Sources fearful over Manning’s ability to return
The nerves in Manning’s arm are not healing as quickly as hoped and, worse, don’t appear to be progressing at enough of a rate to indicate that he will play again, according to two sources with knowledge of Manning’s rehabilitation from neck surgery. The vertebrae in his neck that were fused have healed as expected and Manning began throwing in December. But he hasn’t shown improvement in velocity on his passes, and the two sources fear he likely never will again.
In addition, two league-affiliated doctors with experience in spinal fusion surgery said it could take up to a year before Manning knows if he can return. Both said the risk is too great for Manning to play again and, because of the timeline, neither would recommend the Colts pay Manning the $28 million bonus he is owed in March.
The lesson here? When Rob Lowe tweets, you better damn well listen.
Del Rio Introductory Conference Call
I’m all in…I’m fired up to be here.
There wasn't a lot of wow factor to Jack Del Rio's introductory press conference earlier today, but his passion for football came through loud and clear. Del Rio could have taken a year off and waited for another opportunity, but in his own words, he was "chomping at the bit."
Del Rio talked very little scheme and gave a lot of big-picture answers. One can hardly blame him. He hasn't had a chance yet to watch the Broncos' defense on film.
A few interesting tidbits from the conference call were as follows:
Other than these points, Del Rio said he wants the Broncos to create turnovers, be aggressive, and get to the quarterback. He failed to mention ripping out the quarterback's spleen, but we'll assume it was implied.
Allen declares 'new day' in Raiders history
Perhaps most relevant, however, is Allen’s purported penchant for military-like discipline after the Raiders set single-season standards for penalties (163) and penalty yardage (1,358) last season. The Broncos, meanwhile, were flagged 101 times for 842 yards en route to winning the AFC West with an 8-8 record.
We knew the Raiders were the dumbest team in the league. What we didn't know is that it's going to take a real hard ass to make them smart. Good luck, Dennis Allen. You're going to need it.
Inside a Moment in Time - Spin Move
As soon as Elway stood up, he turned to his teammates. “I knew that was going to give us the momentum to win the game because I looked at our sideline and [everybody] was going nuts,” Elway said.
“When he got up, his eyes were so big that you could see all he could think about was getting that first down. Once he got it—and I saw the relief in his eyes—I knew it was over,” (Rod) Smith said.
Wow, either these guys were just more confident in the heat of battle than us fans were (certainly possible), or this is what they say in retrospect. Because really, how many Denver fans (especially those who had been through the prior three Broncos Super Bowls) "knew" the game was over before the fourth quarter had even started? Even when John Mobley knocked down that final fourth-down pass, I can't say I believed what I had seen...
“If you get a better quarterback you’d beat more people,” the man in the Ravens jersey, who surely thought he’d gotten one over on a Pro Bowler, said to McGahee.
McGahee was a good sport and all, but didn’t miss a beat.
“That’s not nice. That’s like saying if you had a better kicker, you’d have won.”
Willis McGahee, razor sharp off the field too...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFC beat the NFC 59-41 in the Pro Bowl last night, and former Denver WR Brandon Marshall was the star of the show and MVP, catching six passes for 176 yards and a record four touchdowns.
Von Miller led all players with eight tackles and two tackles for loss, and he posted the game's lone sack, taking down Cam Newton for an 8-yard loss. Willis McGahee had 43 yards from scrimmage, Champ Bailey recovered a fumble, and Brian Dawkins played for the first time since leaving the Buffalo game early. Hopefully he came out of the game feeling okay and his health will allow him to keep playing. Denver's other Pro Bowlers were Elvis Dumervil and Ryan Clady.
Oh, and Drew Brees whiffed on a drop kick.
One gap or two?
Now that the Broncos have hired Jack Del Rio as their defensive coordinator, will they continue to run the aggressive one-gap 4-3 that Dennis Allen favored, or the rumored and virtually extinct two-gap version?
In order to get an idea, I went to the tape of twelve of the Jacksonville Jaguars' games over the last two years. That's because Mel Tucker, the Jags' defensive coordinator, had been rumored to be contemplating a switch to a two-gap system, but it never happened under Del Rio's leadership. And despite articles claiming that Tucker and Del Rio were running a 4-3 two-gap system in Jacksonville, I never saw it.
Play after play, game after game, when the Jags weren't in nickel or dime facing three- and four-wide receiver sets, they played a standard one gap 4-3. They often favored the 4-3 Over. For a review of both the 4-3 Over and the 4-3 Under, you can click our Fat Camp feature on them from earlier in the season.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The biggest story out of Indy continues to be the Peyton Manning/Jim Irsay drama, rather than the Super Bowl being played there a week from tonight. In the latest development, Jason La Canfora reported that the Colts had already made the decision to move on from Manning several weeks ago. Naturally, Irsay has disputed the validity of that report, if anyone wants to believe him; Colts WR Reggie Wayne, who's about to hit unrestricted free agency, says the whole thing is like a soap opera.
Meanwhile, the Colts have hired Bruce Arians to run their offense - a week after the Steelers announced he was retiring and Arians said he was pushed out of Pittsburgh.
Raiders defensive coordinator update
Among the potential candidates to become the Raiders’ next defensive coordinator could be Denver linebackers coach Richard Smith, New Orleans defensive line coach Bill Johnson and San Francisco secondary coach Ed Donatell. Broncos coach Dennis Allen has coached with all three men. Smith and Donatell both have coordinating experience. Johnson coached Allen at Texas A&M and worked with him in New Orleans and Atlanta.
As is customary in the NFL, it's a strong likelihood Allen will be allowed to take at least one or two assistants with him, even if it's to Oakland.
New Broncos Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio was born in Castro Valley, CA on April 4, 1963 and attended Hayward High School, in California. Del Rio was active in sports from an early age, and he played football and baseball for the school, where he was a teammate of former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. Del Rio was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays right out of high school, but after some thought, he decided to attend college at USC. He was recruited by John Robinson, and history records that he made a very good decision.
He continued his sports career with the Trojans, playing both baseball and football for them. In football Jack was a linebacker - 6’2” and 246 lb by the end of his time there, he started for the Trojans for four straight years. During that time, he was a consensus All-American as a senior as well as runner-up for the Lombardi Award, but didn’t wait for then to shine. USC went 30-15-1 while he was there, ranking in the top 20 teams in the country three of those four years. In addition to playing in the 1982 Fiesta Bowl, he was the MVP of the Rose Bowl in 1985.