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    • michael89156

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      Drew Brees, Matt Ryan head franchise faces of the NFC South By Bucky Brooks      NFL Media analyst    NFL.comPublished: June 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm brees_zps80fe7aee.pngFootball might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything to his organization, defining its identity and dictating its fortunes. In other words, he becomes the face of the franchise. Of course, though, one man can carry the franchise torch for only so long, as time is a cruel thief. Eventually, the onus falls on someone else.Looking ahead to the 2014 season, Bucky Brooks has identified the face of each franchise, along with a player waiting in the wings to potentially take up the mantle in the future. Below you'll find analysis for each NFC South team. Atlanta Falcons: Matt RyanUpon arriving in Atlanta in 2008, Ryan almost immediately became the unquestioned leader of the Falcons, navigating the franchise through the fallout of the Michael Vick scandal with aplomb. In six seasons with Ryan under center, the Falcons have posted five winning campaigns and reached the playoffs four times, winning division titles in 2010 and '12. Sure, critics can take Ryan to task for the Falcons' 1-4 postseason record under his watch, but the two-time Pro Bowler deserves credit for his overall record of 61-38 as a starter. Factor in his savvy in the clutch (24 game-winning drives and 17 fourth-quarter comebacks), and it's clear "Matty Ice" is on the cusp of joining the ranks of the elite at the quarterback position.Next in line: Julio Jones.  Ryan is firmly entrenched as the Falcons' face of the franchise, but Jones is blossoming into one of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL. The fourth-year pro has already earned Pro Bowl recognition on the strength of a sophomore campaign in 2012 that saw him snag 79 balls for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns. That season, Jones teamed up with Roddy White to form the NFL's top receiving tandem (they combined for 2,549 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns). Jones was off to a spectacular start last season, racking up 580 yards in five games and surpassing White as the Falcons' most dangerous receiving threat on the perimeter -- but a foot injury sent him to injured reserve in October. If Jones can just shake the injury bug that's plagued him through the years, he will fully showcase the immense talent that strikes fear in the hearts of defensive coordinators around the league.Carolina Panthers: Cam NewtonThe former No. 1 overall pick certainly has lived up to the hype that preceded his arrival in Carolina. Newton claimed the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award following an awe-inspiring debut season that saw him shatter numerous records, including passing yards by a rookie (Cam posted 4,051) and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (14). He followed this up with a pair of solid campaigns that showcased his growth as a passer and playmaker from the pocket. Although some have questioned Newton's leadership skills and maturity -- largely due to his flamboyant playing style -- the Panthers' run to the 2013 division title has silenced many critics, including general manager Dave Gettleman. If Newton can continue to refine his game within the pocket while continuing Carolina's winning ways, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner will be entrenched as the team's franchise player for a long time to come.Next in line: Luke Kuechly. For all the credit Newton receives for the Panthers' resurgence in the NFC, Kuechly's emergence as one of the NFL's most dominant defenders played an enormous role in the team's recent run to the top of the NFC South. After receiving Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, Kuechly took home Defensive Player of the Year in '13, tallying 156 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions. Most crucially, the linebacker was the leader of a Panthers defense that led the NFL in sacks and ranked second in both yards and points allowed. Given the importance of defensive production on championship contenders, Kuechly's rapid development as an elite talent gives him a strong voice in the Panthers' locker room.New Orleans Saints: Drew BreesThere is no doubt about Brees' status as the face of the franchise in the Big Easy. The perennial Pro Bowl quarterback has transformed New Orleans into a heavyweight contender in the NFC behind an offense that often appears unstoppable under his direction. He has topped the 5,000-yard mark four times in eight Saints seasons -- including each of the last three -- while guiding the team to an 80-47 regular-season record and snagging the franchise's only Lombardi Trophy. Superb leadership skills have truly endeared him to Who Dat Nation; Brees' presence on the field inspires confidence in his teammates and coaches, which raises the level of play for the Saints in every area. And, of course, Brees is unquestionably the guy the Saints lean on in the clutch.Next in line: Jimmy Graham   Don't let the ongoing contract dispute between the Saints and Graham diminish the pass-catching tight end's importance to this team. Graham has notched 41 touchdowns in 62 NFL games, leading the team in receptions in each of the past three seasons. With a game built on athleticism and versatility, the former basketball player has developed into a matchup nightmare. Offensive guru Sean Payton has tapped into Graham's unique talents by deploying him as a hybrid wide receiver in spread formations. With few defenders capable of defending him one-on-one, Graham's dominance on the perimeter -- particularly in the red zone -- makes him an essential chess piece for the Saints' dynamic attack.Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoyMcCoy quietly has become one of the top interior defenders in the NFL; just ask his peers, who ranked him 28th overall in NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2014." The 2013 First-Team All-Pro honoree certainly deserves the accolades after notching 50 tackles and 9.5 sacks despite consistently facing double-teams on the interior. With new head coach Lovie Smith installing the Tampa 2 scheme that allowed Warren Sapp to set the standard for 3-technique defensive tackles, the NFL world could soon see McCoy become the premier defensive tackle in the league -- and the face of a burgeoning defensive juggernaut.Next in line: Lavonte David    While McCoy is poised to play Sapp's part in the Bucs' new Tampa 2, David will assume the role of Derrick Brooks. Yes, David was named First-Team All-Pro last season, but few recognize his name and game on the big stage. That might well change in 2014, with the Buccaneers poised to become a legitimate contender in the NFC on the strength of their defense. With a dynamic (and disruptive) game built on instincts, awareness and speed, David should finally get the recognition and respect that he deserves on the national level.Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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    • Anonymous

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      Obviously, they haven’t heard that Glennon is next in line to be the face of our franchise.

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    • Anonymous

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      Obviously, they haven't heard that Glennon is next in line to be the face of our franchise.

      Yeah. Because if you aren't pulling for Glennon to be the starter, you aren't a Bucs fan.

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    • Anonymous

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      You guys are Glennon obsessed. Or is it 10lbbass obsessed ? Why bring up Glennon in this thread ?

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    • Anonymous

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      Seeing Gerald and LaVonte are pretty close in age, it would be hard for David to take over for McCoy, unless he is traded or whatever. Hopefully they both grow old together being a couple of the best players we have had in the ROH.

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    • Anonymous

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      Why bring up Glennon in this thread ?

      2 reasons.....firstly, because i can. Secondly, as the future franchise QB, he's the obvious choice as face of the franchise. Do you not agree?

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    • Anonymous

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      No. The Ravens franchise QB is Flacco and he was never the face. Ray Lewis was. The face doesn't have to be the QB , and this article did not even mention Glennon. You are reaching for things to take shots at the guy now.I guess Hate gonna hate.

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    • Anonymous

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      I would have to say it’s VJax or McCoy. I recently spent time with family from the midwest I hadn’t seen in awhile. When NFL football was brought up, VJax was the first person they brought up. Although, I think Lavonte will eventually be that guy.

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    • Anonymous

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      No. The Ravens franchise QB is Flacco and he was never the face. Ray Lewis was. The face doesn't have to be the QB , and this article did not even mention Glennon. You are reaching for things to take shots at the guy now.I guess Hate gonna hate.

      LOL, you pick Ray Lewis.....one of the most overbearing presences in football as your example?And to further correct you, my "shot" isn't at Glennon.....it's 10lb. Not even Glennon would believe the nonsense he's posted here.

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    • Anonymous

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      No. The Ravens franchise QB is Flacco and he was never the face. Ray Lewis was. The face doesn't have to be the QB , and this article did not even mention Glennon. You are reaching for things to take shots at the guy now.I guess Hate gonna hate.

      LOL, you pick Ray Lewis.....one of the most overbearing presences in football as your example?And to further correct you, my "shot" isn't at Glennon.....it's 10lb. Not even Glennon would believe the nonsense he's posted here.

      Welcome to Tampa.  We are a defensive first franchise and always will be. If the face of our franchise is ever on the offensive side of the ball, something has gone horribly wrong.  So, no, I dont think Glennon is the face of the franchise. 

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    • Anonymous

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      No. The Ravens franchise QB is Flacco and he was never the face. Ray Lewis was. The face doesn't have to be the QB , and this article did not even mention Glennon. You are reaching for things to take shots at the guy now.I guess Hate gonna hate.

      LOL, you pick Ray Lewis.....one of the most overbearing presences in football as your example?And to further correct you, my "shot" isn't at Glennon.....it's 10lb. Not even Glennon would believe the nonsense he's posted here.

      Welcome to Tampa.  We are a defensive first franchise and always will be. If the face of our franchise is ever on the offensive side of the ball, something has gone horribly wrong.  So, no, I dont think Glennon is the face of the franchise.

      Why would that be wrong (being serious)? What if Tedford changes the culture offensively? Would it be a bad thing?

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    • Anonymous

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      No. The Ravens franchise QB is Flacco and he was never the face. Ray Lewis was. The face doesn't have to be the QB , and this article did not even mention Glennon. You are reaching for things to take shots at the guy now.I guess Hate gonna hate.

      LOL, you pick Ray Lewis.....one of the most overbearing presences in football as your example?And to further correct you, my "shot" isn't at Glennon.....it's 10lb. Not even Glennon would believe the nonsense he's posted here.

      Welcome to Tampa.  We are a defensive first franchise and always will be. If the face of our franchise is ever on the offensive side of the ball, something has gone horribly wrong.  So, no, I dont think Glennon is the face of the franchise.

      Why would that be wrong (being serious)? What if Tedford changes the culture offensively? Would it be a bad thing?

      If we were brand new as a franchise I could see that happening.  I think no matter who succeeds on the offensive side of the ball, we will be thought of as defensive minded. 

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    • Anonymous

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      If we were brand new as a franchise I could see that happening.  I think no matter who succeeds on the offensive side of the ball, we will be thought of as defensive minded.

      I have to agree with you. The Dungy era will probably be the definition of this franchise, no matter what we ever do offensively. Not saying it's a bad thing.

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    • Anonymous

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      If we were brand new as a franchise I could see that happening.  I think no matter who succeeds on the offensive side of the ball, we will be thought of as defensive minded.

      I have to agree with you. The Dungy era will probably be the definition of this franchise, no matter what we ever do offensively. Not saying it's a bad thing.

      Totally agree. Particularly if Lovie succeeds (gets up to a Super Bowl), then we have a Dungy disciple bringing us back to respectability.  I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

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    • Anonymous

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      Totally agree. Particularly if Lovie succeeds (gets up to a Super Bowl), then we have a Dungy disciple bringing us back to respectability.  I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      Perhaps, he knew coming in that he had to shake the reputation. Go into the draft and throw everyone a curveball. Stir up the pot and put the other NFCS teams on alert.

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    • Anonymous

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      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

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    • Anonymous

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      If Glennon, or any QB, became Peyton Manning, he would be the face of the Bucs, even with Sapp, Brooks, and Ray Lewis on the other side.

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    • Anonymous

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      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      By drafting his replacement and trading Glennon to the Patriots.  I really hope that doesn't happen.   

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    • Anonymous

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      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      By drafting his replacement and trading Glennon to the Patriots.  I really hope that doesn't happen. 

      Well it's not like he was benched or anything....

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    • Anonymous

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      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      In all fairness, Schiano played a big part in that.

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    • Anonymous

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      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      In all fairness, Schiano played a big part in that.

      of course he did....he brought him here.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 2775

      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      By drafting his replacement and trading Glennon to the Patriots.  I really hope that doesn't happen. 

      Well it's not like he was benched or anything....

      Yeah, it's week 4 and we ware heading to Pittsburgh and Glennon is on the bench....  You are going to be super pissed.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 9128

      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      In all fairness, Schiano played a big part in that.

      of course he did....he brought him here.

      Well played sir.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 9276

      I do think it's interesting that we went all O in the draft though.  Maybe Lovie is overcompensating for his lack of O in Chitown.

      ....or trying to correct that 32nd ranked Glennon-led offense we were forced to endure last year.

      In all fairness, Schiano played a big part in that.

      of course he did....he brought him here.

      Well played sir.

      Haha.....thnx. Either my susplsions will be proven correct or i'll be eating crow in heaping portions. Either way, i don't straddle the fence.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think this situation will make the pre-season that much more interesting. I mean, it’s pretty clear that it’s McCown’s job to lose. I’m wondering if he crumbles or if he continues his pace. I wonder how Glennon responds.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think this situation will make the pre-season that much more interesting. I mean, it's pretty clear that it's McCown's job to lose. I'm wondering if he crumbles or if he continues his pace. I wonder how Glennon responds.

      If McCown crumbles, i'll be devastated. We cannot continue to trot mediocre out there at the most important position in all of sports.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think this situation will make the pre-season that much more interesting. I mean, it's pretty clear that it's McCown's job to lose. I'm wondering if he crumbles or if he continues his pace. I wonder how Glennon responds.

      If McCown crumbles, i'll be devastated. We cannot continue to trot mediocre out there at the most important position in all of sports.

      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.  My belief is that he will throw picks in the pre-season folding to the pressure of being the starting QB. 

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    • Anonymous

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      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.  My belief is that he will throw picks in the pre-season folding to the pressure of being the starting QB.

      Again, I agree on the first part. As far as folding, I just don't know. I see the beautiful run he had last year, but I also think it had a lot to do with the system he was in. On that note, he's in another new offense. It seems like he's hit the ground running so far. Time will tell.

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    • Anonymous

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      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.

      My my my.....that's quite the turn of events!!

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    • Anonymous

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      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.

      My my my.....that's quite the turn of events!!

      Not really.  The follow up sentence is what my belief is and why he's primed to be out dueled by Glennon. 

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    • Anonymous

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      It’s more than just your best player that becomes the face of the franchise , it’s also the most dynamic personality and outspoken guy. They get all the tv interviews ,  the have all the notable quotes , etc. It’s who people outside this market will hear the most from.This is why McCoy is the most obvious choice as face of the franchise. He is a great player , but it's mostly cause he is the outspoken one and the guy always up front talking to the media. Glennon could become a great player for us but he still won't be the face because he doesn't have the media personality. Same reason Sapp was the face and not Brooks. It wasn't because Brooks was less important , it's because Sapp had the personality .

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    • Anonymous

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      It's more than just your best player that becomes the face of the franchise , it's also the most dynamic personality and outspoken guy. They get all the tv interviews ,  the have all the notable quotes , etc.This is why McCoy is the most obvious choice as face of the franchise. He is a great player , but it's mostly cause he is the outspoken one and the guy always up front talking to the media. Glennon could become a great player for us but he still won't be the face because he doesn't have the media personality. Same reason Sapp was the face and not Brooks. It wasn't because Brooks was less important , it's because Sapp had the personality .

      Exactly this.  Jeff Saturday was one of the faces of the Colts because he always provided sound bites and was very well liked by his fans.  Our mentality as a franchise will always be defense though, that's just who we are.

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    • Anonymous

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      Our mentality as a franchise will always be defense though, that's just who we are.

      Nothing wrong with that. It's the reason we have a Lombardi.

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    • Anonymous

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      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.

      My my my.....that's quite the turn of events!!

      Not really.  The follow up sentence is what my belief is and why he's primed to be out dueled by Glennon.

      Lol.... Ok

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    • Anonymous

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      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.

      My my my.....that's quite the turn of events!!

      Not really.  The follow up sentence is what my belief is and why he's primed to be out dueled by Glennon.

      Lol.... Ok

      He is a pretty good tap dancer.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 2775

      If McCown can not throw picks in the pre-season he wins the starting spot.

      My my my.....that's quite the turn of events!!

      Not really.  The follow up sentence is what my belief is and why he's primed to be out dueled by Glennon.

      Lol.... Ok

      He is a pretty good tap dancer.

      He's a pretty good quarterback.

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    • Anonymous

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      Glennon is the neck of the franchise.

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    • Anonymous

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      Glennon is the neck of the franchise.

      If glennon is the neck, surely nicks is the big toe.

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    • Anonymous

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      Glennon is the neck of the franchise.

      If glennon is the neck, surely nicks is the big toe.

      That's not fair, don't give A.C. the short end of the stick (or arm)

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    • Anonymous

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      Glennon is the neck of the franchise.

      If glennon is the neck, surely nicks is the big toe.

      That's not fair, don't give A.C. the short end of the stick (or arm)

      smh.....

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    • Anonymous

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      Glennon is the neck of the franchise.

      If glennon is the neck, surely nicks is the big toe.

      Pretty sure that makes Bowers the gall bladder.DJ is spot on. Sapp was the face of the franchise because he was outspoken, more so than Brooks. David is a great player but I think McCoy's personality makes him the face.

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    • Anonymous

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      Clayborn is the t-rex arm of the franchise.

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    • Anonymous

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      Clayborn is the t-rex arm of the franchise.

      that's just wrong, lol

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    • Anonymous

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      It’s a shame we didn’t resign Underwood.  He was totally the hair of the franchise last year.

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    • Anonymous

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      Penn was the butt of the franchise but we didn’t resign him either.

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    • Anonymous

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      and Connor Barth is the achilles of this team….

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    • Anonymous

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      Perhaps they should set their sights higher…

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    • Anonymous

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      The teeth of the franchise :AR-140509197.jpg

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