Knowing …..

Knowing …………

It doesn’t necessarily take a special athlete who knows when to call it quits, but it does take a special individual who knows when his time is up. Many NFL fans felt it was selfish when Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders chose to walk away from the Detroit Lions at the height of his career and well on the way to breaking the all-time career rushing record . Sanders is still beloved by fans of the Lions , many of his contemporaries and peers. Though Emmitt Smith’s record still remains intact , there are many who believe the record was Barry Sanders’ for the taking , had he prolonged his career in the NFL . From my own perspective I believe Sanders was never afforded a team which complemented his skill-set and it should be remembered upon his retirement the Detroit Lions would go on to record their own moment in history went down in history as being the only team in recent history to record a 0-16 win-less season , since the NFL went to regular sixteen-game schedule.

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In the subsequent years since the Detroit Lions’ win-less season the franchise’s fortunes have been erratic with a great deal of changes being seen among the playing staff , coaches and front office. The Ford family still remain in control of the NFC North based franchise. Head coach Jim Caldwell , his coaching staff and GM Bob Quinn did their best in making sure the NFL Draft would at least serve the organization’s best interests . However, with the announcement by the Lions’ best player over the past six seasons, wide receiver Calvin Johnson has since announced, his retirement, having become the franchise leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns . Johnson’s abrupt retirement has shocked the NFL world as well fans of the Detroit Lions.

Courtesy of The Detroit Free Press

Calvin Johnson: Maybe 2016 Lions will be tougher to defend without me

By Dave Birkett , Detroit Free Press

Maybe Matthew Stafford was onto something.

Stafford told Sirius XM NFL radio this week that the Lions might actually be tougher to defend now that Calvin Johnson is retired because they’ll take a more balanced approach to offense.

Johnson, speaking at his free youth football camp Saturday, said in his first comments since he announced his retirement that there’s an element of truth to his former quarterback’s statement.

►Related: Calvin Johnson details retirement plans, explains social media surge
►Related: Calvin Johnson talks retirement, says he was fed up with football

“Well, I felt like it should have been easier because they were going to double me a lot of the time, especially in certain situations, so it’s breakout time for somebody to make something happen,” Johnson said. “One on one, that’s what you want. So, put it like this year, I don’t know who if anybody’s going to get double-teamed, so I think they have the play-makers. So if Matt can get them the ball, they make the plays, they can be good, man.”

Johnson led the Lions with 1,214 yards receiving on 88 catches last year and finished his career as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

The Lions didn’t always surround Johnson with reliable talent during his nine-year NFL career – no teammate reached even 60 catches in four of his seasons – but they appear to have a balanced group of pass catchers heading into this fall.

Golden Tate led the Lions in receptions the last two years, Marvin Jones takes over the X receiver position coming off a 65-catch season with the Cincinnati Bengals, Theo Riddick tied for the league lead among running backs with 80 catches last year, and the team is counting on continued improvement from tight end Eric Ebron.

Johnson said he hasn’t followed much football since announcing his retirement just before the start of free agency in March.

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Calvin Johnson has stated his decision is final and he is unlikely to change his mind. Much as in the same way Barry Sanders’ abrupt departure came as something as a shock . I do believe there are similarities in the circumstances which has led to the decisions made by both of these players ! The front office has failed to build a competitive team capable of winning a Superbowl , much less the Detroit Lions being able to win their division. Quarterback Matt Stafford remains an enigma and a player who has failed to meet the expectations sought .

The loss of Calvin Johnson to this Detroit Lions’ roster will be impactful and I certainly do not believe there is a player on the team capable providing the type offensive productivity sought by Jim Caldwell’s coaching staff. Johnson made Matt Stafford look good on days when the quarterback was simply mediocre . Heading into this upcoming season it will be interesting to see how the Detroit Lions will fare against their divisional rivals in particular, where I believe the NFC North will likely be a two-horse race between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings , with the Chicago Bears and Detroit looking feed off the table scraps left at the bottom of the division ! The Detroit Lions’ preseason schedule will consist of the four customary exhibition games , where their rookies will get the chance to prove themselves while hoping to influence the coaching staff and their possibly making a roster spot roster spot for the Lions’ regular season opener. Detroit’s opening game of the preseason will see them face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on August 12th ,2016.

If the Detroit Lions are to be considered among the elite teams in the NFC this season then team on both sides of the ball will have proved themselves worthy on both counts. If there is a player who might be now viewed as the best offensive threat for the Lions currently on the team’s roster , then it would have to be wide receiver Golden Tate . Though a case could also be made for running back Stevan Ridley , but I believe not having Calvin Johnson as part of the offense could prove to be fateful for the Lions this upcoming season. While questions still arise concerning the inconsistency of Matt Stafford , player who this season will have a great deal to prove. I can’t help but wonder if GM Bob Quinn’s predecessor Tom Lewand could not have been more persuasive in trying to get Johnson change his mind about retirement , but better yet , seeking to put together a team competitive enough to be considered a legitimate contender for the Superbowl.

A fast start to the regular season will be needed for the Detroit Lions if they are to be in with a chance of winning the NFC North . Anything less than 3-2 by their fifth game of the schedule and I believe we might as well count them out for the divisional crown ! The conference and a postseason berth might well be their best option , but even with that in mind , I still do not believe this team is even capable of making it a reality.

Jim Caldwell and the Detroit Lions will open their regular season with a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana on the 11th September , 2016.

Peyton Manning went out on top and at his own wish , rather than being forced out . Granted the five-time League MVP did not have one of his best seasons in the NFL but when it mattered the most , the player proved himself up to the task as he guided the Denver Broncos to their third Superbowl title and Manning’s second win of a championship. As for the idiocy of some fans, who stated the quarterback was never good enough to lead the Broncos to another title. I’d say this to those idiots , given what you all witnessed from Brock Osweiler as Manning’s back-up during the regular season , do you honestly believe he would have been good enough to have led Denver to victory over the Carolina Panthers in the championship game ? Osweiler has since departed for pastures new . where he is expected to lead the Houston Texans this upcoming season.

From my own perspective I believe the Texans simply to be a moderately average team , where hype over JJ Watt as the best defensive player in the NFL is nothing more than sensationalism, much as it was with the claims of Nnamdi Asomugha being a shutdown corner and one of the best corner-backs to have ever played the game. On his best day Asomugha would be no match for the likes of Rod Woodson or a litany of other corner-backs to have played the position down the years who are now enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Far too often the media will be too quick to heap undue praise on a player, who has yet to achieve anything of note. Watt is a very good player , but I do not believe him to be the best defensive player in the league. He is certainly among the top-ten and quite possibly top-five .

With Peyton Manning’s retirement and the departure of Brock Osweiler , John Elway as Head of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos , brought in Mark Sanchez to succeed the two former quarterbacks of the Broncos’ franchise. This might be the last for Sanchez to prove himself as a quarterback of renown in the league , given the misfires over the course of his career in the NFL . But for his postseason glories with the New York Jets , there has been little which could be described as awe-inspiring to his tenure. There is no denying the strengths of the Denver Broncos last season was their defense and the offense while not firing on all cylinders , when needed there was some firepower there , specifically among their receiving corps . Wide receivers Demariyus Thomas and Emanuel Sanders proved to be a great tandem alongside a rush offense led by Ronnie Hillman and C J Anderson .

Gary Kubiak and his Denver Broncos’ coaching staff will be looking to show their fans the team in its new guise will be able to play with a great deal of determination over the course of the season. It will all start with the preseason schedule and assessing his fresh recruit of rookies and acquired free agents from this off-season. Denver’s first game of their exhibition schedule will see them face the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field , Chicago , Illinois , with the Bears and Jay Cutler looking to get off to a winning start to their preseason schedule. I have no doubt the Denver Broncos will be able to make a successful defense of the AFC West divisional title , simply because the case to be made for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers remains so dire . Denver’s opening game of the regular season will pit them against the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of last season’s Superbowl . The game itself will be the first of the regularly scheduled games on a Thursday night as part of the NFL scheduling.

Drew Brees might be the most beloved player in New Orleans Saints’ history and holding several of the franchise’s passing records , there can be no denying he is a Hall of Fame bound player. His career statistics speaks volumes and he has been one of the most prolific passers of his generation alongside , both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Yet I can’t help but wonder after the Saints’ disappointing season in 2015 , will be Brees be motivated enough to recapture the form which made him and the franchise one of the most feared in the NFL ? In the twilight of a playing career when he has won a Superbowl , captured the hearts of residents in the Crescent City after ‘Hurricane Katrina’ .

Saints’ head coach Sean Payton will be looking to regroup while also seeking to stop the recent dominance of the Carolina Panthers within the NFC South . Brees in his encounters against the Panthers has always held the upper hand , but since the emergence of Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers , it has been the current League MVP holding sway over his divisional rival. These two teams will meet twice over the course of this season and I fully expect if either can win the season series , it provides them with the inside track to the divisional title. I certainly don’t believe the Atlanta Falcons will provide a credible challenge within the NFC South and the inconsistency seen with Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply indicates the freshman quarterback’s learning curve has yet to take an upward spike for the better.

The New Orleans Saints will begin their foray into the 2016 regular season with a game against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium , in New Orleans, Louisiana ,. Drew Brees and the Saints should feel assured of a victory in their opening game of the season . Brees as a fifteen-year veteran of the NFL might well be entering his last season with the New Orleans Saints and will likely want to leave on a high . Whether or not this comes by way of a deep run in the postseason, with the ultimate goal of winning a second Superbowl for the franchise will be dependent upon the mindset of the quarterback and his teammates , as well as the coaching staff .

The shelf-life of an NFL running back and wide receiver , is said to be six to seven-years on average , with a quarterback the longevity is thought to be closer to twelve years . When you consider Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Philip Rivers have now been in the NFL for the better part of ten years or more gracing us with their skill-set . Then you can understand the reasons why these players have such a difficult time in making the decision to walk away from the game. Personal goals asides , sometimes it is pride or the financial need which forces a number of these athletes to prolong their careers. If these players can have a moderate amount of success while along the way , earning a healthy living then the resulting endeavors can be something they can feel entirely happy with.

A s with previous NFL seasons, the league this year could prove to be very exciting, with their being a heightened sense of expectation for several teams. The New England Patriots will have a great deal to prove , with the Tom Brady suspension looming large over the league and the player likely to appeal his case with the US Supreme Court , this chapter concerning the franchise and the NFL hierarchy is far from over . A verdict in Brady’s favor will certainly bring to an end one of the more unsavory aspects of the whole Deflate-Gate fiasco altogether. Elsewhere, this continued idiocy that the NFL should be lauded for all of the great work it is doing in the community , when the league itself continues its deceptive practices and conceit concerning the treatment of NFL veterans , speaks volumes as to the duplicity of the NFL team owners and the hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Yet this is all somehow lost among apathetic fans , who simply overlook such issues.

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As an NFL fan do you believe Calvin Johnson’s retirement will have an adverse effect on the fortunes of the Detroit Lions this upcoming season ? Also which players and teams do you believe will be making the headlines throughout much of this season ?

Tophatal ……………….

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About tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal
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12 Responses to Knowing …..

  1. This NFL season could prove to be very interesting and I would like to thin through the first six games we should be able to see the best the league has to offer.

    NFL news

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  2. I’m sorry , but if Miami Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase really believes Ryan Tannehill will have a really great season in 2016, then he is sadly mistaken . Tannehill has shown he doesn’t have the temperament to lead by example much less show the traits of leadership sought as the team’s quarterback. It was there for all to see last season as the Dolphins squandered repeated opportunities , only to fall by the wayside at season’s end.

    Adam Gase (top) and Ryan Tannehill (below) .

    This year the Miami Dolphins might struggle to contend within the AFC East where they are likely to be at best no better than the second or third best team within the division. Much of this will likely be predicated upon whether or not Tom Brady will be on the field through the first four games of the New England Patriots’ regular season schedule.

    Tom Brady will likely take his appeal to the highest court in the land , the US Supreme Court and given the inconsistencies of the most recent verdicts emanating from the Justices , just about anything is likely to happen.

    From my own perspective , I believe Ryan Tannehill to be overrated and a player who has not shown to the propensity to be a game changer under any circumstance. Miami’s first four games on their regular season schedule could prove to be difficult . The opening game of the Dolphins’ schedule will see them face the Seattle Seahawks at Q West Field in Seattle, Washington,.

    Miami Dolphins news

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  3. No disrespect to either Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals , but I believe the team’s wide receiver and best player over the past eight years , Larry Fitzgerald will likely follow the same route as Calvin Johnson . For years Fitzgerald has been part of a franchise which has always fallen short of expectations . The window of opportunity for the Cardinals is quickly closing, where neither Fitzgerald or Palmer are getting any younger , while their talent is now continuing to dip somewhat.

    Larry Fitzgerald (11) and Carson Palmer (3) .

    The NFC West will continue to be a competitive division and this season is likely to be no different. Larry Fitzgerald remains one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL and I expect the player to top 1,000 yds for this season , while also pulling down at least eighty-five receptions ! The Arizona Cardinals’ preseason schedule will provide Bruce Arians to assess his roster and in particular the rookies drafted . Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will provide the Arizona Cardinals with their toughest test within their division and it is here where I believe Arizona has the best opportunity to lay their claim to a postseason berth . There has been far too much upheaval and outside influences to take either San Francisco 49ers or the Los Angeles Rams as serious contenders within the NFC West.

    Bruce Arians will prepare the Arizona Cardinals for their regular season opener against the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe , Arizona ,.

    Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians .

    Arizona Cardinals news

      Tophatal ……………

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  4. This has to be a make or break season for the Chicago Bears . The stupidity of former GM Phil Emery in signing Jay Cutler to a seven-year $127 million contract has tied the franchise to a player whose failures throughout his career are well-chronicled.

    The Bears’ coaching staff headed by John Fox tried their best last season to get the best out of Jay Cutler which was all in vain for a team which failed to make the postseason .

    Jay Cutler will be surrounded with a new lineup of rookies , free agents and seasoned players who are holdovers from last season . Whether or not the quarterback can lead this roster to any semblance of success will be predicated on the acumen shown by John Fox’s coaching staff and the ability shown by Jay Cutler. Chicago’s preseason schedule doesn’t appear to be difficult but the real issue will undoubtedly come down to how they acquit themselves through the first six games of their regular season schedule .

    Jay Cutler’s baptism of fire for 2016 will feature the Chicago Bears taking on the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston , Texas ,.

    Tophatal ……………..

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  5. The NFL Draft of 2012 was noted for a number of things , notably the talent level , specifically at the quarterback position . Andrew Luck was the top player taken in the Draft that year and has since gone on to lead the Indianapolis Colts with great deal of aplomb and along the way smashing a number of the single season records of his predecessor Peyton Manning. Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano has seen Luck blossom into a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback and among the best players at the position in the AFC.

    Colts’ owner Jim Irsay (left) is seen here with Andrew Luck .

    Courtesy of USA Today

    Jim Irsay was right in giving his franchise QB Andrew Luck a record deal

    By Lindsay H Jones , USA Today

    The NFL has a new highest paid player, with the Indianapolis Colts signing quarterback Andrew Luck to a six-year contract worth about $140 million, Colts owner Jim Irsay announced.

    That’s more money than former MVPs Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton make, and more than previous Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. So the question is: Is Luck worth that kind of cash?

    Strictly judging by Luck’s disappointing 2015 season, the answer would be no.

    But that’s not fair to Luck, who struggled with injuries during several of the seven games he started before missing the second half of the season with a lacerated kidney. He threw just 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while the Colts went 2-5 in his seven starts, and ultimately missed the playoffs.

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    Last season the Indianapolis Colts fared well , but also squandered the opportunity of making the postseason in 2015 only to allow the Cincinnati Bengals to stop their recent dominance within the AFC South to win the division . With the recent announcement the Colts’ front office led by GM Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay the franchise have agreed in principal to sign Andrew Luck to the most lucrative contract in NFL history . The quarterback inked a six-year $140 million deal of which $87 million is guaranteed money. By far in a way the largest deal of its kind , with regard to the stipulations noted , contract size and guarantees.

    This year’s NFL Draft saw the Indianapolis Colts take several players they believe will be productive for Chuck Pagano’s team as they begin their preseason and regular season schedule. Andre Luck will be seeking to regain the form which through his first three years in the NFL brought about a great deal of success for the Colts.

    Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts will open the regular season of week one with a game against the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana , Indianapolis ,. This will be Luck’s second contest (1-0) against the Lions over the course of his career .

    Indianapolis Colts news

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  6. Over the last three seasons Cam Newton might well have been the most electrifying player in the NFL as he and the Carolina Panthers have burst onto the scene within the NFC. Last season’s loss to the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl proved to be a major disappointment for the team , in particular for head coach Ron Rivera and the coaching staff .

    Rivera saw a team which failed when it mattered the most , because the players were stifled by a Broncos’ defense which was unrelenting , while the Panthers’ offense simply spluttered . Having lost Josh Norman to free agency during the off-season with Norman having signed with the Washington Redskins . The defense man’s departure leaves the Panthers with a hole to fill and questions being asked concerning front office’s decision-making in letting the player go.

    Courtesy of NFL.com

    How will Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson rank in 2021?

    Now that Andrew Luck has signed a new contract with the Indianapolis Colts, each member of the NFL’s Big Three of young quarterback talent — Luck, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the Panthers’ Cam Newton — has been locked up by his respective team for the next several years.

    Luck, Wilson and Newton are in different places this offseason. Newton is coming off an MVP season and a loss in Super Bowl 50. Wilson failed to make it to his third consecutive Super Bowl but played out of his mind to close out 2015. And Luck, of course, endured an injury-riddled campaign that saw him post a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 15:12, a passer rating of 74.9 and a 2-5 record in just seven games.

    But a lot can change in half a decade. So let’s look ahead to the final year of Luck’s contract. How do you think these quarterbacks will be ranked by 2021?

    Adam Schein
    Writer | NFL.com
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    Andrew Luck elite talent who is worth every penny
    Andrew Luck is worth every penny of his $140 million contract. I said he should be the highest paid player in the NFL and now he is. Don’t let last season fool you. Luck is a mega star. He has every skill, tangible and intangible you want in a star quarterback. Last season wasn’t his fault. Much of his struggles were the result of a lack of talent around him. But if you watch the games, it’s clear he’s the franchise’s present and future.

    For me, Luck is the best quarterback. While Cam Newton and Russell Wilson are special players, Luck is an elite talent, and that makes him the clear No. 1.

    Willie McGinest
    Writer | NFL.com
    + Follow On Twitter

    Wilson’s consistency, Newton’s maturity should keep them on top
    I would rank these three players as follows: Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Wilson is the top dog because he is the most consistent one of the three and gives his team an opportunity to score every time he touches the ball. He has played in a pair of Super Bowls, winning one, so he can play well and win in big games. Newton has always had the talent, but he has continually improved his pocket awareness and controlling his accuracy. The 2015 MVP has matured as a quarterback and captain, which has elevated his game.

    Luck has a lot of upside and potential as a smart and talented quarterback. However, he hasn’t shown consistency and has way too many turnovers — throwing 12 picks in just seven games in 2015. Based on what I’ve seen from these three quarterbacks so far in their careers, I can’t justify putting Luck above Wilson and Newton.

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    In the NFL Draft the Carolina Panthers went about their strategy with the usual aplomb expected of a franchise seen as one of the elite within the NFL . If the Panthers are to make further inroads this season then Cam Newton and this team will certainly have to raise the level of their play for the upcoming season . However, this will begin when the Panthers step unto the field for the first of their four scheduled preseason games. The Carolina Panthers will be facing the Baltimore Ravens in the initial opener to their preseason schedule. The regular season opener for the Panthers will be against the Denver Broncos in a rematch of the Superbowl .

    Carolina Panthers news

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  7. So the Dallas Cowboys’ player Rolando McClain has been suspended for ten games by the NFL hierarchy having violated the league’s substance abuse policy for a second time. While I am not surprised by the suspension , I do feel the sentence itself has been too lenient . Last season was an abomination for the Dallas Cowboys and while excuses have been made because of the injuries suffered . From my own perspective, the real issues have come with the erratic play seen from Tony Romo seen over the last eight seasons and the poor coaching of Jason Garrett and his coaching staff .

    Courtesy of NFL

    Cowboys’ Rolando McClain suspended 10 games by NFL

    By Greg Rosenthal , NFL Editor

    The Dallas Cowboys’ defense has taken another hit in a difficult offseason. This one feels familiar.

    Rolando McClain was suspended 10 games Thursday for violating the NFL’s policy against substances of abuse, the league announced Thursday. McClain was also suspended four games for violating the same policy to start the 2015 season.

    The Cowboys’ defense has a bus full of questions entering the season, including three suspended starters. The league also announced defensive end Demarcus Lawrence’s previously reported four-game suspension has been upheld. Fellow pass rusher Randy Gregory is also suspended four games to start the year. On top of that, linebacker Sean Lee is coming off knee surgery and third-round pick Maliek Collins broke his foot during offseason workouts. Restricted free agent signing Benson Mayowa, a defensive end, recently underwent knee surgery.

    Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli could move Anthony Hitchens to middle linebacker, with Kyle Wilber or Andrew Gachkar entering the starting lineup.

    This continues what has been a rocky career for McClain. Selected No. 8 overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2010 draft, McClain has struggled with motivation. The Raiders suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team after kicking him out of practice in 2012 before subsequently releasing him in 2013. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail in 2012 after being found guilty on charges of assault, reckless endangerment, menacing and wrongful discharge of a firearm. He also was once arrested for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, although those charges were eventually dropped.

    McClain briefly retired in 2013 when he was a member of the Baltimore Ravens, missing the entire season. He returned to the field in 2014 following a trade to the Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones took a chance on McClain and has mostly been rewarded over the last two seasons with solid play as the team’s starting middle linebacker. But there were signs that the relationship was already fraying this offseason.

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    This upcoming season a great deal will be asked of Tony Romo. The Cowboys’ quarterback remains one of the highest paid players at the quarterback position , while yielding nothing of note for the franchise. Dallas’ preseason schedule will be perfunctory as usual with Jason Garrett and the coaching staff using the game to assess the rookies on the team as well as their newly acquired free agents.

    Rolando McClain of the Dallas Cowboys .

    Dallas’ regular season will begin with a game against the New York Giants . Playing in something of a mediocre division such as the NFC East , the match-ups between these two teams have proven to be entertaining down the years with opposing quarterbacks Eli Manning having some success against his counterpart Tony Romo.

    Dallas Cowboys news

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  8. Dirk Koetter as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faces an extremely tough season ahead of him. He may well have a quarterback whose instincts he trusts in Jameis Winston , but I believe the learning curve for the player remains a steep upward climb and one also has to bear in mind the Buccaneers’ defense was among the worst in the entire NFL last season . If there is an improvement to be made , then it will have to be on both sides of the ball , with leadership coming from Jameis Winston as well as the seasoned veterans on this roster .

    Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

    Where does Dirk Koetter place on NFL.com head coach rankings?

    By Alex Hoegler

    Elliot Harrison from NFL.com listed his head coach power rankings, and Koetter came in at number 29. Doug Pederson (32,) Mike Mularkey (31,) and Adam Gase (30,) were the only ones to come in lower. Obviously, Pederson and Gase have their first head coaching gigs, and Mularkey hasn’t been able to do much with the rebuilding Tennessee Titans.

    Here’s what he had to say about placing Koetter at 29:

    “Koetter ranks slightly ahead of other newcomers in Gase and Pederson…because he’s already put in work with the team he’s taking over…In fact, the Bucs finished fifth in total offense. As a first-time NFL head coach, Koetter will be learning the ropes of the buck stopping with him, but with the same group of guys he worked with last season.”

    It’s hard to disagree with Harrison’s placement of Koetter. For all we know, the Bucs could win the NFC South in 2016 or go 0-16. It’s all up in the air right now.

    Koetter’s biggest challenge, besides helping Winston improve more and more, will be to fix a defense that has plenty of talent but hasn’t been able to stop the offensive machines in the NFC South. Newcomer Brent Grimes should be a nice fit.

    Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David remain the core players of the defense, but they’re going to need significant improvement if year one under Koetter is to be memorable.

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    Buccaneers’ head coach Dirk Koetter ,left, is seen here with the team’s quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht and the Scouting Department used due diligence in making their picks from the recent NFL Draft . The thought process being , the players chosen will have to be more impact-ful than their predecessors of 2015 . Dirk Koetter’s relationship with Jameis Winston is is known to be a strong one , with the player having excelled in his rookie season , breaking several franchise records as a rookie. Yet, for all of the positives seen , the negatives far outweighed the positive displays. Tampa’s record was a reflection of this , as were the lack of team consistency and leadership.

    Heading into their preseason schedule one would expect to see an improvement over what the fans witnessed from last season . In week one of their preseason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania ,.

    If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to have any chance this season then it will be predicated upon the play of Jameis Winston, in particular against his divisional and conference opponents this upcoming season. The NFC South remains a division where the Buccaneers have not fared well , without a divisional title since 2007 , the season they last made a postseason appearance, losing in the wildcard round to the New York Giants by the score of 24-14 .

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

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  9. Another season and it is likely to be one filled with disappointment for fans of the Atlanta Falcons and their billionaire owner , Arthur Blank , who longs to see the franchise win a Superbowl . Appearances in the postseason have proved to be fruitless and Blank has seen players Michael Vick and Matt Ryan squander opportunities for the franchise to be a success as well as a valuable concern for the much-respected owner. Vick’s problems as a Falcons’ player have been well-chronicled and the fact he moved on to resume his career elsewhere was a blessing in disguise for the Falcons. In the case of Matt Ryan this has been an issue case of a quarterback who is overpaid , not particularly talented , lacking leadership skills and someone who has failed to meet expectations.

    Matt Ryan (2) and Julio Jones (11) .

    The Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn and his coaching staff will be looking to gauge this current roster in the lead-up to the start of the regular season . This will be achieved by seeing how good the players’ performances are during their preseason schedule. Matt Ryan in particular, will certainly have to prove himself as I believe this upcoming season could very well be his last in a Falcons’ jersey ! Wide receiver Julio Jones remains the best offensive threat on this team , but he has been ill- served by a quarterback who continues to remain inconsistent.

    At best, I believe the Atlanta Falcons make the postseason as a wildcard entrant , but I certainly do not see them winning the NFC South ! Week one of the regular season the Atlanta Falcons are set to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a divisional game which could set the trend for the division.

    Atlanta Falcons news

    Tophatal …

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  10. So now with the Los Angeles Rams now taking center stage in the city of Angels , will they be the surprise team (NFL) within the state or will it simply be another one of those often disappointing sagas we have seen in recent years concerning NFL franchises within the state ? It has been just a couple of years since we saw the rise of the San Francisco 49ers before their rapid fall from grace and the equally abysmal fallout in the relationship between team CEO Jed York , GM Trent Baalke and former head coach Jim Harbaugh was released from his contract in what was said to be personal reasons. The reality of the situation, was the very fact the team was ill-disciplined . the coaching staff was bereft of intelligence and the front office itself was completely out of touch with the underlying issues of the team and within the organization itself. One also needs to be reminded quarterback Colin Kapernick was signed to a lucrative seven-year contract making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL and at the position .

    The San Francisco 49ers’ failures last season were there for everyone to witness without having to deal with the off the field issues for the team. Something their asinine fans still remain oblivious to , due to their overall profound lack of intelligence no less .

    This season for the Los Angeles Rams , a great will be expected , with the franchise having relocated back from St Louis Missouri to the nation’s second largest city. Team owner , Stanley Kroenke will benefit greatly from this move with the value of the team likely to appreciate markedly , having moved into the nation’s second largest ad-market (advertising) .

    Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff will be expecting great things from this team , in particular from the rookies and recently signed free agents. Granted , Nick Foles recently showed his lack of maturity and displeasure after the Rams’ drafting of rookie quarterback Jared Goff as the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. I would like to believe Goff has the skill-set to beat out Foles for the starting quarterback position on the team , but the player most likely will remain a work in progress , unless he is impact-ful during the preseason for the Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff will likely get some playing time during the preseason , as Jeff Fisher gauges the merits of this team and its potential .

    Los Angeles Rams

    Tophatal ……

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  11. SportsChump says:

    Al…

    Calvin Johnson’s retirement is another indication that the NFL will not be king in 25 years. Why would a player jeopardize his well-being when he’s already made enough money to feed his family’s family?

    And what of his latest interview with Michael Smith where he told Smith that the Lions were giving out pain pills like candy.

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    • Chris Humpherys/ SportsChump

      Calvin Johnson has made over $100 million over the course of his career and is likely worth North of $40 million . The NFL as a league remains disingenuous and much like the NFLPA (union) , they have never cared about the well-being of the players , veterans , as well as the recently retired players . As for these idiots who believe , because of their (league’s) philanthropic efforts , a great image is being portrayed . It’s all window-dressing by the league hierarchy , led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the simple-minded morons , who are the franchises owners around the league.

      The Detroit Lions remain a poorly ran organization with the Ford family as the owners, remaining completely clueless as to what it takes to put a winning product on the field of play.

      I have said repeatedly the vast majority of sports’ fans in this country are so unintelligent , witless and fu#king stupid, they are not worth listening to, as they bring nothing at all to the table in terms of intelligence and intellect when it comes to sports., The same can also be applied to the fu#king morons who continue to the back the league and its practices from a business standpoint.

      Roger Goodell has been given way too much latitude by th owners who clearly do not understand many of the real underlying issues now affecting the game on and off the field. The NFL will always remain powerful in North America , but its influence has begun to slip in light of the continued negative press it receives for a wide range of issues which it has failed to address.

      I certainly don’t believe the Detroit Lions are good enough to win the NFC North or even make the NFL postseason for the upcoming regular season ! At best they are no better than the eighth best team in the in the NFC and league-wise they would be in the bottom-half of the overall standings .

      Tophatal ………

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