Updated 12:32 PM EDT, Thu, Oct 21, 2021

NFL 2014 Season Preview: Top 5 Stories Around the League

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It has been said that in sports the most important stories happen off the field rather than during the game.  With the 2014 NFL season set to begin Thursday night, we have already had a number of issues surface throughout the preseason. Some of them have been resolved, but others continue to play out as the season begins. Here are the top five NFL stories so far this season.

What Impact Will Johnny Manziel have this season?

It's no surprise that all eyes have been on Manziel regarding his performance-both on and off the field. It is not really reasonable to judge him on his efficiency during the preseason, though. Face facts, not every quarterback coming out of college is going to be Andrew Luck. The NFL is a completely different animal compared to the college game, so to judge him on his ability is a fallacy. The one thing that everyone loves to bring up when it comes to Manziel, though, is his off the field activity. The amount of photos that have circulated that show him partying could have filled up twitter timelines and have already painted him with a stigma. While Manziel tries to pass these things off as irrelevant to his gameplay, when you build up a reputation for flipping off the Redskins sideline and going to Vegas to party every weekend before you've been in the league for a month, you can understand why so many people are getting concerned. Time will tell if Manziel is worth all the trouble or if he becomes just another back-up QB at the start of the season.

Michael Sam

The first openly gay player in the NFL was not selected to join the St. Louis Rams during the regular season. It is an understandable choice too; the Rams are very deep on defense and simply do not need what Sam brings to the table.  What's next? Well, Sam now finds himself on the Dallas Cowboys' 10-man practice squad. Sam certainly has a lot to offer the league, being a dominant college pass-rusher, so it would be a surprise if he does not ever get a chance to play in the big game.

Do the Seahawks repeat?

The Seattle Seahawks may have one of the most legitimate opportunities to win back-to-back championships in some time. The team personifies the notion that defense wins championships.  The road is going to be a difficult one; each team out of the last eight champions has failed to win even a playoff game. Still it is hard to find holes in Seattle's game plan. They have a great quarterback and coaching combination in Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll who have effectively instilled a dynamic offense into the team. If they can keep that strategy, maintain the hard hitting defense that brought them to the dance, and maybe get a little help from the 12th man it is easy to see Seattle taking the title once again.

RGIII and the Redskins Quarterback Scenario

Robert Griffin III has run the gamut of emotions since joining the Redskins. He's gone from showing an impressive amount of promise and execution in his opening season, to being injured, to being benched and now to having the starting quarterback position in contention. Perhaps the best answer for Griffin and Washington may be to rely on their running game. Alfred Morris is a very productive running back and giving him a few more touches may open up the play action just enough for RGIII to capitalize on his potential as a franchise QB

Cam Newton

Last season was the farthest Cam Newton has come to delivering the Carolina Panthers to the promised land. Not that he has not come close; The University of Auburn student has only improved since his record breaking rookie season and finally managed to take Carolina to the post season for the first time in recent memory.  There is a lot of promise riding on the young quarterback and even though he is sidelined with a minor injury and questionable for game one, expect to see him taking snaps sooner rather than later.

These are just the stories at the premier of the NFL season. Expect to see them get resolved in the opening weeks of the NFL (if they have not already been) and lead the way for even more stories soon.

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