Jay Cutler is the new GM of the Bears

Pressure on Bears coach
www.chicagotribune.com

It’s well known Jay Cutler had to be cajoled into the idea of working with Martz in the first place. So it’s not surprising the quarterback went to Halas Hall on Tuesday and let Smith know he was in favor of moving on without Martz before the coaches had met.

Cutler might push for Jeremy Bates, who he worked with previously with the Broncos. Bates was out of the NFL this season after one year with the Seahawks. How would Smith perceive him after Bates declined overtures from the Bears for an interview two years ago? Maybe just fine. Sources said Angelo turned off Bates.

Here's a handy reminder of why Pat Bowlen (yes, it was his call - not Josh McDaniels') decided to ship Cutler out of town. And wow - it could be that both instances will have been for the sake of Jeremy Bates. Gotta wonder if Jay realizes that Bates isn't a package deal with an offensive line that permits him be sacked only 11 times in a season, like the 2008 Broncos did.

How long before Jay runs Lovie Smith out of his job?

The Daily Lard 1-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Woody Paige says that unless the Jaguars hire Mike McCoy away to be their head coach, the coaching staff will likely remain completely intact next season. He writes that of course, John Elway is quite happy with the job John Fox has done, and to expect Fox to be here at least another three years (the length of his contract).

Woody also says the football operations are truly under John Elway's oversight, with no meddling from Pat Bowlen or Joe Ellis. And regarding Kyle Orton, he writes that "he was a distraction, had lost interest, and the Broncos wanted somebody else to pick up the $[2.6] million."

As for the current QB, naturally Woody seems to think that Tim Tebow is a surer thing than is Matt Flynn, and his proof is that Matt Cassel hasn't set the world afire (Hmm, why didn't he compare Flynn to Matt Schaub? Oh, right). His guess is that Denver will draft Arizona QB Nick Foles and sign a veteran like Josh Johnson. Finally, more WR blame and a suggestion to sign Ray Rice. Good one, Woody - because signing veteran runners to megacontracts is always the sensible thing to do...

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 1-5-12"

Miller goes from sublime to part-time due to injury

Defense Had Big Role in Rise of the Broncos
www.nytimes.com

After spending the previous two weeks refusing to use the injury as an excuse, Miller on Wednesday acknowledged the problems it has caused.“I’m coming off the ball playing on the defensive line,” he said. “The first thing you strike is your hand. I still feel like I can get it done; it’s just that there’s a lot more thinking involved in how I place it.”

“Like other young players, he makes mistakes,” Coach John Fox said. “Von played two-thirds of the game. He’s doing fine; we have others who can play, too.”

Miller handled the de-emphasis without complaint. “I don’t think it’s a re-proving or anything like that,” he said. “They know what type of player I am and know what type of player I can be. Unfortunately, I haven’t been the same-type player. I don’t like to make excuses; I still feel like I can go out there and make those plays, but we’ve got to do what’s best for the team.”

Von Miller is playing through an injury and putting the team first.  A fair number of high-profile rookies would be bitching and complaining.

The Broncos got the right guy.  

No Plan B, No Dice

Polian regrets not having backup plan for Colts
sports.yahoo.com

On Wednesday, Polian told The Associated Press that not grooming a replacement for the injured Manning was the primary reason the Colts collapsed this season, going from Super Bowl contender to the league’s worst record. “I’ve always told the staff that our approach should be to hope for the best but plan for the worst, and I didn’t do an adequate enough job of planning for the circumstances we were in,” Polian said in a phone interview. “It led to this catastrophe.”

When asked if he was referring specifically to finding a backup for Manning, Polian said: “Yes.”

Risk--it's a harsh reality of any business.  Good businesses have contingency plans; better businesses have two (or three).  Either Bill Polian misjudged the risk of Manning going down for an extended time and he chose to ignore it or he simply believed his contingency plans were enough.  Clearly, whatever the reason, he failed to account for the probability of a 2-14 season.  A little hubris?  Apathy?  Feeling a little too comfortable after a decade of Manning? 

Risk management--it does a body an organization good.  

Kirwan: Quinn could see action; look for Steelers to air it out

Tebow, Broncos no match for Steelers' top-ranked defense
www.nfl.com

Tebow couldn’t beat the only two playoff defenses he faced (Detroit Lions and New England Patriots), and this Steelers unit will clearly be his toughest challenge yet. I won’t be shocked if backup Brady Quinn gets some consideration in the second half.

Roethlisberger averages 37 pass attempts a game this year (40 per game on the road), and now that running back Rashard Mendenhall is out with a knee injury, expect at least 40 throws on Sunday.

Broncos a steal at 120 to 1

Postseason Projections: Wild Card Round
www.advancednflstats.com

It seems even three consecutive losses is not enough to put a damper on Tebow-mania. Denver’s odds of winning the Super Bowl are variously listed as anywhere from 50/1 to 120/1, but, regardless, the Broncos are still over-valued, with the model estimating their true probability of a Super Bowl win to be less than one in eight hundred.

Hey, a 19% chance of beating the Steelers? Not too shabby!

Dawkins misses practice; Roethlisberger suffered setback at Cleveland

The Broncos are again without S Brian Dawkins at practice today due to the neck injury referred to two weeks ago as potentially being a career ender. FB Spencer Larsen is also out of action and expected to miss Sunday's game against the Steelers as a result of a knee sprain suffered against Kansas City.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger admits to having suffered a setback on Sunday to his pre-existing left high-ankle sprain. He called his ankle a '5' on a scale of 1 to 10.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh addressed their injury-plagued running back corps by adding Chad Spann from their practice squad and placing LB Chris Carter on IR to create space for him on the roster. The promotion of Spann was prompted by the season-ending knee injury to Rashard Mendenhall and the strong possibility that Mewelde Moore will be unable to go due to his own knee injury.

The Daily Lard 1-4-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Most of the injury talk concerning the Steelers has centered around who will be absent for Pittsburgh (RB Rashard Mendenhall, S Ryan Clark), but unfortunately for Denver, the Steelers should be getting a pair of key players back in time for Sunday's game. Starting left guard Doug Legursky and linebacker LaMarr Woodley are expected to play; HC Mike Tomlin described Legursky as having a "strong chance" of returning to the starting lineup, and he said Woodley "is going to be capable of playing in the football game."

Legursky had missed the season finale against the Browns, and Woodley has been out for six of PIttsburgh's last eight games. 

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 1-4-12"

If Tebow had DeSean Jackson, he’d be tearing it up

Tebow Experiment's Top Lesson: Broncos Need More Firepower
www.huffingtonpost.com

So it took defenses three months to figure out that the best way to beat a quarterback is to make sure his receivers don’t get open? If that’s the case, every defensive coordinator whose team lost to the Broncos should be fired. The way to stop Aaron Rodgers and Tim Tebow is the same way to stop any quarterback who can hurt you with his legs—you force them to stay in the pocket, pressure them from their throwing-hand side when they try to run, and cover their receivers tightly. The difference is that Rodgers still has the accuracy, pocket awareness, offensive line protection, and receivers to still beat any team in the league even when he’s forced to stay in the pocket. Tebow has none of those things, which leads to the final point the Tebow experiment has shown.

The Broncos need DeSean Jackson. If the Eagles franchise-tag him, the Broncos need to trade for him and give him a new deal. If he’s a free agent, they need to sign him and let him know he’s going to be an important part of their offense.

Having Tebow spend time working personally with John Elway on mechanics should be at the top of Fox’s offseason to-do list, but doing whatever it takes to obtain Jackson and motivate him to be a featured part of the offense should be the next item on the list. The Broncos’ coaching staff should also study every nuance and intricacy of what made Urban Meyer’s offense successful at Florida with Tebow and Harvin, and figure out how to implement those wrinkles into the Broncos’ game plans next year. In the draft and free agency, Denver can then focus on strengthening its defense.

Elway still digging Tebow

John Elway says he's taking a big-picture view of Broncos' playoff berth
www.denverpost.com

Elway said that he saw progress from Tebow in the 11 games since Tebow replaced Kyle Orton as starting quarterback.
“For Tim and his youth, and number of starts he’s had, Tim has done a good job this year,” Elway said.

Among other issues Elway addressed:
**On if Brady Quinn could get a chance to play quarterback if Tebow continues to struggle: “I don’t think so, but you never know. I think the coaches are looking at it right now,” Elway said. “We’re in the playoffs, and the coaching staff is going to do anything they can to help us win this football game.”

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