Peyton Manning's next move
Manning has four MVP awards. He has played in two Super Bowls. A first-round Hall of Fame ballot is a certainty, and only New England’s Tom Brady can challenge him as the top quarterback of his generation. About the only thing Manning hasn’t done is break any of Favre’s NFL career passing records. At his current pace, he’d need about three more good years to become the league’s career leader in completions, yards and touchdowns. It’s hard to know whether those records are enough to drive a man who turns 37 in March and missed the entire 2011 season. We can’t predict whether Manning’s passion for the game will continue to burn as his time in Denver passes…It’s different when stars move on to other towns late in their careers. Those same little things that move them with their first teams—the familiarity, the comfort, the trust—matter more than you imagine once lost to a player who sees 40 on the horizon.
At some point, that will all change. He’ll have to ponder the same things [Ray] Lewis has been considering in recent weeks. He might face the same challenges Favre faced in his second season in Minnesota, when the Vikings underachieved and that feel-good story didn’t feel so good anymore. For all we know, we might never see Manning this healthy again in the remainder of his career.
Yes, yes, Peyton Manning can't play forever. Next year he might get injured; he might get old; he might trip over his dog walking down his driveway.
Does it make what Manning has done this year any less sweet for Broncos fans?
The last time we heard from John Elway on the matter of motivation, he said he wanted to make Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback of all time. Getting one ring with Denver isn't going to do that. Why not?
Because even Eli Manning has two. And Tom Brady has three. Do we really need to bring Brett Favre (a far inferior quarterback) into the discussion?
McGahee Returns to Practice
Running back Willis McGahee joined his teammates on the practice field Tuesday for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 11 against the San Diego Chargers.
Also present at practice Tuesday were tackle Ryan Clady, guard Chris Kuper and wide receiver Trindon Holliday.
As per expectations. Prior reports said Clady had not practiced at all last week, but that he and Kuper were on track to start on Saturday against Baltimore in Denver's playoff opener.
McGahee will not be eligible to return to action until next week, provided the Broncos make it beyond the divisional round.
On Monday night, Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley joined Alfred Williams and Darren McKee on the third hour of 104.3's The Drive. The discussion centered mostly on the Broncos' upcoming game with the Ravens. Here are some highlights:
On whether the Broncos are going to win one for Brandon on his way out like the Ravens are doing for Ray Lewis:
"Let's do it...If I've got to get out there and dance, I'll get out there and dance."
On whether he's looking forward to seeing Ray Lewis:
"Yeah I am, and hopefully making it his last game ever...I know what kind of energy he brings to that team, I know the difference when he's in the lineup and when he's not in the lineup. So we're going to see a different Ravens team this time around, a much improved Ravens team, and I think we're all looking forward to that challenge...We understand that what we did in the past doesn't matter."
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver heads into Saturday's rematch with the Ravens buoyed by several distinct advantages:
That latter quartet of factors could loom even larger than normal.
Mike Shanahan says Robert Griffin III will travel on Tuesday to see Dr. James Andrews for further tests on his injured right knee. Griffin had previously injured the ACL in that knee during his sophomore year at Baylor.
However, ESPN Radio 980 in Washington cites a report from a Richmond television station that Griffin has torn his PCL and ACL and will be out of action for 14-18 months.
A more recent report from the Washington Post characterizes the injury as a partial tear to Griffin's ACL and LCL, not his PCL.
Updated 6:20pm ET
Do you know how sometimes people say a football team isn’t built to play from behind? The 2011 Broncos were such a team, and the 2012 Texans and Vikings seem to be also. Teams which rely heavily on their running game, and which lack the ability to complete passes downfield in obvious passing situations tend to fit this description.
Although the Broncos have only really had one comeback win this year (the first Chargers game), they showed a good ability to put up points quickly in the second half of games, in the losses to Atlanta, Houston, and New England. I feel pretty good about their ability to play from behind, if necessary.
Do you know what I feel great about? The Broncos' ability to play from ahead. I was listening to Pat Shumur talk on Sirius last week, and he mentioned something about the Broncos that I’ve also made note of during the 2012 season. That is, when the game gets one dimensional, such as in a second half, with the Broncos holding a lead of two or more, the pass rush becomes dominant, and next to unstoppable.
The Broncos have signed G Justin Boren and WR Gerell Robinson to future contracts today.
Robinson had been with the team in training camp as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State, where he was a teammate of Brock Osweiler and Omar Bolden, and was on Arizona's practice squad this season. Boren has spent the past two seasons on the practice squads of Baltimore and Detroit after playing his college ball at Ohio State.
The two players will join the team following the Super Bowl.
After Ronnie Hillman coughed up the ball during the first quarter of the regular season finale against Kansas City, the Broncos played a series in relative chaos. Peyton Manning took a rare delay of game penalty; three snaps later, Ryan Clady jumped to a false start.
The result? A three-and-out, the first of just two on the day for Denver.
As has usually been the case this season, their struggles didn’t endure. The Broncos marched down the field like the champion team they want to be, pausing only briefly between possessions during the Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas highlight show.
It was also time to stop the Chiefs before they could gain any momentum. What happens here is part of that; great plays often come from great fundamentals applied with great effort.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! After a mostly meh wild card weekend, the decisions of two head coaches are in the spotlight today.
First, there's old friend Mike Shanahan, who left a gimpy RG3 on the field, only to have the dynamic quarterback further aggravate the knee injury he'd suffered in Week 14 against Baltimore, and leave for good in the fourth quarter. While many are skewering Shanahan for the decision, Griffin demanded that he be kept in the game, and let's not forget that Shanny himself almost died playing football, so it's not like he was asking his player to do something he wouldn't have done.
That doesn't make his decision right, and it doesn't mean reason ruled the day, but as Patrick Hruby writes, that's the problem with football. Mike Silver rightly points out that people should think about their own reactions to Jay Cutler's knee injury from a couple of years ago before they judge Shanny and RG3.
As for the original injury, Shanahan doubled down on his claim that Dr. James Andrews had cleared Griffin on the sideline during the Baltimore game, so stay tuned for that he said/he said showdown. Should get more interesting before all's done with.
It's official--the Ravens are coming to Denver for a rematch.
After dispatching the Colts 24-9, the Ravens now bring their slightly-less injured team to altitude next Saturday on only six days of rest.
Since the game was something of a bore, here's what you need to know, summarized by Barry Wilner of the Associated Press:
[Anquan] Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens' 24-9 victory over Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game.