Matt Prater: Livin’ it up at the Hotel Ca-La Quinta

Broncos Kicker Matt Prater Inks Four-Year Deal, Preps to Move Out of Hotel
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What are you going to do to celebrate your new deal?: “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I’m looking forward to, I’m actually in the process of looking for a condo or townhouse, because I’ve actually lived in a hotel for the last five years. So I’m excited about moving out of the hotel.”

Why were you living in a hotel for five years?: “Because I bought a house in Florida a couple years ago and just out here, it was real convenient for me. I was going two years in a row on a one-year deal so I didn’t want to buy a place and have to move.”

I think it's safe to say Matt Prater likes hotels a lot more than the average bear:

The incident started just before 3 a.m. on Aug. 2. Police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident at 9280 E. Costilla Ave., just outside the Hyatt Summerfield Suites...The witnesses said the driver fled into the hotel's lobby...After the accident, she and the man went into the hotel to get a room, but the hotel was full...Police ultimately found Prater at the nearby La Quinta hotel.

Although it's not clear if Prater has made La Quinta his hotel of choice during the last five years, I think we can all sleep better knowing their corporate slogan: "La Quinta takes care of everything, so you can take care of business kickoffs and extra points."

We can only imagine Prater's vigor were he to stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before a game.

Shanny’s control freakishness is rubbing off on his pal Fisher Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The bounty scandal took its latest expected steps yesterday, as the NFLPA filed suit against the league on behalf of suspended players Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith, alleging that the Ginger Hammer showed bias in his handling of the punishments and appeals.

Within the suit, the players stick to their claim they never participated in an organized bounty system meant to harm opponents, while the NFL responded by calling it an improper suit. In another court action, Roger Goodell filed a motion to dismiss Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against him.

And interestingly, in Goodell's letter to the suspended players turning down their appeal, he backs off the league's claim that it was Anthony Hargrove who uttered the infamous "give me my money" line.

But ultimately, Andrew Brandt thinks the players are swimming upstream and should have addressed the NFL's disciplinary system during the last CBA negotiations instead of fight it now.

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Weekly Limerick Schtick: Roger Goodell

Last week's topic was Demaryius Thomas.  This week's topic is Roger Goodell.

With Roger Goodell at the head
there's always a reason to dread
the fine and appeal
that seems so surreal
since he fellates himself instead.

Now, take your own shot.  Just remember to wear your jockstrap--tight.  We don't want to see you hurt yourself playing with meter.  

Raiders are just bad people Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There remains no real news to discuss, so we're going to keep hammering away at this Matt Prater discussion we've been having.

Much has been made in recent days about Prater's perceived clutchness, specifically in the fourth quarter and overtime. As a quick exercise, let's examine all of his 4Q and OT attempts from last season:

Week Opponent Quarter Distance Score Before Kick
7 @MIA OT 52 15-15
10 @KC 4 41 (Miss) 17-7
12 @SD 4 24 10-13
    OT 37 13-13
13 @MIN 4 46 29-32
    4 23 32-32
14 CHI 4 59 7-10
    OT 51 10-10

Continue reading "Raiders are just bad people Lard"

Coaches film and the offensive line

Happy Fourth of July to all! Let’s keep in mind the kind of strength of character and belief in liberty that led to the historic adoption of the Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest statements of the right to personal freedom in all of history, and the sacrifices that have been made to keep it free.

Let’s also keep this one safe, folks, especially if you’re in Colorado. My heart goes out to all of the folks who have been evacuated or have lost their homes. I went through it once, and it’s an incredibly hard experience to overcome. Let’s leave fireworks to the professionals this year.

A surprising amount has been written of late regarding the availability of what’s being called ‘All-22’ or simply, ‘coaches film’. I’m prejudiced, I grant you, but I’m also strongly in favor of its availability. Refusing to let fans see it has always struck me as either a technological glitch or just foolishness on a large scale. There was a minor fuss before NFL Rewind became wildly popular, and I didn’t understand that one at the time, either.

The concern that some have expressed with All-22 film is the identical concern that the same writers who are worried about releasing coaches film should have with broadcast film. A lot of sites, including our own, use film to illustrate various concepts, to show our readers what the team either is doing or could doing, and to try to educate them on the game that all of us love without boring them to tears. Game screenshots and play diagrams certainly help. All-22 film will permit those more easily, as the medium is more accessible to creating illustrations.

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Goodell upholds bounty suspensions levied by Goodell Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans, and Happy Fourth! According to Mike Florio, Matt Prater got $4.25M in guarantees as part of his new deal - not $3M as had been reported by the DP.

If this is true, count me back on the side of disliking this contract. Prater will be making more this season than Ryan Clady and Von Miller (I know, rookie contracts, but still), and somewhere in the neighborhood of Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Tracy Porter, Chris Kuper, and Joe Mays.

This, for a 78.4% career kicker (76% last year, tied for 26th-best among kickers with 24 or more attempts).

Out of 34 active kickers, Prater ranks 29th in overall accuracy over his career. These are not figures that suggest Prater should be one of the league's highest-paid kickers.

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Happy 70th Birthday, Floyd Little!

Happy Birthday, Franchise.

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Barnwell: Broncos should be going Moneyball route with its kickers

NFL's Frequent-Flier Phenomenon
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But it’s not entirely clear that Matt Prater was an above-average kicker in 2011, and Denver’s decision to lock him up represents one of the many ways in which organizations fool themselves into spending money in the wrong places…he’s now hit 78.4 percent of his field goals across five pro seasons. That ranks 37th out of 44 regular kickers over that time frame, so it’s safe to say that Prater’s not known for his accuracy.

As for the walkoffs, while they were valuable, they’re far more indicative of opportunity than skill…Consider that Prater had three game-winners in overtime this past season and just one over his previous four years in the league.

Denver’s thin air allows them to get more out of average kickers than anyone else in football. They should use that to their advantage and exploit a built-in market inefficiency by being thrifty at kicker and applying the savings elsewhere. Instead, the Broncos have handcuffed themselves to a known mediocrity for years to come.

As noted yesterday, I'm glad the Broncos didn't give as much of a guarantee to Prater as had been speculated. But his accuracy issues from 40-49 yards remains a serious concern, and one to keep an eye on going forward.

BTW, I've updated the distance splits on the prior columns, because PFR is oddly missing that data from 2009. So, Prater is actually 20 of 33 from 40-49 yards - not 12 of 23 - as I'd written yesterday and prior. This is a more palatable success rate, but still a very poor one, especially for a kicker with a reputation of a strong leg and a contract to match.

New blackout rule unlikely to curb fan abuse Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Just two days ago we applauded news that the NFL would be relaxing its blackout rules, thus allowing more hometown fans to watch games on TV.

But there's of course a catch, and the Chargers - who accounted for two of the league's sixteen blackouts last season, with four blackouts the year before - say they will not take advantage of the change.

Traditionally, when a team fails to sell out a game, local fans get screwed over by losing the ability to watch that game on television. The idea here is that the blackout rule encourages fans to attend games in person and drop $100 for a ticket, $40 for parking, and $10 per beer, rather than stay on the couch, watch the game for free, and change the channel during commercials and halftime. As if that's a reasonable choice for many people.

Of all the NFL policies that serve to abuse its loyal fans, there's probably nothing worse than the blackout rule. Fans in areas like San Diego are stressing about whether they'll actually see the upcoming game, rather than anticipating it with excitement. And obviously, plenty of these fans cannot afford the time or money required to attend games in person.

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Tackling the fundamentals

Jack Del Rio hadn’t been with the Denver Broncos for long when he announced flatly that the team was going to stress defensive fundamentals in 2012. The two areas that he mentioned directly were establishing a much stronger emphasis on proper tackling and a game-shaping recognition that the best pass defense is a defensive line that constantly harrasses the quarterback. Rookies Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson were the choices for strengthening the defensive line. In the team’s choices for potential linebackers out of the 2011 class, Del Rio has gained the people to attack both problems.

As I’ve mentioned before, sixth-round linebacker Danny Trevathan was playing with the first string nickel package during the last of the June OTAs. Trevathan, you’ll recall, led the SEC in tackling over both the 2010 (144 tackles) and 2011 (143 tackles) seasons. Danny also led the nation’s linebackers with five forced fumbles last year.

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