AFC West, Kansas City Chiefs, LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL, NFL Divisional playoffs, Norv Turner, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers

What Would Or Should LDT Do ?


 

Well  it   would  appear  that   San  Diego  Chargers  owner  Dean  Spanos  and   General  Manager  A J Smith  have  come  to  the conclusion   that  the  team’s Pro Bowl  running  back  LaDainian  Tomlinson is  no  longer  a prerequisite   to  the  team’s  needs.  Bearing  that  in  mind  the player’s  presence  in the postseason  was  negligible  at   best.  It  is   believed  to  be  the only  alternative   that  the  team  has  but   to   release   or   trade   him.

 

 

LaDainian  Tomlinson  on the  sidelines  during  the  team's  postseason  game  against the  Pittsburgh  Steelers  .........
LaDainian Tomlinson on the sidelines looking on in the postseason NFL game played between the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers...............

 

 

LaDainian  Tomlinson   on  the  sidelines  looking   on  in  the  game  between  the  San  Diego   Chargers  and  Pittsburgh  Steelers.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Tom  McCaffrey …………….

 

 

 

 

If  anything  it’d  be   in  their   best   interest  to   trade  or   release  the  player  if  that  is  their  conviction  at  this  juncture.    And  in  all   probability  they  would  still  be  able  to  garner  a  first  or  second  draft   pick   for the  player   if  not   more.   He’s  still  productive   albeit  that   he  may not  viewed  as  explosive   at  this   point  in   his   career.  Upon  his  introduction  and   entrance  to   the  NFL  the player   himself   has  been   one  of  the  most  productive  ,  if    not the best   running  back  to  have   graced  the   league  over  the  past decade.    LaDainian   has  let  it be  known   that   he’ll  abide   by  whatever   decision  is  made     by    management.  Tomlinson   has  also   stated   that   he  would  let  the   fans   know  of  the progress  being  made   via   his   personal   website.    So  with  baited   breath    the  football  world  awaits  the   outcome.

 

 

 

Dean  Spanos  (left)   seen here  with Arizona Cardinals' President  Michael  Bidwill  at  the  Cardinals'  training  facility ..............
Dean Spanos (left) seen here with Arizona Cardinals' President Michael Bidwill at the Cardinals' training facility ............

 

 

Dean  Spanos (left)  the   owner  of  the  San Diego  Chargers  seen  here with   Arizona  Cardinals  President   Michael   Bidwill  at the  Cardinals’  training   facility.  picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Tom  Bowyer ……………….. 

 

 

 

 

There’ll   no  doubt   be  a  number  of  teams  out there  vying  for  the  player’s   services  who  are in   need  of   someone  of   his   renowned  status.  But  the   caveat  here  is  that  he’s   no  longer  the  player  who   was once  considered  to be   the  most   explosive  and  prodigious   running  back  in  the league.  Injuries  as  of  late  have  hindered    his   productivity.  And   also   his  leadership   qualities   have  come  into  question.    There’ve  been  no  conflicts  between he  and  the  coach  Norv  Turner,  or   with   management   or   in  fact   his  teammates  at  large.  But  it may  well  be  that  Smith  and  Spanos  feel  that  it  is  now  time   in  another   direction  and  that they   don’t   need   Tomlinson  at  the   helm   to lead  the   team’s   ground   attack.

 

 

Cahrgers'  running   back  Darren  Sproles  tries  to evade the  tackle  of  the  Steelers'  linebacker  Patrick  Bailey  during  their  postseason  meeting.  ...................
Chargers' running back Darren Sproles tries to evade the tackle of Steelers' linebacker Patrick Bailey during their team's postseason meeting. ................

 

 

Chargers’ running  back  Darren  Sproles tries  to  evade  the  tackle  of   Steelers’  linebacker  Patrick Bailey  during  their  team’s postseason  meeting.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Tom  McCaffrey  ………………….

 

 

 

 

If  anything   they  may  well   feel   that   the  productivity   and  resourcefulness  shown  by Darren  Sproles  in  the  playoffs  . And   his   play   in  the  last game  of  the regular  season  against  the  Denver  Broncos  was    enough  of  an  indication   that  may   well   have   a  ready made     replacement .   As  to   the  Chargers’   fans this   may  not  be  something   that   they  want  to   hear   from  the  ownership  at this   juncture.    However  with  the  loss  of  defensive   stalwart   Shawne  Merriman    due   to   injury   early   in  the  season  things  went   downhill  for the  team.  They  were  able  to   regroup   and   were  it   not  for   the  sheer   incompetency   shown  and  the  meltdown   by  the  Denver  Broncos.  We  may   not  have  been  talking    of  the  San   Diego   Chargers   as the  winners  of the  AFC  West , much  less   them   making   the  playoffs.  But   such  was  the  ineptitude  shown   and  lack  of   quality  within  the  division   that    in  many  respects  one  can  view  that  they  won  it   by  default.   The  Oakland  Raiders  were   laughable  ,  the  Kansas  City Chiefs    struggled   to  show  some consistency .  And   as  alluded to   earlier    the  Denver  Broncos   in  the  end   cost   Mike  Shanahan   his   job  with  their   season   ending   meltdown.

 

 

 

Norv  Turner  looks  at the  playbook during  the  divisional  round  playoff  game  against   Pittsburgh  ................
Norv Turner looks down at the playbook during the divisional round playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers ......................

 

Norv  Turner   looks   down  at  the  playbook  during the  divisional round playoff  game against  Pittsburgh.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Tom McCaffrey ………………..

 

 

 

 

 

As   to  what  awaits  Tomlinson  is   now most   definitely   open  to conjecture  and   a  great  deal  of  debate.  But  if the  rumblings and   rumors  are  said   to  be   true   then  it  is quite  believable    that the  player  will  be  leaving  the  franchise   as  some  time   in  the  near   future.   His    destination   could  be  anywhere   in  the  league  and  there’ll  be  no  doubt    a  great  of    interest   shown   by  a  number   of  teams  around  the  NFL.     As   to  the  player’s   own  choices    that   is  something   that  we   know   nothing  of.    But   in  all   likelihood  he  may  well   prefer   to   remain   on   out   on  the  West  Coast.    But   I  for   one   believe  that  if  the  right  offer   came  along    he may   well   look   to   the   east   as  to   where   his   fortunes   may  lie.    So  let   the  chips   fall   where   they   may   and  let’s  see   what’ll    transpire   for    not   only   Tomlinson    but  also   for  the  San  Diego   Chargers   themselves.  If   nothing  else   this    off  season    could  well  be  a  very   interesting   one  leading   up    to   the   NFL  draft.

 

 

 

 

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Andy Reid, Arizona Cardinals, Donovan McNabb, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, New England Patriots, NFL, NFL Divisional playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles

The Feel Good Story Of The NFL Weekend ……………..


Well it has to go without saying  that  the Arizona  Cardinals’ play  this season has come as  a surprise to all.  Never  mind  the fact that  they won a woefully  lamentable division (NFC West) with a  9-7 record.  That in ofitself  should be  enough to suggest  to  us  all  how  bad  the  division really is.  Now some  of  you might say  well  what  about  the AFC  West ?   Well  that’s a  story for  another  day  at  this  juncture. 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach  Ken Whisenhunt  in but  his  second season with the franchise has  them  heading  in the right  direction.  And  who’d  have  thought that a journeyman  quarterback  who  many  had  left  for  dead  would be  leading the  team’s  resurrection.  Matt Leinart with  his  Hollywood looks  and  college  football pedigree  was  thought of  as being  the  franchise  quarterback  needed  to lead the  team.  But  instead  it’s  been  left to two-time league  MVP Kurt Warner  to  lead  and  lead  by  example.

 

 

 

Teammates Antonio Smith  Antrel Rolle  and   Roderick Hood  celebrate  Hood's  interception  in the game against  Carolina..................
Arizona Cardinals' teammates Antonio Smith, Roderick Hood and Antrel Rolle celebrate Hood's interception during the game against the Csrolina Panthers ........

 

  

Antonio Smith(94) and teammates Antrel Rolle (21) and Roderick Hood(26)  celebrate Hood’s  interception against the  Carolina Panthers.  The  Arizona  Cardinals would  go on to win the  33-13. picture appears  courtesy  ap/photo/Ken Hambleton ………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though not totally  unexpected by their own  fans  Arizona’s  complete and  utter dismantling  of  the  Carolina  Panthers,  was  about as  efficient  and  comprehensive  as anyone  could’ve  wished  to  have  seen from a  team.  And  the  play of  wide  receiver  Larry  Fitzgerald  was  outstanding.  If he’s  not  the  most  dynamic  player  at  his  position within the league  at  present.  Then  I’d  like  for someone  out there  to  tell  me  who  is ?

 

 

 

 

The Carolina  Panthers  guided  by  coach John Fox had  his  team ready  to  play  and  no doubt  ready  to  make  their way  to  the  NFC championship  game  without  too  much trouble  or  stress. What unfolded  during  the  game  gives  us  reason to believe  that  you  should never   count  all  of  your  eggs  before  they’re  hatched.  Panthers’  quarterback  Jake  Delhomme  had  one  of those days  at the   office  that  no  doubt he’d  rather   forget.  As  he  was  harassed  and  manhandled  by  the Cardinals’  defense. Cardinals’  defense ?   Now  there’s something  that  you don’t  often  see  or  hear.

 

 

 

Disheartened Steve Smith and  teammate Brad Hoover of the  Carolina Panthers seated on the sidelines  during the waning moments of  the game ..............
Disheartened Steve Smith seated on the sidelines along with teammate Brad Hoover in the waning moments of the game played against the Arizona Cardinals....................

 

Disheartened  Steve Smith and  teammate  Brad  Hoover  seated on the sidelines  during  the waning  moments  of  the  game.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Roger  Masterson …………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I, as an avid  fan  of  the NFL  was expecting  to see  Carolina  prevail  but  little did  I have  in mind  what  millions  of  fans  nationally  witnessed  in  watching   the  game  on network television.  Never  mind  the fact  that  fans  there  in the  Panthers’  home  stadium were  watching.  Perhaps a shock to their  system  ?  What  unfolded  was something  that  even the  most fervent  fan   couldn’t  have  expected. Arizona  set  about beating  the  Carolina Panthers  mercilessly  and  did  in  such a  way  that  you’d be  questioning  which of  the  team was infact  favored   to begin with.   The  oddsmakers  in Vegas  most  certainly  had  to  have  been  offering  favorable  odds  towards Carolina.  But then again  the guys  in Vegas  do  tend  to  know  that  they’re   doing  the  majority  of the  time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now  for me  to suggest  that  the  result  of this  game  would  end  up  being  33-13 in a  victory  for  Arizona.  I’d  dare  say  that  a number   of  you  would  have  felt  that  I’d  been some  top of the  line  narcotics.  But  since  I don’t  do  anything of  that  nature .  one  can  only  surmise  that  this  was just  one  of those  rarities  where  the  stars  had  to  have  aligned  for  the Cardinals  on the day. In  reality  however  they  just  completely outplayed  their  NFC counterpart in  almost every  facet of  the  game.   So  much  so  that  their  defense  was  simply  outstanding and  they  offered  the  Panthers  no  respite. It  was a rarity  on this  day  where  the  Cardinals   and  their  fans  learnt  what is  was  like  finally  to garner  and  gain the   respect  of  their   peers.  Over the  years  the  franchise  has  been often likened  to  a  bottom feeder  of  the  NFL.  And  the  Bidwell  family  as  the  franchise owners  were  viewed   as  nothing  more  than  vultures.   Funny  what  success  can  then  do  to  a  change  in attitude  as  to  how  an organization is  viewed.  Now  the  Cardinals  await the  Philadelphia  Eagles  in the NFC  championship  game  and  are just  one  game  away  from   gaining   a berth  in the  Superbowl.

 

 

 

 

Kurt Warner  of the Arizona Cardinals acknowledges  the  applause  of the crowd after the  team's  victory over the  Carolina Panthers  33-13 ..................
Kurt Warner acknowledges the applause of the crowd after the team's victory 33-13 over the Carolina Panthers ...................

 

Kurt Warner acknowledges the applause of the crowd after  the  team’s 33-13 victoryy over  the  Carolina Panthers.   picture appears courtesy  of  ap/photo/Ken Hambleton …………………………….

 

 

 

 

On this  day it  was  all  about the  Cardinals  and  what  they’ve  achieved  this  season  is  a  bye product  of  having  a  good  coach and  players  who  bought  into  his system. But  it’s only  that  but  the  fact  that  their  fans  after so  many  years  of  futility have  still  seen fit  to  show  their  faith  in the  team.  It  shouldn’t  come  as  any  surprise  that  as  hosts  of the  NFC championship  game  at  their  stadium  in Glendale, Arizona .  All  of the  tickets  have been  sold  out.  The fact  that  this  all happened  within   6  hours   only  leads me  to  believe  that the   fans   there  having  been starved  of  success  for  so long  are   hoping   for  something  special  to  happen  this   Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  task in  facing  the  Eagles  won’t  be an  easy  one.  As  the  Eagles  themselves  have  had  their  own  struggles  this  season.  They’ve  been  able  to overcome  them  and  play with  a  great  deal  of  resolve, as evidenced  by  their   postseason  displays.  They  made  short  work  of  the  New York  Giants   and  are looking  to  do the  same  with  the  Arizona  Cardinals.  But  I  doubt  Andy  Reid’s  team  will  be  looking  that  far  ahead  with  regard to the  Superbowl.  They  know  that they’re  facing  a  team  in the  Cardinals   that  after   some   long  mean and   meager  years   are on the threshold  of   doing  something  big.  And if  it  means  bursting  the  Eagles’  bubble  once again.  Then I’m  sure   that’s  what  they’ll  be  prepared to  do. And  in doing  so,  deprive  Donovan McNabb and  Andy Reid  the  one  major  prize that  has  eluded  them professionally  over the  years.  Five  visits  to  the  NFC  championship  notwithstanding  and  just  one  Superbowl  appearance  which  ended in  a  loss.   A  loss  now  would  for  all  sense  and  purpose be  deemed  a  tragedy  of  monumental  proportions.

 

 

 

Larry Fitzgerald makes  a leaping  catch during  the  game against the Carolina  Panthers  .................
Larry Fitzgerald hauls a catch during the game against the Panthers ..................

 

Larry Fitzgerald  hauls in a pass  from  Kurt Warner during the  game.  picture  appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matt Isselman …………… 

 

 

 

 

 

The loss to the New England Patriots was  enough  to damper  the  ardor  the  Eagles’ fans.  And as alluded to  previously  a  loss  the  Cardinals this  time  around  would  be  viewed  with  immense  displeasure to  the  fans and  something  of a failure  within  the organization.  If  this  meant to  be  the  Eagles’ year .  Then  they’re   going  to have to  deal  with  the  Cardinals  with  a great  deal  of  efficiency.  This  is certainly  not  a  team  to  be  taken  lightly as they’ve  proven  that they  can  play with  the  best  of  them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the  Arizona  Cardinals  and  their  fans  it   would  be  viewed  as  divine  intervention  from  up  above.  If  nothing  else  they’ve   languished for  long enough within the  depths of  mediocrity,  looking  at  long  last  to  be viewed as  a  credible  entity  within  the  NFL.  Scripted or  unscripted  stories  like  this  when  they come  along  are   often  viewed  as  heartfelt  and  warming  to  the  heart.

Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Divisional playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports

Well The Sound That You Hear ……….


The sound you hear  are  those  of the  Eagles and  Giants’ fans looking  to  hold sway  this  weekend as to the  two teams  meet in  the  divisional rounds  of  the  playoffs.  It’d   appear to  be the marquee matchup  of  the  round.  Albeit  that the  fans  of  the  Arizona  Cardinals  and  Carolina Panthers  might be  of  a different  opinion  altogether.

 

 

Manning throws an incomplete pass whilst being tackled by the  Eagles' Trent Cole  and  Darren Howard in a regular season  game won by the Eagles  20-14....................
Eli Manning attempts a pass whilst being tackled by the Eagles Trent Cole and Darren Howard in regular season game which was won by the Eagles 20-14 ...................

 

Eli Manning  attempts  a pass while  being tackled by  the  Eagles’ Trent Cole  and Darren Howard  in  an  earlier regular season  meeting  between the  two  teams. The Philadelphia Ealges would go on  to defeat the  New York Giants  20-14 in the  game played in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Thom  Brennan………….. 

 

 

 

 

 

And whilst  we  can all agree  that  these are  of the  better  teams within the  NFC . One cannot overlook the  season  that  both the  Cardinals  and  Panthers have  had.  Painstakingly Kurt Warner  has guided  his  team into  the  playoffs . And  their defeat  of  the Atlanta  Falcons was  a welcome and  pleasant  surprise  to many.   The Panthers for their part  not to be outdone  have  played  at  a high  level .  And their quarterback Jake Delhomme  seems to be  back  at  his  level best.  He’s being  ably supported by  the duo of  receivers  Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad.   Less  we  forget  also  they  possess a very potent  running  back  tandem. 

 

 

 

 

 

The game however between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles  will no  doubt  go  a long  way  letting  us  know who’s  likely to be the presumptive  favorite to  make  out of the  NFC.  And that’s with no disrespect  to  either  Cardinals  or Panthers.  As  good as  they  both are , the  Eagles  and  Giants  on  paper would  appear to  have  a much  balanced  roster. Donovan McNabb  of the  Eagles  and  Eli Manning  have  both  raised  the  level of  their  play  and  at the  same time have  their  teammates  believing  that  they’re  ready  to  take  it up  a level or  two  as  need be.

 

 

Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings  forces a fumble as Donovan McNabb attempts a pass in their wildcard game won by the Eagles 26-14..........................
Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings forces a fumbles as Donovan McNabb attempts a pass. The Eagles would go on to win the game 26-14 .................

 

Jared Alen of the Minnesota Vikings forces a fumble as the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb attempts  a pass during their wildcard berth  game .  The Eagles  would go on to win the game 26-14.  picture  appears courtesy of  getty  images/ Adrian Ward   ……………

 

 

 

 

Both teams defensively  are  no  novices  and  if  anything  that’s  been  one  of  their  strengths.  We’ve   seen this  evidence  as  to the  way  that  both  have  played thus  far  in the  postseason.  They’ve  been  staunch  and  miserly  as and when  necessary.  The  game itself may  well  come  down to the  play  of  both  quarterbacks  and the  protection  that  they’ll  receive  from their  offensive  lines.  That may well be  how  the battle  in  the  trenches will  be  won.  Brian  Westbrook  will  have  to be kept  in  check  also  if  the  Giants  are  to prevail.  They  cannot allow  him to have  any  room  in the backfield  or  at  the same time  allow him  to  catch  the  ball and gain  yardage.  He’s  quite  able to do  that  and  punish the opposing  team’s  defense  quite  ably. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Giants  are not  without  their own  offensive  weapons  and they too  will  be looking to  take  whatever  advantage  that they can of  the Eagles’  defense.  So it’ll be very intriguing  to see  what  both  teams  will  have in  store  for one  another.  Both Andy  Reid  and  his counterpart  Tom Coughlin know what’s  at  stake  for both  teams.  And for  the  Eagles  in particular  this may well be  the last  chance  for McNabb as  a  player  to  prove  once and  for  all  that  he  can  lead  a  team  to  the  NFC  championship,  having  won  it.  But this  time  lead  them to  another  appearance  in the  Superbowl  and  perhaps this  time  around   acquit himself  well.   The  acrimony of  the  team’s  last   appearance and  their  loss to New  England  still no  doubt  lingers  fresh  in his  mind at  that  of  the  fans.   Never  mind  the  fact that  his  courage  and  manhood  came into question  by  his  former teammate  Terrell  Owens.  Who’s  now sitting  at  home  alongside  his  teammates  on the Dallas Cowboys’  team.   So much  for the  fact  that  everyone  as  such  felt  that the  Cowboys were the  presumptive favorites  to win it  all.     Their  luster  is now beginning to look  like  that of an old  family heirloom that’s  gathering  a  great  deal  of  dust.  But  the  thought  is  that it’s  still  good  to take out  and  have  a  look at  when  visitors  come to  visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Much  as  I  like the  look of  both  teams  and how far  they’ve   both  come.  I’m of  the  opinion that this  may  well be  the  one  game that  when it’s all said  and  done.  It  could prove  to be  the  decisive  competitive  game  that’s  played  this  postseason.   The Superbowl itself notwithstanding  has a way  of either  exciting  us  or  letting  us  down when it  comes to  the overall standard of  play and  excitement.  OK  so last  year  we had  the  David Tyree catch.  But beyond  that   was  there  really  anything  else that   got   your  juices  flowing  other than seeing  the  New England Patriots being  upended  the way  that they were ?  Eli Manning  ended being  the  game  MVP and   Plaxico  Burress  proved to  us  that he  does  have  his  uses  when  he’s not  idly spending  the  time  either making  an ass  of  himself  or  shooting  himself  accidentally  in the foot, allegedly.

 

 

 

 

 

So come  game  time  it’ll  be  all or nothing  for  both  teams  and  absolutely  nothing  can be left to chance.  Each  team has  set  its  sights  on the  NFC  championship   game. But the  real goal  will  be   a  berth  in Superbowl XLIII and  the  chance  to  raise  the  Lombardi Trophy  aloft.   So  that’ll be  the  sound  that  you  hear  as the  fans  of  both  teams look to  lay  claim  that  they’re on  their way  to giving  it the  best  that  they’ve  got , with  their  fans in unison  playing  their  part as well.