos team . In a decisive 49-23 victory the Packers simply feasted on a defense that surely has to be one of the worst in the NFL. The other unbeaten franchise happens to be the early surprise of the season the Detroit Lions (4-0) .

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Mike McCarthy’s team now has a comfortable lead within the NFC North and have been playing with a consistency not often seen from a franchise looking to make a successful defense of their title. At one time or another inconsistency tends to set in but for the coach and his coaching staff this has yet to be witnessed .

John Fox and his staff will have a hard time now persuading the beleaguered Broncos’ fans that they continue behind the role being played by quarterback Kyle Orton . The team as I have alluded to earlier has been listless and not all comfortable in their play . The cries are now for Tim Tebow to be truly given his baptism of fire and see whether or not he’s capable of being a good enough quarterback in this league . It is clear that this team needs some sort of therapeutic uplift because at this juncture it is becoming abundantly evident for all to see that Kyle Orton hasn’t the wherewithal to lead the ball club to where they need to be . Within the AFC West they are firmly rooted at the bottom of the division .

In a conference match-up the Oakland Raiders hosted the New England Patriots at the Oakland Coliseum in front of a soldout crowd of rabid fans cheering on their team . The AFC’s top rushing offense took on the conference’s worst defenses in what one had hoped would be a thoroughly riveting game . And for Tom Brady this was his chance to lead this Patriots’ team in light of their seismic implosion (34-31) against the Buffalo Bills in week three . Any thoughts that the Patriots would succumb to this Raiders’ team were quickly vanquished by Tom Brady and the play of his teammates .

Hu Jackson as coach of the Oakland Raiders would witness his players give their all in an entertaining game but he could not have been enthused by some errant plays by a number of players who were wayward and lacking in real enthusiasm . The Patriots were able in part to negate the run attack of the Raiders but that was not the only gauge with which to assess the success derived by Bill Belichick’s team in their 31-19 victory. Now with both the New England at 3-1 and the Oakland Raiders (2-2) recording these marks within their respective divisions week five will bring about something of a sterner test one would hope for both franchises.

Ah “The Dream Team” , the self prescribed moniker that a number of players have thought of themselves and much like the self absorbed players of the Miami Heat the Philadelphia Eagles are showing that they clearly cannot handle real adversity. Andy Reid’s team now finds themselves in something of a rut at 1-3 , injury ravaged and clearly not in a position to live up to the presumptive predictions that they are the worthwhile contenders for the Superbowl much less being one of the best teams within the NFC this season. In another surprising loss their second consecutive such miscue has many wondering where the real problems lay with this staff. Michael Vick coming off an apparent concussion and right hand contusion , wherein the player has been questioning the role of the referees now seems to playing well below the standards set last season.

If the Philadelphia Eagles are to have any chance of resurrecting their season then they will have to get out of this funk , regroup and start to play at a much higher caliber . The team is firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC East looking up at their rivals the New York Giants , Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys . At present I am not so sure what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles , other than to suggest that they may well have thought that things would come to them far too easily but now in light of the fact that we are clearly seeing that this team simply isn’t as good as first thought it now remains to be seen what they now intend to make of their season .

Inexplicably the Philadelphia Eagles threw in a performance of absolute absurdity in losing 24-23 to the San Francisco 49ers . Don’t be fooled by the margin of victory as the 49ers led by Alex Smith who had a productive game simply outplayed the Eagles when it mattered most . Vick by no means at his best had a game that the player himself may well have been somewhat disappointed with. And for the Eagles’ fans in attendance watching wearily at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , they now have to be asking themselves what the hell is simply going on with this team ? Those questions will have to be answered but certainly not with the customary sound bytes that we have come to expect when an organization and coaching staff are simply at a loss for words . No more idiotic excuses , either man up or simply shut the hell up once and for all ………….. define yourself by what you do on the field of play rather than what you would like to envisage doing. It is as plain and simple as that !

I am continuously sick and tired as to the horse-shit that Tony Romo is a proven quarterback in the NFL ! As a player has yet win a game of any real consequence over the course of career . But yet there are fans and observers out there jumping on this damn bandwagon as if they’re curious to see the latest celebrity porn video doing the rounds on the ‘net . In all honesty I do believe that Romo is simply the analysts’ desire as the omnipresent being on an otherwise pretentious team with the exception of Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware .

In a game that was in a sense set to give us some perspective on the direction of this Cowboys’ team we were given a display by Jason Garrett’s players that simply belied belief. As good as we were led to believe that the Detroit Lions are said to be . The Dallas Cowboys simply set out to prove the whole world right with a performance that was mediocre at best and giving further credence to the fact that this Cowboys’ team are merely to be seen as pretenders rather than contenders .

If this 34-30 home loss by the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington , Texas , isn’t a clear indication as to how vastly overrated the Cowboys are , then the analysts , pundits and fans who still prescribe to the fact that this team should be seen as contenders had better begin to wake up and get a dose of reality ! If nothing else you can either simply choose to believe or realize the fact that what you once felt possible is no longer really possible . Jason Garrett , his coaching staff along with GM & owner Jerry Jones and the team are in for a long and arduous season .

Well now that the divisional rounds have began with regard to the MLB postseason . Eight teams now are vying for the game’s greatest honor and that is the World Series . From the AL we have the Detroit Tigers , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers . The NL has produced the Arizona Diamondbacks , Milwaukee Brewers , Philadelphia Phillies and St Louis Cardinals . Anyone who witnessed the last day exploits of the Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays will know that this had to have been the finest finishes to a regular season , perhaps in the last three decades to say the least within MLB . Thankfully , both teams’ exploits have been caught on film and will now have a place in the annals of history within the game.

The Tampa Bay Rays got off to a sensational start culling the Texas Rangers 9-0 at Rangers Ballpark , in Arlington , Texas . But with the Rangers coming back to take game two that series is now tied at one apiece and set to restart with the Joe Maddon’s team hosting game three at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg, Florida , in front of a sellout crowd of approximately 40,000 Rays’ rabid fans .

It will be incumbent upon the Rays to win tonight’s game three if they are to have any chance of winning this series as the divisional rounds of the playoffs are the best of five games’ format . It is extremely hard for any team to be asked to comeback from 2-1 deficit and win the final two games of such a format . Not that it cannot be done but it places such a team at a great disadvantage to begin with.

On the mound tonight for the Tampa Rays is David Price who squares off against Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers . It is an intriguing contrast of styles with regard to these two pitchers . And certainly for Ron Washington as manager of the Rangers, he is no doubt hoping to see his his young pitcher produce the form that has made him one of the strengths of this pitching roster . Certainly the Tampa Bays are not to be outdone in that area either as their pitching roster has depth and has to be viewed as one the preeminent groupings in not only AL but in the league altogether .

But if Joe Maddon’s player are to prove themselves the equal of their AL rivals then their bats will have to come alive during this postseason and remain consistently so during the playoffs . And this is where if anything that the Texas Rangers have the upper hand as they were amongst the most prolific of offenses in the AL during the course of the regular season . And with the likes of Josh Hamilton , Ian Kinsler , Adrian Beltre , Mike Napoli , Michael Young and Nelson Cruz the Rays’ pitching staff will certainly have their hands full. If they can counter the effect of that Texas Rangers’ offense by some sound defensive and pitching then there’s no reason to believe why they cannot pull of the improbable and mount another upset. After all consider their plight within the AL East a month ago and what they were able to achieve in the year end finale that allowed them to gain the AL wildcard berth ? No one thought it possible at the time that the Tampa Bay Rays would mount that amazing run (19-8) that would see them erase a 7.5 game deficit and rally to derail the Boston Red Sox’s hopes .

Call me naive but I simply thought that the SEC — matchup between the Alabama (Crimson Tide) and Florida Gators would be something of a much more competitive game . Instead what the fans in attendance saw at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida as Nick Saban’s team manhandled Will Muschamp’s players on their way to a lopsided 38-10 defeat of the Gators . To say this game was close at anytime other than in the first quarter , would be to suggest the complete works of Pablo Picasso are a waste of time.

A marauding Trent Richardson solidified himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate as he plundered the Gators’ defense for a 208 all purpose yards and 2TD’s . AJ McCarron the Crimson Tide’s quarterback not to be outdone played with a great deal of aplomb. There was simply no answer coming from Will Muschamp’s players on their home field as this massacre unfolded in front of a stunned crowd and national television audience. There are times when you simply pity a team when they have no answer for an opponent’s stellar display and this most definitely was one of them.

The Gators’ cause wasn’t helped with the fact that John Brantley had something of an inconsistent game that was a mix of misplaced errors and his receivers not being in unison with the quarterback. That asides beyond the play of Andre Debose and Deonte Thompson there was little of anything that was of real consolation for this Gators’ team. With the likelihood of John Brantley now having to sit out the upcoming game against the number one ranked LSU Tigers due to a knee injury in the game against Alabama . It will be interesting to see how Will Muschamp will deal with this issue and whether or not he will call upon either Jacoby Brissett , Jeff Driskell , Chandler Carr or quite possibly see if Trey Burton would be willing to step into the fray and play the position given his aptitude and previous experience on the depth chart before becoming a wide receiver on the team.

At 4-1 overall but 2-1 within SEC (Eastern Division) this upcoming game (8th October ,2011 – Baton Rouge , La,.) against the LSU Tigers will prove to be a stern test Florida and how they are able to handle themselves after such an embarrassing defeat and display. Another loss to the nation’s top ranked team could curtail any ambitions that they may well have had for the SEC championship and the thought of the BCS national title .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the weekend’s sporting schedule and which results if any simply piqued your interests be it in the NFL , MLB or College Football ? Chime in with your thoughts as you deem fit .

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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

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(1) Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos watches a replay on the scoreboard during the final minutes of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images ….

(2) Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton (8) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……

(3) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (1) talks to Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell (8) at the end of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. New England won 31-19. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ………

(4) 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 …..

(5) Running back Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) of the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 24-23 . Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images …….

(6) Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) celebrates his touchdown by bumping helmets with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jose Yau …….

(7) Tony Romo (49) of the Dallas Cowboys gets knocked to the turf against the Detroit Lions at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Detroit Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-30 . Someone call me when Romo wins a meaningful game for the Cowboys ? Romo on his best day can’t clean the sh#t off his own cleats but there are idiots fans suggesting that he’s capable of leading the Cowboys to the Superbowl . What type of hallucinogens are these morons taking at present . Hopefully it’s nothing from the medicinal bag of Dr Conrad Murray ! Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images …..

(8) ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 01: (L-R) Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Nelson Cruz (17) , Elvis Andrus (1) , and Josh Hamilton (32) after the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-6 in Game Two of the American League Division Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images …….

(9) Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Matt Joyce , left, watches second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) catch a fly ball by Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre during the seventh inning at Game 2 of baseball’s American League division series playoffs, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ………

(10) GAINESVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Jeff Driskel (16) of the Florida Gators sets to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(11) Running back Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a touchdown run against Florida Gators October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) ……

(12) Linebacker Nico Johnson (35) of the Alabama Crimson Tide recovers a fumble by quarterback Jeff Driskel (16) of the Florida Gators October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Alabama would go on to defeat Florida 38-10. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(13) : Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for yardage during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images ……..

(14) Brad Smelley (17) of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs past Josh Evans (24) of the Florida Gators during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images …..

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NFL news

NFL standings

NFL week four schedules & results

NFL team stats thru’ week 4 & top performances

NFL player stats thru’ week 4 & top performers

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MLB news

MLB divisional round games AL and NL

MLB results

MLB results 2nd October 2011

MLB results 1st October 2011

MLB results 30th September 2011

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NCAA Football news

NCAA Football week 5 results

College Football Polls AP & USA Today

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Maino ….. feat’g ….. Roscoe Dash ….. “Let It Fly ”

My nigga’ Maino is kickin’ ass and takin’ names !

All Time #1’s NFL Style ………. A Brief Glimpse Into Reality ……

All Time # 1’s NFL Style A Brief Glimpse Into Reality …..

Much has been made over the exemplary start to the professional career of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton . And while impressive as those stats are by the player for his team it still has yet to lead to a win for the Panthers as they have started off the season 0-2 within the NFL .

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Taken number one overall in this past NFL Draft and it portends as to what we have unrealistically come to expect . That is for the players selected in that select spot to be an immediate success , especially in the situation where the position is said to be in the skilled positions such as wide receiver or quarterback . But herein lies my point , with the ever growing need for success within the NFL general managers , head coaches and team owners are under a great deal of pressure to make that prudent decision that that the player taken in that first round will be the one needed to complement their franchise. And as far as NFL glory is concerned the executives and team owners are looking to reap the dividends by way commercial as well as competitive success .

In the case of that number one overall pick over the years there has been a number hits and misses . Some might subscribe to the fact there have been simply been more misses than hits . Cam Newton is now a work in progress with the Carolina Panthers that Ron Rivera and his coaching staff will have to make this young player their top priority if the franchise is to have any semblance of success , albeit , with the added scrutiny and pressure that Newton will have to constantly endure .

Ryan Leaf for his part was thought to be the savior that the San Diego Chargers were said to be looking for when he was drafted by the organization . Drafted in 1998 which in a class that also included Peyton Manning , Charles Woodson , Kevin Dyson and Kyle Turley in that first round one wonders what might have been going through the minds of the executives within the Chargers’ front office. The San Diego Chargers would simply see a player who would become a boon for the franchise and who simply did not live up to the preconceived belief that he was all he was shown to be at the collegiate level . Leaf’s professional career within the NFL could only be described as a complete bust and even though GM AJ Smith along with the front office subsequently made the decision then to make Eli Manning their choice , only to have Manning and his father Archie Manning to refuse to have his son play for the team .

The San Diego Chargers for their part have been lucky enough to have found a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback in Philip Rivers whose success for the franchise speaks for itself . What might now be elusive and worrisome for the Chargers’ fans is the very fact that the team cannot seem to find a way to get pass the likes of the Indianapolis Colts or New England Patriots when the postseason beckons. Rivers has become the heart and soul of the San Diego Chargers, beloved by the fans and community alike but where I have an issue with this organization is the very fact that Norv Turner simply is not the coach to be leading this team on the journey they wish to embark upon. Turner has simply rid on the coat-tails derived of his being associated with Jimmy Johnson . Without that the success attained by Jones at the collegiate and at the professional level I seriously doubt that Norv Turner would be amongst the ranks of NFL coaches at present !

2003 brought us Carson Palmer being chosen number one overall by the Cincinnati Bengals . In Palmer’s subsequent years with the franchise he has seen share highs and season lows with little to show the fans and front office for their support . With the Bengals’ front office having sought to bring in Andy Dalton this past NFL Draft as Palmer sought to distance himself from his teammates and the organization as a whole . It has to be said that this simply has become what a number of these players and their demeanor appears to be about. In the last few months and in the offseason with Carson Palmer goading the Bengals’ executives in not meeting his demands for a trade . With his demands having not been met the player now has an option , reiterate his original statement and retire from the NFL or simply sit out the season , know that there might be a remote possibility that he could be called upon . With the front office having made a number of changes to the roster by way of the draft and free agency acquisitions it remains to be seen whether or not Andy Dalton can lead this franchise to some real semblance of success . For coach Marvin Lewis and his entire coaching staff this might just be the final season in which he can prove himself worthy of being looked upon as a coach in the NFL . Chances are if he cannot get this team into the postseason then it my belief that the Bengals’ front office will have no other option that to relieve Lewis of his duties .

It is easy to be critical of an organization when they are down on their luck it is another to repeatedly bear down on them when that franchise repeatedly seems to make the choices that not only seem befuddling to their fans and analysts alike but also the public en masse . There seems to be a kindred wish by the San Francisco 49 ers and the Oakland Raiders to merely show that they have an affinity for making some hideous personnel decisions . The Raiders under the auspice of Al Davis continues to make those personnel choices that no longer seem feasible . Having drafted JaMarcus Russell as their top choice in 2005 it did not take long for the fans and coaching staff to realize that a monumental mistak had been made in obtaining the player. And Russell did not disappoint in proving the naysayers right with his error proned plays , erratic leadership skills and a complete lack of quality in terms of his abilities to communicate with his teammates. But what might be even more prevalent and telling about Russell as a player was his inability to keep himself in good physical shape . Weight issues were a serious a problem and perhaps the main reason why the player was jettisoned by the organization.

Fresh start , new beginnings and with Hu Jackson installed to succeed Tom Cable it seems that the Raiders have hit their stride . And nowhere was that more telling than in their complete and tacit defeat of the New York Jets . And though the season for the Oakland Raiders is still in its infancy this may well have been the team’s best performance yet in besting a conference rival . Jason Campbell though not everyone’s choice to be a starter within this league but he has proven to be adequate to the needs of this team and the coaching staff .

At some point it should begin to dawn upon the San Francisco 49ers that Alex Smith is not the answer they seek to the team’s needs at the position . The franchise has been lucky enough to have had two Hall of Famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young helm this franchise to considerable success . The duo garnered five Superbowl titles between them , along the way cementing themselves and this franchise in the annals of NFL folklore .

Though the blame shouldn’t all be placed squarely on the shoulders of Smith alone because of his tenure there has been a revolving door of coordinators and coaches that would send the player to a mental facility. But here is my bone of contention with the player and it is simply that he has yet to show that his accomplishments during his collegiate career . I am not so sure that Smith will be a great success within the pro ranks albeit that Jim Harbaugh has placed his faith in the veteran quarterback.

I cannot yet jump on the train and regale the Detroit Lions , albeit that they now have a healthy Matthew Stafford . As the quarterback goes , then so does this team and for Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff this has to be something that he now relishes in seeing this roster perform . A healthy Matthew Stafford means a ball club ready to play and become one of the surprises not only within the NFC North but also within the conference . This is a team that could well be looked upon as one of the “dark horses” within NFC to quite possibly make the postseason. Now playing at a high level of competitiveness and with Calvin Johnson playing like an elite wide receiver this could well be the moment when I should reconsider my first thought about Stafford as well as this team . But as I alluded to earlier unless the quarterback can remain healthy over the course of this season then my options are liable to remain open at this juncture .

The NFC North this season could prove to be a very interesting division as it now appears we are seeing a resurgent Detriot Lions’ team . With that in mind the ball club will have to prove their mettle against the likes of the Green Bay Packers , Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears . And given the fact as to how thankless the Bears and Vikings now appear to be , this could prove to be something of a fortuitous season for the Detroit Lions and their fans .

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As an ardent fan of the game what thoughts if any do you have with regard to how the analysts and fans view the number one picks within the NFL down the years ? Do you feel it is justified in terms of the expectations one places upon these players ? Simply chime in with comments as you deem fit .

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

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(1) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers would go on to defeat the Jaguars 16-10 . Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(2) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(3) Ryan Leaf seen here having been drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 NFL Draft . The player’s career was short-lived within the NFL due to his inability to play competitive and the mere fact talent on display at the college level simply wasn’t displayed upon entry amongst the professional ranks . AP Photo archives ……

(4) Quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs greets quarterback Philip Rivers (12) of the San Diego Chargers after their game at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 20-17 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(5) CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 25: Andy Dalton (14) of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8 . Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images …..

(6) Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Jonathan Fanene (68) of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8. Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images ……

(7) SAN DIEGO – SEPTEMBER 25: the Kansas City Chiefs the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 20-17 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(8) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Chad Greenway (52) of the Minnesota Vikings puts pressure on Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lions would defeat the Vikings 26-23 . Stafford and the Detroit Lions are now off to the best start for the franchise in the past fifteen years at 3-0 to a joint lead ( Green Bay Packers) the NFC North . Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images ……

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All Time Number 1 Draft Picks
Year Player Position School Team Years Played Pro Bowls
2010 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma St. Louis Rams 1 0
2009 Matthew Stafford QB Georgia Detroit Lions – –
2008 Jake Long OT Michigan Miami Dolphins 1 1
2007 JaMarcus Russell QB LSU Oakland Raiders 2 0
2006 Mario Williams DE N. Carolina State Houston Texans 3 1
2005 Alex Smith QB Utah San Francisco 49ers 4 0
2004 Eli Manning QB Mississippi San Diego Chargers 5 1
2003 Carson Palmer QB Southern Cal. Cincinnati Bengals 6 2
2002 David Carr QB Fresno State Houston Texans 7 0
2001 Michael Vick QB Virginia Tech Atlanta Falcons 6 3
2000 Courtney Brown DE Penn State Cleveland Browns 7 0
1999 Tim Couch QB Kentucky Cleveland Browns 6 0
1998 Peyton Manning QB Tennessee Indianapolis Colts 11 9
1997 Orlando Pace OT Ohio State St. Louis Rams 12 7
1996 Keyshawn Johnson WR Southern Cal. New York Jets 11 4
1995 Ki-Jana Carter RB Penn State Cincinnati Bengals 8 0
1994 Dan Wilkinson DT Ohio State Cincinnati Bengals 13 0
1993 Drew Bledsoe QB Washington State New England Patriots 14 4
1992 Steve Emtman DT Washington Indianapolis Colts 8 0
1991 Russell Maryland DT Miami, (Fla.) Dallas Cowboys 10 1
1990 Jeff George QB Illinois Indianapolis Colts 13 0

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Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Week 3 of the NFL preseason and one doubts that there’s anymore that can be learned from the teams within the league . Certainly from a statistical standpoint as impressive as some teams appear to be there’s a great deal to be said for the fact that your starters will get their accustomed workouts but it will be the rookies who will look to acclimatize themselves with the rigors of the NFL.

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And perhaps nowhere will the spotlight be than upon more , than , the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton as he looks justify the faith shown in him by the Panthers’ front office , and the team’s coaching staff led by Ron Rivera . And though Newton has showed his guile and athleticism there has been nothing yet to suggest that he may well be the answer to the team’s needs at the position . The player and his presumed backup Jimmy Claussen now have one more game to prove to the fans and staff in particular that they are ready to embark upon the regular season in with the right frame of mind and the ability sought , in order for the Carolina Panthers to be successful.

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CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

After a rather lackluster and disappointing 2010 season where the Carolina Panthers finished with a 2-14 record much to the disdain of their fans , it was felt the organization would embark upon a major personnel upheaval on both front within the playing and coaching staff. Jon Fox was seemingly allowed to depart along with several members of the coaching staff and this offseason the purge began amongst the playing personnel along with the players acquired through the NFL Draft .

As with any number one player taken in the draft a great deal is placed upon the shoulders of that athlete . They’re often seen as the presumed savior and future face of a franchise and for Cam Newton it will undoubtedly be no different. If the player can have half the success during his final year at Auburn then one could deem it a success for Cam Newton and his new teammates . Now it would be true to surmise that for any rookie quarterback starting in the NFL success isn’t expected to immediate but for the Panthers who have so much riding on the player , that anything short of an 8 win season would as such be deemed a failure for the organization . Granted , as with any team said to be going through this type of transition there will always be growing pains and a great deal of uncertainty not only about the team as a whole but also upon the expectations of the coaching staff , as well. Ron Rivera , it has to be said a rookie coach in the NFL will have his work cut out for him but with his credentials and insight into the game , one would expect the coach to fare well this upcoming season.

Unfortunately , for the Carolina Panthers they find themselves in a tough NFC South division where three of last year’s most promising teams within the conference reside . The Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot be overlooked as teams that are not capable of holding their own and being competitive in what can be best described as one of the better divisions within the NFL.

It might be at this juncture however that one now begins to question whether or not this team might be capable of usurping the dominance of their neighbors within the NFC South. I do believe that with that even with the changes on the roster , the team will be in for an arduous season ! The six games played within the division will be tough enough without considering the typical conference schedule overall for the Carolina Panthers. And ccertainly the team’s celebrated wide receiver Steve Smith will be looking to regain the form that made one of the more prolific players at the position .

It would be remiss to think that an offense led by Newton and Smith alone will be enough or for the Carolina Panthers to garner any semblance of success if this team is to show any semblance of progress beyond the mediocrity shown last season , then the team will have put forth a collective effort that is of their very best . There’s no denying that last season injuries had beset the 2010 team and as with any organization the coaching staff underestimated those losses to the roster as a whole . And it’s clear as a result of that the franchise ation believes it best to have players complemental and befitting a team that seeks the game’s ultimate prize _______ the Superbowl .

Noted veterans on this Carolina Panthers’ roster such as Steve Smith , Jeremy Shockey , Chris Gamble , DeAngelo Williams , Jordan Gross , Chris Massey and Jason Baker will have to step up if this team is to have any semblance of success over the course of this season.

By way of production shown in the preseason by the team’s young rookies the fans can expect something of note . Cam Newton , much like the players drafted alongside him by the Carolina Panthers have something to prove Albeit , that the quarterback’s own baptism of fire has been somewhat unspectacular . His rookie classmates Terrell McClain , Sione Fua , Brandon Hogan , Kealoha Pilares , Lawrence Wilson , Zachary Williams and Lee Ziemba are hoping that they too can offer something to this beleaguered franchise. If nothing else , it certainly will be interesting to see what transpires for this team as to their overall play.

For this season’s rookies in their first within the NFL this could very well prove to be an interesting year. Undoubtedly, even for the the players taken in the supplemental draft they too have something to prove . Terrelle Pryor in spite of his off field problems will have to justify the faith shown in him by the Oakland Raiders’ front office . I’d dare say that this is one gamble Al Davis might truly believe in, given his past forays with regard to over-hyped talent that simply didn’t measure up to much . With Pryor at this juncture who knows what he may well be able to offer the team ? Their travails of last season were well documented.

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

Certainly with the moves made by the organization and through the draft it has to be said the Oakland Raiders are positioning themselves to have a successful run within the AFC West and conference as a whole this season . The team certainly has the offensive capabilities to be amongst the best within the NFL and certainly within the AFC . If the team is able to reproduce that sort of form over the course the season then the Raiders’ fans could very well be for not only a wild ride but perhaps a shot of making the postseason .

Hue Jackson and his coaching staff must be hoping to get the very best out of this team . There’s enough veteran experience on the roster to suggest that Jason Campbell and his contemporaries are capable of providing enough leadership for the rookies on this team . But if there’s said to be a problem for the Raiders it has the consistent lapses by the defense in particular that of the pass defense that has let them down repeatedly over the course of last season . These are the things that John Marshall as the defensive coordinator will be lookin g to tweak over the preseason while Al Saunders will be looking to fine tune the skill-set of the team’s quarterbacks and that of the offense .

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What traits do you believe Cam Newton has that may well convince you that he is capable of being a success in the NFL ? Or do you believe that he will essentially be a work in progress over the next couple of years ? And are you of the opinion that the Oakland Raiders can be a legitimate contender within the AFC West and conference this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) New York Jets’ David Harris intercepts a pass by New York Giants’ Eli Manning during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 17-3 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(2) Brandon Jacobs (27) of the New York Giants greets Plaxico Burress (17) of the New York Jets after their pre season game on August 29, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……..

(3) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Gibril Wilson (27) of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a tackle against DeAngelo Williams (34) of the Carolina Panthers during an NFL preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera looks on during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ………

(5) Jimmy Clausen (2) of the Carolina Panthers runs away from pressure while trying to pass during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(6) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

(7) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) meet after the Bengals defeated the Panthers 24-13 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Tony Tribble ……

(8) Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson walks off the field after the Raiders lost to the New Orleans Saints 40-20 in a preseason NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ) …….

(9) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Taiwan Jones (36) of the Oakland Raiders runs twenty two yards for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ….

(10) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(11) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

(12) Jason Campbell (8) of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ………
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Be Scared, Be Very Scared …. We’re Not Alone …….The NFL Is Now Very Much Alive And Kicking

Be Scared, Be Very Scared …. We’re Not Alone …….The NFL Is Now Very Much Alive And Kicking

Well now that the idiocy of the NFL labor dispute has ended not unlike the actions of the sitting Congress and Senate I am beginning to wonder what’s next on the agenda . As we have seen the moves made by the teams have left a number of fans with feeling bewildered and at the same time surprised . With Randy Moss not being picked up by a franchise the erstwhile veteran wide receiver announced his retirement from the NFL . The thirteen year pro now rides off into the sunset as one of the best wide receivers to have ever played the game . A bona fide certainty for the Hall of Fame will be adjudged by those who deem it fitting to have the player enshrined in Canton , Ohio.

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If anything Randy Moss will now devote most of his time to business ventures outside the game , from his charitable foundation to other entrepreneurial deals. The player an avid NASCAR fan has a truck operation running in the lower tiered NASCAR Truck Series under his Randy Moss Racing motif . Unlike his contemporary Brett Favre I do believe that the player has walked away from the game for good , albeit there are a number of analysts who believe that a team will somehow call the player to gauge his interest in returning to the game.

Now there’s no denying that the upcoming season will be an intriguing one in more ways than we can all imagine. League wise and certainly from a standpoint there are number of teams that will be looking to acquit themselves well . Perhaps none more so than the Carolina Panthers after their disastrous sojourn during 2010 and coming off a 2-14 record . With the departure of John Fox who’s now the coach of the Denver Broncos the organization hired Ron Rivera as Fox’s successor .

The Carolina Panthers come into the season having drafted Cam Newton as the overall number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft . The Panthers for their part have tried to retain the core of last year’s team but they have made moves in light of pursuing free agents and meeting their obligations to signing their draft picks . As to whether or not Cam Newton’s college game transfers itself well to the NFL remains to be seen . The knock against him may well be his maturity but there’s no denying that he has the athletic ability to make it in the professional ranks . But the caveat to my mind as an example will be the missteps of JaMarcus Russell and Vince Young . All the athletic ability in the world but their football IQ ranks alongside that of a mentally challenged individual .

If ever there was a organization whose window of opportunity over the last few years has diminished greatly then it would certainly have to be that of the San Diego Chargers . This team has lived solely on the shoulders of Philip Rivers alone and as good as he has been I certainly now believe that the team now has to step up to the plate and really make some noise . And for coach Norv Turner and his staff this may well be the last chance he has because I firmly believe that should the Chargers once again fall short then GM AJ Smith and team owner Dean Spanos will not have a choice but fire Turner and the entire coaching staff . For far too long Turner has simply been riding and living by achievements of Jimmy Johnson for whom he served as a coordinator during during the glory years of the Dallas Cowboys under Johnson’s tenure as the team’s coach. I have still yet to understand when a vacant position was up for grabs in the NFL somehow Norv Turner’s name would be mentioned as a viable candidate. Turner’s greatest strengths to my mind are that he has always been a very good offensive coordinator. As an NFL head coach I think that the praise heaped upon him has been needlessly exaggerated ! He’s good but not that good !

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San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner, left, smiles as he talks with quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during practice at their NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 30, 2011, in San Diego, Calif. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

The loss of LaDanian Tomlinson though thought not to be profound may well have been the one thing shaped the persona of the team but its free fall I firmly believe affected this organization far more than some are readily willing to admit . Last season Phillip Rivers put some stellar numbers that placed amongst the “> upper echelons of the NFL quarterbacks playing in the league. Last season’s top performing offense was exemplary and it simply showed why they were so prolific . In all facets of the offense the Chargers were up to the task but their passing and game was really in essence the thing that set them apart from their peers .

Now it goes without saying that a team that cannot overcome injuries and the very fact that its roster then the their failings will be manifested greatly . The Chargers suffered with these issues and many more during this past season and it’s thought with the draft picks made they should be able to overcome those worries . AJ Smith along with the coaching staff have been fortunate over the years that they have had their successes in the draft but also along with that have come some failures .

Inasmuch as this will be a make or break season for the San Diego Chargers it will be interesting to see how productive their young rookies and sophomore players will be interesting to see what contributions will be made by Corey Liguet , Marcus Gilchrist , Jonas Mouton and Vincent Brown amongst the players in this past NFL Draft.

The AFC West as a division should be very interesting with the likes of the Oakland Raiders , Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers all vying for supremacy within that particular standing. And for each of the coaches Hu Jackson , John Fox and Todd Haley along with Norv Turner , all looking to prove their worth amongst their peers as well as the fans. It may well be that the determining factor will be down to experience and the bravado shown by the coaches in question.

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The past two seasons for the San Diego Chargers we’ve seen the team invariably come up short . And with there now being concerns to their impending future this has to be a make or break season for the organization. Anything short of playoff berth and at least the conference championship will have to be deemed a failure. To those who would suggest to the contrary obviously are not really aware of the mindset the real issues that Dean Spanos and the organization now faces off the field apart from the frailties shown by the team competitively on it . It’s now or never for the Chargers as it will be for the other 31 teams in the NFL . And interestingly enough I can’t help but wonder what is now going on inside the minds of the coaches and the respective general managers around the league as they embark on this season

What thoughts if any do you have on the various points raised within the piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your opinions and as always thanks for the continued support !

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

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(1) EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – OCTOBER 7: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss answers questions from the media during a press conference at Winter Park on October 7, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images…

(2) Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera smiles during practice at the NFL football team’s training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ….

(3) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) talks to receivers Brandon LaFell (11) and Gary Barnidge (82) during practice at NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(4) In this July 30, 2011 photo Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton (1) walks to the field with teammate DeAngelo Williams (34) at the NFL football team’s training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. Williams saw something changing at Carolina that made him want to be part of the Panthers. “‘It is what it is,’ is n more,” said Williams, mimicking one of ex-coach John Fox’s favorite sayings. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(5) San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner talks to the team during NFL football training camp in San Diego, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …..

(6) San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner, left, smiles as he talks with quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during practice at their NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 30, 2011, in San Diego, Calif. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(7) San Diego Chargers running back Isaac Odim (41) runs a play during the second day of the NFL football team’s training camp in San Diego, Friday, July 29, 2011. AP Photo/Denis Poroy ……

(8) San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky runs a drill during the second day of their NFL training camp in San Diego, Friday, July 29, 2011. AP Photo/Denis Poroy ……

(9) San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, foreground, works out during the first day of NFL football training camp in San Diego, Thursday, July 28, 2011. AP Photo/Chris Carlson ……

(10) From left, San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, president Dean Spanos, Liuget, first round draft choice Corey Liuget, from the University of Illinois, and coach Norv Turner. pose at a news conference Friday, April 29, 2011 in San Diego. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ……
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Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

If there’s something troubling to me at present it has been the NFL lockout and what we’re now seeing is the very same prescribed idiocy from the NBA hierarchy and owners , general managers and the NBPA . I’ve said all along that I felt that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t the wisest of individuals in terms of being the leading official of a governing professional sport’s body . Whereas , his NBA counterpart David Stern rules with a rod of iron and an autocratic rule that would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud . It has been this asinine notion of that both hierarchies that they can simply plead poverty without showing any signs of clear transparency when it comes to conducting their business practices . If there’s one thing that I believe that the fans need to learn is that neither party in the case of the NFL owners and the NBA owners can’t be trusted to tell the truth !

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The NFL stoppage is now well into its third month and the two sides appear to be no closer in reaching an accord and that is in spite of the joint statement forthcoming from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . The charade has simply become a complete pissing contest as each side looks to outdo each other rather than simply showing some common sense . And the same thing now appears to be happening as the NBA and union are on a path of actual self destruction . Billy Hunter the union executive director and Derek Fisher the NBPA president and the executive committee have stood steadfast in the belief that the league have been less than truthful as to the league’s financial problems . David Stern has stated that the league is on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2010. And while I do not dispute that figure what I do dispute is the mere fact that the owners felt that they could simply get by on being gregarious in their spending as they chased after success. The league has a soft salary cap of $57 million but here lies the sheer stupidity of the teams’ actions and that of the general managers as they sought to simply go way beyond that limit (2010-11 team salaries ) . [( 2009-10 NBA team salaries ) ]

Now as the drama plays itself out for all to see I seriously doubt that the fans really can really align themselves with either party in the ongoing negotiations with the NBA , NFL and the respective unions that they are currently dealing with.

This upcoming NFL season should there be one , will prove to be very interesting with Jim Harbaugh and John Fox now taking over the helm of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos . Both teams had their highs and lows in terms of last season and their respective records within the AFC West and NFC West left a great deal to be desired by their fans. So much so that if anything their schedules and play may well be met with some optimism as well as a sense pragmatism. Inconsistency and an overall lack of accountability and leadership led to both teams’ failings and misfires throughout much of their respective seasons .

Josh McDaniels as Fox’s predecessor simply couldn’t get the Broncos play with any passion and much of that had to do with the incompetency shown by the team over the coach’s tenure. And it should not come as a surprise that the McDaniels was abruptly fired by team owner Pat Bowlen , with the owner having to endure the coach’s lies and his complicity in an episode that simply dragged the Broncos’ season into further despair. Needless to say that the fans were happy with the coach’s firing and John Elway now coming on board as a consultant with the organization as the team’s de-facto general manager . The team with Tim Tebow now on board as its quarterback will certainly have a great deal to live up as they seek to make their presence felt within the league .

In light of the problems had by the Broncos over last season one now has to ask what John Fox can simply do to make this team better ? Certainly with the team’s draft choices from this NFL Draft and that of past seasons one can see that Fox has a stern task ahead of him . If nothing else if Tebow is now viewed as the starting quarterback then his leadership skills and play will most certainly have to come to the fore if the Denver Broncos are to have any chance of having a successful season at all this year.

I am not about to suggest that the Broncos are capable of winning the AFC West but I do certainly feel that they are good enough perhaps make some noise within a division where consistency has always been a problem for the teams there. The Oakland Raiders with new coach Hu Jackson in tow will always be looking over his shoulder as the front office and team owner Al Davis will continue to scrutinize his every move and decision made . This team has become a conundrum and enigma all rolled into one as you never simply know what to expect from this team from one moment to the next . With the talent on show with the Raiders you simply have to believe that there has to be a turnaround sooner or later . The revolving door mentality that seems to have been in place for the Raiders hasn’t bared fruit for the organization . Since the departure of Jon Gruden you have only but to look at the problems that seem to have manifested themselves for the Oakland Raiders . One would have to be in complete denial to think otherwise , as the organization has simply struggled to make their presence felt . I am sure that the fans believe that with Hu Jackson having succeeded Tom Cable they can only make great strides this upcoming season . I am of the opinion that the team will finally begin to show the signs that we saw throughout much of last season as the team at times showed their offensive capabilities . From a defensive standpoint the struggles were there for all to see .

If there’s one team in the AFC that I continue to be beguiled by then it has to be the Baltimore Ravens ! When this team is at its very best I do believe that they’re capable of being and competing amongst the very best in the NFL . In Joe Flacco they have a quarterback who is amongst the very best amongst at the position in the league and a player whose confidence continues to grow each season . But to solely think it has been Flacco that has been the main reason for the turnaround and consistency shown by the Ravens then one ought to look at the coaching qualities of John Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular the play of ageless wonders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed .

The Ravens this past postseason wilted when it mattered most but that seemingly came down to the fact that they were complacent . The loss if anything indicated that while they appear to be on the right path the Ravens are still one or two players away from being a truly perennial contender for the Superbowl . The draft and the continued prowess shown in making the prudent choices that have been of benefit to the organization surely will make them quite possibly a presumptive favorite the upcoming Superbowl to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana , Indianapolis . I know that amongst some circles teams such as the New England Patriots , New York Jets , Indianapolis Colts , San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers have to be considered the preeminent contenders within the AFC .

This upcoming season may well tell us a great deal about the direction that this team could very well be heading should there be a schedule to be played. One hundred and six days in and with neither side actually inching towards seeking a quick resolution to this ongoing debacle I for one have become completely resolved to the fact that the season could very well be a shortened one , with there being the usual postseason schedule remaining in tact. The fans are annoyed with the usual statements coming from the respective hierarchies with little evidence to be shown that either side is actually prepared to reach an accord . Simply put , whether or not there is any football to be had then in large part the fans will no longer care either way , as they’ve lost complete faith with the NFL hierarchy and the union.

In the runup to this season’s All Star Game I am beginning to think the teams in with their divisional titles are now focusing on positioning themselves that final onslaught over the ensuing months . Certainly once the events of the All Star Weekend are over and done with , we will see those division leaders simply look to separate themselves from their rivals and those to be in with a chance of attaining a wildcard berth .

I certainly don’t believe that speculating beyond the statements made thus far it’s worthwhile trying to disseminate the information that is now out there to be surveyed . We know the teams are giving it their all with players all seeking to place themselves in a position for the game’s individual awards . As to the postseason itself there’s still a great deal of baseball to be played and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the regular season we before we can begin to think about baseball’s showcase event.

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What points raised within this piece have been of interest to you ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

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(1) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban walks out of the NBA owners meeting without commenting to waiting media, in Dallas on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(2) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is seen here alongside Commissioner David Stern . AP Photo/ Rafael Montalvez ….

(3) In this undated photo released by the United States District Court , U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan poses for a photograph. Critical thinking and an ability to relate to others plays a big role in the courtroom for Boylan, who is no doubt having those skills tested as he tries to diffuse the tension in the NFL lockout, no more than 100 days long. AP Photo/United States District Court ……

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow speaks onstage at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City. The show airs on GMC on Sunday April 24th 2011. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA ……

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. Larry French / Getty Images North America …..

(7) Ray Lewis (52) of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6 . Getty Images North America / Larry French ….

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The More You Know ……….. In Reality It’s The Less You Know

The More You Know ……….. In Reality It’s The Less You Know

As the NFL lockout looks as if it’s running its prolonged course I find it all the laughable when I hear fans stipulate that there’s nothing that’ll be lost for some of the teams from a financial and economic standpoint. Well as things now progress we’re now learning that a number of teams are gravely struggling to even sell preseason game tickets much less season tickets for the upcoming season . Amongst the teams looking to stave off the problems now besetting them are the Oakland Raiders . In light of the fact that during the 2010 season the Raiders in terms of their attendance for their home games were amongst the lowest in the NFL . Team owner Al Davis as an added incentive to his staff at all levels within the organization has requested that they each try sell no less than 10% of their salary in terms of ticket sales . This is something that he’s not only asking of the sales staff but all employees within the Raiders’ organization. If the front office is on board in terms of this then it can only benefit the Raiders’ organization as a whole .

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Slide show for your perusal .

There’s a feeling that as the lockout shows no signs of an accord being met between the parties concerned in terms of the damage done to the NFL’s image is now beyond irreparable . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team owners now find themselves trying to how best spin this situation wherein in order the premise of the situation is in their favor.
The fans however don’t actually see it that way and if anything they do feel alienated by this whole situation. The NFLPA for its part along with its members are looking to challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status within the Federal Court System . Signees to this civil suit are some of the most prominent players in the NFL , each are Superbowl winning quarterbacks Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Peyton Manning . The trial itself is still ongoing and it looks as if it will be a while before the judge renders a verdict in this particular case.

We all can look back on the fact that the 2010 season was quite an enthralling one with the Superbowl itself turning out to be quite an exciting spectacle with the Geen Bay Packers finally hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in their defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers . Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers stood tall in the saddle and has pretty much eradicated the memory of Brett Favre amongst the Packers’ fans at Lambeau Field . And given Favre’s antics in the past few years with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings I feel that it’s a great thing that the player has since walked away from the game under his own steam !

In light of Favre’s retirement I must say that in the latter years of his storied career I found the player to be self serving and an ingrate ! If nothing else I have to admit the longer Brett Favre stayed in the game thinking that he could in fact bring a championship to any franchise willing to meet his asking price like a mercenary for hire simply showed what a narcissistic asshole …… Brett Favre had become ! What might be even more comical was the mere fact that the idiot analysts covering the game within ESPN and Fox Sports clung unto Favre’s every word as if he were a deity rendering his thoughts on the NFL and his own aspirations. Statistics asides it’s almost certain that Favre will become a first ballot Hall of Famer having met the criteria for his induction .

I’m not so sure that the Western Conference Finals of the NBA postseason is all that enticing . Granted , we have two offensively minded teams in the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder . Defense seems to have gone out the window as both teams are intent in merely showing us their offensive prowess . In this series we also have two of the most prominent scorers in the game with Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki .

With the series tied at 1-1 , game three’s resumption of this series in Oklahoma City with the Mavericks looking to take the upper hand in the series by taking a 2-1 lead in this best of seven playoff match-up. For Scott Brooks as the coach of the Thunder can ill afford to go down to 2-1 at home in this series knowing full well that they will have dug themselves int a hole. Brooks will have to emphasize to his players that they need to step up their game and be fully aware as to the dangers that this series brings if they continue to remain complacent. Durant in conjunction with Russell Westbrook will have to be weary of what their contributions must be throughout this series . Anything short of their regular season performances and this series will end up being beyond the Thunder’s retrieval .

Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle has in large part instilled a workman like commitment from his players in doing what’s best for the team from a collective standpoint and we’ve seen that in the contributions from a number of players on this roster . Asides from Nowitzki we’ve seen aging veterans Jason Kidd , Jason Terry show their guile . But if anything it has been the play of the bench players such as J J Barea , Tyson Chandler , Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood that have played their part in the Mavericks’ success this season and in the playoffs. Now that the success is now being replicated in this series it augurs well for the Mavericks and their ambition to win their first NBA title .

Mark Cuban as owner of this franchise has long sought to bring success to the organization. Now it may well be finally be within his grasp . The fact that in the organization’s sole appearance in the NBA Finals they came up short to an enlivened Miami Heat team that simply outplayed them in every facet of that particular series . A humbling 4-2 series loss was enough to send the Mavericks packing their bags home and back to the Lone Star State.

I’d like to think that the Dallas Mavericks in their endeavor to make it to the NBA’s showcase event can actually redeem themselves. In the aftermath of that NBA Finals series’ loss I felt that the window of opportunity may well have closed on this organization. But now I know that to be oh so false as the Mavericks have shown me that they finally possess some grit and determination . As this series plays itself out it will be interesting to see how both teams will acquit themselves knowing that there’s a great deal on the line for both of these organizations.

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