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The Five NFL Players Who Hold Their Teams Future In Their Hands

This has been one crazy NFL off-season.

To see what some teams have done to improve their teams seemed drastic. Others stood pat and have hoped that their teams will grow organically into a contender. At the end of the day, you hope your team can put 11 guys on the field at a time that will ensure your team victory in the field of battle.

I'm here to tell you something; someone's one person can truly mess it up for everyone involved. In my opinion, there are five players, for better or for worse, that hold the future of their team's season in their hands. If they thrive...playoffs and possibly much more. If they dive...well, just play this sound and you'll understand.

Carson Palmer, The Comeback Kid - Yes, they signed Terrell Owens to cover up the mishap of the ski-mask all-star that is Antonio Bryant be another threat in the receiving core. Yes, they drafted Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham in the first round of this year's draft. Yes, they arguably have one of the top-five defenses in the league. So what can Carson Palmer do now? He has no more excuses. He essentially has all the tools a quarterback would want in an offense. We haven't seen Carson play at his peak since 2005, when the Bengals witnessed a 300-pound defensive end barrel into the knee ligaments of Carson Palmer fell in an untimely demise to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Steelers. He has the surrounding cast. The question for Carson is this: is he the man to can take Who Dey on a deep run to the playoffs? Week 1's New England, Week 2 is Baltimore. We'll find out real quick.

Michael Crabtree, The Lone Ranger - The Longhorn Killer aka Michael Crabtree comes into his second season with the 49ers with no distraction. This is his first year going through the entire training camp and preseason, and he's locked in at the #1 wideout in San Fran. So why is he on this list? Because, simply put, after passes over the middle to Vernon Davis and dump off passes to Frank Gore, who in the hell else is Alex Smith going to throw to? (By the way, for as much crap as we give Alex Smith, besides the two players I named, can you name a sufficient wideout he's had to throw to? Brandon Lloyd is the only one that comes to mind...) If Crabtree can find a way to make a consistent impact, the Niners will win the NFC West (not that it'll be that hard) and will be tough. Samurai's coaching that squad so you know they're locked in.

Troy Polamalu, The Million Dollar Man - Yeah, yeah, yeah...you all keep talking about Troy and his hair. I don't care how much hair he has. His hair isn't doper than my waves, son! Real talk; the man only played in five games last season, and for anyone who pays attention to the Steelers, you know how important he is to their team. The Steelers went 9-7 last year and just missed the playoffs. Yes, I understand that Ben Roethlisberger is out for 4-6 games, but the Steelers will be okay. Polamalu needs to be the guy again, or the Steelers won't win nine games in a top-heavy AFC North.

Neil Rackers or Kris Brown, The Red or The Green Pill - There's a position battle going on in Houston, and it's not at quarterback. Its at kicker. Last season, the Houston Texans had their first winning season in NFL history, finishing 9-7. Truthfully, they could've easily been 11-5 or 12-4, as they lost five games by three points. As the homie The Pride of LR tells me on Twitter, Kris Brown single-handedly (footedly?) cost them a shot at the playoffs, missing numerous field goals to win or tie the game in the fourth quarter. They've brought in Neil Rackers, a quality kicker from Arizona, but the truth of the matter is this...if Houston gets it right, they're probably playoff bound. If not, well...you chose the wrong pill.

Darren Sharper, Mr. Opportunity - The man, who I personally thought should have won Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, comes into 2010 a bit nicked up with an injury. Last season, there wasn't a more dynamic playmaker from the secondary as Darren Sharper, and his leadership helped the Saints win their improbable Super Bowl. Can they do it again? Most experts are picking against them, saying that their defense was highly opportunistic last season and you can't expect that again this year. Why not? Sharper's been doing this for awhile now (13 seasons), and I don't see why he doesn't have one more great year left in him. If he does...Who Dat? Maybe so. Geaux Saints.



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