Von or Aldon - tough choice? Not so much

Von Miller vs. Aldon Smith: Which pass rusher is superior?
www.nfl.com

When you really study the skills that each player brings to the table, it’s hard to go wrong with either man. Smith is a dominant pass rusher with intriguing skills and a non-stop motor. While he is still refining parts of his game, it’s tough to dispute his effectiveness. Miller is a monster playmaker off the edge with a game that is polished in every aspect. He can rush the passer from the linebacker position or as a defensive end, or he can play in coverage. Given that he has such a versatile and explosive game, Miller gets the nod in a close debate.

Don't get us wrong - anyone would take Aldon Smith for their team. But choosing between him and Von Miller? That's an easier choice than Bucky Brooks portrays.

Smith leads Miller in sacks by 3.5, but Von is ahead in tackles for loss, by wider a 25-17 margin; PFF has Miller down for 82 pressures and an overall grade of +77.9, which both dwarf Smith's impressive 65 pressures and 19.8 grade. The difference is Von's completeness, thanks to his vastly improved play against the run and in coverage.

Smith's a great player in his own right, but Miller is a superstar who is already surpassing comparisons to his idol Derrick Thomas, and instead should be measured against the great Lawrence Taylor.

The Cutler Show

The many faces of Jay Cutler
www.sportsonearth.com

“You know, I’m becoming more and more aware of it. Parts of me just say, ‘Hey, forget it, just play your game.’ The PR people are always in my ear, ‘Camera here! Camera here! Watch this! Watch that!’ So it’s a mixed bag.”

On one hand, good for Jay - that he prefers being his true self - over letting the Jim Saccomanos of the world choreograph his facial expressions.

On the other, we sure are glad that Jay's there, and Peyton's here.

John Elway, the epitome of team player

‘Coaching Confidential’: Q. and A. With Gary Myers
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

Shanahan also told me that John Elway once offered him $300,000 out of his own pocket to leave San Francisco and coach the Broncos. Shanahan, who had worked two different times with Elway in Denver, turned him down, but returned to the Broncos two years later.

Or, a guy who desperately wanted someone other than Dan Reeves calling plays for him.

Broncos rack up another weekly award - this time, Knowshon

Nine straight wins, all by a touchdown or more. Nine games scoring at least 30 points. Six weekly player honors.

Make that seven.

Knowshon Moreno has been named the AFC's Offensive POW for his 24-touch, 126-yard, one-touchdown effort at Baltimore, which came on the heels of a more prolific 36-touch, 167-yard, one-score performance at Oakland.

Denver seeking streak of all streaks Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver has a chance to close out its year with 14 straight wins, and wouldn't that be something?

It would be the longest such streak since the 2003 Patriots won 15.

Mike Klis thinks they could get there by pulling of Revenge Tour 2, with postseason wins over New England, Houston, and Atlanta avenging their three regular season losses. Also in Klis's mailbag is our first indication that the DP has discovered PFF, his opinion that Manning will run away with both MVP and CPOY, and his vision of Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee, and Ronnie Hillman splitting carries next year. Sounds pretty good.

Also notable about Denver's nine-game streak is that every win has been by at least a touchdown; it's the longest such streak in the past decade, save the 13-game stretch Peyton led his Colts to in 2005. 

Continue reading "Denver seeking streak of all streaks Lard"

Ultimate Teammate™ gets ultimate letdown

Here they come at a furious pace--a wave of Tebow-related articles that all basically say the same thing:

Rex Ryan finally decided to bench Mark Sanchez, but he won't let Tim Tebow start.

Mike Freeman is hearing that the Ultimate Teammate™ feels like he was lied to.  Jeff Darlington thinks Tebow will ask out of New York (very un-team) and compares the situation to when Tebow was in high school and decided to switch schools so someone would let him play quarterback instead of linebacker.

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Clayton: Elway best exec for getting Manning, dumping Tebow

Who is the best exec?
espn.go.com

Elway found a way to resolve the Tim Tebow problem. Tebow may not be an accurate quarterback, but he is popular. Too popular. Tebowmania wore down a pretty good quarterback in Kyle Orton. When John Fox put Tebow into the starting role, it may have been painful watching the offense, but Tebow won games.  I’m sure Tebow fans wondered how anyone would think of replacing him after he won a playoff game over Pittsburgh. Elway didn’t blink.

Elway thinks in terms of Super Bowls, not 8-8 seasons. Getting Manning prevented the Broncos from falling into a future of offense mediocrity and put them in the Super Bowl hunt if he stayed healthy. Even better, Elway was able to get trade value for Tebow, who went to the Jets. Tebow made headlines in New York, but the Jets are out of the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

People also forget Elway solved the Tebow problem in the most gracious of ways: he gave Tebow a choice between the Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars, despite the fact that the Jaquars offered more in total compensation.

Wait--isn't getting less value a mark against being Exec of the Year?

Did we mention he bagged Peyton Manning?

Mike Silver hittin’ da crack

Voter bias for QBs must cease, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson deserves NFL MVP award
sports.yahoo.com

Just as the last running back to win MVP, LaDainian Tomlinson, did so on the strength of eye-popping numbers — 1,815 rushing yards, 508 receiving yards and an NFL-record 31 touchdowns, 28 on the ground — Peterson’s 2012 campaign is too extraordinary to be ignored.

I’m even willing to apply an old most valuable litmus test: Close your eyes and picture the Vikings without Peterson. Would they be anywhere near a wild-card berth? Would they have beaten the Rams last Sunday? Would Ponder and head coach Leslie Frazier be in danger of losing their jobs?

Now open your eyes and watch Peterson run, on this or any Sunday. He’ll make his case with clarity and ferocity, all day.

Imagine the Vikings without Peterson?

Okay, I just did.  At worst they're probably 3-13 like they were last year.  At best, they're struggling to make the wild card.

Big deal.

Imagine the Broncos without Manning?  At worst they're probably 5-11 or 6-10; further, they're struggling to emerge from a cesspool that includes the Chiefs and Raiders.

At best?  You're seeing it right now--they're quite possibly the best team in football.

Thinking through defending the Patriots

Happy Tuesday, friends.  Assuming the Broncos can take care of business against Cleveland and Kansas City in the next couple weeks, it’s looking like the Patriots will be in line to make a trip to SAF@MH in the divisional round of the playoffs.  I thought it might be fun to think through some ideas for defending them, the next time they play the Broncos.

First of all, I’ve been advocating playing straight-up Cover 2 against New England, and hoping to get some stops.  After Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, not so much.  If anybody could be successful playing zone, the 49ers would have been the team.  They did play pretty well in man-to-man, though, and that tells me it can be done.  Let’s start this exercise with that thought - that good man-to-man coverage can be effective.

The Patriots are difficult because both their talent and their scheme are outstanding.  The parts fit well together, and Tom Brady always has somewhere to go with the ball quickly if he gets blitzed.  Let’s say that blitzing very often is a bad idea, based on the evidence.

Continue reading "Thinking through defending the Patriots"

He’s no CPOY, but the Slot Machine deserves mention

Peterson, Peyton astound, but don't forget these other comeback tales
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

It’s good to have friends in high places, and in Denver, nobody resides in the same stratosphere these days as Peyton Manning. At least in part, a relationship with the Broncos new quarterback was how Stokley’s improbable return to the NFL unfolded.

Let us also not forget that Stokes played some role (host, bicyclist partner for game of catch) in making Peyton's initial visit to Denver a familiar, and thus comfortable one. Does Peyton still sign with Denver without Stokley's presence and hospitality? Probably so. But we can't know for certain, and it doesn't matter.

He won't get any votes for Comeback POY, but for having headed to Duke in February and opened his home to buddy Peyton in March, we say, Thank You, Brandon Stokley.

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