NFL: Ranking Every Team's Vocal Leader
"Can you hear me now?" The NFL is loaded with some of the biggest, baddest, strongest and even loudest athletes in the world. Football is a game where confidence in your own abilities and the belief in those around you are crucial to the success of the team.
Who are the players in the NFL that can hold a team together when times get tough? Anyone can hoot and holler when the victories are coming, but a true leader is able to re-focus his team when they are down.
Here is each NFL team's vocal leader.
Arizona Cardinals- Larry Fitzgerald
It does not happen all the time but the Arizona Cardinals' best player also happens to be their vocal leader in Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has spoken up this offseason with the departure of Kurt Warner and made it clear to Arizona that he wanted Kevin Kolb.
Fitzgerald is a leader on and off the field and one of the classiest players in the NFL today. The Cardinals were a Super Bowl contender a few years ago, and they won't be down much longer.
Larry Fitzgerald simply will not allow it.
Atlanta Falcons- Roddy White
The Atlanta Falcons have been waiting for Matt Ryan to be their vocal leader for years but it seems painfully obvious that he prefers to do his talking on the field. All-Pro WR Roddy White is ready to fill that void immediately.
The Falcons made a bold move in the NFL Draft by trading away a myriad of picks to go all-in and take Julio Jones out of Alabama with the fourth pick. The vocal leadership of White will be needed now more than ever with so much relying on young talent.
White is one of the best wide-out's (and players) in the NFL, that statement alone should give his teammates plenty of reason to listen.
Baltimore Ravens- Ray Lewis
Every season we beg the question: "This guy can't play forever can he?" Lewis then proceeds to have around 120 tackles, a couple of sacks, forced fumbles, touchdowns and some of the hardest hits of the season.
Lewis is still one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL today, and he is one of the best vocal leaders in all of sports. No one can pump you up quite like Ray-Ray can.
Buffalo Bills- Shawne Merriman
When the Buffalo Bills claimed Shawne Merriman off waivers, they also claimed a new voice and swagger for their team. Merriman's resume is as good as the entire Bills team combined and he will instantly improve the Bills' pass-rush.
"Lights-out" may not be the player he used to be but could things really be any worse in Buffalo? Oh yeah, Paul Posluszny is gone and you play in arguably the toughest division in football.
Carolina Panthers- Jon Beason
Jon Beason is in the fifth year of his NFL career and he is entering the prime of his career. He is one of the most under-rated players in the game today and he is a great leader for a team that has been down lately.
Beason is a tackling machine that is never afraid to stick his nose into a pile. Who pulled Steve Smith off of Ken Lucas in practice when the speedy WR was pounding (literally) on the corner?
Jon Beason to the rescue.
Chicago Bears- Brian Urlacher
Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears is a big (scary) dude. If he says something, you'd better listen. He has been one of the best defensive players in football for 12 seasons and he is a class act off the field.
Urlacher is the general of the Bears defense and the heart of the team. Urlacher is a lock for 100+ tackles if he can stay healthy and plays through any injury that he can.
His passion for the game and inspiring words are contagious for a Bears team that has depended on their defense for a long time.
Cincinnatti Bengals- Andrew Whitworth
Andrew Whitworth was the Cincinnati Bengals representative and voice during the NFL lockout this offseason, which seems appropriate as he is also their vocal leader on the field.
One of the best tackles in the NFL, Whitworth's voice and leadership will be even more important this season with rookie Andy Dalton at quarterback.
"Whit," as he is known by his teammates, is the perfect combination of talent and class. He is beloved by his teammates and the Bengals faithful and is the unquestioned vocal leader of this team.
Especially with the whole Carson Palmer situation.
Cleveland Browns- Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy has been a winner his entire career and he has been a vocal leader as well. McCoy is the type of player that will do whatever it takes to help his team win, including getting in the face of someone that isn't doing the same.
McCoy may only be entering his second season with the Cleveland Browns but he is already the unquestioned leader for the team. He exudes confidence and it becomes contagious to the rest of his teammates.
Confidence is one thing the Cleveland Browns have been lacking for a long time. Besides a coach, and you know, talent.
Dallas Cowboys- Tony Romo
Romo has been trying to be the vocal leader of Dallas for quite some time but he may finally break through in 2011 after the Cowboys realized how important he is to their success.
Romo went down with an injury in the early-going of 2010 and the team that many "experts" had as the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl went down as well.
It's hard to imagine a pretty-boy like Tony Romo telling DeMarcus Ware what to do, but they do say everything is bigger in Texas.
Maybe Romo looks...bigger?
Denver Broncos- Brian Dawkins
Who else but "B-Dawk" would you expect to be the vocal leader of the Denver Broncos. The future Hall-of-Famer is one of the most respected players in the entire NFL.
Brian Dawkins will play through injury and is a true warrior. It is amazing that he is still able to play at such a high level when he throws his body around with complete reckless abandon.
Dawkins may be the best vocal leader in all of sports.
Detroit Lions- Kyle Vanden Bosch
Kyle Vanden Bosch is the unquestioned leader of the Detroit Lions and he finally has a loaded team around him. The Detroit Lions may be the sleeper of the NFL in 2011, even while playing in the super-competetive NFC North.
Vanden Bosch is an absolute beast who has been a great mentor for Ndamukong Suh and the rest of young Lions.
Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor would be proud to rock his Detroit Lions sweatshirt in honor of Vanden Bosch who has one of the best motors in the game. Get it, Tim Taylor and motors?
Green Bay Packers- Charles Woodson
The above picture is of two great vocal leaders. Woodson has been the consummate NFL professional and was the glue that held together the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers in 2010.
Injuries could have been the perfect excuse to de-rail the Packers season but Woodson simply would not tolerate such nonsense.When Woodson talks you can't help but listen and follow the man's orders.
Woodson can do it all defensively, tackle, cover and run, and it was great to see him get a ring.
Houston Texans- Andre Johnson
Andre Johnson has always led by example with his play on the field, but he has become a vocal leader of the Houston Texans as well. Incredibly, Johnson has been in the NFL for nine seasons now and he has played them all with the Houston Texans.
Johnson is a perennial Pro-Bowler whose resume only lacks a playoff appearance and Super Bowl ring at this point. He is poised to do whatever it takes to make sure both of those things happen for the Houston Texans.
Johnson is the unquestioned leader and best player of the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis Colts- Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning may be the definition of a vocal leader. He is constantly changing plays at the line-of-scrimmage and making adjustments on the fly.
He knows where every offensive player needs to be and he makes sure that they get there. Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time already, and he is one of the most vocal QB's to ever play as well.
Peyton Manning may be the best leader vocally in all of sports.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Maurice Jones-Drew
Maurice Jones-Drew already does it all for the Jacksonville Jaguars so why not name the wrecking-ball the vocal leader of the team? Jones-Drew was again voted the team captain and he is one of the most respected players in the entire NFL.
Jones has carried the Jaguars in recent seasons and can simply do it all. He has been the face of the franchise since Fred Taylor left and has never been a player that is afraid to speak his mind.
Kansas City Chiefs- Matt Cassel
Maybe it was the trading of a second-round pick for Matt Cassell or the massive contract that was given to him, but he has become the vocal leader of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs are loaded with stars like Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry, but all of those players lead more by example than vocally.
Cassel has shown that he is an NFL quarterback and is well-respected in the locker room. The Chiefs are an up-and-coming team that are poised to make noise in the playoffs for years to come.
Matt Cassel will need to lead the young Chiefs on the field and in the locker room as well.
Miami Dolphins- Karlos Dansby
Being the middle linebacker of a football team almost requires that you are a vocal leader, as often they are the one's who control the defensive huddle and make adjustments on the fly. Karlos Dansby is an excellent linebacker that can do everything well.
Dansby was an excellent signing by the Dolphins and he is one of the toughest players in the league. He is never afraid to speak his mind and get in the face of a player that isn't bringing it like he always does.
The only thing not to like about Dansby is the way he spells his first name.
Minnesota Vikins- Jared Allen
Jared Allen may be in the conversation of the most under-rated players in the NFL today. He makes Pro-Bowls but it still seems like he is not fully appreciated for all he does.
He is tough against the run and never stops rushing the passer no matter how many guys are blocking him. Allen is the type of player that is the first in the weight room and the last to leave.
The same can be said for the practice field as well.
Sorry Donovan McNabb, you have never been a leader nor will you ever be one.
New England Patriots- Tom Brady
Hair-plugs or no hair-plugs, Tom Brady is the unquestioned vocal leader of the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick may have the final say on everything, but Tom Brady is pretty darn close to an on-field coach.
The guy has three rings and is the only unanimous MVP selection in NFL history (just to name a few of his accolades). He speaks with the clarity and passion of a politician without the corruption.
When Tom Brady says something you listen. What I would give to be him for one day.
New Orleans Saints- Drew Brees
Brees established himself as a top five quarterback in the NFL when he led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory two seasons ago.
Brees was the hope for the entire city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the community. New Orleans' vocal leader is a true gentleman and is as passionate about the game of football as anyone in the league.
New York Giants- Antrel Rolle
Antrel Rolle is a Pro-Bowl talent and was a great free-agent signing by the New York Giants. He is the voice of a talented defense and is never afraid to back up his teammates and get in the face of an opponent.
Rolle is one of the premier safeties in football and the way he pumps up his teammates before a game is contagious.
New York Jets- Bart Scott
Scott's bold (brash) predictions and trash-talking nature can be considered unsportsmanlike at times, but he always seems to back up the smack talk with his play.
Scott is the type of player who will pound you into the ground and let everyone in the stadium know about it. You've got to love the way he plays the game.
Oakland Raiders- Richard Seymour
Richard Seymour is a natural leader and those around him just seem to follow. Seymour has always had the uncanny ability to rally players around him and motivate them when times get tough.
Philadelphia Eagles- Michael Vick
Michael Vick hasn't even been the starter of the Philadelphia Eagles for an entire season and he already has done something that Donovan McNabb couldn't do in more than a decade in Philadelphia. Become a vocal leader that everyone on the team would follow.
Whether it was strumming the air guitar or placing blame on his teammates, (blamed defense after playoff loss to Cardinals) Donovan McNabb was never a player that the rest of the team listened too.
Michael Vick may have done some terrible things in the past, but he is the main reason why players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins and Ronnie Brown came to Philadelphia.
The guy is a winner and players believe that he will lead them to the promised land.
Pittsburgh Steelers- James Harrison
James Harrison has never been a guy that was afraid to speak his mind. His comments over the summer in the Men's Journal backed up that claim.
Harrison talks the talk and he certainly can walk the walk. He is one of the most ferocious hitters in the NFL and one of the most intimidating players as well.
James Harrison talks, you listen. End of story.
San Diego Chargers- Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers has become a complete quarterback. He has always had the talent to be an elite quarterback but experience has brought about the leadership qualities that Rivers once lacked.
Rivers wants a championship and he will do whatever it takes to get one. The San Diego Chargers are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and they have a vocal leader in Rivers who can flat out play.
San Francisco 49ers- Patrick Willis
If I were as big and ferocious as Patrick Willis I would be pretty hype too. The middle linebacker is one of the best defensive players in the NFL today and is a tackling machine.
Willis is the general on the field for the San Francisco 49ers and understands exactly where every player should be. If there is a blown assignment, you better believe Willis will be in that player's face making sure it doesn't happen again.
Seattle Seahawks- Sidney Rice
He has become a mentor for the younger Seahawk receivers and isn't afraid to pass on his tricks that he has learned along the way. The departure of Matt Hasselbeck and Lawyer Milloy leave Seattle with a serious void in the leadership department.
A void that will be filled by Sidney Rice.
St. Louis Rams- James Laurinaitis
If you were wondering who is the vocal leader of the St. Louis Rams, you need to look no further than the picture above.
Laurinaitis is an absolute monster who clearly has learned a thing or two about being a vocal leader from his father, who just happened to be a professional wrestler.
Laurinaitis has always been a natural leader and he is the field general for the Rams just like he was with Ohio State. The guy is a beast and demands respect.
Tampa Bay Bucanneers- Ronde Barber
When you have been in the league for as long as Ronde Barber and still play at a high level, you have earned the right to say pretty much whatever you want.
Barber has been a model citizen and a great player for more than a decade and has been a key cog for some dominant Bucanneer defenses.
Barber is a tireless worker that keeps himself in terrific shape. Barber is the one who will give the pre-game speech to the rest of the team.
Maybe Ronde can be vocal and ask Tampa Bay to sign his brother?
Tennessee Titans- Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson is the best running back in the NFL plain and simple. His combination of speed, quickness, agility and durability all make him an all-world talent and he has taken on a leadership role in Tennessee.
Johnson is the most electrifying player in all of football and he is the type of guy you turn to when you need to be pumped up. Motivational speeches are another thing that Johnson does very well.
The guy can do it all.
Washington Redskins- London Fletcher
London Fletcher is captain of the Washington Redskins defense and the vocal leader of the team. The veteran linebacker makes all of the calls on defense and is always prepared with a pump-up speech in his arsenal.
Fletcher is a grown-man plain and simple. He is well-respected by his teammates and those around the league.
Fletcher is the unquestioned voice of the Washington Redskins. Sorry Daniel Snyder.
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