Go West Young Man , Make Your Fortune And Claim The Fame That Awaits You ……
Now the most avid and voracious of us await the countdown and start of the NFL season . And we’re all looking and praying that our teams will strive to do their very best . From afar I liken this season to unlike anything we'll see. First , this season will be one where there's no salary cap and it'll be left to the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins to spend lavishly like drunken sailors on furlough come time to bolster their rosters. With that being said I’m essentially looking at the NFC West to see what will transpire for much of the upcoming season within the division.
The class of the division for the past two seasons has been the Arizona Cardinals but with the retirement of Kurt Warner the Ken Whisenhunt coached team will entrust the starting quarterback position job between seasoned veteran Derek Andersron and former USC Trojan ——– Matt Leinart . And for Leinart merely five years removed from his introduction to the NFL where he was taken tenth overall in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft . We’ve seen the player struggle find his game and gain not only the respect of his teammates but the entire coaching staff , fans and the front office of the Cardinals. At this juncture one can only surmise that team GM Rod Graves and team owner Bill Bidwill must’ve reached the end of their tether concerning Leinart . With a great deal of money vested in the player but with him having not yet shown any degree of maturity in any aspect of his game. One now wonders whether not Leinart still has a future within the NFL ? Certainly his career stats don’t seem to bear this out and his continual complaining that he’s done everything asked of him by Whisenhunt and his staff gives credence that he’s yet to show any maturity as an individual.
Leinart’s days at USC where was seemingly coddled by his then coach Pete Carroll and Carroll’s coaching staf must have created the perception that he would be in for an easy ride once he made it to the NFL . If anything we’ve now seen that the player hasn’t applied himself to the task at hand. And what does it say about him that not having been able to beat out Warner for the starting position that he’s now once again in a battle with Derek Anderson for the signal caller’s position ? Clearly for Leinart this will be a make or break season . This isn’t so much an indictment of the Cardinals but more so with Leinart and his immediate future within the NFL . At this juncture this has to be the last draw for Whisenhunt and his staff. With the loss of Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens via a trade the Cardinals still remain a potent force on offense. Albeit , we’ll have to see who’ll be part of the tandem receiving corp alongisde Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald . And defensively team defensive coordinator Billy Davis will have to show the rest of the league that the team doesn’t remain a liability on that side of the ball. If anything it has been the team’s inconsistency there that has stymied much of their play. Though in their Superbowl (SB XLIII) run we saw that they could apply themselves to the task at hand . This season we ough to be able to see whether or not those improvements have as such continued.
Slide-show for your perusal
Within the division I can’t say that I’m entirely enamored with the San Francisco 49ers —— Seattle Seahawks or the St Louis Rams . A great deal is now being asked of Pete Carroll this time around upon his return to the NFL. And having choice choosing to flee the cauldron of USC and the possible aftermath of his actions there and that of Reggie Bush . Can we say that Seahawks’ owner Paul Allen either had to have been desperate or Carroll was indeed that persuasive in the interview process in landing the job that now makes him one of the highest paid coaches in the league. Carroll will no doubt look to instinctively stick with what made his teams at the college leve such a success. But what one applies at the college level doesn’t necessarily work in the NFL . Simply ask Steve Spurrier that ?
And even with heightened expectations from the fans there in Seattle it remains to be seen whether not Carroll can work his magic with a team led by an aging Matt Hasselbeck whose best days are indeed behind him and not ahead of him ! My own thoughts are that the Seahawks could well end having a respectable season or they could well end posting a rather moribund record of 5-11 . You simply throw the dice and look to see how they might land .
The San Francisco 49 ers will look to excel under their coach Mike Singletary but to my mind I think that this team can only go as far as Alex Smith can lead them. And like Matt Leinart , Smith has had his problems convincing the fans and teammates that he step his game and play at the next level. Insomuch as the Niners are a storied franchise , of late their legacy has been that of an organization that his been mismanaged and whose ownership merely see the team as a bauble that they can show off to their socialite friends. Pardon me for saying this but the interest shown by Dr John York and his wife Denise Bartolo-York is like of that of a parent who has a misbehaving stepchild . Their concern seems to be merely with the overall worth of the franchise rather than the product that is on the field on any given week. And this season for the Niners could be telling in more ways than one as many feel that they are capable of a postseason berth in the playoffs. Much of that however will be predicated upon the play of Smith and his teammates. They could well be the presumptive favorites in many people’s eyes within the division. Not one to normally hazard a guess but if they were to end up with a 10-6 record and garner a postseason berth then I wouldn’t at all be surprised ! But then again should they fall short of that then I wouldn’t again be surprised by that at all ! Such are the machinations within this division that it’s easy to understand why the football played within the division has been so bad in recent years.
Crazy as this might seem but if Sam Bradford is meant to be the savior of the St Louis Rams then his offensive line had better do a great deal more to protect his ass . If not then his and their season could be over before it has even started. Steve Spagnuolu and his coaching staff coming off a rather horrendous season in 2009 (1-15) will look to rebound from it all. And for those fans hoping too see something different this upcoming season at the Edward Jones Dome Arena in St Louis. Well they can look no further at a revamped team looking to find its way back to their halcyon days where they once were described as the “greatest show on turf “. Now of late it’s been more like a team steeped in cow dung right the way up to their shoulders in terms of their performances within the league in recent years.
And one could ask whether or not the Rams are good in enough to shake things up within the NFC West ? But then again we could ask, is Bradford ready to lead the team and are his teammates prepared to follow ? No doubt also much of the team’s success will be derived from the coaching tactics of Spagnuolo and his staff. And at the same time if that offensive line can protect their quarterback and the defense plays with a great deal of resolve. Then we could well see the Rams spring or one or two surprises along the way this season. Suffice to say there’s a great deal hanging on the shoulders of the first year quarterback and it’s now up to him to prove that he can deliver. Chances are both Bradford and the Rams will have a season which they and management will deem a success if they can show signs of overall improvement .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming NFL season and in particular within the NFC West. I think that we can all attest to the fact that the division itself could never be viewed as a powerhouse within the NFL ? Albeit that in recent years it has been the Cardinals and Seahawks that have been viewed as the teams that have shown a modicum of consistency. But more often than not the brand of football being played there has been either way too sloppy and inconsistent or we have seen from time to some flashed of brilliance. Which is it to be this year within the division ? What thoughts if any do you have on the subject matter ? Chime on in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !
Alan aka tophatal …………………………………
Actress Maggie Q soon to be seen in the CW’s action drama series “Nikita” reprising the role first played by Bridget Fonda in US version of the hit French movie ” La Femme Nikita” and then reprised by Peta Wilson on a short lived tv serial .