Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Honeymoon Phase is Over (Seattle Seahawks)

For the longest, there's been one question I've had the hardest time answering during this NFL Season. The question is: What is going on with the Seattle Seahawks?

Coach Pete Carroll

As my Dad would say, "Well, I'm glad you asked."

There is one word which points to the Seahawks' surprising performance: ego.

Ever since the Super Bowl victory of the Seahawks, they were riding on their high horse during the off-season. At this time, Richard Sherman and Russell Westbrook penned numerous advertisement deals. In addition, Pete Carroll added another piece of hardware to his collection, and the city of Seattle had something to be proud of (besides the birthplace of Starbucks Coffee).

However, there was a storm of negativity awaiting the Seahawks' Camp as they approached this present season.

The locker room of the Seahawks had been divided since the Super Bowl (Percy Harvin gives Golden Tate a black eye)

Golden Tate

- Marshawn Lynch has continually stayed away from the spotlight and been a recluse, even to his own team.
- Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin's "beef", which recently exploded this season, hurt the offensive chemistry (especially with Harvin making large demands on-and-off the field).
- The L.O.B. (Legion of Boom; consists of Seattle's Cornerbacks and Safeties) is not as effective as last year's title run. 

There is a cloud of negativity surrounding the Seahawks' locker room, and all the signs point to the team, itself. Russell Wilson is still my favorite quarterback to watch on Sundays, but it's difficult to stomach the fact that everyone is not "on board" with the winning mentalities of Wilson and Coach Pete Carroll.

These guys (Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll) are winners first, celebrities second.

L.O.B. in action
However, it is evident that a number of members from the Seattle team are craving for the same media attention in order to fulfill some selfish desire within themselves.

When it comes to the game, it is not about individuals. DeMarco Murray is having one of the best seasons in Dallas Cowboys history (rushing 100+ yards per game through 8 consecutive games); which is not solely due to Murray's knack for running and field vision, but also the offensive line providing the holes for Murray. Murray generously thanked his O-line teammates for doing their job well.

Russell Wilson
This same scenario can apply to the Seahawks. If the Legion of Boom is taking care of business and receiving a great deal of praise for it, let the respected individuals have their time to shine.

For goodness sake, these guys rightfully deserve a little amount of attention. While the L.O.B. have earned their respect for media attention, it seems the linebackers and defensive linemen want to be included in the L.O.B.'s spotlight.

(Maybe some generous gifts will silence their distress).

Here we are, eight weeks into the season going on to week 9. The Seahawks can possibly turn it around and have another successful season. It all starts with the locker room. Percy Harvin has received his one-way ticket out of Seattle...I wonder if Marshawn Lynch is next.

It is very apparent that Pete Carroll and the Front Office staff want another ring, and positivity on-and-off the field.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Age-Old Rivalry (Cowboys vs. Redskins)

Tonight marks the eighth game of the 2014 NFL Season for the Dallas Cowboys. For dedicated Cowboys fans, 6-1 almost sounds like a "dream come true" in contrast to the past three 8-8 season finishes.

I have to admit: my expectations of the Cowboys (in reality) were not too high. Originally, I predicted the 'Boys to finish 8-8 again. But this season, I am very pleased and excited with the Cowboys FINALLY living up to their potential on the field.

The Cowboys are not just looking good "on paper", but "on the field" as well. Our running game has continued to be efficient, due to arguably the Best Offensive Line in the NFL. To give more credit to the O-Line, our passing game has also received a facelift.

As I said in a previous post, this Cowboys team is very different from the past years. I believe the "new attitude" taken on by the front office has trickled down to the field of play; which has ignited a blaze in the hearts of the Cowboys.

Tonight is Monday Night Football in the heart of North Texas @ Cowboys Stadium. I expect there to be a high level of trash-talking, hard hits, and every recipe needed for this age-old rivalry against the Redskins. Hopefully, DeMarco Murray can rack up 100+ more yards tonight!

With Colt McCoy calling the snaps for Washington tonight, the Cowboys defense shouldn't have to worry about too much unpredictability (such as RG3) in their offense. However, our secondary should have their hands full with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.

This is going to be a good match-up.

Go Cowboys!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Boys Are Back in Town? Pt. II (Dallas Cowboys)

The Dallas Cowboys have proved within the past two "down-to-the-wire" victories that they truly are a new team. If you've been a Cowboys fan for the past three years (suffering those awful 8-8 seasons), you understand the importance of this change in the Cowboys' demeanor. Battling against the Texans and Seahawks, respectively, have shown the Cowboys in a new light.

Tony Romo is as effective as his 2007 season. Along with a decent core of receivers and tight ends, Romo has been able to put numbers on the board and successfully close out games.

 I believe the most important facet of this team is our new-found confidence. Over the years, I have received A LOT of criticism for being a Cowboys fan. But this year, I can honestly say that the noise talking has quieted down within these entertaining 6 weeks of the NFL.

As of now, I refuse to talk about ANY super bowl contentions for the Cowboys. I guess Jerry Jones had an idea on how this Cowboys' team would fare this season.

I'm proud of the defense, the offense, and more importantly our run game. DeMarco Murray and his back-ups have opened up a vast amount of opportunities for the passing game to thrive, as well as wear down the defense.

This Cowboys team is different. This Cowboys team is for real. And more importantly, this Cowboys team is going places. Go Cowboys!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Boys Are Back in Town? Pt. I (Dallas Cowboys)

As the Dallas Cowboys approach week 5 against the Houston Texans, I couldn't be more proud of their performance following the loss against San Francisco. The Cowboys are 3-1, whether opponents like it or not. I know we chalked up a couple wins against sub-par teams (Titans and Rams), but the victory against the Saints definitely served as a confidence booster for the Boys.

Drew Brees and Tony Romo

Through four games, it seems the Cowboys have continued to get better each game. In a previous post following the San Francisco matchup, I highlighted three factors of the Cowboys shortcomings:

1) Romo's Back Surgery
In my opinion, I think Tony Romo has just about knocked the rust off of his performance on the field. One of my favorite plays is the Romo-Bryant back-shoulder fade connection (always ran to perfection). With Romo's mobility out of the question, our offense can fully operate and keep up with high-scoring opponents.

2) DeMarco Murray is still a priority in our offense.
Murray is a guy you can trust carrying the ball. With DeMarco carrying the ball 20+ times a game and rushing for well over 100yds/gm, this is evidence that our running game is in great shape. There are also other backs who keep up with the flow of the game (Julius Randle and Phillip Tanner).
3) The Cowboys have to outscore their opponents.
As argued in the previous post, the Cowboys defense is not where it should be. This may not sound good, but if our defense can play like this past Sunday without Claiborne...then we need to finish the season without Claiborne!
Guys that "sweet talk" their way out of practice and onto the field when gameday shows up should not be expected to give their best performance when it's time to perform. Mo Claiborne has done just that.
Maurice "Mo" Claiborne
Luckily, our offense has been able to put up points. As for the defense, keep Mo on the sidelines.
Are the Cowboys finally utilizing their potential? Probably so.
A statement that we definitely cannot deny is that the Cowboys should have enough momentum going against their in-state rival on Sunday. Although the game is scheduled for 12pm, I'm sure the Cowboys should be able to take care of business at home.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Issues in the NFL: Confusing Rules for Player Safety

Does anybody know what constitutes as a legal hit anymore? I'm sure the NFL Front Office easily defines it. However, the referees' interpretation during on-the-field play shows there may not be a unanimous agreement on "legal hit" among the pool of officials.

Now, the term "defenseless player" is clearly defined, yet really confusing. Plus, the rules of contact with a defenseless player (and quarterbacks) are even more confusing.

Many receivers argue in favor of taking hits above their waist (and below the neck) rather than below their waist in the efforts to decrease leg injuries. But the NFL's rules are tipped toward lessening concussions from above the neck hits.

In my opinion, the NFL wants to avoid being sued by current/former players who may have suffered concussions (long-term costs) by risking the players' immediate safety through leg tackling (short-term costs).

Both sides (players and the NFL) have their valid arguments:
  • The players want to perform at high levels in the majority of their careers, due to the reality of the NFL serving as a revolving door of talent.
  • Many players facing the final years on their contract desire job and salary security, since they are unsure of their bodies producing the same amount of skill in the future.
  • On the other side of the coin, the league primarily wants to continue to make money which is totally understandable (the NFL is a business corporation).
  • Decreasing the chance of being sued by current/former players saves the NFL money in the long run.
Now, when the players are unsure of what is and isn't legal, there could be a problem. And even when the men officiating the game are confused on what to call, there is DEFINITELY an issue.

The integrity of the game is at risk when these confusing rules come into play. Many guys have been fined over the smallest touch to a defenseless player (or quarterback). I'm not saying every quarterback is a defenseless player, but some (elite) QB's receive this preferential treatment.
Ok, maybe it was more than an elbow swipe.

Sometimes Robert Griffin or Eli Manning would get plastered in the pocket without a flag thrown. There were other times when Tom Brady or Peyton Manning would receive an additional 15-yards for getting swiped on the elbow.

If the rules continue to be confusing and almost impossible to consistently interpret, we may see one of the most-watched sports come up short to living up to its already-established potential.

What do you think?

How can referees become better interpreters of the rules? Is the NFL front office risking safety in exchange for lawsuit avoidance? Do players actually have a voice on this issue?

The human element of officiating seems to work in baseball, but not when awarding a team an additional 15-yards for something that looked illegal.
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