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Tebow the “Savior,” Orton the “Scapegoat”

I told myself that I would just focus on writing my blog for my DCI internship, since I didn’t have a lot of time to write. But this was just too important.

So, as you all know, the NFL lockout was lifted Monday, leading to a frantic week of agreeing with free agents, and make trades to better your team. The Patriots, Panthers, and the New York teams have made a big splash in the league, making trades and signing some big name players.

Then, you have the Denver Broncos.

They have remained relatively quiet this week. They trades away Jadar Gaffney for the defensive tackle from Washington, but besides that, they haven’t done much. The big news out of Colorado Springs, Colorado this week were that they were shopping around Kyle Orton, the starting quarterback from last season.

Now, this didn’t surprise me at all. Kyle Orton and Kevin Kolb, who recently went to the Arizona Cardinals, were the two quarterbacks who were reported to be finding new homes this offseason. With Kolb signing with the Cardinals, oration was a hot commodity. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks were looking for a veteran quarterback to lead their team, while they get their young gun ready to play.

Kyle Orton would be a stop-gap.

Talks picked up around Orton when a proposed trade would send him to Miami, in exchange for a couple mid-to-late draft picks. Denver wanted more for Orton, and Miami didn’t feel that he was worth that much.

My question: Why? Why do the Broncos want to trade Orton? Why do the Dolphins think that Orton isn’t worth that much?

Why in the world are the Broncos trying to trade Kyle Orton? He is been succeeding expectations ever since he took the reigns over from Jay Cutler, who whined his way to the Windy City at the beginning of the “McFailures-era.” Last year, he was one of the top-5 passers in the league, with 3100+ yards, 20 TD’s, and 9 INT’s, before being benched for the “Broncos savior” Tim Tebow, who was less than impressive in his three starts.

If you ask me, I think the Broncos should hold on to him. He is being used as the Broncos scapegoat for the failed, and miserable, season in 2011. As a quarterback, you live and die by your teams performance. I understand that. But it wasn’t directly Orton’s fault. For one, he didn’t have a consistent running game to back him up. Denver went through five or six different running backs last season. The defense also couldn’t stop a nose-bleed, giving up leads and not able to stop a high school football team. Because of these factors, the Broncos were 4-12.

Is Kyle Orton the best in the league? No. Is he going to be able to put the team on his back? No. Is he able to win a Super Bowl. Yes.

Kyle Orton is a game-manager. He can’t throw the long ball, but he is effective leading an offense down the field. The reason the TEAM did so bad wasn’t because of Orton. It was the team as a whole. He did his part, but no one else did. He has never gotten the chance on a decent team to shine. And he is a whole lot better than TimTebow, who ran more than he threw the ball in his first game.

Which brings me to my next point. Why is Tim Tebow being labeled the ‘savior’ of the Denver Broncos? Just because he SAYS he work harder? That may be true, but if you have the natural talent at quarterback, you just won’t succeed. Now, I am not saying he isn’t talented. He is incredibly talented. I just think he isn’t a starter in the NFL. If he was a versatile TE, who could throw the ball, he could be extremely valuable weapon. If John Elway comes out and says that he isn’t comfortable with Tebow, something must be wrong. He is being labeled a ‘savior,’ but he was 1-2 last year. Just because you were a QB-stud in college, doesn’t mean it will all transfer to the pro-level. You can’t run over people in the NFL like you can in the college level. And I don’t think he knows that. Before you know it, he will be on the DL, and Orton will be starting once again.

In a rebuilding phase, like the Broncos are, they need someone who is a solid, stable quarterback, who can lead the team while the young ones behind him mature and grow. If Denver was smart, they would keep Kyle Orton for the next two to three years.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in NFL

 

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Trends for the NFL Draft

It has been a long month and a half for football fans. Since the lockout, the only football news we have been subjected to has been news from courtrooms across the country, as well as representatives from both sides jockeying for the upper hand in negotiation.

But even with the stalemate in negotiations, we football fans have been looking forward to one thing: the NFL Draft. On Thursday, we get our first taste of the 2011-2012 season. And while mediation between the NFL and NFLPA not looking like they are going anywhere, this might be our only taste of football for a while.

Now, I do not know what is going to happen when picks start pouring. If I did, I would have submitted my picks to ESPN, and be a very rich man. Instead of giving you my picks, like everyone on the face-of-the-earth is doing, I figure I give you my five trends to look for during the three-day draft.

1. QB-Battle: This is a quarterback-heavy draft class. From Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, down to Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, there eight to ten quarterbacks that could be quality starters in the NFL.

Besides the debate between who the top quarterback is, either Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton, quarterbacks have been jockeying to get drafted before everyone else. Eight of the ten teams drafting first are in need of a quarterback, and many top-tiered teams need quality backups, or quarterbacks to train for the future. You will see a lot of teams drafting a lot of quarterbacks being drafted in the first round.

2. Who will be #1?: According to all the mock drafts out there, there have been at least ten different players that have been projected as the number one pick. Will one of those players actually be picked first? Will there be a sleeper? Those are the questions the Carolina Panthers will answer at around 8:10 p.m.

3. Trading down: Along with the quarterback position, it is a deep-draft as a whole. There are many quality players that can perform well at the professional level. With that being said, I predict a lot of teams will try and trade down to pick up more draft positions in the first few rounds.

4. Defensive-Heavy: What wins championships? Defense. Look at the Steelers, Saints, and Packers. All have a solid, and deep, defense. All teams will be looking to strengthen their defense, replacing key players, and adding depth in case a player falls from injury, which in inevitable in the league.

5. Filling holes: Another casualty of the lockout is that there is no free-agency. In February, teams look to bolster their roster by adding free agents, which could make an impact right away. Without this free agency period before the draft, teams will be looking to fill holes that would usually be filled by free agents. Since we don’t know when a new CBA will be signed, owners don’t know when free agency will start. The NFL Draft is a good start.

Hope this wets your appetite. I will be in front of my television Thursday, with my Broncos gear on, eagerly watching the draft. This could be a very long offseason. Might as well appreciate the little bit of football while I can.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 

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Sad Day for an NFL Fan

So a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. When I last posted, there was still a slim-chance that a new Collective Bargaining Argeement iwould be negotiates, and football would go on unphased.

But, as you all know, that was not the turnout.

On Friday, March March 11th, 2011, at 4:55 p.m., I got the ESPN Alert that the NFL Players Association was decertifying, meaning that they were no longer representing the players, and now the players could file anti-trust lawsuits against the NFL.

But of course, I still hung on to that last thread, hoping that this bold move would force the owners to settle.

Instead, on that same day, at 9:36 p.m., I got another ESPN Alert reporting the NFL planned to announce a lockout, starting at midnight.

At that point, I knew it was going to be a long couple of months (as a football fan).

One of the big reasons the owners and the NFLPA couldn’t agree to terms was a trust issue. The NFL wanted to turn over a lot of financial records from the past couple of years, more than what they usualyl give the the owners of the 32 teams. The NFLPA wanted more paperwork, and felt that the NFL wasn’t fully transparent with all the financials of the league.

With today being the first business day since the lockout was implimented, court dates are starting to be released, and new information is starting to come out from both sides. As ESPN is reporting, the courts will hear the players lockout injunction against the NFL next month, April 6th.

The players are hoping that the courts grant the injunction, and the players can go back to work, under the rules of last year. If that is the case, the NFL will play the 2011 season under the same rules as last year. There will be no salary cap, and it will restrict where players can go, classifying only certain players who have played more than six years could be classified as unrestricted free agents.

The NFL is also taking the NFLPA to court, saying that the decertification is illegal, and that the Players Association is still helping the players, just not formally. The NFL is also looking to overturn the ruling of Judge David Doty’s, and get the $4 billion in television broadcasting money that the owners have been trying to get, in the case of a lockout.

Adam Schefter is also reporting that NFL players are trying to convince college athletes to boycott the draft, and not attend. The NFLPA is planning different way to expose college draft picks, and give them the attention they deserve.

So as you can see, things are getting pretty messy in the NFL. There is a lot of finger-pointing, ‘he said this and that,’ and no trust on either side. With all these lawsuits, it may look like this might not get resolved for a while, and fans might be missing out on some football. But I have trust that this will get done, and football, the most popular sport in America, will continue on, and move past this lockout to have another successful, and exciting, NFL season.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in NFL

 

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Trouble on the Horizon for the NFL

March 4th is like an iceburg in the middle of the ocean that you are sailing towards.

And for football fans, its getting bigger and bigger.

The National Football League (NFL) and the Players Association (NFLPA) are trying to hash out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which expires March 3rd. After March 4th, if a new CBA isn’t reached, the players will be ‘locked out.’ That means the players won’t be able to participate in team activities, or get the necessary money to rehab any injuries they might have.

There are a lot of things that the NFL and the NFLPA have to negotiate to create a new CBA. A rookie salary-scale, as well as a possible 18-game schedule, is minor speed bumps in the road to a new CBA.

But the big speed bump appears to be the splitting of the revenue. According to ESPN.com, the league makes $9 billion annually. When they last negotiated a CBA in 2006, the players were given 60-percent of the league’s revenue.

But since 2006, the ‘bubble has burst.’

The owners are now claiming that, in this economy, the aren’t making as much revenue as they have in the past. Tickets sales are down, and the stadiums aren’t raking in as much money as they have in the past. The owners are starting to ‘hurt’ financially. This time around, they are looking to receive a larger chunk of the money, saying that players already are getting a lot of money in their salaries.

But along of with all of the issues they have to negotiate with themselves, they also have to deal with the media.

Both the NFL and NFLPA are using the media, from ESPN, to Twitter, and every website in between, to try and tell the public what is happening in the negotiations, and what they thing of it. It has become a “He-said/she-said” type argument, with lots of mud-slinging on both sides of the table.

The federal government has stepped in, sending in George Cohen, the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, to try and bring both sides together, to get an agreement together  in the next week, to avoid a lockout.

One thing Cohen has recommended, to both sides, is to put a gag order on all negotiating talks. That means no one is allowed to talk to the media about anything going on.

All we know, is that this past weekend, both sides met for three days straight, totaling over 20 hours. Now, I know you may not think that is a lot, but considering how heated both sides were getting, that is a lot of time.

So keep an ear out football fans. T-minus one week. Before the federal mediation, it looked like both sides weren’t going to get together. But there is a ray of hope shining on that iceberg, a glimpse that there will be a new CBA, and that there will be a 2011 season.

But even without a CBA, there will still be a draft. So even if there is a lockout, at least we have the draft right? Sort of like a small consolation prize. But if there is a lockout, the draft could be the last football we see for a while.

Positive thoughts football fans. Positive thoughts.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Campus Lantern Articles, NFL

 

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The Dark Horizon in the NFL

Things couldn’t be going better for the National Football League. In a recent poll, they were ranked the most popular sport in America. The playoffs were exciting, with surprises like the Seahawks beating the Saints, and the Jets upseting the Pats, and the Super Bowl match-up pitches two of the most storied teams in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a combined nine Super Bowl victories.

Even so, the NFL has some dark days ahead of them. As of May 3rd, the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. As of now, there will be a work stoppage on May 4th. With no CBA, the league doesn’t exist. There are no contracts, no games, no workouts.

The owners and the NFLPA (Players Association) have to get together and negotiate a contract that fits both the owners and the players. The owners are trying to get an 18-game schedule, and a rookie pay scale (so a rookie player isn’t making 10x that of veteran players). The players just want to play football.

So the two sides just need to meet in the middle, and agree to terms.

Simple, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Through the most recent negotiations, the owners and players have both dug their trenches, and are ready for a long fight ahead.

The two sides just can’t seem to agree on anything. The owners want an 18-game schedule, to increase revenue and entertainment, as well as safety. The players don’t want an 18-game schedule, because it can lead to more injuries.  The owners want to maximize profit, and the players are afraid of safety.

This stalemate is leading like it will lead to a lockout, where the players can’t (and won’t) go practice, play games, and other football-related activities. If it lasts into the summer, there is a possibility that the teams can get ‘replacement’ players to play the games in-lue of professional athletes.

This stalemate has been prevalent on ESPN, Fox Sports, and numerous sports talk shows all across America. I was fortunate enough to call into one of those shows, on WEEI, 103.7, in Boston, and voice my opinion.

I don’t see why both sides can’t reach an agreement. I know, I am not behind the scenes with both sides, but just looking by looking at the numbers, it would be crazy for the NFL to lockout.

Think about it, the players will lose out on millions of dollars by not playing the game. The owners, I see it, will lose the most. Besides losing out on the multi-millions of dollars from television contracts, they will lose out on ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, and, most importantly, the respect from life-long fans.

If the owners try and get replacement players, they will lose even more money. They will pay all this money to get a stadium up-and-running, and no one will want to show up, basically burning the owners money.

But there could be one upside to this sticky situation, one that could be really hurt the NFL.

That is, the USFL. A place where former players and non-drafted college players go to show their stuff. Some are even picked up by NFL scouts, and have the opportunity to go pro. In the case of the lockout, some big name players may not want to take time off, and instead of waiting out the work-stoppage, and go to the USFL to play. By doing that, it will draw more interest to the small league. It has the potential to come out ‘smelling like roses,’ and becoming a league to rival the NFL.

I can’t stress enough again that this is my opinion. I don’t have all of the information the representatives have, but this is more of an outsiders view. It can be a very stressful offseason for players, owners, and fans. But as of now, we have the Pro-Bowl, and what looks to be an incredible Super Bowl to cap off one of the most unpredictable, and exciting, NFL seasons.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in NFL

 

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