Open Thread: Sunday Week 17

Inactive for Denver are Caleb Hanie, Trindon Holliday, Tracy Porter, Chris Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, C.J. Davis, and Sealver Siliga. Chris Kuper will dress, but Manny Ramirez gets the start at right guard and should play the bulk of the plays.

Kansas City's inactives are T Branden Albert, DE Tyson Jackson, WR Josh Bellamy, QB Ricky Stanzi, S Abram Elam, RB Nate Eachus, and OL Rich Ranglin.

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Game Day Limerick: Kansas City Chiefs

A lot of things happen when you get on a winning streak.  One of those things is that you forget your responsibilities--namely, a game-day limerick.

So here goes (in pure-form anapests):

It's the last of the games of the year
for the AFC West to revere
     the appeal of the pass
     and a hoof up their ass:
it is Manning and Denver to fear.

Thanks to my boy Alaskan for reminding me of my responsibilities.  Feel free to give it your own shot (anapestic or not) below.  Just remember, crude and lewd is quite shrewd, dude.

We’ve come a long, long way Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Hard to believe it, but the end of the regular season is already here today.

We've all understandably had our eyes to the future - on playoff seeds and scenarios, and dreams of a Broncos trip to New Orleans. And incredibly, after years of mediocrity or worse, last week brought a 34-12 home blowout that was, for all intents and purposes, boring.

It's amazing how drastically things have changed in the nine months since Peyton Manning showed up, and the two-and-a-half months since the team trailed 24-0 at halftime in San Diego. We're already taking blowouts for granted, after having endured, almost exactly a year ago, an excruciating 7-3 home loss to Kansas City in a win-and-they're-in scenario.

364 days later, the Broncos again will host the Chiefs to close out the regular season, and once again, the game has significant playoff implications.

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SB 32/33 champ Neil Smith among latest to sue league

Former Chief Neil Smith sues NFL over brain injuries
www.kansascity.com

Smith, 46, contended in his suit that because of repeated and misdiagnosed concussions he suffers from “permanent and debilitating injuries,” including loss of memory, “cognitive impairment” and early-onset dementia.

“Indeed, Mr. Smith suffered three concussions — all of which were improperly diagnosed and treated — in one game during the 1988 season,” the suit alleged. “Despite exhibiting concussion symptoms, Mr. Smith was regularly returned to play, significantly increasing his chances of longterm brain damage.”

According to nflconcussionlitigation.com, more than one-third of all living, former NFL players are now suing the league over its handling of head injuries.

A Second Helping of Derek Wolfe against the Browns

I’ve been an unabashed supporter of Derek Wolfe for quite some time now - I like his game. It might be easy to forget that I’ve also listed the concerns that I’ve had with his play, starting prior to the draft:

The first problem that I noticed with Wolfe was that oddly, despite his substantial college production and decent test times, he looked somewhat slower in the drills. He lacks some of the lower body development that I thought I’d see, based on the games I'd watched. Explosion, particularly on his first step, seemingly isn’t his forte, which is odd. I’ve seen him blow past an OL player, and I’ve seen him pretty much standing still when they got their hands into him, and I’m not sure which is the real Wolfe - probably both of them. He has several decent pass-rushing moves, including a nice rip move, and that’s not common among college players, but he also forgets how to use his hands and arms on other plays. That was true in the few games that I saw him - hardly enough for a full scouting report, but it matched well enough to those I have.

He cannot smoothly handle a double team and will often end up on the ground when faced with those - you can help him out schematically in degree, but that’s a problem at the next level. It’s back to his lack of good lower body strength and a resulting inability to anchor: his balance and ability to use leverage also play into that.

I’ve seen evidence of those pre-draft concerns at times this year, but I’ve also seen them diminishing.

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I’ll be damned - a self-aware and conscientious sportswriter

T.J. Quinn, a former baseball beat writer, and one of the two key reporters on the BALCO case and other baseball PED matters, has decided not to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But too often, I've seen writers use their votes as a way to punish or reward players, and I don't think journalists should be in that position. I don't see voting for the Hall of Fame as the equivalent of a political reporter voting for a candidate; it's more like a political reporter serving in the Electoral College. I liked having that power, but I just can't justify it.

This is a really prominent and respected guy, doing a really unusual thing, and he's doing it for extraordinarily sensible reasons.  I'm shocked, and I commend Mr. Quinn.

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Rumor Mongering: Reid eyeing Chargers gig

Source: Reid has his sights set on San Diego
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

The Los Angeles native wants to coach the Chargers, according to a league source.  Per the source, Reid is making his intentions known as he lines up a potential coaching staff — part of the “multi-level musical chairs” tournament unfolding throughout the league.

Reid rightfully catches a lot of heat for his game-day clock management, and for his role in Philly having committed megadollars to Michael Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha.

But don't forget that Reid's Eagles won seven NFCE titles during his 14-season tenure, had at least a .600 winning percentage in nine of those years, and made it to five conference title games, including four consecutively. Between 2000 and 2011 (omitting his first and last years), Reid coached the Eagles to a .634 winning percentage, which was bettered only by New England, Pittsburgh, and Indy.

Many Broncos fans understandably find humor in the idea of Josh McDaniels taking over for Norv Turner, but Reid? That would be no laughing matter.

McCoy, JDR reportedly prepping for bye-week job interviews Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While the Broncos and other teams are prepping for the postseason, with an eye tomorrow toward playoff seeding, many other franchises are ready to dump their coaches, perhaps as early as Monday.

It's apparently known around the NFL as Black Monday, but someone probably needs to come up with a more accurate moniker, given the difficulty black coaches still have in finding opportunities as head coaches, and even rarer, offensive play callers. Perhaps Not-Black Monday would be more appropriate.

As for the field of candidates and job openings, each got at least one smaller last night, as Sean Payton agreed to a new five-year deal with the Saints. Not only does that settle the situation in New Orleans, but it also makes Payton unavailable to Jerrah Jones and the Cowboys, further ensuring Jason Garrett's job security in Dallas.

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Rumor Mongering: Mini Shanny or Son of Marty to the Chiefs?

Five NFL coaches most likely to get fired and their potential replacements
sports.yahoo.com

Kansas City Chiefs – Romeo Crennel deserves a medal for what he has been through this season, particularly the murder-suicide involving Jovan Belcher. Sadly, his work as head coach fell far short of acceptable.
Possible replacements – Bruce Arians, Jim Caldwell, Ray Horton (Cardinals defensive coordinator), Jay Gruden (Bengals offensive coordinator), Kyle Shanahan (Redskins offensive coordinator), Brian Schottenheimer (Rams offensive coordinator).

Jason Cole is hearing that Mike McCoy may be a candidate for the Buffalo gig, along with Mini Shanny. Although it would be strange for Kyle to end up coaching the Chiefs, it's nothing like the possibility we'd all pondered in 2009 of Mike himself jumping straight from Denver to KC. Wherever Mini Shanny ends up, if anywhere, one has to figure he'll bring Chris Simms (who's currently a New England assistant) along with him, what with their coordinated tattoos and all.

As for Son of Marty, how someone with an offensive resume like Brian could be in consideration for a head gig is beyond us. But, bring it on. John Elway would surely be happy to torture Marty's kid just like he did his dad.

Status updates for Holliday, Porter, Kuper, and McGahee

Broncos' Trindon Holliday doubtful
espn.go.com

Kick returner Trindon Holliday is doubtful for the Denver Broncos’ season finale against Kansas City because of a sprained ankle. The injury has sidelined him all week and prevented him from working on ways to cut down on fumbling.

Cornerback Tracy Porter (concussion) was ruled out for Sunday. He was injured last week just three snaps into his first game since Oct. 7. He had been sidelined after experiencing symptoms similar to those he had before a seizure during training camp. “That’s so unfortunate because he’s been waiting for this opportunity to get back in there. And I just hope he’s OK. I think he will be but only time will tell,” cornerback Champ Bailey said.

Right guard Chris Kuper is 50-50 for Sunday after participating on a limited basis for the second straight day. He’s been sidelined with a sprained left ankle and migraines.  Fox said he wasn’t worried about Kuper’s availability heading into the playoffs.  “He practiced for the first time yesterday and then today. I think he’s making good progress,” Fox said. “He’s been out for a little bit. We’re just going to make sure he’s ready to play football and we’ll make that decision day to day.”

Fox said he was pleased with the progress of running back Willis McGahee, who went on recallable IR after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Nov. 18 when he was tackled low by San Diego cornerback Quentin Jammer.

A few quick thoughts:

  • No big deal on Holliday.  That's why the Broncos have Jim Leonhard.  The bigger question is how Holliday will be mentally after a long layoff in the playoffs.
  • The loss of Porter won't change things much, since he's been out a lot of the year.  On a personal level, Porter has been the victim of some bizarre and unlucky breaks.
  • Kuper won't be 100% until he gets to the offseason, so if the big guy can go, let him go.
  • McGahee will gain three yards on third down no matter what if he's available for the AFC Championship
  • I've never liked Quentin Jammer anyway, now I hate him even more.

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