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.

Blow your mind watching Peyton Manning’s highlights as a Denver Bronco

Thanks to Zachary Gonzales for knitting together this quilt of beastliness.

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Cutler defenders can now add oldest excuse in the book

The Seahawks Now Have Two Victories Thanks To Bad Calls
kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com

In the past three weeks, Seattle has certainly proven itself a team to be reckoned with as the postseason approaches. That said, without the benefit of some questionable officiating, the Seahawks would be entering Week 17 at 8-7, trailing both the Vikings and the Bears for a Wild Card berth, rather than already having clinched.

It’s somewhat petty that a member of the Bears organization leaked to the media what is supposed to be a confidential communication between the team and the league just because it vindicated the Bears’ gripes. So it’s safe to assume Jay Cutler loves it.

This KSK piece is a better repackage of the original Chicago Tribune story that basically lets us know that the league regularly has confidential communications with teams about disputed calls; further, that the league admits when they're wrong.  In this case, the Bears wanted their fans to know they got screwed as a pre-emptive strike in case they don't make the playoffs.

Does anyone think the Seahawks would not beat the Bears right now?  Additionally, there are calls that have probably gone the other way to balance the scales. 

And if not, it's Jay Cutler, and we're cool with it.

STDL: Sunday a foregone conclusion?

So, the Chiefs suck, the Broncos are well-rounded and still improving, and may be the best team in the NFL.

The kickoff time for Pats/Dolphins has been shifted to 4:25pm ET, in order to coincide with Broncos/Chiefs, and ensure that Denver has something to play for.

Should be a blowout, right?

Probably, but the Broncos were supposed to have emerged from Kansas City with more than the eight-point victory they did a month ago.

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Incentives are rare reason to care about Pro Bowl snubs

Champ Bailey, Julius Peppers top list of NFL Pro Bowl bonuses
sports.yahoo.com

As noted on Thursday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, some of the 84 players selected for the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters earlier this week earned financial incentives by being “Original Ballot” selections for the annual All-Star game in Hawaii.

Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey earned an additional $250,000 in his contract when he was named to his 12th Pro Bowl.

All week, we've been downplaying the importance of the Pro Bowl and whether certain Broncos got snubbed, since the selection process is so heavily flawed.

But when a player like Demaryius Thomas or Wesley Woodyard misses out on a potential incentive, that's a different story. At the least, we can hope that Thomas's electric season has triggered statistical milestone-based incentives, and that Woodyard has some playing time escalators in his deal.

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