SportsNet - March 2013
The New England Patriots wasted no time finding a younger model, after Wes Welker departed for the Denver Broncos in free agency. The Patriots moved quickly to sign youthful Welker-clone Danny Amendola.
NFL.com reported that the Patriots gave Amendola a five-year $31 million contract, to come and do the same things Welker did for years in the New England offense. These things primarily include attacking defenses from the slot and exploiting the underneath zones.
Like Welker, Amendola has established a niche in these areas. In many ways, the former St. Louis Rams star is simply a younger version of Welker. Short and quick, Amendola is a tricky matchup for any coverage scheme.
His route-running is precise and crafty and he has a natural flair for getting open. If there is one worry with Amendola, it concerns his durability. He has missed 20 games since 2010.
There was a lot of speculation about the future of Wayne Rooney after he was dropped to the bench for the Champions League match against Real Madrid at Old Trafford, even though he did manage to get 15 minutes at the end of the match. Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson made the usual noises about Rooney not being sold next summer, the mood may well change as the summer transfer window opens up. There are quite a number of top ranked players making it clear that they are on the lookout for pastures new, so it would not be a surprise to see Manchester United busy in the market, especially in its early stages, which is their usual modus operandi.
Whilst there are constant rumblings about Robert Lewandowski who currently plays at Dortmund, going to United in the summer, there are also suggestions being leaked out by agents that Ibrahimovich may be looking for a new club. Losing him would be a blow for the future of PSG, but they could soften that blow by replacing him with Rooney. Rooney is still only 27 and entering the peak years of his career. However, Ibrahimovich is now 31. It is for that reason that I personally do not see any legs in this story.
Peyton Manning has stolen Tom Brady's favourite target, after the Denver Broncos signed wide receiver Wes Welker in free agency. The news of the deal has been confirmed by NFL.com.
Manning hasn't had enjoyed many victories over his great rival. However, now he'll spend 2013 combining with the man who caught over 100 passes in four different seasons from Brady. That has to be satisfying.
More than a morale victoy in a lengthy rivalry, signing Welker boosts the Broncos chances of dominating the AFC. Although the 31-year-old isn't quite the force he was, Welker is still a master at getting open from the slot.
He is still sure-handed and nimle-footed and few receivers can match Welker's precise, intelligent route running. His very specific skills are exactly what Manning and his passing game needs.
The veteran quarterback already has a host of weapons able to stretch the field vertically. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are both capable deep threats. Tight ends Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme proved to be useful goal-line targets.
The recent comprehensive and humiliating FA Cup 6th round defeat suffered by Everton at the hands of Wigan Athletic was greeted by a massive outpouring of vitriol and dissatisfaction by large numbers of supporters both during and after events at Goodison Park.
The very apparent toxic atmosphere was broadcast live to the nation and many neutrals would have been sat in front of their television sets wondering where such an unhappy reaction came from given the widely accepted and portrayed vision of Everton as a stable club.
Stable is possibly an accurate description when considering that the manager and chairman have been in-situ for 11 and 14 years respectively, but when this so-called stability is built on foundations of uncertainty, suspicion and downright animosity, the true picture is quite different to that you see peddled in the media.