Sunday, September 6, 2015

Birden Bomb: Pre-season

In a entry that I intend to pen weekly, the primary objective of this will be to share some viewpoints I have on the weekly happenings in reference to the National Football League. After each week, I will just essentially declare what I believe to be newsworthy and provide my two cents on that particular subject matter. For the first go around, I will touch on some player news that could, or should I say will have an impact on the upcoming campaign. In choosing the title for this weekly segment, I elected to use the "Birden Bomb" a play on one of my all-time favourite games, Madden '96 in which I routinely dominated with the Atlanta Falcons pairing up one of the most underrated quarterbacks in that generation in Jeff George alongside my favourite player during that era, Portland native J.J Birden.  Here goes nothing.

-The Cleveland Browns quarterback dilemma is sure a hotly contested water cooler discussion point as of late.  When the Browns exhausted their twenty second overall pick in 2014 on "Johnny Football" himself Johnny Manziel, the expectation that by Fall 2015 he would of transitioned into Cleveland's starting quarterback but that script hasn't  gone according to plan and of this writing Josh McCown will get every opportunity and then some to revive this stagnant franchise.  Johnny Manziel I don't personally believe has the fortitude to ever be the field general as a starting quarterback but it makes you wonder if he's truly been given enough rope from head coach Mike Pettine. Work ethic and a purported partying reputation has stunted the willingness from this organization to give him the necessary responsibility to succeed but what can be done now for the Browns to ever turn their Manziel stance into a different narrative? It's becoming more a common theme in this league for teams to give up on quarterbacks sooner, I think back to Jamarcus Russell and Christian Ponder in recent years and I see it extremely likely that Manziel will join this group real soon.

-Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley are the two rookie running backs coming in with the most fan fare. Gordon, a Wisconsin alum now a member of the San Diego Chargers and Gurley a Georgia Bulldog  who now is property of the St.Louis Rams will have lofty expectations coming into this campaign. I'm of the opinion that Gordon is in the position to thrive as the San Diego Chargers have opened up the backfield to accommodate the services of Melvin and being how, if you read my previous post outlining my prognostications for the following season you'll have seen that I have pegged San Diego as a playoff team which should emphasize my belief that those lofty expectations for Gordon perhaps could be loftier as I'm predicting  a mammoth year. Gurley on the other hand, a player who I was able to watch a lot more playing for Bulldog country is absolutely dynamic running the ball and prior to the NFL draft shaping up, would've proclaimed with complete certainty that Gurley was THE running back of all running backs and could have top ten statistics by year's end. However, Gurley was picked in the absolute worst spot and to this day I'll never understand the Rams tactic for coming to the false realization that they needed  a running back with their first round selection. I'm all for the best player available strategy for teams that are on the precipus of contending but not for a  team like the Rams who have other more glaring positional deficiencies. such at wide receiver??? Tre Mason did nothing to substantiate doubt amongst the Rams upper hierarchy and the selection of Gurley is a bonafide slap in the face to Mason. I don't know who's going to get more snaps in Missouri, but what I do know  is that if the Rams want to avoid a Mike Alstott-Warrick Dunn-esque situation, exploring the Tre Mason trade market may be a wise doing.

-The Buffalo Bills quarterback carousel may have officially ended tonight with their organizational decision to part ways with Matt Cassel, and I applaud their decision. I don't have to read the Bills forums to know that they're downright furious with this decision as they viewed Cassel wrongfully as the best field general.  Cassel is a drop back passer with limited mobility and the old school NFL observer will have the mind-set that the kind of quarterback that breeds success is still the Cassel mold but that couldn't be further from the truth. Gone are the days where quarterbacks can flourish without moving their legs and looking back I find it ironic that I brought up Jeff George's name earlier as he would've been taken to the shed in this style of football. Tyrod Taylor, who came from the tutelage of Jon Harbaugh in Baltimore and E.J Manuel will never pass for record smashing yardage but it's their legs that will do the talking. Michael Vick was a pioneer for how the running first quarterback can operate, although I can completely side with those internally muttering that Kordell "Slash" Stewart may have preceded Vick as the pioneer in this category. Taylor and Manuel, and I should mention that I'd be stunned if Taylor wasn't the week one starter I think will surprise the Northern New York folk and be as much as a fan favourite that former CFL great Doug Flutie was. Let's hope for Buffalo fans that another scenario doesn't play itself out that is reminiscent of the infamous "Music City Miracle". Somewhere, Bills fans are still cringing over Rob Johnson.

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