Good Morning, Broncos fans! Wesley Woodyard was listed as doubtful on Denver's last injury report for the week, but he did not travel to Oakland, and will not play tonight.
Brandon Stokley, who was limited in practice yesterday, says he's getting better, but will test his ailing hip tonight and be a game-time decision.
For Oakland, PR/CB Phillip Adams was cleared after having suffered a concussion against Cleveland; if he's unable to go, struggling WR Denarius Moore would return punts in his stead.
Safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell had been cleared from their concussions a day earlier, and both are expected to play; Dennis Allen returned to the team yesterday morning and oversaw practice.
Meanwhile, the Raiders issued a scathing statement as a denial of Hub Arkush's report that they were talking with Jon Gruden about a return to coaching.
LB Wesley Woodyard is listed as doubtful for tomorrow's game at Oakland, and is likely to be replaced in the starting lineup by D.J. Williams. WR Brandon Stokley is questionable, while five other Broncos are probable.
Woodyard suffered an ankle sprain last week, which forced Williams and Danny Trevathan (21 snaps each) into increased action. The absence of Stokley resulted in more targets for Jacob Tamme, who caught a season-high nine passes against Tampa Bay.
Happy Wednesday, friends. Yesterday, a decent brouhaha erupted in my former stomping grounds of Cleveland, Ohio. It’s pretty widely assumed that, with the change in ownership, head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert will be let go at season’s end.
New owners like to do their own thing, and when Jimmy Haslam hired Joe Banner to be team president, he brought in a guy who is going to certainly change the structure of the organization.
Banner was very successful in Philadelphia as the guy who ran the business end of things, and who oversaw contracts, financial, and cap strategy. I would expect that will be his role in Cleveland as well, and I'm interested to see how he comes out on Shurmur and Heckert, both of whom he knew from Philadelphia. If the Philly rumor mill is to be believed, the organization wasn't all that sad to see Heckert leave for Cleveland when he did, and that would seem to match the color of the smoke that's now coming out of the chimney.
Tom Jackson, in addition to covering backs out of the backfield and making tackles, devoted his energy to unleashing disdainful broadsides in the direction of the Oakland bench, including coach John Madden. After recovering a fumble late in the game near the sideline, Jackson got up, waved the ball, and spotted Madden a few feet away. “It’s all over, fat man!” he yelled.
On the NBC broadcast, sage play-by-play man Curt Gowdy, the voice of American sports and ‘The American Sportsman,’ mused that Sunday “has to be the greatest day in the history of the Denver franchise.”
Up to that point, it was.
Most of you know where our name came from, and some have learned the story from our About page. This excerpt from Terry Frei's book is an excellent retelling of the leadup to the 1977 showdown in Oakland, and the stunning touchdown pass from holder Norris Weese to kicker Jim Turner.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Raiders Week has something of a different feel this time around, at least to us.
For one, the time between games is only half what it normally is - so there's hardly time to get frothed up about the classic rivalry. And of course, it's also softened by the Raiders not being a very good team.
But there's also the matter of feeling sympathy on multiple levels for Oakland's head coach.
Dennis Allen was Denver's DC for only a season, but the job he did in helping turn the Broncos defense around, his intelligence, and well-spokenness all combine to make us root for the man on some level, even if he's leading the Silver and Black.
Sadly, Dennis lost his 66-year-old father Grady this week, and for that, our thoughts go out to him and his family. Of course, John Fox and Champ Bailey offered the same on the part of the Broncos.
Holliday Gives Boost to Broncos
Since the Broncos signed wide receiver Trindon Holliday on Oct. 11, the 5-foot-5 return man has given the team exactly he was brought in for.
His contributions go well beyond his touchdown returns in back-to-back weeks against Cincinnati and Carolina. Dating back to Week 6, when he became a Bronco, Holliday leads the NFL with a 37.4 kick return average and ranks second in the NFL with a 13.0 punt return average.
When the Broncos acquired Holliday, they were 2-3. Since then, they are 7-0. With his 5-0 start as a Houston Texan before being let go, he is the only 12-0 player in the league.
Hey, remember when Josh McDaniels cut Brett Kern during a bye week? And remember when the Broncos were 6-0? And hey, do you remember when McDaniels replaced Kern with Mitch Berger (and fries)? Finally, remember at the time, I tried rationalizing and defending the move? Yeah, me too. After the Broncos tanked, the move became known as the Curse of Brett Kern.
Well, that curse can kiss its ass good bye. Trindon Holliday has restored the Broncos' karmic balance.
Now, about that Matt Prater voodoo doll...
Week 13 saw three teams (Denver, New England, Atlanta) clinch their divisions, with Houston also sealing a playoff spot.
This marks the earliest point at which any NFL season has seen either three division races end, or four playoff tickets punched, and two of them happened concurrently - as soon as Greg Schiano was done fanning his tail feathers (the Tampa Bay loss clinched the NFCS for Atlanta).
That the Broncos and Pats clinched their divisions ensures that Manning/Brady 14 (or 15, if they meet in this year's playoffs) will take place next season at Foxboro, barring injury or retirement for either.
The Hard Life of an N.F.L. Long Shot
“Dude,” he said, as I stood staring at his dresser. “I swear to God, if someone tells me right now there’s some miracle body cream out there that would make me feel 100 percent and prevent me from getting hurt but that could also cause cancer or liver damage down the line, I’d use it in a heartbeat. I would.”
He picked up an empty bottle of anti-inflammatory pills and tossed it in the trash. “Even if I make it,” he said, “the average career is what, three or four years tops. But if I get hurt now, I’m gone. It’s nothing personal. If I’m injured, I’m dead weight. I’m stealing their money. Do you know how many linebackers there are sitting home right now that want my job? Hundreds. I mean, let’s get real. As much as Coach Smith or Coach Pires might like me, it would be: ‘Hey, it’s been a fun ride. You’re a good kid. But see ya, Schiller!’ ”
What's life like for an undrafted NFL rookie? Look no further than this excellent piece by Charles Siebert. It's been sitting on our reading list for about a week, but it's well worth your time. It will also make you appreciate guys like Tony Carter, Chris Harris, and Wesley Woodyard that much more.
This piece also reminds me that I need to take the time to run the earnings numbers for a variety of NFL players over the course of different career scenarios and compare them to workers across several different fields. I'd like to really understand the opportunity costs associated with pursuing what amounts to a long shot for most of these kids coming out of school. After reading this article, one wonders if they really know what they're getting into.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are, two days after the team nailed down a big win and the AFCW title, and they have to head out on the road and play again in two days from now.
Welcome to the NFL in 2012.
It's a brutal request of these players, to put their bodies through the punishment of two regular-season games within the span of five days. Two games in seven or eight days is difficult enough - to recover from the first game's physical and emotional toll, to prepare for the coming matchup, to travel, and suit up again. For his part, John Fox says he won't be putting his guys in full pads this week.
But at least it's the Raiders, and the bright side is the Broncos will afterward have ten days to heal and get ready for the biggest matchup left on their schedule - a road trip to Baltimore and a fight for what is likely at best the AFC's #2 seed.