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Resonses and Ramifications

   by Bryan Leonard - 12/14/2005

In the world of sports, there are all kinds of responses that take place by individuals and teams to things that happen on and off the field. What that response is becomes important for handicappers to pay attention to, and even to try and predict what might happen. For example, a few weeks ago first-year Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban was quoted as saying he's in the process of evaluating talent for next year and beyond. This was a harmless comment, really. He was explaining that this is a building process and it was going to take a while for him to put things in place to help build a champion, in the same way he had built LSU into a national champion in college.

However, his comments got distorted and he had to apologize, as some wondered if he was admitting to giving up on the season after a 3-7 start. Whether it was some kind of psychological ploy or not, the Dolphins have certainly responded in a positive fashion, winning three straight (2-1 ATS). They clearly haven't packed in the season.

Contrast that to some of the recent events in Buffalo. A few weeks ago, NT Sam Adams was told before kickoff he wasn't going to play by head coach Mike Mularkey. Adams was stunned, telling the coach he wanted to play and was recovered from an injury. That was a subtle sign that perhaps things aren't smooth in the Buffalo clubhouse. Then add to that what happened last week, with star WR Eric Moulds getting benched for arguing with an assistant coach the previous game. The Bills looked like a dead team getting creamed 35-7 by the Patriots, at home, Sunday. Again, if you're looking for an unhappy clubhouse with some friction, the warning signs have been bubbling in Buffalo.

Remember two years ago when WR Chad Johnson guaranteed a win over 9-0 Kansas City? The players responded, upsetting the Chiefs 24-19. It was interesting when the Bengals played the 9-0 Colts a few weeks back that Johnson was asked if he would again guarantee to putting an end to the Colts win streak. He wouldn't, saying only that “I won't be stopped.â€쳌

Players, coaches and teams can respond in different ways to things. Sometimes teams can unite and play at a higher level, sometimes disgruntled players can pack it in, and other times those factors can have no affect.

In the NBA, it will be interesting to see how the Pacers react this week after the announcement of Ron Artest not being happy and wanting a trade. And in Miami, new coach Pat Riley steps in for Stan Van Gundy in a curious move (Riley takes over just as Shaq returns? Talk about waiting for the right moment.)

This takes place most often when teams get blown out in a game. The Eagles got embarrassed on national TV last week in a 42-0 loss at home to the Seahawks, then responded Sunday as a huge home dog nearly beating the NY Giants. I wonder if the Bills have that kind of positive chemistry this week.

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