SportsNet - October 2012
As the NBA season begins, one of the main storylines for the Celtics was about getting younger, healthier, and providing more depth on the bench, a key aspect of their 2008 championship run.
To do that, the Celtics made a decision to let futre Hall of Famer and three point specialist Ray Allen walk in free agency; he would then sign with the Miami Heat, the main contention for Boston out of the East. Boston let it be known that by letting Allen go, they invested in the 21-year old Bradley, the Celtics' first-round pick, selected 19th overall, in the 2010 NBA Draft.
The young shooting guard initially played a good backup role as the primary shooting guard behind Allen. But as Allen got hit with nagging injuries, Bradley saw more playing time, and better chemistry with point guard Rajon Rondo and the offense as a result. His ability as a lock down defender served Boston well later in the season and in the first part of the playoffs. It was when he went down with a shoulder injury that Boston's already thin depth took a hard hit.
In today's pass happy offenses of the NFL, it's important to have defenses that can consistently pressure the quarterback in passing situations. A pass rush can assist a secondary and throw the the quarterback out of his rhythm. Great quarterbacks like the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning, the New England Partiots' Tom Brady, or the New Orleans Saints Drew Brees can't get a lot accomplished if they have consistent pressure.
But what teams have that kind of ability, and what are some of the their more notable pass rushers? Here are five of the best teams in that aspect:
1. Houston Texans - The Texans are arguably the most balanced team in the NFL and one of the best in the AFC when it comes to defenses. They have the league's sack leader in defensive end J.J. Watt, who has 9.5 sacks thus far, and excels at batting down ball at the line of scrimmage. In only his second year in the league, Watt has become a part of the generation of the NFL's next group of pass rushers. He also has great compliements in linebacker Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin. The team has 21 sacks on the season.
He's been known by LSU Tiger faithful, but to all of college football faithful, he's been just one of LSU's regular four-man rotation at running back. But lately, he's begin to seperate himself a little and make a little bit of a name for himself.
The 6-2, 225 running back is a bruiser who, what he lacks in speed, he makes up for with tough running ability in-between the tackles and as a good pass catcher out of the backfield.
But just who exactly is Jeremy Hill?
Classified as a freshman, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native attended Redemptorist High School, where he made a name for himself as one of the best backs in the state, rushing for 2,260 yards on 302 carries with 36 touchdowns, breaking his high school's career rushing record. He has been noted for his quality football IQ by LSU head coach Les Miles, and commited to to the Tigers in 2011.
All the talk going into this season was the amount of talented rookie quarterbacks coming into, and starting in the league.
None more so than the number one and two picks, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Sure they deserved the high placing in the draft, and have to a large extent backed the experts claims that they were for real and ready.
Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, Luck has shown poise and strength in guiding his team to a 3-3 start, they may not be playoff bound but he's given them back some credibility. Griffin has exploded onto the scene and has put the WAshington Redskins back into the spotlight, with flambouyant displays of rushing the fototball as well as throwing it.
When Head Coach Pete Carroll drafted Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin in the 3rd round of this years draft, it would seem he would have to settle for a place warming the bench, as high priced free agent Matt Flynn loked to be the man handling the Seattle Seahawks offense.
Carroll though put the new guys up against each other in camp and in pre-season. Eventually after impressing during this time, Wilson was name the starter.
Arsene Wenger is without doubt a legend in the modern game.
When he joined Arsenal in 1996 from Japanese team Nagoya Grampus the 63 year old Frenchman revolutionized the system of play at the London club. His abilities had been evident from as far back as 1984 when he began his coaching career with French side Nancy.
At Arsenal, Wenger made some radical changes. From changing the player’s dietary habits to creating an attacking fluid system of play Wenger took little time in turning the Gunners into a formidable outfit.
His emphasis on youth and untapped talent was the platform for the club’s success. With 11 titles won in 9 seasons, including the memorable achievement of going 49 games unbeaten in the 2003/2004 season, Arsenal were definitely a club in ascendancy.
And then the rain started pouring.
Arsenal have not won a title since Patrick Vieira’s penalty handed them the 2005 FA Cup. It has been 7 painful long seasons since that moment of glory and for ‘Le Professeur’ who was once idolized by the Gunner fans, murmurs of discontent by the Arsenal faithful have pitched into a crescendo.
So what has gone wrong?