Open Thread: TNF Week 5 - Cards @ Rams

Bucky Brooks, Nate Jahnke, Jon Gold, Larry Hartstein, and Dan Arkush break down the matchup; Benjamin Hoffman picks the Cards to win, while Bill Simmons is taking the Rams as the outright upset.

Enjoy the game!

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Manning reportedly taking minority stake in NBA’s Grizzlies

Report: Peyton Manning to become minority owner of Memphis Grizzlies
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According to Chris Vernon of ESPN radio in Memphis, Manning has agreed to become a minority owner of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

According to Vernon, other members of the Grizzlies ownership includes Penny Hardaway and Justin Timberlake.

We always wondered why Peyton was so noticeably quiet during last year's NFL lockout; we'll still buy Mike Freeman's assertion that Manning kept mum to protect his own brand. But could part of the reasoning have been that Peyton saw himself as a future franchise owner, in the NFL or elsewhere?

Breer: Pats missing Hernandez on Sunday “a virtual certainty”

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Pregame work for NE-DEN—Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez is a virtual certainty to miss the Bronco game, I’m told, but could be back for Wk 6.

New England is still loaded without Hernandez, as evidenced by their 52 points and 580 yards of offense against Buffalo. Rob Gronkowski still looms as a devastating TE, and Denver has had their problems covering that position. But Gronk also missed practice yesterday due to a hip injury.

However you cut it, the Patriots being without Hernandez is a boon to Denver's chances on Sunday.

Update 3:09pm ET - Hernandez did practice today, but Breer is sticking with his report.

A Second Helping of Wesley Woodyard’s sack of Carson Palmer

Fourth quarter, 12:20. Oakland’s trailing 34-6. They’re in 21 personnel, I formation with two WRs on the offensive left, starting from their own 39 at 1st and 10. Denver’s countering with man coverage on the WRs, a balanced-front defensive line, and Von Miller standing up as the RDE. Elvis Dumervil is at LDE, next to Mitch Unrein, and both are backed by LBs, with Champ Bailey behind them - an overload ensues on the defensive left.  It’s a fake, but it draws lots of attention.

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Owner may put Jets on Tebow Time Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As the team prepares for its trip to New England, it's only natural that much of the talk focuses on the showdown between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

QBs aside, these are two franchises that are very familiar with each other; not only did they face off twice last season, and seven times in seven seasons, but several players (Dan Koppen, Brandon Lloyd, Daniel Fells) have played for both teams (Niko Koutouvides doesn't count*). And of course, there's the Pats offensive coordinator, some dude by the name of Josh.

Unfortunately, three of their last four meetings have been absolute shellackings, with the exception being the Hoodie Jr./Hoodie Sr. game of 2009.

One key to this week's edition of Broncos/Patriots could be health.

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Notes from Broncos/Raiders

Like most of you, I was pretty thrilled with the Broncos' 37-6 victory over the visiting Raiders on Sunday.

A few first-half errors (you tried a pass from who to who?) left me feeling that Denver should have been up by more than four points at halftime. The lights-out play of Carson Palmer, who had one good WR, a decent TE, and a great running back to throw to, kept the Raiders somewhat in the game.

Three three-and-outs in the third quarter, though, and the ensuing onslaught of the Broncos offense sealed the deal. Overall, I came away impressed with Denver’s composure, elated with Jack Del Rio’s play-calling, and comfortable going on the road for four of the next five, to see what this team really has in store.

These are some thoughts taken from my notes during the game, not always in any given order:

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Jason Whitlock’s anti-Peyton Manning vendetta continues with a rewrite of history

Jason Whitlock raised eyebrows two weeks ago when he wrote the following about Peyton Manning:

Manning can't throw the ball accurately or with zip more than 20 yards. Manning is toast.

It was a lethargic takeaway from Peyton's three-interception debacle against the Falcons, and while Ted thinks the picks were a matter of poor decision-making rather than an issue of arm strength, Whitlock was certainly entitled to his opinion there.

Granted, the numbers through four weeks (small sample alert) don't exactly back up Whitlock's assertion that Peyton is inaccurate beyond 20 yards. According to PFF, Denver's QB ranks twelfth in the league in terms of accuracy on throws beyond twenty yards. At 46.7 percent, he's just a tick behind Tom Brady in that category, while placing slightly ahead of his brother (44.4%), Jay Cutler (43.5%), Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger (42.9% each), and far better than the strong-armed Joe Flacco (39.4%) and Matthew Stafford (38.5%).

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Chargers need Peyton’s help to sell tickets Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis addresses concerns about the boringness of using Jim Leonhard as Denver's punt returner.

He's right - although Leonhard isn't making any big plays, he's also not making major gaffes. And once the defense has gotten the opposing offense to give up the ball, the next play is all about making sure Peyton Manning gets his crack with it. Sure, a faster player might bring an extra couple of yards per return, but that doesn't seem worth the tradeoff of a less-experienced returner who may be more likely to fumble or make a poor decision.

Unfortunately, the Broncos just don't have a punt returner who's the complete package. This was readily apparent during the preseason; it's just one of those things the Broncos will have to accept until next offseason, when they are yet again presented with the issue.

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Broncos make quartet of practice squad moves

As expected, the Broncos have re-signed LB Mike Mohamed to their practice squad a day after waiving him from the active roster. Denver also added WR Bert Reed and T Darrion Weems to the taxi group.

Reed was signed by Cleveland as an undrafted rookie out of Florida State; Weems was an undrafted signee by the Vikings out of Oregon, and he was on Indy's practice squad for the first two weeks of this season.

The Broncos had two open spots on the practice unit following last weekend's promotion of Mohamed and Duke Ihenacho to the 53-man roster. G Adam Grant was waived from the practice squad to create the third open spot for today's additions.

Fat camp: WR technique and the capacity to learn

Happy Tuesday, friends.  I’m still feeling good after the Broncos blew out the Raiders, and I’ve been thinking about ideas on defending the Patriots.  Expect some words and maybe pictures on that topic later in the week. 

For today, I wanted to talk generally about route-running technique.  Every receiver who gets drafted into the NFL is within a certain range in the areas of size, speed, quickness, and catching ability.  There’s a range of variance on talent, but it’s not really all that wide.  What really separates receivers in the NFL, when you look at their ability to affect an overall game, is technique.

In my last job, I was a controller for a business within Xerox that sold custom learning solutions to large businesses.  A lot of the people I worked with had Master’s degrees and PhD’s in the area of adult learning.  There’s a lot of research done, and theories derived, and models built in the service of understanding how adults learn, and how to best improve their performance.

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