Andy Dalton Has to Win in Playoffs But…

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is infamous for his inability to perform in big games, but his comeback from  17 points down in the 4th quarter to pull out a 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks is worth something.  People will say that he still has to do it in the playoffs, but making it to the playoffs should count for something.

The irony is that people act like the Bengals are some storied franchise.  They were the laughing-stock of the league for years, who never even made the playoffs.  Now they finally have a quarterback that consistently gets them to the playoffs, it’s all about playoff wins.

The Bengals as a team struggle in big moments, not just Dalton.  The Bengals have capitalized on giving players second chances, but players with issue typically have demonstrated questionable judgement in life, so is it a surprise they would do the same thing on the field?

But Andy Dalton hasn’t been one to make excuses.  Judging by the way he is throwing, he spent a lot of time working on his game.  Dalton’s accuracy has improved, and he is not only dropping the ball into tight windows, but he is protecting his receivers from the big hits.  With that type of understanding between teammates, they are more likely to leave it all out on the field.  It is still early, and Dalton still has to show more, but it seems that he is putting his past behind him in route to a bright future.

Michael Sam Debuts in CFL…Is It Even A Story?

Michael Sam made his pro football debut with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, becoming the first openly gay player to play professional football.  His debut was nothing special, but maybe now Sam will cease to be a major story now that he has accomplished his goal.

The whole ‘coming out’ was strange from the beginning due to timing.  By coming out before the draft it made his motives questionable.  Michael Sam was considered a fringe NFL player, so it made no sense to come out.  The NFL frowns upon individuality, so any kind of revelation before the draft would hurt his stock.  In hindsight, it seems that he was trying to use the social climate to force his way into the league.

Then after being unable to make a NFL roster, he was hesitant to go to Canada to prove himself.  After getting to Canada he then took a still unexplained leave before eventually returning to the team.  Who does that? Why did he even get a second chance? For some reason he seems to think he is entitled, so maybe if the media paid less attention to him then he would put in the work he needs to on the field.  If he does that he will have a chance to reap all the accolades he imagined.

Tom Brady Suspension Upheld…NFL Better Be Ready for War

Tom Brady Suspension (ESPN First Take)

The NFL wants Tom Brady’s head on a platter, and they are not playing. Not only was the Tom Brady suspension upheld, but the league released an inflammatory statement to damage Brady’s reputation before a suspected legal battle. The media ran with the statement, even though it was pure conjecture with no facts

With all of the attention on whether Brady is a cheater, it is easy to forget that this is about suspected deflated footballs in a 45-7 game. This should have never been a story because the NFL never said anything definitive about the actual PSI and how low the ball supposedly was, so there must be something else. The only logical explanation is that they found something to indicate other games were compromised, otherwise this is a witch hunt.

It makes no sense that the NFL has compromised the reputation of one of its biggest stars. It is unprecedented for the league to go after a star like this, especially considering the team was already fined $1 million and lost draft picks. This is a heavy price for a PSI infraction.

The release of information that he destroyed his cell phone is inflammatory because it paints Brady as having something to hide, even though it isn’t relevant to this situation. What does his phone have to do with it if the balls weren’t deflated? They can’t say definitively the balls were deflated, so they are distracting the public from that fact. Brady is widely viewed as the greatest quarterback ever, and now his reputation is stained, and that is sad.  It shouldn’t be surprising that the NFL took this stance because this is what they do. They violate their player’s rights, and then typically lose in court, but no one calls them out, so they keep doing it.

Even though the speculation is that the NFL has a good case, can this process be considered fair? There were no rules or processes in place, so how can the Patriots and Tom Brady be punished this harshly? If the suspension is upheld this infraction will cost a total of almost $3 million and draft picks.  But there is no hard proof, and it is questionable how much impact the crime really had.

Plus the penalties are unprecedented because Brett Favre didn’t hand over his phone and was just fined. Other deflated football incidents only incurred fines. It doesn’t make sense on so many levels, but maybe as this develops it will come together as something other that a witch hunt.

Former LSU Offensive Tackle La’el Collins Wanted for Questioning in Murder

La’el Collins, the former LSU offensive tackle, was considered a lock to go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but the announcement that he is wanted for questioning in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Brittany Mills changes everything.  Even though Collins isn’t a suspect, the timing of the announcement isn’t good for Collins.

This announcement may cost Collins his bright future, so hopefully the authorities would have been more discrete if it was just about questioning.  Now at the very least Collins will lose millions of dollars, and his reputation is stained forever.

Collins will suffer from association with Aaron Hernandez because it is not far-fetched that a NFL player would commit murder.  The child was born and there will be a paternity test to see if Collins is the father.  If he is the father, it doesn’t mean that he killed her, or had her killed, but that would be the perception.  It’s not like it didn’t happen before with Rae Carruth.

Hopefully for his sake, this can get squared away, but the longer this lingers the more trouble he is in.  He is not a suspect now, but that’s what police always say  to try to get you to talk.

Breshad Perriman Putting UCF Football on Map

Breshad Perriman UCF Football Highlights

Breshad Perriman a 6’2″ wide receiver, who ran a 4.27 40 yard dash will have UCF Football on the national stage during the 2015 NFL Draft.  Perriman is expected to be a first round pick in the draft.  It will be the second year in a row that UCF has put a high first round pick in the NFL.  It is a major accomplishment for the UCF Football program because it lends credence to the direction of the program, and it will put them in play for more talented recruits.

Perriman was a 2 star recruit coming out of high school, despite having a father who played football in the NFL.  Last year’s third selection, Blake Bortles, was getting offers to play tight end in college.  So the UCF coaching staff has proven that they get the most out of their players.

Elite players want a path to the professionals and UCF can show them the way.  There are really enough players in the state where they don’t have to recruit anywhere else.  but after this draft, players will be recruiting them.

 

Johnny Manziel Gets Out of Rehab…What’s Next?

Even though Johnny Manziel got out of rehab, it appears that the Cleveland Browns have all but moved on from him. First they were rumored to have offered a first round pick to the St Louis Rams for Sam Bradford.  That didn’t materialize, so now the rumor they are in the market for any quarterback including the recently acquired Bradford. Their desperation is surprising considering they just spent a first round pick on Manziel, but he was in the rehab facility for a long time, so his reliability is questionable.

After season an unnamed Browns player called Manziel’s season “a 100 percent joke.”  It was surprising at the time that a teammate would be so hard, but Browns All Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas clarified that the team “lost the trust of teammates.”  It’s enough to make you wonder what kind of stuff he was doing.  Manziel was facing an uphill battle because of his stature, so this situation really clouds his future.  He needs his teammates to rally around him to pick up the slack.  RG3 showed us talent means nothing with the team behind you.

In hindsight Cleveland was the worst franchise that Manziel could have gone to because of their history.  Cleveland has been snake bitten with their quarterbacks, so they were too thirsty for Johnny to be a success.  Obviously he wasn’t in a position to handle that, or he was already too far gone.  The sad part is that he probably needs to leave Cleveland to succeed, but he is going to have to prove himself in Cleveland before he gets another shot at the NFL.

 

Cowboys Sign Greg Hardy…Could They Still Acquire Adrian Peterson Too?

The Dallas Cowboys signed Greg Hardy to an incentive laden 1 year contract.  There is no denying Hardy’s talent, but there is a dark cloud over him because of his domestic violence case.  That case as dismissed under suspicious circumstances because the accuser didn’t show up.  Based on the charges levied by Hardy’s girlfriend, Nicole Holder, there will be severe backlash for this signing.

The Cowboys were already linked to another controversial figure from the commissioner exempt list, Adrian Peterson.  Before this signing it was widely thought that Peterson would end up with the Cowboys, but could the team still sign him? It would be a public relations nightmare, but the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team, so they may be able to withstand the negative publicity.

It’s not like the Cowboys team was without issues last season.  Orlando Scandrick was suspended the first 4 game of last season for testing positive for ‘molly’.  Running back Joseph Randle was arrested for shoplifting underwear and cologne, and the reclamation project that is Rolando Mcclain had an unhappy ending with him being fine 4 game checks for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.  This doesn’t even take into account, Josh Brent, who was convicted of intoxicated manslaughter in the death of his teammate Jerry Brown.

The verdict is in about the Cowboys valuation of character,  and it’s not a high priority except in Dez Bryant’s case.  But could they afford to bring in Adrian Peterson on top of the controversial players that they already have? Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke out against the Hardy signing, so bringing in Peterson could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  This is a new NFL, and even though the Dallas Cowboys are accustomed to preferential treatment, they are playing by the same rules in this case.  Even though they need a running back, it wouldn’t be wise to bring in Adrian Peterson, or Ray Rice since they are in the market for bargains with checkered pasts.

 

 

Confidence in Andy Dalton Has to be Shaken after Pro Bowl Loss

The Pro Bowl was the end to a tumultuous season for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.  The season started off with such promise for Dalton, but ended just like all his others, in disappointment because Dalton came up small in the big game.  This year was no different as the Bengals faltered down the stretch, and they lost in the playoffs to a Colts team that they were better than on paper.

Even though the season didn’t end favorably, Dalton still made the Pro Bowl.  But looking back, Dalton would have been better served if he didn’t make the Pro Bowl.  Even though the game isn’t as serious as a regular season game, it features the best players, so it was an opportunity for Dalton to prove that he is a franchise quarterback.

Instead of changing his reputation, Dalton lived up to it.  People still think that he can’t handle big moments.  Dalton could have led his team to a game winning drive, which would have been a big step for him considering he hasn’t won a nationally televised game. But he still hasn’t won a nationally televised game after losing the Pro Bowl 32-28, and that is a heavy burden moving forward.  Dalton playing with pressure hasn’t worked well in the past, so it’s logical to think that his best days are behind him.

Athletics at the highest level are about confidence, and Dalton’s confidence is running low.  Cris Carter was visibly upset on the sidelines as Dalton let the game slip away.  The fans booed him for his last-minute performance.  It was the Pro Bowl, so players weren’t going as hard as usual.  If Dalton couldn’t get it done then, it’s hard to imagine that he ever will.

 

DEA Raids 3 NFL Medical Staffs After Game

According to AP, the DEA raids 3 visiting NFL team medical staffs after their games.  The Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers medical staffs were all ‘spot-checked’.  Apparently doctors can only dispense prescription medications in the state they have a license, and there are strict rules on who can even handle controlled substances, so the DEA wanted to make sure teams are complying.  The surprise visit was in response to a lawsuit file in May by former players going all the way back to 1968.

The former players are alleging that NFL teams gave them prescription medications to keep them playing, while not advising of the long-term dangers.  No one doubted the truth of what the players are claiming because other former players, against the suit, acknowledged that it happened, but contended that they all knew it was dangerous long-term.  That is why it is so surprising that the DEA did a surprise visit.

Drugs are what makes the NFL so great.  A study compared the collisions in the NFL to a car crash.  Interestingly the study found that the most ‘dangerous’ positions are the offensive and defensive lines, followed by the running back and linebackers.  Receivers and quarterbacks take the least physical punishment, but are the highest paid, which is why they are the most protected.  But the other players are the heart of the game.  The ones who make the least, but give the most.

The players who endure the physical punishment of the NFL need help to recover because it isn’t natural to take a pounding like that every week.  Fighters Regulating the medications would be the beginning of the end of the game.  With no pain killers would players approach the game differently?

Some call alcohol liquid courage because when people drink they are less inhibited, and more likely to do things that they wouldn’t when they are sober.  So it is fair to assume that players would be less likely to put themselves is harms way, if they knew  they would feel the pain.  This case is fascinating because like Jack Nicholson said in “A Few Good Men”, “you can’t handle the truth.  Is the public ready for the truth about the NFL?

 DEA inspects NFL Team Medical Staffs

 

Are Jameis Winston Off-Field Issues Hurting Florida State in College Football Playoff?

The Jameis Winston student conduct code hearing was delayed until December 1, and coincidentally this week Florida State dropped a spot in the polls to 3rd in the college football playoff poll.  The undefeated defending champion Seminoles have dropped 2 spots without losing, and they drop behind a team with a loss.  That is curious to say the least, so it’s natural to take a closer look at why Florida State is dropping in the polls.  Could Jameis Winston’s off-field troubles be bringing his team down in the polls?

It seems the reason for the delay in the hearing is so the college football season can end before Winston is kicked out of school.  All of the facts aren’t out, but based on the information that we do know, Winston is guilty in the court of public opinion.  The school stood by Winston, but in the end he is more trouble than he is worth.

The fact that Florida State is conducting an investigation now for an incident that happened in December 2012 tells you all you need to know.  The school is in damage control mode.   The school doesn’t deserve blame because they covered for Winston as long as they could, but he couldn’t keep a low profile.  Winston’s outburst in the student union sealed his fate because what he yelled was inappropriate, but extra inappropriate for someone accused of rape.  He has to be smarter than that.

With the current climate surrounding football players after the Ray Rice domestic violence case, college football wants no part of Jameis Winston in their feature event.  If Florida State is part of the playoff, the narrative will switch from football to Winston.  There would probably be protests from women’s groups that would over shadow the event.  College football can’t take that chance, especially in the very first playoff.  The hope is that Florida State will lose  a game, and that will effectively eliminate them, but don’t be surprised if the Seminoles keep dropping in the poll even if they don’t lose.  College football is a business and Jameis Winston is bad for business.

 

ESPN reports Jameis Winston hearing delayed