The Everyday Man's Sports Blog

Follow Mike Patton aka The General as he puts his thoughts in on sports.

LSU Has A Tough Decision Regarding Les Miles

(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Les Miles has been the coach at LSU since 2005. Since he has been at LSU, the Tigers have won one title and have always been in the hunt for the SEC title. Heading into this season, he was coaching one of the best players in America. Sophomore running back Leonard Fournette is a powerful running back that many felt Miles would use to lead this team on a potential title run. The Tigers started the season 7-0 and looked to be in great position to make it to the title game. But after seven wins and a bye week, the Tigers faced Alabama. Fournette would be held in check by the Alabama defense and the Crimson Tide would go on to beat LSU 30-16. The Tigers would go on to lose two more games versus Arkansas and Ole Miss leading to a three-game losing streak. The Tigers had fallen from title contenders to a team in a freefall. As the losses happened, the whispers began to get louder and louder in regards to the safety of Les Miles’ job. The whispers got even louder this week when the reports began to come out that Miles said to the Gridiron Club there at LSU that Saturday’s game versus Texas A&M would be the last game Miles coached at home. Miles has since denied that he said anything like that and there have been conflicting reports from various news outlets saying he is gone and that he is staying. We may not know the true answer for some time. But what can be said unequivocally is the Tigers better be careful if they are to get rid of Miles.

Miles has some of the entertaining news conferences that we have seen in college football. His goofiness in press conferences has led to a lot of laughs. But aside from that, Miles has been highly successful at LSU. Since he has been there at LSU, Miles has a record of 110-32. The reason Miles is on the hot seat right now is the slippage of the team the last couple of seasons. Last year, the Tigers ended up losing in the Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tennessee) as they finished fourth in the SEC West. This season, they failed to meet the expectations that many had and that has angered some boosters and fans of this team. But needless to say, replacing a coach that has won at this clip is not as easy as it seems. For example, Tennessee had a predicament even worse than this one. Coach Phillip Fulmer had been a Tennessee life on the sidelines. As an assistant coach and head coach, Fulmer had been roaming the sidelines for the Vols since 1980. And before he was a coach, Fulmer was a player for the Vols from 1968-1971. Fulmer was essentially the face of the University of Tennessee football program. And behind him, the Vols won a National Title, 2 SEC titles and 6 SEC Eastern Division titles. Fulmer had eight wins or more every year he was the head coach up until the 2005 season. In that season, Fulmer went 5-6 and there was some rumblings at that point that he was losing the specialness there. The Vols would rebound and have two seasons of 9 wins or more, but in 2008, the Vols struggled again. The noise got louder and louder and the administration, under the leadership of new athletic director Mike Hamilton, fired Fulmer. Some Vols fans loved the move while others hated it. The prevailing thought from some that loved the move was that it was time to move forward and the program needed a new voice. Well, the Vols tried Lane Kiffin and Derrick Dooley before settling on their current head coach Butch Jones. And with Jones, the Vols will be going to a bowl game in consecutive years and along with a chance to win nine games for the first time since 2007. The move that some thought was needed actually was one that was not thought through at all. And because of that, it set back the program for a long time. Even though LSU is more talented than Tennessee was at the dismissal of Fulmer, the team could still have some hiccups transitioning to a new coach. And that would be something that could cause for some unrest down in Baton Rouge. Is that something the Tigers really want to chance if they don’t have a star coach to put in place of Miles? We shall indeed see.

If LSU really thinks about this one, they may want to sit down with Miles and ask for a few things. Miles is a great recruiter and also has added super-recruiter Ed Orgeron to this staff this year. They currently have a top recruiting class heading into the 2016 season. But the issue with this team has always been the offense. Every year we see a team that can run the football, but have issues throwing the football. The result ends up being teams stacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run and the Tigers not having the quarterback to make the opponents pay. Miles needs to find a better offensive coordinator and do so immediately. Cam Cameron seemingly has either regressed as a coordinator or Miles is asking him to call a conservative predictable game. Either way, if Miles is to stay, he must do something with the offense and do it now. Along with making a change of philosophy offensively, Miles also may want to put a priority on developing a quarterback. It seems they always get talents, but they never develop them for the most part. And because of the lack of development of quarterbacks along with the offensive philosophy, it makes things hard on their running game and their defense. And with the departure of John Chavis unceremoniously to Texas A&M, the defense is not the same as well.

Les Miles is going through a tough spot and some of the criticism is warranted. But with the level of success he has had at LSU, he deserves the chance to right the ship. If they Tigers are to let him go, they risk damaging the current number one recruiting class in the country. The Tigers also take the risk that the new coach will be able to have the same success as Miles. We shall see what happens, but LSU definitely has some things to think about. And if this was Miles’ last home game as coach of the Tigers, he went out in style as his players carried him off the field.

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Dallas And DeMarco Murray Are Missing Each Other

(photo courtesy of Michael Perez/Associated Press)

(photo courtesy of Michael Perez/Associated Press)

The Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles both had rough days on Sunday. The Eagles were coming off a rough loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cowboys were looking to build on their win in Miami last weekend with quarterback Tony Romo back. The Eagles were thoroughly dominated by the Lions 45-14. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson dominated the Eagles secondary (especially rookie cornerback Eric Rowe) to the tune of eight receptions, 93 yards and three touchdowns. And defensively, defensive end Ziggy Ansah led a resurgent Lions defense against backup quarterback Mark Sanchez and an inept Eagles offense. As far as the Cowboys, the momentum they had off their win in Miami quickly dissipated when Tony Romo threw an interception on the first drive of the game. That interception was one of two that were returned for touchdowns as the Cowboys were down big at halftime. The Cowboys would go on to lose the game 33-14 and lose Romo again to a shoulder injury in the process. Needless to say, the games did not go the way both thought they would. And as a result, both are still trying to find themselves late in the season. But with how bad they are, they are still in the race for the division crown. Along with both teams trying to find themselves, both are trying to find their running games. Murray was the NFL’s leading rusher last season with the Cowboys and there was always the question as to who deserved more credit for it; Murray or the offensive line? Well, this offseason the Cowboys decided not to pay Murray what he thought he was worth. The result was him landing with the rival Philadelphia Eagles and the Cowboys having to break in someone new at running back. The prevailing thought by some were that the Cowboys would continue to run the football well without him and some felt that the Cowboys would suffer without Murray. At this point, the answer has been found and it is one that many did not expect.

Both the Dallas Cowboys offensive line and DeMarco Murray were made for each other. Sure he tripped sometimes when going through the hole. And at other times, he did fumble the football. But the reality is that both are not the same without the other. Murray has struggled tremendously without the offensive line he used to have. Last season, Murray was running downhill, attacking the line of scrimmage with aggression and power. And that style of running helped lead him and the Cowboys into the playoffs. Fast forward to this year and Murray has not been the same back. He does not have the same strong line to run behind now since he left for Philly in free agency. Along with that, the running style is different. The downhill runs have been replaced by more read-option style runs. And although that style of running was something he used when in college at the Oklahoma, it has not worked for him in the NFL. Murray often times has his shoulders parallel to the sideline. When that happens, the power he has is neutralized because he is trying to outrun the defenders to get the corner instead of exploding through a hole. The results of that has been Murray going from the leading rusher in the NFL to a guy averaging a career-low 3.3 yards per game. He may not say it publicly, but he is missing the line he used to run behind. And he has also gone from being one of the best backs in the NFL in 2014 to quite possibly a guy that was overvalued outside of Dallas.

Murray is not the only one that has had issues recovering from last season. The Cowboys were considered to have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The thought that some had last season was that they were the main reason for Murray’s success. And when he left to go to Philadelphia, there was a lot of talk that the Cowboys would pick up right where they left no matter who was running the football. The Cowboys brought in running back Darren McFadden along with giving running backs Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar a chance to win the job. Randle ended up winning the job over the other two and earned the starting running back job for Dallas. With Randle there, the Cowboys started the season struggling in the running game. The thing that Murray did so well when running the football behind this line was making one cut and getting downhill. Randle was a guy that loved to cut back a lot, even when not needed. The result of that experiment was some good runs but some runs that were negative plays. Dunbar became the pass-catching running back for Dallas until he suffered a knee injury that knocked him out for the year. And eventually, McFadden showed enough to the coaching staff in Dallas to earn the starting spot. Randle eventually was cut due to other issues that came about when he was demoted and now the Cowboys have former Seattle and Cleveland running back Robert Turbin backing up McFadden. And now with the running back depth, the Cowboys finally feel they have a solid back to run the football behind that line. Last week against the Dolphins, McFadden had a good game, running for 129 yards. But this week against a solid defense in Carolina, he only ran for 11 yards on 10 carries. On the year, the Cowboys running game ranks 8th in the NFL compared to 2nd like they were last year. That may not seem like that big a statistic, but that is a difference of roughly 30 yards rushing per game, which is almost a total of 500 less yards on the ground than last year. As a result of that, the Cowboys are not able to set up the pass with the running game. The reduction in production coupled with the injuries to quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant have taken the Cowboys offense from 7th in the NFL in 2014 to 20th in 2015. With a running game that was as dominant as it was last year, the Cowboys may have won more games when Dez and Tony Romo were out. But since they were still trying to get it all figured out, the results were seven straight losses without Romo.

Both Murray and the Cowboys felt they made the best choices for themselves. Unfortunately for both, it has not worked out to be the best decision. Murray is still trying to figure it out without his Cowboys offensive line and the Cowboys are still figuring out their running game without Murray. Both thought they could do it on their own. But at this point, they are both figuring out that they needed each other more than they originally thought they did.

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Plenty Of Changes Needed In Lakerland

(photo courtesy of Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)

(photo courtesy of Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the most storied franchises in professional sports history. From Jerry West to Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have always had star power along with the championship mettle. Thinking of all that history makes it hard to believe the Lakers have been relegated to what they currently are now. After their loss to the Golden State Warriors Tuesday, the Lakers are now sporting a record of 2-12. The team, which former Laker Byron Scott coaches, has stumbled out of the blocks yet again. And the worst part is there is no telling when they will stumble out of the darkness and back into the limelight. Under Scott, the Lakers have not made the playoffs nor have they looked close to making it. For a franchise that has been used to success, this is something that has to be troublesome for the team and their fans. After reviewing the game against the Warriors, there were a few things that struck me as interesting for a team that is constructed the way they are. It just seems like they are out of sync. They are a young team and they are not expected to make the playoffs, but some of the things they are doing is not making them any better on the court. With a few adjustments, the team could actually be a better product to watch and be more competitive on the court.

The offensive philosophy of this team seems very simple. It seems like they run the offense through Kobe Bryant still. In case Byron Scott has not been watching, Kobe is not the same Kobe he once was. For example, he went 1-14 against the Warriors and did not seem to have the same lift he once had. But Scott seems determined to run the offense through Bryant no matter what. One day he may want to realize that Bryant is not the future of this team. The future of the team lies in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and power forward Julius Randle. These three young guys have a chance to be the future of the franchise and lead them back to relevance. But as long as the offense is run through Kobe, there is no room for them to grow. And as time goes on, these young players need time to mature and minutes to grow. The more they are put in situations where they have to lead and be the playmaker, the more you find out what you do or don’t have in them. You also find out what you need to surround them with. And once you are able to get a true evaluation of their skills, then you can start moving forward with more information and things to build on.

The adjustment in the offensive philosophy not only has to do with the change of the focus but the change of pace as well. Byron Scott is trying to run a Princeton-style offense with the young players that he has. If you are not aware of what kind of offense this is, it is predicated on movement and a series of cuts and off-the-ball movement. For a team that has veteran players that are in the NBA it takes time to learn. So imagine what it is doing to the youngsters playing with the Lakers. D’Angelo Russell looks tentative on the court at all times. It seems like he is thinking more than playing. Clarkson will be fine, but he even has moments where he does not get what’s going on too. And as far as Randle, he is a guy they want to take a rebound and push the basketball. But it seems like they are not really pushing the fact that they want him to push the basketball. The slower pace for the Lakers helps guys like Kobe and center Roy Hibbert but hurts the young guns. Since Hibbert and Kobe are not giving them much, why are they catering to these two? Why not get the most out of your young and entertaining pieces by pushing the basketball? And if Hibbert or Kobe cannot keep up, cut down their minutes and play more young guys that can pick up the slack. If that can happen, I can guarantee the Lakers would see more out of Russell than they currently are. They would also see Clarkson and Randle be better.

The Lakers do have some talented scorers off their bench in Nick Young and Lou Williams. The former 6th man of the Year with the Raptors last season, Williams came to LA this offseason to play for the Lakers. It was thought he would bring some firepower off their bench, but it has not worked out the way he has thought. His average is down three points from 15 points per game to 12 points per game. And when you watch the games, Byron Scott has him playing point guard. Lou Williams may not be the prototypical size for a shooting guard, but that is what he does and has done his whole career. Having him initiate the offense is not a good look at all. The best thing to do for him is put either Clarkson or Russell on the point and allow him to create as a scorer when Kobe goes to the bench. In doing that, you will get the best use out of Williams that can help this team. And if you combine the faster tempo with this move, then you get Lou Williams going in the right direction.

The Lakers could be better than what they currently are. But instead of being a team that is getting their young pups ready to take over, they are still letting the old guard run this team. Kobe is one of the greatest players of all-time, but his time has passed and he is holding back these youngsters. And if Byron Scott does not understand that, then maybe it is time for him to call it a career with the Lakers. The team has pieces to grow with, but Byron is not helping the situation at all. If these adjustments were made at least on the offensive end, the Lakers would be growing instead of looking like a team with no direction.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Week 12

(photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

(photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Week 12 is here and there has never been a more jumbled playoff picture than there is right now. Some teams are trending upward, fighting their way back into the playoff picture. And like some teams are trending upward, there are some that are finding it hard to get a win. Coming down the home stretch, some teams have to get it together while others are trying to keep the winning formula again. Like the teams that are playing, some players are looking to rebound or maintain as well. Without further ado, here is the General’s Proclamations for Week 12 in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions

  1. Mark Sanchez was deplorable as the starting quarterback for the Eagles. This week, Sam Bradford is expected to be back. If he plays as expected, there will definitely be less interceptions thrown. Look for Bradford to throw one, but that should be it.
  2. The Detroit Lions have been playing well the past two weeks. And the big issue for the Eagles is their cornerback play. With that being said, look for wide receiver Golden Tate to have a big day. Expect him to have at least 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown.
  3. The Eagles and the Lions will have an opportunistic moment in this one. Look for both teams to have a defensive touchdown.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys

  1. The Cowboys got their quarterback back last weekend, as Tony Romo was trying to get back comfortable behind his offensive line. Well, this week Romo steps up the competition from the Dolphins to the Panthers. And with tougher competition, Romo may not do too well. Look for at least one interception from Romo and potentially a fumble due to the pressure the Panthers can bring.
  2. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been a man on fire. He threw for a career-high five touchdowns last week versus the Redskins. Well, he will not quite get to five, but three will be the magic number for him in this one. And also look for him to score a running touchdown.
  3. Josh Norman has been amazing this season at cornerback for the Panthers. And in this game, the matchup between him and Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant will be entertaining. Look for this fast-rising star to contain Dez and hold him to three catches and less than 30 yards receiving.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

  1. Quarterback Jay Cutler has not been bad the last few games for the Bears. But in this one, look for him to be the guy that most know him for. His bad history there in Lambeau will haunt him as he will throw at least three interceptions.
  2. The Packers seemed to get their rhythm back last week offensively. Of course many will talk about the throws of Aaron Rodgers to James Jones. But the big thing was the running game making a re-appearance. Look for running back Eddie Lacy to make a splash in this game as he rushes for 100 yards and at least one touchdown.
  3. The Packers will score a defensive touchdown in this game.

New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans

  1. Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been spectacular this season and was great against the Jets. Look for him to continue his great season as he goes for over 100 yards and 1 touchdown.
  2. The Saints have been trying to be balanced this year, with Mark Ingram carrying the load on the ground. Look for Ingram to run for at least 70 yards and one touchdown as he continues to be the bellcow on the ground for New Orleans.
  3. The starting quarterbacks in this game are Brian Hoyer for the Texans and Drew Brees for the Saints. You would think that Brees would have the better day by far, but not in this one he won’t. Look for Hoyer to have more touchdowns and for him to take better care of the football than Brees.

St. Louis Rams at Cincinnati Bengals

  1. The Bengals struggles the last few weeks have been widespread. But the biggest thing missing has been the pressure up front by their defense. Expect Carlos Dunlap and crew to get at least three sacks in this one as they get the pass rush revved up.
  2. The Rams have issues at quarterback. So with the issues there and the pressure that will be created by the Bengals’ defense, look for the Rams to have at least three interceptions from whoever decides to play quarterback.
  3. Andy Dalton has not been as good as he was the last two weeks. Look for him to get it going again this game with three touchdowns and no interceptions for the Bengals.

Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons

  1. Matt Ryan has been struggling of recent. The Falcons’ veteran quarterback has just not found his rhythm. Well don’t expect him to find his rhythm in this one. Look for him to throw two interceptions.
  2. The Vikings have depended on their running back, Adrian Peterson, to keep attention off young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Well in this one, AP becomes a beast. Look for him to go for 120 yards and one touchdown.
  3. The Falcons defense will not total more than two sacks in this game. They are tied for last in the league in sacks and this one will see them plummet even more.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins

  1. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has been erratic call year long. The Giants’ defense, just like the Redskins, has been erratic. So with those two propositions staring me in the fact, expect the Giants to get it done. Look for under 300 yards and two interceptions.
  2. The Giants offense is a ton of excitement with the likes of Odell Beckham, Jr. on the team. But the guy that is forgotten about is running back Rashad Jennings. Look for the veteran running back to have 100 total yards and one touchdown.
  3. The Giants have not had one guy stand out bringing pressure to the opposing quarterbacks. Enter Giants’ defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The man with the mangled hand has been exhibiting great effort this year since he has been back and this week he gets rewarded. Look for him to get at least two sacks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

  1. The Colts have been solid under the leadership of veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Expect that to continue this game as the 40 year old quarterback will have two touchdowns and no interceptions.
  2. The Buccaneers have been playing well and some of that success is a credit to the running game showing up. In this one, Doug Martin will show up but he will not show out. Look for him to not have over 70 yards rushing and no touchdowns either.
  3. Neither team in this game will score more than 25 points. Both can show up and both can also be non-existent at times.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

  1. Buffalo was very close to putting EJ Manuel in at quarterback in place of quarterback Tyrod Taylor. But instead of coming out, Taylor stayed in but favored his shoulder/collarbone area. In this game, if he plays, Taylor will throw three touchdown. But if he does not, Manuel will make sure the game gets ugly for the Bills.
  2. The Chiefs have been on fire this past month/month and a half. Whether it’s been scoring or defending, they have got it done. In this game, expect them to sputter a little as they only score 17-20 points.
  3. Buffalo got a lot of hits on Tom Brady this past Monday night. Look for them to not only get hits but sacks on Alex Smith. The Bills will get at or near four sacks in this one.

Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans

  1. The Raiders were playing well up until last week. This week will continue their misery as they play against one of the best defenses that no one is talking about. Look for the Titans to hold the Raiders to 14 points or less.
  2. The Titans’ best player all season has been tight end Delanie Walker. And in this game, he will get to showcase his skills to the tune of more than 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
  3. The Raiders and Titans will combine for at least 15 penalties. Both teams can be susceptible to penalties and can get them in bunches.

San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

  1. The Chargers’ season has went south in a hurry. And in that, there was a shouting match between tight end Antonio Gates and quarterback Phillip Rivers. Well, this week there will be no shouting match between them as they connect on five passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. The Jaguars were successful the last time out, but the Titans gave them chances. In this one, the Jaguars will not have as many chances because the Chargers will not commit a turnover.
  3. Blake Bortles seems to be learning with each passing week. And in this one, he will take heed to one of his lessons and not throw an interception.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

  1. The Miami Dolphins have had issues stopping the run. Chris Ivory is definitely not something they will want to see. Look for the veteran running back to go for 120 yards and one touchdown.
  2. The Jets have been erratic the last few games. Expect their quarterback to lead them back going in the right direction. Ryan Fitzpatrick will throw for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
  3. The Dolphins will not be scoring more than 20 points in this game. They have been inconsistent and downright awful at times and the Jets are looking to atone for last week. Bad combination for Miami.

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

  1. The Cardinals have been a very explosive offense all season long. The 49ers have had issues defensively all year. Look for the Cardinals to potentially score 30 points or more in this one.
  2. San Francisco quarterback Blaine Gabbert has not been bad this year since he has been a starter. Look for him to have another solid day with 215 yards passing and two touchdown throws.
  3. The leader of the Arizona offense, quarterback Carson Palmer, will have at least three touchdown passes in the air in this one along with 300 yards passing.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks

  1. The Seahawks have a tough defense, but they have to face two tough wide receivers in Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown. And unfortunately for Seattle, there is only one Richard Sherman to cover them. Expect Brown and Bryant to pick on Cary Williams and both will get at least 80-100 yards receiving and a touchdown apiece.
  2. The Seahawks will be without running back Marshawn Lynch for three-four weeks. With him gone, Thomas Rawls takes over the backfield for a while. And in this one, he will have a rough go of it. Look for him to only get 70 yards rushing and no touchdowns.
  3. Ben Roethlisberger has his best set of wide receivers he has had in his career and that will help him get over 300 yards passing versus the Seahawks defense.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

  1. Brock Osweiler has been solid in his relief of quarterback Peyton Manning. He has been careful with the football and has seemingly been perfect for head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. Expect him to play solid again as he will have no interceptions and one touchdown.
  2. Tom Brady has been on a mission this season, destroying defenses in his wake. In this game, he is up against his greatest challenge. And with that, he will be in for a rude awakening. Expect him to be sacked at least four times in this one.
  3. Expect this game to be a defensive battle. And with that being said, neither team will score more than 17 points.

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

  1. The Browns demoted Johnny Manziel and put Josh McCown back in the starting lineup. With that happening, look for McCown to throw for at least 300 yards and a couple touchdowns against the Ravens porous defensive backfield.
  2. Baltimore’s offense will have a new guy at the helm. Joe Flacco tore his ACL in last week’s win, so backup Matt Schaub will be the starter. With that being said, look for Schaub to continue his streak of throwing touchdowns for the other team. The Browns will pick one off and run it back for a touchdown.
  3. This game will not be entertaining. I know this is about proclamations and not statements, but it had to be said. This one may be like watching the Keystone cops.

Week 12 of the General Proclamations is in the books. Let the games begin!

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The Atlanta Falcons Are Fading Fast

(photo courtesy of Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

(photo courtesy of Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

Not much was expected of the Atlanta Falcons this season. They had some exciting players on their team like wide receiver Julio Jones, but the expectation was that they would take this year to rebuild and get a little better. The Falcons had other plans to start the season thought. Atlanta came hot to start the season. They took out the Eagles, Giants, Cowboys, Texans and Redskins to start the season a surprising 5-0. Many began to look at what first-year head coach Dan Quinn was doing with this team and were impressed. Maybe the Falcons were better than advertised. Just maybe they could make the playoffs in the first year of Quinn’s regime. But ever since that hot start, the Falcons have been mediocre at best. The Falcons are 1-4 over their last five games. They were in great position to make the playoffs, but they now look to be struggling to even have a shot at it. In that 1-4 stretch, they lost to the lowly 49ers and they also barely beat a Tennessee Titans team that has struggled all season. The Falcons are fading fast and they have issues all over the place. They have to make some changes and they have to make them now to get this ship righted.

The first thing that is hindering the Falcons is their starting quarterback. Matt Ryan was electric as the starting quarterback of the Falcons to start the season. In his first six starts, Ryan had only two games that he had an interception (two games with two interceptions). Ryan was protecting the football and also making plays with wide receiver Julio Jones. But in the last four games, Ryan has been pretty careless with the football. He has thrown an interception in at least three of the last four games, including two games where he has had two or more interceptions. For the Falcons to make a run to the playoffs, they need Matty Ice to be the guy that takes care of the football and still makes it happen for the Falcons through the air. He has had a consistent running game with running back Devonta Freeman, so Ryan has no excuses as to why he is making some careless mistakes. One thing Ryan may want to do is get the football to veteran wide receiver Roddy White more. It seems like he has been phased out of the offense this year and Ryan rarely looks his way. He is on pace to have the least amount of catches and yards since his second year in the NFL. That just does not seem right and maybe if Ryan was spreading the football around a little more, he would not been having one of his worst interception seasons of his career.

But Ryan and the offense are not the only one having issues. The Falcons defense came out like a house on fire. If you watched Quinn’s defenses in Seattle, they were always flying all over the field and they made many plays. That same kind of effort was brought to the Falcons defense and that was something that was carrying them during their fast start. But over time, the real Falcons defense has shown up. And although the effort is still there, it is evident that they are still a work in progress. The biggest issue the Falcons have is creating pressure. The Falcons are tied for last in sacks in the NFL. For the defense that Quinn has to work, they have to get pressure and get to the quarterback. And if they are not able to get pressure consistently, that leaves their pass defense exposed. When they drafted defensive end Vic Beasley out of Clemson, he was supposed to be the guy that brought pressure consistently for Atlanta. But so far, he has not been as good as advertised in that area. He currently has only two sacks on the season and that has not been what they thought. For Quinn, he is going to have to find a way to generate more pressure until he can get Beasley up to speed. If not, the Falcons secondary will have to be exceedingly excellent against the pass all game long. That is a lot to ask of any secondary in terms of holding coverage for a long time.

The Falcons have six games left to make it happen. Included in those six games are two against the undefeated Carolina Panthers. Atlanta has to make a move to make the playoffs and make it right now. They have some issues to solve. They have a defense that cannot get consistent pressure and a veteran quarterback that is not valuing the football. If they are to make it, then they have to clean up the mistakes, make some plays defensively and fight for what they feel they want. Will they have the resolve to make that happen or not is the question they will have to answer on the field.

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The Unexpected Rookie: Kristaps Porzingis

(Photo courtesy of Mozaic Sports)

(Photo courtesy of Mozaic Sports)

The 2015 NBA Draft had some jewels in it. Duke big man Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns highlighted a talented class of young players making their way into the NBA. The New York Knicks, who had a forgettable 2014-2015 season, were slated to draft 4th. Surely they would be able to get a talent that would make a difference for them. As expected, the Timberwolves selected Towns 1st overall. The Lakers took Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell 2nd overall and the Philadelphia 76ers took Okafor 3rd overall. Many wondered who the Knicks would take with their pick. Would they go with guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who left high school to play one year of professional ball in China? Or would the Knicks go get a big man to bolster their defense in Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein? The Knicks and Phil Jackson would end up drafting neither and instead chose Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis. The big man was raw and considered a project by many who had scouted him. He came with shooting skills and the ability to handle the ball some at 7’3”. But with his lack of weight and the relatively little that was known about him, he was thought to be a piece of the rebuilding project along with point guard Jerian Grant. When his selection was announced, Porzingis was booed unmercifully by Knicks fans at the draft. There were also rumblings that Carmelo Anthony was dissatisfied with his selection. The prevailing thought was that Melo would be wasting his prime years in New York. But little did we know Porzingis was going to show up a little quicker than expected.

When we first saw video of Porzingis, we saw tapes of him doing drills on the perimeter. He was effortless with the basketball, but he was going against air at the time. Many wondered how he would adapt to the physical play that goes on in the NBA with him only carrying 240 pounds on his 7’3” frame. Well, Porzingis has been surprising. The first surprise is that he has been placed in the starting lineup alongside Carmelo Anthony. He is only averaging 26 minutes a game, but he is giving the Knicks 9 rebounds and 13 points a game. That is way more than what was expected of him. He has been a little more physical than many thought he would be and he is holding up well so far. The best thing about him is that he attacks the boards with reckless abandon. Over the first month of the season, we have grown accustomed to Porzingis flying in to follow up a miss with a dunk. That shows not only the athleticism but the courage he has to throw his body around in there. And the best thing about these finishes is that he has put them down over or around people. The amazing thing is it seems like no one gets a body on him to prevent him from doing this so far. Eventually that will come as the scoring report gets out there, but at this time, he is giving us highlight after highlight from his position. The best thing about him holding his own at the power forward for Knicks fans has to be not having to see Carmelo Anthony at the power forward position. Melo had a huge season under coach Mike Woodson there, but he also was beat up at that position a lot. Coming off a knee injury, that will take some of the wear and tear off the Knicks star player.

But along with holding his own on the boards, it is amazing to note that he is getting 13 points per game without having plays ran for him. The kid is just hustling and making plays to help this team try and win games. But just because he does not have plays ran for him does not mean he doesn’t have skills. Porzingis showed what skills he had recently in a game versus the Houston Rockets. He had 24 points in that game, but he did it in a variety of ways. Porzingis showed off his shooting touch that game when he stepped out and hit both three-point shots that he took. He also showed off a post game that no one expected to see. He actually gave a defender the Hakeem Olajuwon Dream Shake in the paint one time and finished with the jumper. It honestly was amazing to see the aptitude Porzingis had shown in such a short amount of time. The offensive skills that the international big man showed gave us all a glimpse into what could happen when he gets some touches and is able to make some things happen. Porzingis may not get those opportunities this year, but it will happen eventually.

Porzingis is now known across the league for his finishes at the rim that keep showing up game after game. But eventually he will get some of the offense ran through him so he can show his skills on a consistent level. The kid who Knicks fans did not want has turned into can’t miss television for Knicks fans. And he is also a guy that has Knicks fans excited about the future. Not bad for a kid that was virtually unknown for most of the time building up to the 2015 draft. Maybe Phil Jackson knows a little more as a front office guy than folks are giving him credit for.

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What The Future Holds For Colin Kaepernick

(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

Colin Kaepernick was once on top of the world. Back in 2012, he stepped in for an injured Alex Smith at quarterback. And once he got in there, he would never relinquish the job. Colin was special during that time. The 49ers were an offense that was dangerous in the running game and sputtered in the passing game. With Colin there at first, they began to look better in the passing game. The biggest change came when they went to the read-option offense. That threw a wrinkle that many teams in the NFL were not prepared for. And because of that, he was able to exploit teams each and every week. The team gained momentum and made it to the Super Bowl that season. They ended up being one play short of winning the game, as Kaepernick’s throw to wide receiver Michael Crabtree sailed incomplete over his head. But even with that loss, many looked at the 49ers as a team that would eventually win a title with Kaepernick under center.

Many expected the athletic quarterback to improve over time. It was recognized that he still had some things to learn in the NFL and if he did, he could be special. Ron Jaworski even went as far as saying Kaepernick would be one of the greatest of all-time. The ability he had to run the football from the quarterback position along with the rocket arm he had was something many had not seen. And given time to learn, there was thought that he would help redefine the position. The 49ers believed enough in him to give out a seven-year, $126 million deal in 2014. But over the last two-plus years, it seems as if the promise many saw in Kaepernick has not come to materialize. He has not been as accurate as many thought he would have. And even thought the 49ers have had success as a team up until last season, the questions still came as to when Colin would take that next step. This season, the onus was on Colin to step up and lead this team. Gone were defensive leaders Patrick Willis and Justin Smith along with many other free agents leaving town. The 49ers were a shell of what they were but they were banking on Kaepernick to lead this team this season. With the work he put in this offseason, there was an expectation that he would be a little more sound in his techniques and make some progressions in his game. But unfortunately, the work he put in was not showing on the field consistently. Eventually it got to the point where Colin looked as if he was second-guessing himself. The 49ers were struggling offensively (last in the NFL in scoring) and unfortunately most of the blame landed on the talented quarterback. And before the game versus Atlanta, the 49ers decided to bench Colin and put in backup Blaine Gabbert. The former 1st round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars has equipped himself well and the offense has looked a little better. And as for Colin, it was recently announced that he will be having season-ending shoulder for a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Many see this as the end of the Colin Kaepernick era in San Francisco.

Colin is a talented athlete and that can never be questioned. A man that big and that fast with a cannon for an arm is a dangerous weapon. But over his time, it seemed like the progression was never made. And this year, he was expected to carry the offense. Unfortunately it did not work out and it looks as if he is out the door. But this is not going to be the end of Colin in the NFL. Despite his performance in San Francisco, there have been some other factors that have contributed to it. The fact that he was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL in 2014 and this current year is something that has to be looked at. The offensive line has been giving effort, but they have not been the most reliable source for keeping Kaepernick clean. And while sometimes there have been issues because Colin may hold on to the ball too long, there have been other issues with the line blowing assignments and leaving him out to dry. Either way, Colin’s looking more and more on his way out of town. What was thought to be a new era and an upgrade at the quarterback position over Alex Smith has turned into a team that may be in the running for a new quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. One guy the Niners could potentially be looking at as his replacement should they draft a quarterback is Jared Goff. The talented quarterback from the University of California has drawn rave reviews. He has good accuracy and some say that he has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback. For the 49ers, it would be a chance to revisit a mistake they made in the past. In the 2005 NFL Draft, the Niners had the chance to draft a talented quarterback from the University of California. But instead of doing so, they took University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith. The quarterback they passed on: Aaron Rodgers. Smith has been solid the last few years in the NFL, but he was bad in most of his years with the 49ers. Rodgers, on the other hand, is adding chapters in his Hall Of Fame career with each passing year. A mistake the 49ers made in the past would be able to be corrected ten years later in a sense. Whether they are able to get Goff or not depends on positioning the draft, but he would be someone that would help the 49ers rebuild.

As far as Colin, the rumors of what happens next with him have no begun. There have been talks of trading him already starting. The first thing that has to happen in any situation is Colin has to recover from surgery. It will not matter if the team wants to trade him if he is not healthy enough to pass a physical. All indications is he will be healthy enough to be looked at by other teams, so unless anything unexpected happens, he should be ready to go. The most important date in the offseason for the 49ers will be April 1st. The indications are that the 49ers will try to trade Kaepernick this offseason before that date to save some dead salary cap space. And with a talent like Kaepernick, there will be teams that want him. One team that could come up in discussion is the New York Jets. Currently they have veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick leading their team. Behind him, they have Geno Smith and rookie Bryce Petty. Neither of these guys has won a playoff game nor a bigtime game. Colin, despite what some may think of him, has won big games and also has played in plenty of big games. There are a few other teams that may want to retain his services as well, but the main though that has to go into getting Kaepernick how do you get him? If you trade for him, you inherit his contract. His contract dictates that he would be a $16.8 million cap hit for a team next season. That would be a high price to pay for a guy that could or could not be the answer. The other option that teams can look at is waiting up until April 1st. If the 49ers waive Colin, then he will be free to sign with who he wants to once he clears waivers. At that point, you get a talented player for less of a price tag. That would make him more attractive to teams right then and there and it would also open up the doors for more teams to take a look at him.

There are plenty of things that can happen this offseason with Colin Kaepernick. For all we know, he could be a member of the 49ers team next year. But there is also an overwhelming thought that he will be gone and his career is over in San Francisco after going on injured reserve. The next few months will tell us a lot about where he goes or does not go from here and where the 49ers go as well. It should be interesting to watch what chess moves are made.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Week 11

(AP Photo/David Richard)

(AP Photo/David Richard)

Week 11 is upon us and there are plenty of teams still trying to figure out who they are. This year has seen the most teams with a losing or even record in 25 years and there is no answer as to why. The only thing that has shown up so far is the uncertainty from week to week of each team. There have only been a few teams show up each week to make it happen, and their names are the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots. Heading into this week, both the Patriots and the Panthers have pressure mounting on them with the streak they both are on. Can they keep it up is the question for them? But for others, the question they have is can they put together two good games in a row. We shall see if that happens, but the performance of teams all depends on the performances of players and groups of players. Without further ado, here are the General’s Proclamations for Week 11.


Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars

  1. The Jacksonville Jaguars have been waiting on tight end Julius Thomas to break out. Well, this is the game it happens. He will have at least five receptions for at least 80 yards and one touchdown.
  2. The Tennessee Titans struggled offensively in the second half versus the Panthers. In this one, they will not have those kind of issues as they will top 20 points in this game.
  3. Jacksonville and Tennessee will have at least two turnovers. Both teams will make some mistakes and this game will show how far both have to go.

Oakland Raiders at Detroit Lions

  1. The Lions showed some heart last week taking it to Green Bay at Lambeau Field. In this one, they face a Raiders secondary that can be had. And had they will be, as wide receiver Golden Tate will go for 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
  2. Oakland is smarting from their loss to the Vikings last weekend. So in this one, look for them to try and get that right. And everything right about them involves quarterback Derek Carr. Expect the second-year quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns.
  3. Detroit does not have a solid run game. And that will be displayed in this game as they fail to total 115 yards rushing as a team.

Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons

  1. Matt Hasselbeck is the starter at quarterback for the Colts as Luck is out injured. And with him, expect the offense to have a good time versus the Falcons defense. He will throw for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. The Falcons have been inconsistent this year. But in this one, expect them to show and be led by their offense and wide receiver Julio Jones. Expect the outstanding receiver to have at least six receptions for 100+ yards and a touchdown.
  3. The Colts defense has not had many takeaways from their cornerbacks. Expect them to get at least one in this one from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

St. Louis Rams at Baltimore Ravens

  1. The Rams made the change to Case Keenum at quarterback. And with the Ravens coming to town, they could not have picked a better week to change the starter at that position. Look for the veteran quarterback to get at least 275 yards passing and three touchdowns.
  2. Not to be outdone, Joe Flacco is around in this one. And if he watched any video of the game the Rams had last week versus the Chicago Bears, he will be licking his chops. Expect him to get at least 300 yards and two touchdowns.
  3. Both the Ravens and the Rams are teams that like to bring pressure. The problem is the Rams are more suited to make the pressure happen. But nonetheless, the Ravens and Rams will find a way to get to the quarterback. Expect the Rams to standout though, as they will probably have 5 sacks as a team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Philadelphia will score over 25 points with quarterback Sam Bradford out. Backup Mark Sanchez will be the starter more than likely and his knowledge of the system will help him.
  2. Tampa Bay was not so hot offensively last game. Well, this game they will put the onus on running back Doug Martin. He will have over 100 yards rushing and 1 touchdown in this one.
  3. Both Philly and Tampa Bay will have at least two interceptions thrown. And one of them will go a touchdown in this game also.

Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears

  1. The Broncos will be without quarterback Peyton Manning this Sunday. And as a result of him being out, the Broncos will try to run the football more. Look for the running back crew of the Broncos to rush the ball 40+ times.
  2. The Chicago Bears have not figured out their rushing game. in this game, they still look befuddled as ever as they rotate backs in and out for a total of 100 yards or less.
  3. The Broncos and the Bears will be an exciting game. Despite the star power missing, this one will be worth your time.

New York Jets at Houston Texans

  1. The Jets got outplayed last week versus the Buffalo Bills. Well, don’t expect the same this week as the Jets will come to play. Look for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for two touchdowns and over 220 yards.
  2. Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has got it going this season. And in this one, he will face some stiff competition. Look for him to have a tough day of it in this one. He will get a little over 60+ yards receiving while not scoring a touchdown.

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Panthers gave up next to nothing in the second half of their game against the Tennessee Titans. Expect more of the same thing this week, as they will keep the Redskins under 15 points.
  2. The Redskins have not had a great season, but it has allowed them to have a good look at Kurt Cousins as their starting quarterback. And as of now, the jury is still out. He has been inconsistent all season and in this one, he will be consistently bad. Count on him to throw two interceptions.
  3. Cam Newton was solid throwing the football last weekend. Expect him to continue to throw well, as he will complete throws at a 65% clip in this one and have at least two touchdown passes.

Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins

  1. Tony Romo will be returning in this one reportedly. So expect the offense to come to life and put up at least 25 points versus the Dolphins.
  2. When the offense comes to life, look for wide receiver Dez Bryant to get it going. Somewhere around 5 receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown would be a solid outing for Dez.
  3. The Miami Dolphins were able to win last week. Going into this one, they will have to play perfect to enhance their chances. Well, they will definitely have some turnovers in this one. Expect two of them and one will happen in Cowboys territory.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

  1. The Chiefs have caught a little fire as of late. Expect them to continue playing well, as Alex Smith will go for 225 yards and one touchdown on the way to playing smart football.
  2. The Chargers have been struggling this season and they will struggle even more without wide receiver Keenan Allen. Look for quarterback Phillip Rivers to have only 200 yards passing and one touchdown pass as San Diego’s offensive issues continue.
  3. Kansas City has one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Justin Houston. Expect him to get loose on the San Diego offensive line, getting at least three sacks against them.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

  1. The Packers have been struggling recently and part of that has been their offense. Look for them to get some sort of rhythm this game, as Aaron Rodgers gets 300 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. But not to be outdone, the Minnesota offense has some things going for them(mainly Adrian Peterson). The difference between Minnesota and Green Bay is how they do it. The Vikings get it done on the ground, but they may find a tough time doing so this week. Look for them to struggle running the football all game.
  3. The Vikings and the Packers will not score over 23 points. Look for a physical football game.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

  1. The 49ers made a change at quarterback and that, along with other things, helped them win versus Atlanta. Expect a tougher game in this one, as the 49ers will score less than 20 points.
  2. The Seahawks offense has been interesting to say the least. Expect them to go to running back Marshawn Lynch to give them consistency in this one. He will go for at least 100 yards rushing and one touchdown.
  3. Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Blaine Gabbert will throw at least one interception apiece. And the tough part of this for them: it will be a costly pick that catches up with them.

Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals

  1. This is a game that quarterback Carson Palmer is looking forward to. He will be taking on the team that drafted him and the team that he asked to be traded from a while back. I think he comes out fired up and that will carry him throughout. Look for him to have at least 300 yards and one touchdown.
  2. The Cardinals running game has not been bad at all this year. And in this game, expect it to keep on going. Running back Chris Johnson will rush for 100 yards and a touchdown.
  3. The Bengals will not be an afterthought in this one. They will play hard and will be looking for revenge. Look for quarterback Andy Dalton to throw for 250 yards and one touchdown.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

  1. The Patriots have been on fire offensively. And there is no need to think they will cool off anytime soon. But with the loss of Edelman broken foot, someone has to step up. Look for wide receiver Brandon LaFell to step in and produce 100 yards receiving and one touchdown.
  2. Buffalo finally got the production out of running back LeSean McCoy that they thought they would get form the beginning. And coming off that successful run versus New York, expect him to build. Look for close to 100 yards and one touchdown.
  3. The Bills and Patriots will not be the blowout it was the first game. Expect the winner to be within 4 points in the fourth quarter.

The proclamations are in for Week 11. Enjoy the games!

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One Mother’s Misguided Attack On Cam Newton

 (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton came to Nashville Sunday to take on the Tennessee Titans. And as one of the best teams in football, they handled their business and won the game 27-10. Cam Newton was solid but not spectacular in the win, throwing for 217 yards and a touchdown and running for another. But his solid performance was seemingly outweighed by the celebration after the final touchdown of the game. Up 20-10 with 2:42 left in the game, Newton scored on a two yard run and proceeded to do a dance in the endzone. The dance apparently perturbed a couple Titans players who approached Newton while he was doing his dance. Newton proceeded to keep doing his dance while the opponents were still barking at him and approaching him. Judging from the reaction, there was many Titans fans that did not like it and apparently there was one that felt compelled enough to write about it. A woman, whose name I will not mention, wrote a letter towards Cam Newton calling him arrogant, speaking on his role as a role model and how that came across, and also speaking on how he was taunting the Titans players with his dance and actions. The speech she had spoke of her daughter’s first game experience and she essentially blamed Newton for destroying that for her child. But my question for her is where was she looking the rest of the game?

It seems like the entire view of this woman was aimed towards Newton. But what I may want to ask about her is did she see some of the things the Titans did during the game. For example, one play when the Titans were on offense and the play was over, Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan got in the face of a Panthers defensive lineman. And not only did he get in the face of the offensive lineman, but he was helmet-to-helmet with him and appeared to almost headbutt him. In that instance, it seemed like he was talking trash with the opponent. I wonder what thoughts were going through the mind of the woman in question and her daughter at this time? But of course, we have no idea what she is thinking on this one at all because her focus apparently was on watching Cam Newton the entire game and what potential missteps he may have taken on the field.

But that was not the only instance that she could have questioned along with Cam Newton. The Titans defense was playing hard all game long. They got after Cam and brought him down a few times for sacks. But there was one specific time in the game where the Titans were beginning to build some momentum in the second half. The Titans sacked Cam Newton and then the defender who made the play began to think he was in a video himself. Many know of the rapper Drake and his video “Hot Line Bling”. Well, there have been some NFL players that have taken a dance he does in the video for this song and made it their thing to do when they make a play. The defensive player from the Titans broke out that popular dance during the game and showed off a little during it. Notice that there was nothing said of what could have been perceived as showboating there by the woman in question. In fact, the silence is deafening on anything the Titans may have done that could have been perceived as wrong or not what a role model does by this woman’s standards.

The long and short of it is this woman did not like what Cam did because it was not her team. And she may have taken what her daughter said and put that in a story for Cam, but there were plenty other players that some considered role models that were on that field last I saw on Sunday. But instead of looking at all the actions and writing about all of them, she chose to point out Cam Newton. Sure, the dance may have been a little excessive, but where has this woman been over the last few years? There has been plenty dancing and things on the football field. The funny thing is she took one action and tried to destroy all the good things that Cam has done. Maybe she may want to take a look at the whole picture instead of cropping out a part of it. Can anyone get in touch with her and ask her what she thinks about some of the things the Titans did on the field and if they were role-model worthy by her standards? Better yet, can anyone get in touch with her and ask her if she watches the NFL on a regular basis and what she thinks of Aaron Rodgers pelvic thrust during his celebrations? That’s what I thought. Deafening silence when it comes to anything else her and her child may have watched Sunday afternoon or at any other NFL game. This was an attack on Cam camouflaged by a mother using her child. Don’t let her fool you folks.

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It’s Sink Or Swim With Johnny Manziel In Cleveland

 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns have been an utter disappointment. Year after year they have failed to even make a run towards relevance. Heading into 2015, the signing of veteran quarterback Josh McCown was sold as a piece that will help them march towards relevance. Well, looking at McCown this year, he has had an alright year, but nothing special enough to take this Browns team to another level. And just like many thought would happen, the Browns are being the Browns again, as the long-standing fans of this team suffer through another tough season. But along with the struggles of the team, there has been a power struggle between the front office and the coaching staff. The coaching staff has been behind playing the veteran quarterback Josh McCown if he is healthy. The front office, however, has been wanting Johnny Manziel to get some time with the starting unit. And although Manziel has gotten some time with the unit this year, it was only because McCown could not play due to injury. The coaching staff, led by head coach Mike Pettine, had the upper hand in who played quarterback. But now it seems the tide has turned. Johnny Manziel has recently been named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns for the remainder of the season. And from the sound of it, the decision was almost forced upon the coaching staff by the front office of the team, led by general manager Ray Farmer. There is no doubt a power struggle going on in Cleveland as well as a disconnect between both front office and the coaching staff. And this decision to go with Manziel could affect a lot of things in the organization.

Manziel was an exciting player when he was in college. The former Heisman Trophy winner played the game almost like he was the quarterback in a pickup football game. And many times, he made plays that he could probably not repeat. The excitement Manziel brought in college fascinated the front office of the Browns so much that they moved back into the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to take him. Their thinking was he could be the quarterback to lead them eventually. But the team and the coaching staff have found ways to keep him on the bench behind Hoyer last year and McCown this year. With him now getting the rest of the snaps to finish the season, the Browns will now be able to find out what they do (or don’t’) have in Manziel. The fact of the matter was he was wasting away on the bench for Cleveland. And for someone the organization traded up to get, they needed to find out if he could be an asset to the franchise. By finding out what they have, the organization can decide what they need to do with the quarterback position. If he performs well and they want to keep riding with him, they can keep him and add to other spots. But if he performs poorly, then it will allow them to get ready to explore other options knowing they did their due diligence. It may be admitting they were wrong in drafting him, but it is better to find out now rather than later.

What the Browns may find out is they have a guy that can make plays at the NFL level. Manziel has shown some growth from his rookie year to this year. In his rookie year, Manziel was quick to scramble and abandon the pocket, even when there was no pressure at all. By doing this, he would destroy the integrity of the play and make a negative play happen. And along with the negative plays, he would also take on unnecessary hits from defenses that could have injured him. In this season, he has looked much smoother as a NFL quarterback. Instead of being so quick to abandon the pocket, he is now looking over the field and reading his options. And as a result, he has had more success than last year quarterbacking the team. The presence he has shown in the pocket this year is definitely an upgrade over last season. The thing that will be monitored is not only how he does stat-wise, but how he commands the team. Plenty have questioned the antics and attitude of Manziel over time. And we all know the list of questionable decisions that he has made not involving football. But the decisions on the field and how the players accept him will be a part of the determining factor on his tenure in Cleveland. If he is able to get the players behind him, then that will help him show that he can lead this team. If not, then he is gone after the season.

The front office has made their play and they are choosing to ride with Manziel the rest of the year.. But along with Manziel getting the start, the end could be signaling near for Pettine as head coach in Cleveland. Once your power to make decisions has been taken away, that is when the end is near. Pettine can ask Colts head coach Chuck Pagano about that one if he wants to. Manziel is getting his shot, but he is doing more than playing for his job. He is playing for others jobs in the front office. We shall see if Manziel, Pettine or Farmer are left standing after this move made today.

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