Veterans like Peyton Manning, Elvis Dumervil keep Broncos in check
Make no mistake: Manning casts a long shadow in the locker room. He’s a future Hall of Famer, one of the most accomplished players in the league’s history, and he plays the most important position on any NFL team chasing trophies — quarterback. He also is a vocal presence in how the team runs its offense on gameday and prepares through the week.
But other players, as well as the coaches, also say he is the hardest worker and the most prepared player on the field each week. When he demands a lot from others, he already has made those demands on himself.
I have to admit - earlier during his career, I thought Manning was vastly overrated - that he was a selfish, overly demonstrative team sport athlete - a modern Dan Marino, or football's Alex Rodriguez.
But having paid him much closer attention over the past several years, and now, watched his every play with Denver, and seen how he interacts with his teammates, it's more than apparent that Peyton is worthy of the intense praise he receives.
Yesterday and today, there has been a collective gasp across Broncos Country that the Chiefs--yes, the lowly and wretched Kansas City Chiefs, whom Denver will host on Sunday to close out the regular season--placed five players on the AFC Pro Bowl team.
The thinking seems to be that a 2-13 team can't possibly deserve such honors. After all, if their players were any good, they'd have a better record. While there's certainly some truth in that line of thinking, and the Pro Bowl has largely become a game for divas, as they say in Spain, "no sé qué," which, roughly translated, means "Kansas City has good barbeque." In other words, it's not always so crazy when you scarf meat from bone and get into the details.
Before we take a look at whom the Chiefs actually put into the Pro Bowl, though, we should recognize that a lot of things influence a team's record. Just because the Chiefs are 2-13 and the Broncos 12-3, it's not necessarily always a reflection of better play at specific positions.
Black Monday Primer: Definitive guide to 2013 coaching carousel
If Jacksonville swung for the fences and missed, Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is a young head coaching candidate who has generated strong reviews for his work the past two seasons with both Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning…Denver’s McCoy, Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter or Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell might make the radar screen in Philly.
There’s also a chance New England gets proactive in an attempt to keep McDaniels around as an eventual replacement for head coach Bill Belichick, a move the Kraft family could dangle as enticement to stay put. Some sources say McDaniels’ interest in the Browns has been overstated in the media, because he feels he already has the best assistant coaching job in the NFL, working with Tom Brady and Belichick, and knows continued success will bring other head coaching opportunities…Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians and the Patriots’ McDaniels are two names mentioned in connection with the Chargers job, and both make sense from the standpoint that job No. 1 in San Diego this offseason is to revive quarterback Philip Rivers’ flagging fortunes.
A few thoughts:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday afternoon, we discussed the Denver futures of Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, and Ryan Clady.
Let's consider a few more points about Miller's situation, because it's not a simple matter of prioritizing one player over the others.
To be sure, Miller is the best player of that trio, and perhaps to a greater degree, most important to the Broncos in the long term. Therefore, he's undoubtedly the one guy we'd all choose for Denver to lock up with a lengthy, lucrative deal - more than any other player on the roster.
But chronologically, it's rather unlikely to play out that way. Check out this provision of the current CBA:
A Rookie Contract for a Drafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s third contract year.
Peyton Manning, Von Miller, and Champ Bailey were named Pro Bowl starters today; Ryan Clady and Elvis Dumervil are on the AFC team, but are not starters.
Demaryius Thomas, Chris Kuper, Zane Beadles, Eric Decker, David Bruton, and Britton Colquitt are alternates should players ahead of them on the roster not play due to either injury or their teams being in the Super Bowl.
Following a season during which he faced the unenviable task of blocking for a player who used the entire 160-foot width of the field as his pocket, Ryan Clady received the ultimate gift in the form of Peyton Manning last March.
By choosing not to accept the reported $28M in guarantees offered him by Denver over the summer, he set himself up for an even bigger prize.
At the least, Clady figures to receive the Broncos' franchise tag, which will provide him with $9.66M in guaranteed salary, which is more than a $6M bump up from his 2012 salary of $3.5M.
Thanks to their having clinched the AFCN on Sunday, the Ravens will have the misfortune of seeing the Broncos again next year, and even worse (for them), they'll be traveling to Denver for the rematch.
In addition to the AFCW teams, Denver will host Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philly, Washington, and Baltimore. They'll head to the road for matchups with the G-Men, Cowboys, Texans, Colts, and Patriots.
Tebow deserves respect, not scorn, for sticking up for himself
Even so, the Broncos wanted no part of Tebow as their long-term quarterback, and that’s fine. You don’t see me ripping the Broncos for that. They didn’t want Tebow, so they acquired Peyton Manning and put Tebow on the trading block.
The Jets and Jaguars made offers, and the Broncos did the classiest thing imaginable—they left it up to Tebow. They told him the Jets wanted him, and the Jaguars wanted him, and that he could choose. So Tebow chose the Jets.
Most of this piece is spent defending the Ultimate Teammate's™ refusal to play in the Wildcat (It's bullshit, of course. If Cam Newton had pulled the same thing, white America would be petitioning Roger Goodell to give Newton a lifetime ban), but the Broncos (as they always do) somehow got pulled into the matter.
In this case, Gregg Doyel thought the Broncos were classy. That might very well be the case, but I would have preferred they had cut a deal with the Jaguars. Draft picks are draft picks, and although they are generally like a roll of the dice, the Broncos restricted--if even by a little--the available pool of picks by cutting a deal with the Jets.
(Note to the UT™ Zombies who continue to email us that we spend too much time writing about Tebow. The more you curse and whine and complain, the more we'll continue giving you what you want but say you don't: more coverage of the Ultimate Teammate™)
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Prior to Sunday's game, we checked on Matt Prater's statistics from this season, and what we found wasn't pretty.
Prater's not only been struggling with inaccuracy on field goals, but is allowing teams better starting position following kickoffs than teammates are, at least in the mile high confines of SAF@MH. You know - where Prater is supposed to be blasting touchbacks on every try. Sunday's visit from Josh Cribbs did nothing to help Prater's numbers.
What about on the road? Let's take a look.
Just to clarify our data, and this applies to the home numbers as well, we've excluded all onside kicks, squibs, and kicks by Britton Colquitt.
The Drive hour 3 12/21/12
“The first drive, I caught a ball on the sideline…it was an eight- or nine-yard completion. I was down by contact. He decided to give me that extra shove, and then he walked over me. And you know, as a player, it’s the ultimate disrespect if you’re going to want to do that…I did take it personal. And it takes a lot for me to get really fired up, but again, you’ve got to control your emotions—not responding back physically as far as throwing a punch or doing something stupid—just proving it with your game.
I knew I was going to have a lot of one-one-one battles with him [Cary Williams] all day, so I just wanted to prove to him that I was the better person…and I got his number a bunch. It felt really good, especially at the end. I caught a ball on the sideline and was able to say something to coach Harbaugh and to him, and just kind of have fun with it…Harbaugh was complaining that I was pushing off all game, so I was like ‘come on, man, you’ve got to take this guy [Williams] out, you’re hurting his ego.’”
I'd been meaning to get this interview down for a few days. Last week, we noted how Eric Decker feasted on Ravens' Cary Williams like he was mashed potatoes. In this interview from December 21st, Decker confirms just that.
If the Ravens somehow find their way to Denver for a playoff game, our advice to Harbaugh is to be nicer to Eric Decker. You might not like him when he's angry. Oh, and play zone. It's possible you'll be in the game a wee bit longer.