He’d appreciate if you didn’t remember the public missteps he had with Browns management about his contract renegotiations, the medical advice he took from his agent to skip a game when he was sick, and the closed-door meeting he had with teammates who reached out to the foundering running back. And please, most of all, don’t recall the many times Hillis proclaimed he doesn’t believe in the Madden Curse. Because he does.
“No doubt about it,” Hillis finally admitted Thursday. “Things haven’t worked to my favor this year. There’s a few things that happened that made me believe in curses. Ain’t no doubt about it.”
Oh, and here's what he said back in May about the Madden Curse:
Actually, I don’t even believe in curses. It’s really sad how many people believe in curses. This is football; everyone gets hurt. If you run the ball 40 times a game, you’re going to get banged around and get nicks and bruises here and there, but I don’t pay too much attention to that. I’ll let it take care of itself.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Bucky Brooks dug into the film of Denver's last three games, and within them he sees a blueprint for stopping Tim Tebow and the Broncos offense. He says that in response to Denver's success running against sub packages, both the Bears and Bills decided not to allow the Broncos to dictate personnel. A Jets coach raised this point with Brooks, and the numbers appear to support the strategy - even more so than Brooks cites. Against the Jets, Bears and Bills, the Broncos averaged 127.3 rushing yards per game, while in the other seven games since Tebow took over, Denver ran for a staggering 217.9 yards per game. Of course, the last time these two teams faced off, Denver ripped off 244 rushing yards against Romeo Crennel's defense, and two weeks ago the Broncos ran for 252 against Bill Belichick's guys.
As for the passing game, Brooks points to teams' use of man coverage on Denver's wideouts (and a heavy reliance upon Cover-1), with the Bills focusing on locking up Tebow's primary read, and he says teams are relying upon a four-man rush to contain Tim within the pocket, rather than blitzing and risking an open lane for Tebow to escape through. The question, of course, is whether Tim will be able to start beating this one-on-one coverage with his arm, and whether the Broncos will have some viable wrinkles to get the running game going against what may be a solid game plan for stopping them.
Definitive guide to Black Monday and the 2012 coaching carousel
Win or lose Sunday at Denver for Romeo Crennel (although a win and a 2-1 interim head coaching record makes the rationale a much easier sell), there’s a pretty good shot he gets elevated to the full-time gig. League sources then expect Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli to go out and hire Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the same post in Kansas City, with the expectation that McDaniels will be let go when Spagnuolo is canned. Pioli will then have made his own locker room very happy with the retention of the popular Crennel, who he likes and greatly respects, but also will have put in a place a succession plan with the arrival of McDaniels, who could use another couple seasons to let the radioactivity from his failed Denver head coaching tenure die down. Crennel is 64, and gives Pioli a trusted short-term coaching option. McDaniels is 35, and gives Pioli a trusted long-term coaching option.
Mike Shanahan has “no doubt” he’ll return to Redskins
Mike Shanahan is the first Redskins coach to preside over back-to-back seasons with double-digit losses since Norv Turner in the mid-90s. Turner survived those seasons to stick around a while longer, but that was before Dan Snyder bought the team. Snyder has fired every one of his Redskins coaches in two years or less except for Joe Gibbs. That’s why it’s not that crazy to think Shanahan could be a surprise coach to lose his job at the end of this season. It would certainly surprise Shanahan. Shanahan said there is “no doubt” in his mind that he’ll be back next season. But he knows it’s not his decision to make.
Did Floyd Mayweather Jr. bet $1 million against Tim Tebow?
Floyd Mayweather is rumored to have wagered more money than some people make in a lifetime on a hunch that Tim Tebow’s luck had waned. The undefeated boxer is believed to have bet $1 million that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos would lose to the New England Patriots on Dec. 18. If the reports around gambling circles are true, Mayweather added a pretty penny (or should we say silver nickel, to slightly mitigate the gross understatement) to his already vast fortune. The Broncos indeed lost, 41-23.
Time for Orton to get even vs. Broncos
Howie Long: I have never felt that Tebow was this team’s future. I simply don’t think that he’s John Elway’s vision of what a NFL quarterback is. But, how do they go about doing any of that like drafting another quarterback or looking for one through free agency?
Terry Bradshaw: Well, Tebow has been fun to watch. But I don’t think he’s the answer, either. But what do they do? Do they go after somebody else’s rejects? Like Oakland’s Jason Campbell. I don’t know if I would want to do that. But teams are always trying to convince themselves that they can make a player better than what he is by simply relocating him.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, I did a workup on each of the Denver linemen to establish what I’ve seen on film (I added stats when they seemed appropriate). I usually used the Pro Football Focus stats, and linked to the things that seemed to matter the most. After I’ve covered the players, I’m going to talk about the options that Denver has, and which I think might be the most productive.
Rating Orlando Franklin’s value has been somewhat contentious among the fans this year. If you take in the running style and consider the yards per play through Franklin’s slot (6.7 per carry - beating Chris Kuper’s 6.2 for the team lead), Franklin is playing pretty well for a rookie. Most of them get to sit for a year - he was tossed into a position that he’d never played before at right tackle. He’s not a 4th-and-short kind of leader to the team, and that’s just fine - no one does everything and he’s a heck of a run blocker over the course of the game: the Broncos need that. His pass blocking needs work, but a lot of that is technique and he has improved this year, without question. The footspeed issue remains another question with him - he’s generally good at getting downfield to the second level, but not as effective with his kickstep going right and mirroring a speed rusher on the outside. Denver hasn’t mentioned the issues specifically to my knowledge, so we don’t have any straight info on what they’re thinking for his future.
Tim Tebow has now started 10 games this season, and although he was responsible for two Denver TDs on Saturday, two of his four turnovers were brought back for six points by the Bills. Along with the 45-10 loss to Detroit in his second start of the season, Tebow now has two games where he was charged with both a pick-six and a fumble return for a score.
Although the narrative had been that Tebow takes exceptional care of the football, he now has 12 fumbles to go along with five interceptions. Among the NFL's top 40 QBs in terms of pass attempts, Tebow now has the second-highest sack rate (10.7%), third-highest fumble rate (3.0%) and the tenth-highest negative play rate (sacks, fumbles, interceptions - 11.9%).
Let's see how he stacks up in terms of Adjusted Net Yards and Net Yards:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andy Benoit raises an interesting point in his preview of Sunday's game, in that the simple matter of a win or loss could determine whether the Bronco decide to go all-in on building around Tim Tebow for 2012. Could it really be that simple? What if Tebow plays great but the team loses and misses the playoffs, or what if he continues to be off the mark with his passing yet the team wins and takes the division title? Will John Elway & Co be afforded the leeway to evaluate Tim for what he is, or will the decision be driven solely by team results?
As for the game, Benoit figures the Chiefs to better defend the Broncos' running game, and that their excellent group of corners should allow KC to man up on Denver's receivers, as Buffalo did last week. He thinks the Chiefs will try to utilize short drops in the passing game to help weaken the impact of Denver's pass rush, specifically Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. To counter, Benoit says the Broncos should go with tight man coverage from Champ Bailey and Andre' Goodman agains Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin.
Dawkins held out but Carter, Harris practice as Broncos prepare for Kyle Orton’s return
Although Carter (hip) participated in the entire two-hour workout Wednesday, Dawkins was held out of the team’s final full-padded practice of the regular season because of a neck injury that has bothered him for much of the month.