Are you the Lion or the Jackal?

In the 2002 movie “Pool Hall Junkies” Christopher Walken tells his protege “Every once in awhile the Lion has to show the Jackals who he is”

Great advice! In life as you begin to make some headway and achieve some success your detractors and challengers will seize any opportunity they can to discredit you or steal your momentum and success. The challenge for you is how you react. You can pull back, cower in your domain and they will continue to nip at you and become bolder and bolder until they crush you!  Life is like a bucket of craw dads. As soon as one begins to climb out the others drag him back down into the bucket.

When you are tired of the jackals nipping at you rise up, like the King of the Jungle and re-establish your domain. Show them the Lion inside!  Never give up OR give in!

Good Hunting!

SUPER BOWL L (Part 4)

Today the Bronco offense! (And my prediction)

This definitely is not your father’s Peyton Manning led offense!  Two years ago in Super Bowl XLVIII Manning was the gun slinger-throwing it deep down field all season, setting passing records and running out of the shotgun.  Neck surgery implications, plantar fasciitis and other ailments that a 40 year old football player endures have relegated Manning to, dare I say it, a game manager.  Denver relies on their running game, a viscious defense and surgical passing strikes to catapult them to the big game.  Consider just a couple months ago Manning was benched after throwing 4 interceptions in favor of Brock Osweiler.

Regardless, no QB in the game today-maybe ever is as cerebral as Manning and understands what defenses are trying to do to him.  Manning will get the Broncos into the correct play based on what the defense is trying to do. The question then becomes can they execute.  Denver receivers have dropped a lot of passes in the past 2 weeks and Manning has overthrown a few wide open receivers but I think considering this is Super Bowl L and that it might be 18’s last game ever look for a performance for the ages from the Bronocs.  Carolina likes to play zone. The Bronco receivers will have opportunities but they must find the holes in the zone. They will run it, run it, and then run it some more. If the run is successful, Carolina will have to drop 8 into the box and play man. That’s when the Broncos have to beat the one-on-one coverage.   Manning will take advantage of 7 in the box with runs and when Carolina shows blitz or drops the extra safety down he will check to the pass.  The key is can Carolina disguise their intentions long enough to fool him.

Look for a lot of edge passes and short routes. Denver will take their shots deep but the Panther LBs are too good to make a living with passes over the middle.  Denver will try to shorten the game by running and thereby keep Cam Newton and the powerful Carolina offense off the field (I made a living off of that strategy in the Madden NFL video game! 😄)

This will be a very competitive game.  A Super Bowl worthy of it’s number (L).

My prediction:  Denver 20-16

Enjoy the offseason!  When will it be August???!!! 😢

SUPER BOWL L (Part 3)

Today: The Panther Offense

Carolina has employed a very deceptive offense in 2015.  I say deceptive because they lead the league in points scored and rushing but if you look at their pieces you would be left scratching your head.  Their receiving core is unimpressive and they don’t WOW you with anything. What they do have is the MVP of the league in one Cam Newton. Newton has hit his stride this season. He has become a very efficient pocket passer while also continuing his role as a punishing runner.  Newton is not like RG3 or Colin Kaepernick in that he can run, but he can also sit in the pocket and pick you apart with laser like, precision passes.  Most of them go to his TE Olsen. You need to also be aware of Ted Ginn, Jr.

Their offensive line is solid and they open gaping holes for the RBs.  Jonathan Stewart is a slasher but can also run it between the tackles with power and force.  Carolina wants to run first and then throw.  You have to be able to stop the run.  If you can slow it down, Newton will then run the read option.  This requires the DEs and LBs to play with patience, technique and efficiency. If you commit to early to the back, Newton will keep it and gash you.  If you’re lucky enough to slow this down, then Newton will take to the air.  This is when you can have success against Carolina-force them to throw when they don’t want to. A lot of 3rd and longs signal success for the defense.  Atlanta was able to accomplish this in handing the Panthers their only loss of 2015.

Carolina has a very physical, grind it out offense that tends to wear a defense down.  A worn down defense makes mistakes and that’s when the Panthers hit you with the big play.  Denver must stop the run to have any success in SB L.

Next up: The Bronco offense

SUPER BOWL L (Part 2)

Today the Bronco Defense:

The Bronco defense is, statistically, the best in the NFL.  Anyone who watched the AFC Championship game saw the unrelenting beating they inflicted on pretty boy Tom Brady.  The strength of this defense is their front 4 and OLB’s. The pass rush they generate is unrelenting on any pocket QB.  The secondary is strong as well.  The plan they instituted to beat NE required sticky coverage on the Patriot WR’s while the pass rush had time to get to Brady.  Mission accomplished!!

The LB core, while good, does not strike fear into the hearts of any offense.  They can stop the run with  above average efficiency however.  In Super Bowl L the Bronco defense is not facing a ” statue” QB like Brady.  Cam Newton’s success is predicated on pocket passing as he has done extremely well this season.  However, the threat of the read option and Newton keeping the ball on the run is very real.  If the Broncos rush Newton unrelentingly then they will be susceptible to his tucking it and running.

The way to attack this defense is to run the football between the tackles enough to get the LB’s to honor the play action pass.  Then dump it over the middle.  Take a few shots deep if for nothing else to get the extra safety out of the box.  Then keep running it.  A key matchup to look for is will the Bronco’s two safeties be healthy?  Both went down in the AFC Championship with injuries.  If they can’t go, it could be a long night for Denver!

Next up: Panther’s Offense

SUPER BOWL L (Part 1)

As we await the Super Bowl in 4 days I am presenting my analysis of each team’s OFF and DEF units.  I will give a prediction on Saturday night.  (Sidebar: I am sticking with the Roman Numeral system for Super Bowls.  This is SB L, not SB 50 as the NFL would have us believe! 😄)

Today: Panther Defense

The Panther defense is as good as they come.  The strength is the front 7.  Carolina is able to get pressure on the QB with their front four thereby allowing the LBs to drop into coverage.  They will blitz occasionally but when they want to and not because they have to.  They have the best LB in the game today in #59 Luke Kiechly. He can stop the run, cover backs and TEs out of the backfield and he is smart.  His first step quickness is outstanding.  Thomas Davis Sr. #58 is no slouch either. Equally adept at stopping the run he is more of a thumper than Kiechly but he can cover as well.  He also is an inspiration having come back from 3 ACL surgeries on the same knee!!  He will also be playing the SB with a broken arm.  A real throwback!

If you want to take advantage of the Panthers it has to be the deep ball.  Their secondary is suspect with the exception of Josh Norman. Teams have had success throwing it deep but the Panthers get ahead quickly and when you are throwing deep because you have to then the Panthers can make you pay.  If you can protect your QB, run it somewhat effectively early, you can take some shots downfield and possibly have success.

Next up: The Bronco defense

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all! As we begin 2016 I want to share some of my favorite quotes.  These nuggets influence my life and carry me across the deep valleys we all come upon from time to time.  Enjoy and let each one sink in-maybe over a hot cup of cocoa!

“Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step”

“Be relentless in the pursuit of your goal and resilient in the face of bad luck and adversity”

“The process is much more important than the result”

“Trust the Power Within”

“Define yourself by where you are headed rather than where you stand”

“The grass is not greener on the other side; it’s greener where you cultivate it and grow it!

And finally! “YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO SET ANOTHER GOAL OR TO DREAM A NEW DREAM!

God Bless!

(More to come!)

Merry Christmas to All!!

In this most blessed season I want to take time to wish everyone a Merry and Blessed Christmas!  Yes, I said it, Merry Christmas.  We are, and will continue to be, a great nation- The United States of America!  The key word is “United”.  In order for us to move forward and reclaim our place as the leader of the free world we most UNITE around our constitution which entitles us to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Our founding fathers built our nation around those simple tenets upon a foundation of Judeo-Christian principles. A house divided will surely fall.  Our enemies want nothing more than to divide us one against another.  Division on beliefs, politics, race and religion.  We must not let them.  We must love one another and respect our individual character and beliefs while uniting as AMERICANS!  I love all my brothers-Jewish, African American, Muslim and more.  I respect their right to their beliefs and their right to celebrate their holidays.  But I will not tolerate the senseless attempt on the part of a misguided few who want to strip all reference to Christmas and Judeo-Christian principles.  I guarantee you if we lived in Israel we would get no where trying to eliminate the phrase “Happy Hannukah” nor should we.

Let us all take this blessed season to unite under our American beliefs and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let us resist our enemies and stand together respecting everyone’s right to their beliefs and celebrating those beliefs.  But let’s NEVER fall victim to the lie that we should shun Christmas or the Judeo-Christian principles our country is built on.

God Bless everyone and MERRY CHRISTMAS and God Bless the United States of America!!

9 Reflections from the Brainpickings Newsletter

Today I want to pass on 9 great reflections I harvested from the Brainpickings newsletter. I subscribe to this newsletter and it always challenges me mentally to think outside the box. You can find it at Brainpickings.org.

1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
It is infinitely better to understand than to always be right

2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.
As Paul Graham observed “prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like”

3. Be generous
4. Build pockets of stillness in your life
Meditate. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming that allows for unconscious processing

5. When people try to tell you who YOU ARE, don’t believe them
You are the only custodian of your integrity and what people think reveals more about them than it does you!

6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity
The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living

7. Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time
Borrowed from Debbie Millman, the myth of overnight success is just that, a myth. The real magic of making one’s character and destiny unfolds in the blossoming of our ideas and self through retuning our definition of success

8. Seek out what magnifies your spirit
Find the people, ideas, books and values that magnify your spirit and hold on to them and visit them often

9. Don’t be afraid to be an idealist
The world tells us that the road to success lies in catering to existing demands. Supplying the right ideas and values creates its own demands making us better in the long run and those around us as well!

(Thanks to Brainpickings.org for supplying these thoughts!!)

Great Movie Lines-Skyfall

This was a great exchange between Bond and his new quartermaster, Q. There are many life lessons to be learned from this scene. Youth, while energetic and innovative, is not always preferable to age and it’s resourcefulness and experience. Technology and innovation is not always preferable to hands-on and personal interaction. I want to focus on the latter while endorsing the former 😉.

We live in a world of Twitter, Facebook, smart phones, tablets, you tube, Internet, etc, etc. It’s easy to send a text, post a tweet or a message, watch a video, send an email. While this has made our lives better, more efficient, faster and reliable it will never take the place of personal interaction. People need people. When we are suffering, have lost our way, need advice or direction all the texts, tweets, and videos won’t help. We need someone to take the time and talk to us, help us through it! Don’t ever think that someone doesn’t want to hear from you. Pick up the phone and call them, have a meal together, TALK! You will never know the immense impact that a word of encouragement or a hand written note will have on a person. It may be the very thing they needed that day to get them through it and help them turn the corner.

To paraphrase the clip..”Every once in a while a text has to be sent” “Or not sent. It’s hard to know the difference when you’re buried in your smartphone”

Encourage someone TODAY!

Great Movie Lines Part 5- Gladiator

Remember the final scene of Gladiator when Maximus is chained and is confronted by the Emperor? The Emperor asks him if he fears anything. Maximus says “I once knew a man who said death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back!”

I have pondered that line quite often. What is the takeaway? I believe it is a hidden character trait of great men from a bygone era. In today’s world the majority of men are weak. Weak fathers, weak athletes, weak husbands, weak employees, weak men in general. History is full of great men who faced “death”, whether real or hypothetical and stared it down to achieve greatness. Patton, Eisenhower, Reagan, Lombardi, any man who confronted an issue that required his absolute dedication to success and victory is this hero I am speaking about. It could be the man who works 12 hours a day to provide for his family while putting his own desires on the back burner, it could be the athlete who trains relentlessly to achieve his goals while never compromising his values, it could be the man who loves his wife and stays dedicated to her until death smiles at him, or the man who trains his children in the way that they should go.

We, as men, all have the opportunity to smile back at death each and every day of our lives. The question is will we cower in the face of it and become weak and robotic or will we smile back, powerfully, and make our mark on society. The choice is ours as long as God grants us breath! Be a Maximus and not a Commodus!

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