Thursday, May 31, 2012

NBA's Best PG Is...

For the past few years, Los Angeles Clippers point guard, Chris Paul, has been the best point guard in the league, but an argument can be made that there is a new no. 1 lead guard in the NBA.

Rajon Rondo, the Celtics point guard, is in his 5th year in the league, and has been nothing short of sensational so far in his short career.

Rondo has averaged a double-double in this year's NBA Playoffs with 17.4 points and 11.8 assists a game.

He is the closest thing to Jason Kidd when it comes to flirting with a triple-double every time he steps onto the court.

Also, his deadly accurate passes and craftiness when driving through the lane reminds one of that guy over in L.A. that now wears a no. 3 jersey for the Clippers.

His only achilles heel is his lack of a consistent jump shot, but that consistency looks as if it is taking a turn for the better.

In last night's 115-111 playoff loss to the Miami Heat, Rondo notched 44 points (16-of-24 from the field), 10 assists and eight rebounds, while playing all four quarters and overtime.

He made most of his 16 field goals from the perimeter, including a couple of late three's.

The Heat dared Rondo to shoot and he knocked down jump shot, after jump shot, after jump shot.

One game cannot fix any player's blemish(es), but as Rondo enters his prime years in the NBA, he looks like he is ready to become a more consistent shooter, which only means he will become nearly impossible to stop.

As of today, there is no other point guard in the NBA that is better than the 6-foot-1-inch man wearing the no. 9 jersey in Bean town.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Real Deal or a Fake Offer.

The San Francisco 49ers are 7-1 (undefeated on the road; 4-0) at the halfway point of the 2011-2012 NFL season and are clicking on all cylinders.

They are on a six-game winning streak, and have outscored their opponents 149-74 in those six games. With a rookie NFL head coach in Jim Harbaugh one would expect a rough start to his debut season, but he and his team have failed to meet those low expectations.

San Francisco's defense allowed only 15 points per game through the first eight games, while their offense averages 26 points per game. Starting quarterback, Alex Smith, who many critics believe cannot cut it in the NFL, is doing what his job demands him to do.

Smith has taken care of the ball (only two interceptions), thrown for 10 touchdowns, managed the game and put his team in positions to win so far this season.

With that being said, their division is not a tough one to compete in, and they are as much of a surprise team as the 6-2 Detroit Lions and the 5-3 Buffalo Bills are this season. The tougher half of their regular season schedule (week 10 against NYG, week 11 @ BAL and week 15 against PIT) is coming up and this will be the test to find out if the 49ers are the real deal.

They have to beat the Giants, Ravens and the Steelers, as rap artist, Drake says "so I know it's real," before they will be considered a true threat to win it all.

Until they can prove they can perform at this high level for an entire season, as well as the playoffs, then the question will continue to be asked, are they "The Real Deal or a Fake Offer?"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Leading ROY Candidate??

Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback, Andy Dalton continues to impress people with his performance after leading a balanced attack to defeat the Tennessee Titans 24-17 earlier today.

He completed 20-of-his-39 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. The former quarterback for the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University has been poised in his debut season as a NFL starter.   

He's thrown for 1,690 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions through eight games so far this season. Dalton has catapulted himself into the Rookie of the Year (ROY) discussions by simply leading his young team to a 6-2 record so far.

Quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers has been in the top five in passing yards among all quarterbacks in the NFL, and is the favorite to be the Rookie of the Year, but it will not be easy to claim the title with Dalton breathing down his neck.

Dalton is performing at a high level in a tough AFC North division. He's holding his own against exceptional quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens) within the division.

All in all, Andy Dalton is silencing a lot critics about his team who, according to multiple sources, were ranked last in the preseason rankings at the start of the season.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Unfamiliar Dream or A Familiar Nightmare?

The NFL season is two weeks in and new teams have come onto the surface looking to become legitimate contenders in today's NFL, the most notable teams are the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills.

Both teams are 2-0 to start the season, and have performed at a high level, completing their last game with impressive wins. In week 2, the Lions demolished a debacle of a Kansas City Chiefs team by a score of 48-3. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 294 yards,  four touchdowns and completed 59 percent of his passes in the win over the Chiefs. Also, the Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson caught the ball three times for two touchdowns. The game was well over with by the start of the fourth quarter (27-3 after three quarters), but the Lions looked as if they had something to prove by scoring 21 more points in the fourth to finish the onslaught. In the past this team has failed to rise to the occasion and become a true contender, but things are looking to become promising this season.

On the other side, in the AFC conference, the Bills have opened many eyes with their unblemished 2-0 record. The Bills have been on the losing end of the AFC East division for the past few seasons, but are tied for first this year. The have the league's No. 1 scoring and rushing offense (39.5 points per game and 193 yards per game) so far. In week 2, the Bills completely erased a 21-3 halftime deficit against the Oakland Raiders with a game-winning touchdown drive giving them the 38-35 victory in the closing seconds of the game.

If the Bills can prove that they can hang with the New England Patriots (week 3 match up) and the New York Jets, then this is a team who will continue to experience their unfamiliar dream. As far as the Lions go, they are a team to be wrecking with, and they will be right there at the end of the season looking to bust open the playoff door (if they don't open it up weeks before).

The NFL is full of surprises and is very unpredictable, so let's see if these two teams, as well as the other up and coming franchises, can take the next step to becoming a playoff team.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is the Colts Franchise In Trouble?

As the 2011-2012 NFL season gets ready to kickoff on Sept. 8, the Indianapolis Colts are sliding further and further away from their solidarity.

Their usual comfort zone of having Manning at the beginning of every season is uncertain for this upcoming one. According to multiple sources, quarterback Peyton Manning is doubtful to make his 209th consecutive start during Week 1. Manning is still recovering from neck surgery that he had after last season, and with his health in question who knows if he'll every play another down of football again.

According to Skip Bayless, top debater on ESPN's First Take, Manning will return to the field by Week one, but his counterpart, Rob Parker believes that Manning should choose health over the love of the game and retire. Many analysts are split between what the future holds for the potential Hall of Fame quarterback, but when looking at his career and past success, it is hard to disagree with the people who believe Manning should turn to a new chapter in his life; the life after football.

Manning is entering his 14th season in the NFL. He has won a Superbowl and a Superbowl MVP in 2007, threw for over 54,000 yards and 399 touchdowns, completed 65 percent of his passes and has a 95.0 quarterback rating for his career. After experiencing the highest of the highs and now the lowest of the lows as a NFL player, Manning does not have anything else to prove.

His toughness should never be questioned because he has never missed a game after enduring 13 entire seasons of the brutal wear and tear of professional football.

Although he's tough, Manning's health is still the biggest concern for the Colts' organization, but they also have many other concerns. They have a young inexperienced offensive line, and they do not have the same receiving core that helped Manning earn his prestigious accolades. "It only takes one missed assignment by an offensive lineman," Rob Parker, ESPN First Take debater said. One missed block, a clear path and hard hit from a defender on Manning can end his and any other NFL player's football career and possibly hinder their life after football. Should Manning take that risk? His toughness may say yes, but who knows if his mind and his family will vote in favor of returning for another NFL season.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grid Iron Gang Sleepers

There are a lot of talented teams on the rise in the NFL this upcoming season. From the Oakland Raiders to the Green Bay Packers, every team has improved themselves for the 2011-12 season.

The notable teams (also known as "sleepers") are those same Raiders, the Tamba Bay Buccaneers and the St. Louis Rams.

For starters, the Raiders surprised a lot of teams and fans last season when they went undefeated (6-0) within the AFC West division. Even though they ended up 8-8 and missed the playoffs, they showed a lot of upside. Wide receiver Louis Murphy had a productive 14 game season last year for the Raiders with 41 receptions, 609 yards and two touchdowns. Another player in Jason Campbell, who's a reliable passer has a full year under his belt as the Raiders quarterback and they just drafted Terrelle Pryor out of Ohio St in the NFL Supplemental Draft earlier today. Pryor is a QB, who many analyst think will not make it as a quarterback, but has the athletic ability and potential to be a tight end or linebacker. If they can put together four or five wins outside of the division it is hard to see the Raiders not in the postseason in the 2011 season.

The Buccaneers are another "sleeper" in today's NFL. They came within the final game of the regular season before missing the playoffs at 10-6. Quarterback, Josh Freeman is an athletic and gifted young man. He gives this team hopes of turning back clock to the past to recapture that winning a Superbowl feeling this franchise experienced in 2003. Last season, Freeman (first-year as full-time starter) threw for 25 touchdowns, only six interceptions, over 3,400 yards and completed 61 percent of his passes. They also have another young talent in second-year running back LeGarrette Blount. In 13 games he ran for over 1,000 yards at five yards a carry for six touchdowns. Having a 11-5 or 12-4 record this year will still be tough to win the NFC South, but it still will give them a high chance of getting into the playoffs.

Last, but surely not least the Rams lost their playoff hopes during the final game of the regular season as well when they lost to their division rival Seattle Seahawks (earned last playoff spot). The Rams have a lot of upside with Sam Bradford as their starter quarterback and Stephen Jackson as their running back. Both are very talented and young. If they can put together some pieces for the receiving core and on the defensive end then this team can run away with the NFC West (who isn't known for good records). Their division winner, Seahawks had a 7-9 record, so it is safe to say that having a .500 or above .500 record could help any team in this division win it and make the playoffs. The Rams have that potential to do so for years to come and even this season.

"Sleepers," can be found throughout the NFL, but these three teams mentioned have shown bright spots that can get even brighter during the 2011-2012 season. The upside about all these teams is that they're all young and show a lot of promise. The Rams have the best chance opf making the playoffs out of all these notable "sleepers."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Top Five NFL QBs

There are many talented players in today's NFL, especially at the quarterback position, but there are five guys that separate themselves from the rest.

1. At the top spot as best QB in the NFL, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is a clear number one. The sixth-round 199th overall pick of the 2000 NFL draft has won three Superbowls (2002, 2004, 2005). According to multiple sources, Brady and Joe Montana are the only players in NFL history to win multiple MVP and Superbowl MVP honors (2 League MVPs and 2 Superbowl MVPs). Brady also holds the record for most touchdown passes in a single season with 50, which he accomplished in 2007. Not only does his stats speak for him, but this overlooked super star has a charisma of no other. His leadership and poise is exceptional on and off the field. Not to mention, Brady's arm and pin-point accuracy has helped make a name in the NFL not only for himself, but for his wide receivers as well.

2. The second-best player at the quarterback position is the Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning. He's a humble and confident player, who has won one Superbowl ring and Superbowl MVP in 2007. Manning is arguably the best on the field play-caller in NFL history. His ability to read and adapt to defenses is out of this world. He can make even the best defensive backs look like rookies. Manning's connection with his long-time receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne was a great collaboration to watch until Harrison broke up the trio due to retirement. Besides Wayne, Manning has a young receiving core who are talented, but are just that much better because of the man who's throwing them the ball. Manning has also started every game since he was drafted as a rookie by the Colts in 1998; 208 consecutive games. Those who are NFL fans know how hard it is to stay healthy for at least half the season, let alone an entire one.

3. The third best quarterback today is the speedy lefty, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick started his career with the Atlanta Falcons and was known for the speed of his legs more than the speed of the ball after it left his hands. In 2006, Vick accumulated over 1,000 yards rushing along with over 2,400 yards passing. This past season (with the Eagles), Vick has reshaped his game and became more of a pocket-passer. He changed games with his arm, more than his legs and helped the Eagles come within one play of advancing to the second-round of the playoffs before they loss to the eventual Superbowl champion Green Bay Packers. Vick threw for 21 touchdowns to only six interceptions in 12 starts last season. His ability to be a threat as a passer and runner poses many problems for any defense, which is why Philadelphia is a legitimate contender to win it all.

4. The best thing to happen to Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was the San Diego Chargers letting him go after injuring his throwing shoulder in 2005 because the Saints were then given a gift in 2006. Brees had surgery on his shoulder and came back stronger and with more zip in his throw than ever before. Brees threw two more touchdowns (26) and four less interceptions (11) in his first season with the Saints than he did in his last season with the Chargers. In 2009, after a 4,388 yards, 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions regular season, Brees brought a Superbowl to the city of New Orleans and was the MVP of the championship game. This high powered offense thrives on the performance of Brees's surgically repaired throwing shoulder, and they should not have any complaints. He has thrown for 155 touchdowns to 79 interceptions in five seasons with the organization. The 32-year-old will keep this franchise up and running as long as he's healthy and playing at an optimum level.

5. Last, but surely not least is the Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers; the successor of future Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre. In his third season (last year, 2010) as the full-time starter in Green Bay, Rodgers led his 10-6 (wild card) team to a Superbowl championship. They played every game as the underdog and came out as the best team. Rightfully so, Rodgers ended as the Superbowl MVP. His off-balance throws and powerful arm catapulted the Packers to champions. He threw for a QB rating of 101.2, 28 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions last season. He completed 65 percent of his passes and averaged 261.5 yards a game. Rodgers seems to be running farther and farther away from Favre's shadow after each football season. He will become a Hall of Fame quarterback when his career as a NFL player comes to a close.

These five quarterbacks are the best-of-the-best and will be for the next 5-10 years (some longer than others). They all are talented in similar ways, but they all also have a unique characteristic within them that separates them from the average QB. 2011 will be an exciting NFL season and expect these five QBs to make a lot of highlights in each and every game.