Tag Archives: Miami Dolphins

NFL17 Wild Cherry Picks: 8 Teams, 4 Games and One Tough Call (NY@GB)

6 Jan

rodgers-wc-k-allison-1-10-16-dc-429kSaving the best for last? Maybe so, when schedulers slated the Green Bay Packers to host, once again, the New York Giants Sunday afternoon in the last of four NFL wild-card contests (4:40 EST), a cavalcade of contenders that kicks-off Saturday.

All the action marks the first leg in a three week playoff race whose finish-line is NRG Stadium in Houston come February 5th for Super Bowl 51.

The Lambeau clash figures the keenest with the Carr-less Raiders visiting that same NRG field to face the Texans (1.7), the 0-3 closing Lions traveling to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (1.7) and another clipboard-QB led team in Miami must fly north to battle the Lombardi-laden, Big Ben-led Steelers (1.8).

manning-gb-wc-1-15-12-m-morbeck-296kPressing the point on the closer (NY-GB), Pack’s one of the hottest teams in the NFL (NE #1), appearing to’ve figured a way out of the funk that stunk up their 1st-half of 2016. For their part, the Giants, with two wins vs. Dallas, have gotten quite cozy playing in Green Bay in the most intense of circumstance, knocking Packers from the playoffs twice in recency, first, a Conference contest in 2008 (Favre / Eli), then again in a 2012 Divisional (Rodgers / Eli). Pick’em.

The playoffs mark a new beginning in the championship campaign of conquest. It’s when the crème de la crème get mettle-tested by the fiercest foes and not infrequently worst weather mother nature can dole out.

For the pro player, his body’s telling him it’s time to pack-it-in (no pun) for winter, catch up on sleep, reacquaint with friends & family, read the mail, walk the dog, anything but more football. Then the contract say otherwise, bills to pay and the desire to be the best, all driving him onward in hopes of greater glory.

Which team can prove Julius Caesar and cross the Rubicon in conqueroring the vast playoff landscape and its combatants? Some teams clearly have a leg up on the competition in weaponry, positioning and the art of field tactics & technique.

Home-field and 1st-Rd byes, deserved as it they are, give a decided advantage. And while all 12 invitees are endowed with the spirit and physical skills to take the VLT (Vince Lombardi trophy), only a handful are cloaked in that garb of destiny.

cherries-wc-cca-3-3m-b-kua-6-1-8Wild Cherry Picks: Veni Vidi Vici

Raiders (12-4) @ Texans (9-7): 1.7 Disney 4:35: Texans win

Detroit Lions (9-7) @ Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1): NBC 8:15: ‘Hawks win

Miami Dolphins (10-6) @ Pittsburgh (11-5): 1.8 CBS 1:05: Steelers win

New York Giants (11-5) @ Green Bay Packers (10-6): Fox 4:40: NY wins

Record: 80 – 90 – 3

nfl-symbol-wikiproject-6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Giants-fan, wc.cca, Darasman, 11.26.12; A.Rodgers, wc, 1.10.16, DC, K.Allison; E.Manning, @GB, wc, 1.15.12, M.Morbeck; cherries, B.Kua, wc, 6.1.08; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 1.6..17 @ 11:22am EST; Copyright © 2017

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NFL16 Cherry Picks W12: Who Makes Your Playoff Final Four?

25 Nov

Minute Waltz Thanksgiving

Late-game INT aside, Bradford’s value to Vikes’ roster is unquestionable;

Lions Tahir Whitehead goes John Lennon (Here, There & Everywhere): 11 solo;

Cowboys’ Sean Lee goes Paul McCartney v. Redskins with 14 tackles, 9 solo;

Cowboys half-time show: Grotesque, in the contemporary Super Bowl tradition;

Steelers @ Colts: A proven back-up QB on roster is no luxury, it’s a necessity.

Minute Waltz Week 11

brady-8-28-09-k-allison-wc-cca-862mCards miss their Sun King, Tyrann Mathieu;

Likely less than ten 1000-yard rushers in 2016;

Tannehill = Rodney Dangerfield (“no respect”);

It’s “Future Shock” for the Green Bay Packers and the Cheesehead Nation who are now fast approaching Mediocre City;

Quarterback GWD totals are driving much of the excitement this 2016 season.

The Jell-O® Four: Proof is in the Pudding

For clothing, proof is in the wear…and the wash.

manningeli-wc-4m-aj-guel-10-10-10In the culinary creations (food), the proof is in the tasting…and then the digestion (Burp!).

For football teams, evidence of a championship caliber (SB) is found in week-to-week play.

At the two-thirds mark of this NFL 2016 season there’s been plenty of game action, mettle testing from which to glean who are those top (four) contenders for hoisting the 2017 Lombardi trophy. That all making it possible for some bold predictions.

Not the Super Bowl forecast, mind you. Picking those two teams at Week 12 would be like pre-season prophecies on the Big Game, which are about as valuable as four-day old turkey. Hash it, Honey!

Instead, it’s time to select your AFC – NFC Conference championship teams for the games that often prove more competitive than the Super (Snoozer) Bowl.

roethlisberger-9-9-12-wc-cca-j-beall-3-9mTime to cut through all the crap, i.e., playoff pretenders (NFCN, AFCS champ), and settle on the four juggernauts who are just one win away from the Big “Par-taaay (D.Heffernan),” teams that’re most likely to run the gauntlet and come out Top Dog. Woof, woof!

And because it’s possible that your (my) Conference picks will face-off earlier in the PS, consider THAT game to be the championship bout between the two best with its winner making the final four, or too possible that none of your chosen CC teams at W12 will even land a playoff spot (0-4), you could end up with some sizable egg on your face when the title tussles actually kick-off in mid-January. But no risk, no reward, like if you go all Rogers Hornsby with the picks (4-for-4).

What to look for in Conference championship combatants?

1) Balance (offense / defense team rankings);

2) 1st-Team All-Pro talent at key positions;

3) ‘In good’ with the Gods (at / below League average on injuries), and

4) Small point-margins in losses. How you lose is as relevant as how you win.

wilson-2-5m-11-11-12-l-maurer-wcJuggernaut Club cues: D-mettle and composure (GWD).

2017 NFC Championship: Seattle v. Giants
2017 AFC Championship: Patriots v. Steelers

Seahawks: It’s Carrolling Time.
Giants: Gathering of veterans (Eli)
Patriots: Bill, Tom & Pax Patriotana
Steelers: Big Ben Roethlisberger

cherries-ripe-chirak-wc-605k-6-24-7Cherry Picks Week 12

Titans (5-5) @ Chicago (2-8): 11.27 CBS 1:00: Bears win
Bengals (3-5-1) @ Baltimore (5-5): CBS 1:00: Cincy wins
Cardinals (4-5-1) @ Atlanta (6-4): Fox 1:00: Arizona wins
Los Angeles Rams (4-6) @ New Orleans Saints (4-6): Fox 1:00: Saints win
San Diego Chargers (4-6) @ Houston Texans (6-4): CBS 1:00: Chargers win
Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) @ Tampa Bay Bucs (5-5): Fox 4:05: Seahawks win
Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) @ Denver Broncos (7-3): NBC 8:30: Denver wins
Green Bay (4-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-5): 11.28 Disney 8:30: Pack wins

Record: 49 -58 -2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: P.Carroll, wc, K.Allison, 10.6.14; T.Brady, wc, Allison, 8.28.9; E.Manning, wc, 10.10.10, AJ.Guel; B.Roethlisberger, wc.cca, 9.9.12, J.Beall; R.Wilson, wc, 11.11.12, L.Maurer; cherries, wc, Chirak, 6.24.7; NFL-symbol, wc, wikiproject
Posted: 11.25.16 @ 1:13pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Cherry Picks W3: Whosit at QB? Whocares…with Belichick’s Brain

20 Sep

Sittin’ Pretty

It’s one of the rivalry weeks in this early going of NFL16 as the Redskins take on the Giants, Lions visit Lambeau, 49ers with flair for football fend-off distraction and head north to Seattle, Steelers head East to Philly and the enigma that are the Falcons fly West to face conundrum that’s become their nemesis, the Saints.

Should be a ratings bonanza, even with the self-serve, i.e., Kaep Krudesader & Company. When being different (anthem boycott) morphs into just more of the same old same old (finger-point, blame shift & Change-in-$pecie).

Biggest news heading into Week 3‘s slate: With Patriots starting QB and Tom Brady understudy, Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a 1st -half shoulder bang at what appeared behest of Dolphins well-traveled linebacker Kiko Alonso in Sunday’s win over the visiting Miamians, NFL standard-bearer New England is now down to one rostered field general. That’s rookie Jacoby Brissett (NCSU), with end Julian Edelman, a 3-year flash-QB at Kent State, ready as the emergency guy.

brissett-wc-5-5m-b-salama-10-24-15*On Monday the Patriots’ braintrust in Bill Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels had few answers for media folk on whether Jim could go for their Thursday night game in hosting 2-0 Houston Texans, and then whether another quarterback would be rostered.

In limited duty on Sunday in subbing for the injured Garoppolo, Brissett, who went 91st (3R) in the 2016 draft and hails out of North Carolina State where he guided Wolfpack for two seasons as a run-QB, taking to rabbit nearly 10+ per, did pass his first test in going 6 of 9 with 0 TDs but no turnovers.

If the Continentals lose any more quarterbacks don’t be surprised if these names get dropped into the Foxborough discussion:

Tim Tebow: Timbo’s doing the national pastime thing now (Mets) but the man’s always in football shape. Too bad for Tim he didn‘t push for tight-end a few years back when given a Patriots pass-key and that big muscles won’t help much in hitting those nasty curves: Odds on call: 1000 – 1;

Jon Manziel: Last I read, ‘Johnny Big Hands’ had re-enrolled at his former school, Texas A&M, for what, only god knows because “Skittles® and beer” will not be part of that fine institution’s classroom curriculum. Odds: 500 – 1;

Shaun Hill: The former Maryland Terrapin (See Also: S.Diggs) started W1 for the Vikes and got a win (0 TD) but got handed back his clip-board in favor of Eagles cast-off, Sam Bradford who sports a career 26-37 mark but warmed Minnesota hearts with a big win over their dreaded rival the green & yellow on Sunday. A bit long-in-the-tooth by QB standards (36, 17-18, 62 C%), nobody in NFL deserves one more shot like patient Shaun. Odds: 200 – 1.

brady-8-28-09-k-allison-wc-cca-862mMike Vick: Currently a free-agent, Mike seeks a 5th team to keep the dream alive. Though he’s lost a step, ever since Vick returned to NFL action in ’09 (PHI) after 2-year susp’n for dog-fighting he’s appeared a model citizen, supportive teammate and now qualifies for the wily-veteran tag. What a “long and winding road” a Patriots finish would be for Mike. Odds: 100 – 1.

But with Tom set to make his return in W5 (@ Browns) after serving his 4-game Deflategate susp’n, marking the official display of NFL’s open-for-business sign, the Pats are sitting pretty at 2-0 in an AFC not exactly brimming over with stiff competition and then Garoppolo not expected to be sidelined for extended time, rostering another QB doesn’t presently appear the highest of priorities.

Whomever handles quarterbacking duties for the football version of America’s Team (sorry, Jerry, but apart from apparel sales it’s not even close, not as long a B&B click), you can be sure Patriots’ genius-in-residence in Bill Belichick will have matters well in hand, knowing when to tune it up and when to let it ride.

Best Equation in W2

New Digs (USB) + New Diggs (9r-182-TD) = Vikes win (v GB (17-14)).

cherries-wc-cca-b-kua-6-1-08-3-3mCherry Picks Week 3

HOU (2-0) @ NE (2-0): 9.22 CBS 8:25 (GTW): NE wins
Cardinals (1-1) @ Buffalo (0-2): 9.25 Fox 1:00: AZ wins
Raiders (1-1) @ Titans (1-1): CBS 1:00: Oakland wins
Detroit Lions (1-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1): Fox 1:00: Packers win
Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Cincinnati (1-1): CBS 1:00 (GTW2): Tigers win
Minnesota Vikings (2-0) @ Carolina (1-1): Fox 1:00 (GTW3): Cats win
Los Angeles Rams (1-1) @ Tampa Bay (1-1): Fox 4:05: Buccaneers win
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1): Fox 4:05: ‘Hawks win
New York Jets (1-1) @ Kansas City Chief (1-1): CBS 4:25: Chiefs win
San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2): CBS 4:25: Colts win
Pittsburgh (2-0) @ Philadelphia (2-0): CBS 4:25 (GTW4): Steelers win
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ New Orleans (0-2): 9.26 Disney 8:30: Saints win

Record: 8 – 11

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: B.Belichick, wc.cca, D.Shankbne, 4.24.12; Belichick, wc, 8.28.9, K.Allison, DC; J.Brissett, wc, B.Salama, 10.24.15; T.Brady, wc, DC, 8.28.9, K.Allison; cherries, wc, B.Kua, 6.1.8; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 9.20.16 @ 6:07pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Cherry Picks W1: “Winning Isn’t Everything” ..Seriously

7 Sep

You’ve gotta’ hand it to little Sherry Jackson. The girl knew her football.

In the 1950s, the precocious child actress starred with such film greats as John Garfield, Phyllis Thaxter, Patricia Neal, Donna Reed, Marie Windsor, Anne Baxter, Jean Hagen and Steve Cochran just to name a few, then moved to TV where she’d co-star on Make Room For Daddy, aka, The Danny Thomas Show (1953-64) (Dan a co-founder of the Dolphins (‘65)) and later blossomed into one of the most recognizable, beautiful TV starlets of the 1960s & 70s.

jackson-thomas-wc-abc-71k-makeroomIn one of her early, more notable films, Trouble Along the Way (‘53), Sherry (“Carole”) teamed with former USC man John Wayne as “Steve Williams,” a divorced, single-parent football coach whose rule-bending ways have him building back at a struggling Catholic college (Notre Dame‘s poor relative) run by the lovable Charles Coburn (“Father Burke”). In it she speaks one of the most famous lines in sport history, often mis-credited to the incomparable Vince Lombardi of Packers fame: “Like Steve (Dad) says, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” “You know it, kid (J.Van Fleet).”

Don’t misunderstand the title. Winning’s great, especially when you haven’t had much. Vince seemed to win just by walking his persona onto the field, and barking a bit (“Where’s the tacking out there! Just alot a’ grab grab!’”).

But when losing becomes routine you can go one of two ways, either wail like a banshee about it or try to find the good where you can.

With that in mind I present the ‘goods.’ Four (4) up-sides to keep in mind for you and the team if those Ls happen to start overtaking the Ws this NFL16 season. Not everyone can live up-stream (NE, GB, PIT, DEN..). I didn’t make the rules.

stethoscope-wc-8-11-8-stethoscopes-thm1) Good health: When you’ve got it, you’ve got ‘everything,’ it’s been said. A bit of hyperbole to be sure, but when you don’t have it, getting it back will become “the only thing.” Once you’ve settled-in to losing (W6?), the BP will settle down. Oh yeah, exercise 4-5 times a week (walk, don’t run) and get off the sugar, ASAP.

2) PRV (Pressure Release Valve): Is your team in the toilet? Relax, now the pressure’s off. Like the political party that loses the White House bid. Being the out-of-power / minority sect can have its advantages as critic and deal-buster. Think Bill & Tom don’t get frazzled with all that pressure to maintain the Patriot Way? You bet they do (See; Lombardi to DC (‘69)).

And those wise-cracks about your team’s futility that’ve grown as tired as another Law & Order episode, unless your nemesis, Sir (Madam) Wisenheimer, boasts a team who hoists in February, you’ve plenty of time now to stock your verbal ammunition for when their ‘contender’ moves next door into Bust City.

3) More face-time: The more your men stumble on the turf, the more time you have on social-media to get the latest on your greatest celebs like Kaep Krusader, Johnny Matriculator (A&M) and Timmy Baseball-Until-the-Next-Schtick.

4) Feel the Draft: The more games your guys happen to lose, the more likely that prized college pick will come your team’s way in May. But no danger of tanking in the National (See; NBA), not for draft picks anyway (See; fantasy stats), just thinking glass half-full.

cherries-hispalois-7-2-12-caceres-spain-wc-4-4mCherry Picks Week 1

NFL 2016-17 presses the point again with that Thursday nite opener (Zzzzz) while Sunday offers the real deal with the fuller slate of football smorgasbord.

2015-16: 105 – 101 (.510 (DEN))
2014-15: 97 – 55 – 1 (.634 (NWE))

Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans: 9.11 Fox 1:00: Vikes win
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons: 1:00 Fox: Falcons win
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets (GTW): 1:00 CBS: Cincy wins
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs: 1:00 CBS: Bolts win
Miami Dolphins @ Seattle Seahawks: 4:05 CBS: Dolphins win
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys: 4:25 Fox: New York wins
New England Patriots @ Arizona Cardinals 8:30 NBC: Cards win
Pittsburgh Steelers @ DC Redskins: 9.12 Disney 7:10: Steelers win

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: DenverBroncosMascot, Thunder, J.Beall, wc.cca, 8.20.16; S.Jackson-D.Thomas, MakeRoom, 1953, wc, ABC; ; stethoscope-hand, wc, 8.11.8, Stethoscopes; MD-stethoscope, wc, Peru, A.Proimos, 3.25.12; NFL-Draft-Shop, wc, 4.28.16, Fless13; cherries, wc, Hispalois, 7.2.12, Spain: NFL-tag, wikiproject
Posted: 9.7.16 @ 12:41am; photo-reload 11.23 @ 10pm; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Minute Waltz: Closing Take 2015

6 Jan

Now that the 2015 curtain’s come down on NFL’s regular play, a four-month run filled with more surprises than a Christmas day at the Cratchit household, (post-raise), it’s time to reflect back on the good, bad, the happy & sad.

R.I.P. “NFL Scoreboard”

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbTo kick-off coverage of early action on NFL Network (1:00 EST), a scoreboard format, featuring 6-8 games at one time, offered an oasis, a sanctuary for those who love everything football offers in highlights, sensible stats, clear, clever & concise radio commentary and a minimum of commercial interruptions.

But sadly, Scoreboard is no more.

In their finite wisdom (Sorry, but I‘m steamed), the Suits & Skirts at NFLN opted in 2015 to perpetuate the tired trend (See; Disney et al) in walkie-talkie, where a host (or ‘tess) toggles takes, usually standing, from former footballers on games-in-progress. Yippee.

A reversion back to the scoreboard format won’t ever happen. TV does not improve today. But I’ll always have my memories of how good NFL coverage could be. Like Fred sang it so long ago, “♫ No no, they can’t that away from me ♫ (Shall We Dance (Gershwin ’37)). No they cannot.

Green Bay Packers

....McCarthy.wc.cca.8.11.7.TJ.Grant.thmLosing at Lambeau to their biggest rival to close the regular (It ain’t da’ Bears), letting the North slip through their green & yellow sticky-gloves on a night the Vikes’ QB couldn’t crack a 100 (99, 0-1) and All-Day only made it part-way (67y), does not bode well for the playoffs nor Mike McCarthy’s Fox Valley future.

New York Giants

Whomever’s responsible for the long-running deficiencies in defense and run, that person(s) (Mara, Tisch or Reese?) should give up the calling. If that’s Tom Coughlin, his exit makes sense. If it’s not, his exit still makes sense, for it was unlikely the 2-time winning (& weary) Super Bowl coach would’ve been given much more to work with, regardless.

When eligible, Tom should be Cantonized, no matter the result of any future gig. Quickly turning an expansion (Jags) into a contender and besting one of the top teams to ever lace ’em up (Patriots), twice, in bringing two NFL championships to the Metropolis is Hall-worthy. But at near 70, golf may be his game

Miami Dolphins

There are valid reasons for not re-investing in an interim coach (Mularkey (TN 2-7); Campbell (MIA 5-7, fired) but I’d not use W-L records as the sole basis. Taking reins from a fired former (Philbin – Whisenhunt, both questionable moves at the time) in-season is insufficient test of a man’s leadership and planning ability.

Given Miami’s tumultuous times of late, and a pretty nifty win over rival powerhouse Patriots in the closing contest, staying with Dan Campbell for at least another season seemed a prudent course. So much for prudence.

Cool Quarterback Continuity

....O'Brien.8.9.12.wc.BenJones88.thmHistory shows QB platoons can work (old Rams) but what happened in Houston in 2015 may be unprecedented in the near 100 years of NFL annals (1919). What Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien and OC George Godsey worked is something of a teensy-weensy miracle: Making the post-season (9-7) on the leadership of four different starting QBs, all having snagged a win to help the effort.

The four links in the chain-of-victory: Hoyer (5-4), Mallet (1-3), Yates (2-0) and Cowboys’ cast-off, Weeden (1-0). Kudos, relay-men.

Not Like This, We Didn’t

For those who remember George Allen and his Fearsome Foursome, early Eric Dickerson and even a few old-timers who can recall the glory days of Van Brocklin & Waterfield calling the signals, the return of the NFL to Los Angeles seemed a good idea long in coming.

But not like this, it didn’t. Uprooting established clubs and leaving fan-bases out in the cold was not how we envisioned the LA addition to the NFL family of franchises, Misters Goodell and Smith.

Rams return to their 2d home (CVD-LA-STL) has plausibility but charter AFL’ers the Bolts belong in San Diego as do Raiders in Oakland, just as much as Packers belong in Green Bay and Vikings in Minneapolis.

Ownerships of the Chargers, Raiders and Rams have all reportedly this week applied for the job in Los Angeles. Whoopty friggin’ do.

“Surprise, surprise!”

Chip Kelly firing (26-21 (PS 2 of 3y)):

The Murray (3.6) signing for big bucks that only a Dickerson-like résumé should support, putting one too many ‘cooks in the backfield kitchen,’ plus the odd QB exchange with St. Louis for talented but oft-injured Sam Bradford (Kolb) were wild dice rolls that came up snake-eyes. The problem: Owner Jeff Lurie and club President Don Smolenski had their hands on one of those dice.

Chuck Pagano contract ext’n (41-23 (PS 3 of 4y)):

One .500 season (8-8) in amongst three double-digit years is not necessarily cause for change, but Pagano’s failure to even consider keeping his resurgent 17-yr substitute QB in Matt Hasselbeck (5-3) in starter‘s role upon Luck’s healthy return, flying in the face of mojo, couldn’t have helped Colts’ moral, not Matt’s, anyway, and calls into question coach’s appreciation for the spirit of sport.

NaVorro Bowman

....Bowman.wc.9.8.13.D.Hartwig.thmHaving sat for all of 2014 regular in recuperation by repair of a torn ACL, the 49ers All-Pro linebacker returned to a different 49ers’ team in 2015, from staff (Tomsula) to co-workers (Willis retire). No matter, for NaVo took up right where he’d left off: top-notch tackle-machine, leading the NFL in solos (116) and combo (154) and aught win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor over surging sack specialist, J.C. Watt.

Dousing Dilemma in Denver and Cincy

Mustangs understudy Osweiler played like a pro (5-2) and will have his day in the sun (& snow) again but is a work-in-progress and likely did not exhibit enough natural inclination to matriculation to win total trust of team & staff where a healthy Pey-Dirt stands on the sideline. His first stalled drive and eyes would be turning to the old war horse. Of course, it’s fair to write, if Manning stalls those eyes will be turning Brock’s way just as likely, though not as quickly.

Same holds true for fill-in signal-caller A.J. McCarron in the Queen City. The former collegiate champion (Ala.) similarly performed in admirable fashion (2-1)) but a fit Andy Dalton, even at 0-4 in playoff games, gets the no-brainer nod.

The PED Monster

Reporting last week, Al Jazeera attempted to tie one of the faces of the NFL, Peyton Manning, to the use of PEDs (HGH) by way of mailings he supposedly received at his home addressed to his wife Ashley from an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis in 2011.

Though the report would seem to cry out for clarification and possible corroboration or disproving of claims and may trigger legal actions in libel or defamation, it has a small upside: It shines a necessary light on NFL/PA’s poor PED-prevention policy that leaves wide open window of opportunity (invite) to those who cheat the game, fans and themselves with HGH and the like.

Goodell, like Manfred, must use his bully-pulpit and press union leadership (DeMaurice Smith) to in turn to press player membership to vote to close that window tight (in-season blood draws for every…rostered…player), once and for all. “Build (a movie (“concussions”)), and they will (listen)?” Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Joe Pesci & Angela Bassett could all star.

As to the report, too soon for this reader to vest, up or down. I’d let this soufflé sit for a time, see if it stands or sinks. More facts is always “a good thing.”

MVP 2015

......Newton.9.28.14.wc.K.Allison.thmThe Cam campaign would look now to be set to pop those champagne corks 2.6.16, in celebration of taking home the MVP trophy, though, no bubbly for Mr. Newton if he and his Cats are still vying for the VLT.

It would be a deserved awarding for Newton but with timely assists from fellow QBs and former leaders in Brady and Palmer whose pedestrian play in closing, along with the traditional voter bias for offense (See; defenders N. Bowman & R. Jones), opened the door for Cam’s probable first win of the honor.

Rushing stats must be assessed with a different eye where QBs (single-wing tail back) are concerned, even a deduction of points on the rabbit-habit (vs mobility (Wilson, Young, Tark)). It will too often leave the field general’s mind wanting in the clutch, as recent times have shown (See; Kaep (SB47 & NFCC14)).

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credit: B.O’Brien, wc, BenJones88, 8.9.12 ; NFL-symbol, wikiproject; M.McCarthy, wc, 8.11.7, TJ.Grant; N.Bowman, wc, D.Hartwig, 9.8.13; C.Newton, 9.28.14, wc, K.Allison; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc
Posted: 1.6.16 @ 1:36pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL15 Minute Waltz: Diminishing Returns

8 Dec

You make an investment, you expect it to pay-off. You hope, anyway.

NFL owners invest in their football franchise. They pay for talent in players, coaches, management and ancillaries things like public relations, stadium issues and so-on & so-forth.

But toggling the talent, that can be a tricky proposition.

......Spanos.D.wc.5.11.12.Deejay.thmThe players work in a trade where physicality and aggression will test not only the constitution and character of even the most mindful of men, but will also solicit injuries that can happen anytime, making an expected return vanish in a flash.

Coaches, they’re strategists, motivators and teachers all rolled into one where results must come quickly and regular. Usually hired on past performance but sometimes solely on the interview. Whether they can translate their technique to a new setting and assemble the right cohesive crew is always the big question.

And then there’s management, like the coaching set, they too sell themselves on cognitive skills and a gift for gab. Their profession is free of the unpredictability or finality of play-induced injury and they get a longer lease in the office of expectation but skills or lack thereof in contracting and drafting will show themselves in short order.

Plunking down the investment capital is easy enough but the pay-off, that seems to be one collective crap-shoot for owners. That the other 31 clubs are rolling the same dice on the same table helps to make the game even-Steven.

As NFL15 enters the final turn (W14 – 17), some owners and their confidants-in-cufflink are perusing their portfolios and wondering what’s wrong with their losing ball-club, what continues to go wrong and what’s to be done about it.

Rosters are always in flux but some enterprises are certain to work wholesale changes from top to bottom at season’s conclusion, GMs & coaches included.

Miami: Philbin firing begins rework that’ll tag Tanny but exceed Campbell

Cleveland: As hope (7-9 (14)) dimmed, Manziel draft-call seems bad omen

Jaguars: Building blocks grow (Bortles-Smith-Yeldon), Bradley’s 11-33

Titans: Whisenhunt got quick hook as Mariota’s mixed bag for Mularkey

San Diego: McCoy’s progress fades in ’15, Rivers 35 and franchise fidgets

.....DelRio.wc.J.Sippel.11.16.10.USNavy.thmOakland: GM McKenzie seeks stability in a 10-coach turnstile (’98) as Los Angeles beckons, again

Washington: Snyder’s history hug (Redskins) hails hostility as team & stadium work a rebuild

New York Giants: The spirited Tom Coughlin – Eli Manning era seems to be settling into mediocrity

Philadelphia: Kelly’s crew nabs big win (NE) but consistency & QB elusive

Dallas: In 20 years America’s Team got a stadium but no closer to a Super

....Cutler.wc.cca.11.1.09.M.Schadle.thumbChicago: Bears haven’t had chutzpah since Ditka but Halas Hall options limited as Fox and Cutler likely get another go-round

Detroit: Ford family seems committed to winning but Caldwell’s plan may not suffice to get Lions to promised land

Atlanta: Proven pretenders, 1st-year HC Mike Quinn has had progress as 6 losses are by a total of 31 points

New Orleans: Either Payton is past time or need’s more post-Bountygate

St. Louis: Relocation issue hangs heavy as Fisher turnaround has stalled

San Francisco: Harbaugh high seems now a mirage but exit had to be

......macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.wc.2011Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: Corp.tax.rate.chart, wc.cca, 9.25.12, Guest2625; D.Spanos, wc, 5.11.12, Deejay; J.Del.Rio, wc, FL, J.Sippel, 11.16.10, USNavy; J.Cutler, 11.1.09, M.Schadle, wc; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc.
Posted: 12.7.15 @ 11:59pm EST; Copyright © 2015

NFL15-W5 Minute Waltz: Air of Invincibility

13 Oct

Amongst superstitious types, and those camped outside the grounds where millions of Tom Brady bivouacs still set-up in support of their hero awaiting final court ruling on Deflategate, there was to be no mention of even the possibility of the 2015 New England Patriots once again (‘07) running-the-table in a regular season of NFL football fun & frolic.

So I shan’t.

But there’s no mistaking the air of invincibility the defending champs exude each time they step onto the gridiron or take to mike after one of their cake-walk wins.

Maybe a bit like Patton & Co. must’ve displayed in ‘45 after they finished rolling over the remaining resilient but desperate remnants of the Axis army like it was nobody’s business, except Monty (Brits) to the West and Russkies to the East.

.....Brady.8.28.09.K.Allison.wc.cca.DC.thmbThat might be putting too fine & dramatic a point on it but the New Englanders, their coach Bill Belichick and not-out-of-the-legal-woods-quite-yet QB in Brady made what had been thought a pretty fair opponent in hosting Dallas Cowboys look like flavorless mince-meat on Sunday afternoon (30-6). They face but three (IND, NYG & DEN), maybe four (NYJ (3-1)) semi-imposing road contests the rest of the way.

Some are losing that air of élan in their game balls like they had been man-handled by an over-zealous, needle-happy NFL referee with too much Deflategate on the brain, i.e., Seattle, Saints, Lions, Ravens, etcetera.

But there’s alot of football still left in this 2015 regular season.

All any team has to do is get in (the playoffs). After that it’s anybody’s VLT (Vince Lombardi Trophy) for the taking. One caveat: Those who do make it into Phase II dread like a doctor’s visit having to go through one of those teams that sports that imposing look of invincibility.

Invincibility Meter: 1 = nope, 10 = money-in-the-bank

New England: 7.5
Arizona: 7: Rams (W4 24-22 L) can bring out the worst in opponents;
Cincinnati: 6.5: Gotta’ make more amends given Marvin’s 0-6 playoff mark;
Green Bay: 6: That 2Q (STL) was shaky and sad NFCN won’t test any mettle;
Atlanta: 6: Dan ‘Mighty’ Quinn had Falcons believing and winning ugly if need be;
Denver: 5.5: Looked shaky all afternoon versus Oakland…Oakland;
Carolina: 5: Ws versus Jags, Texans, Saints & Bucs, but most were Luke-less.

‘If it works,…’

The old field general Matt Hasselbeck (2-0 / 63.2) has been ably holding down the (Indianapolis) fort in absence of injured starter, Andy Luck (shoulder).

Nobody on planet Earth would dare suggest that the 17-year vet and 3-time Pro Bowler assume the starter’s role once Andy gets the all-clear, even as he looks to’ve been the sparkplug for the Colts’ jump-start.

But consider me a ‘nobody’ on this big rock in space. Point being, I’d leave Matt in the starter’s role: ‘If it works, (keep your hands off) and don‘t try to fix it.’

Colts were off kilter when Luck went out. It’s fair to write that, while their resurgence is of course not entirely due to Hasselbeck, he is the one who’s been at the helm while other contributors (Gore (22-98-1t), D’Qwell (8t-3a), etc.) have been helping to get this thing turned around.

Everyone knows Luck is the Colts’ future. He may be a great one someday, is a darn good one now. But if the Sporting Gods are pleased, you don’t want to get ‘em riled, you don’t wanta’ rock their winged-chariot, Mr. Pagano. Get it?

Andy will be happy to sit tite for the team and let the good times keep rolling. He knows he’ll be back in the saddle soon enough.

And for all the gripe on Miami’s owner this week (Ross), there’s been noticeably little on Texans cufflink crew (McNair, Rootes & Smith). Could argue this franchise has been trending for trouble since 2013 and the bail on QB Schaub.

Good Spots (W5)

Pitt offense: Tied or took lead 3x to a SD road-win (24-20)
Le’Veon Bell (PIT) RB: 21-111, 1t
Antonio Gates (SD) TE: 9-92, 2
Brian Hoyer (HOU) QB: 24-31, 312, 2-1
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR: 11-169
Colin Kaepernick (SF) QB: 23-35, 262, 2; just 3c-23y. Poise-ing
Eli Manning (NYG) QB: 41-54, 441, 3-1, GWD
Odell Beckham (NYG) WR: 7-121, 1
Tom Brady (NE) QB: 20-27, 275, 2t
Julian Edelman (NE) WR: 4-120, 1
Darren McFadden (DAL) RB: 9r-62, 5c-16
Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR: 9-111
Chris Johnson (AZ) RB: 11-103
Carson Palmer (AZ) QB: 11-14, 161, 3t
Theo Riddick (DET) RB: 10-53, 1t
Blake Bortles (JAX) QB: 23-33, 303, 4t-1i
Doug Martin (TB) RB: 24-123, 2t, 3r-35, 1t
Willie Snead (NO) WR: 6-141 (59)
Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB: 27-153, 1
Josh McCown (CVD) QB: 36-51, 457, 2
Justin Forsett (BAL) RB: 21-121, 1
Gary Barnidge (CVD) TE: 8-139, 1
Todd Gurley (STL) RB: 30-159
Thomas Rawls (SEA) RB: 23-169, 1
Andy Dalton (CIN) QB: 30-44, 331, 1t, 7c-18-1t

Bad Spots

NFL: So many bad run games (team / player), too many to list
Texans (L): 13 PEN – 125y
Jaguars’ OL: six (6) sacks Bortles
Patriots’ OL: Letting face of NFL (Brady) go face-down 5x in Dallas
Peyton Manning (DEN) QB: 22-35, 266, 0t-2int, versus…Oakland
Matthew Stafford (DET) QB: 20-32, 188, 1-3
Drew Brees (NO) QB: 26-43, 335, 2t-1i-2lf
Matt Ryan (ATL) QB: 24-42, 254, 2i, 1lf
Nick Foles (STL) QB: 11-30, 141, 1-4i

Kicker’s Korner (Football’s Genesis)

Sam Martin (DET) P: 4-39, 3 [-20]
Jordan Berry (PIT) P: 8 –, 6
Josh Brown (NYG) K: 3-3 (41), 3x-3 (12)
Steve Gostkowski (NE) K: 3-3 (57), 3-3 (12)
Ryan Allen (NE) P: 4-42.3, 3
Marquette King (OAK) P: 4-50.8, 3. Cool name, cooler if Joliet is his middle
Brandon McManus (DEN) K: 3-3 (41), 3-3 (10); P: 1-41y
Barth Connor (TB) K: 3-3 (47), 3-3 (12)
Caleb Sturgis (PHI) K: 4-4 (41), 3-4 (15)
Dustin Colquitt (KC) P: 7-41.6, 4
Travis Coons (CVD) K: 4-4 (43), 1-1 (13)
Sam Koch (BAL) P: 6-49.2, 2
Jon Ryan (SEA) P: 8-36.8
Kevin Huber (CIN) P: 6-44.3, 3

♫ Here, there and everywhere ♫

NaVorro Bowman (SF) LB: 13t-3a
Mike Wilhoite (SF) LB: 11-5
Greg Hardy (DAL) DE: 4-1-2s-1ff
Jerraud Powers (AZ) DB: 9-2-1
Deone Bucannon (AZ) SS: 9-2
Telvon Smith (JAX) LB: 13-1
Fletcher Cox (PHI) DT: 6t-3s-1fr-2ff
Kenny Vaccaro (NO) FS: 9-2
Robert Alford (ATL) CB: 1t-2i (1td)
Guy Lawrence (BAL) DT: 3-3-2s
Robert Quinn (STL) DE: 4-3-1s-1ff
Lamarcus Joyner (STL) CB: 6-1-1fr
James Laurinaitis (STL) S: 3-5-1i
Michael Bennett (SEA) DE: 5-1-1s
Vincent Rey (CIN) LB: 6-7
Carlos Dunlap (CIN) DE: 3-3-1.5s
Bashaud Breeland (DC) CB: 6-2-1i
Chris Baker (DC) DT: 2-1s-2ff

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credit: T.Brady, 12.18.11, J.Beall, wc.cca, Denver; T.Brady, 8.28.09, K.Allison, wc.cca, Washington-DC.
Posted: 10.13.15 @ 1:30pm EST; Copyright ® 2015