A few post-Lard news bits:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday was a strange one in terms of Broncos/Steelers news, as a bunch of football reporters posted dueling and conflicting entries about practices none of them witnessed with their own eyes and something that hasn't even happened yet.
By now you've probably seen the back-and-forth as expertly chronicled by TJ yesterday; add Mike Klis and Jeff Legwold to those contradicting Mike Florio's claim that Brady Quinn took roughly half the first-team snaps in practice this week. Of course, none of Florio, Klis, Legwold, Darlington, or Mason actually saw more than 10 minutes of Denver's practice on any given day this week, so they're all reporting whatever information they've been given by players, coaches and sources within the team. In other words, it's all hearsay, and if Florio turns out to be right, they can all simply admit after the fact that the Broncos did a mostly good job of protecting state secrets. Even better, Tim Tebow can play the entire game and Florio can still claim that Quinn took half the practice snaps.
Either the Broncos want the Steelers to be unsure of who will be playing QB tomorrow and thus someone is feeding Florio misinformation, or Florio is correct and there are some loose lips at Dove Valley.
I don’t really understand what that means unless they say pass it a lot more. If you look at our stats whenever we have thrown it 35 or 45 times it’s been very lopsided, so I’d say they gotta stick to what they do because they know that better than they know this.
Source: Brady Quinn gets some first-team snaps in practice
Earlier this week, Rodney Harrison questioned my sanity and/or sobriety when I suggested, both in our weekly One-on-One segment and on NBC SportsTalk, that the Broncos should get quarterback Brady Quinn ready to play, in the event that starter Tim Tebow continues to play like he has played in the last three games he has played.
Apparently, Rodney also needs to question the sanity and/or sobriety of Broncos coach John Fox and/or Broncos V.P. of football operations John Elway. Per a league source, Quinn has been getting roughly half the first-team reps in practice this week.
It’s unknown whether Quinn actually will play on Sunday against Pittsburgh, either as a replacement for Tebow (if he fails to “pull the trigger”) or an unexpected change-of-pace insertion. Either way, the use of Quinn could throw a wrench into the Steelers’ Tebow-specific game plan.
OMG alert! OMG alert!
Double Trouble Update: Jeff Darlington says Quinn told him he didn't get more reps via text. OMG, I need to calm down and take a deep breath.
Triple Dawg Dare Update: Florio is standing by what he reported, saying Quinn doesn't want to let the cat out of the bag--Tebow's potential benching. ZOMG!
Quadruple Diggy Dawg Dare Update: Florio swears they have special packages for Quinn now that he's checked with his source yet again.
Dolphins expected to seek pass rusher to pair with Wake
SS Brian Dawkins’ neck injury has limited his playing time in recent weeks, but the veteran doesn’t believe it will force him to retire when the Broncos’ playoff run is over. A team source told PFW that the safety feels that he has recovered from worse injuries and that the injury will not impact his decision to return or not in 2012. He may retire, per the source, but it will not be because of the neck issue.
Let's just hope Dawk makes the correct decision for his long-term health, whatever that may be.
Granted, this is something more akin to a 'runner-up' designation, but Von Miller has been named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Miller was beaten out by Terrell Suggs and DeMarcus Ware for first-team honors. Miller has already been named a Pro Bowler, along with fellow defenders Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey. Here is the complete All-Pro roster, plus the associated story on the All-Pro team.
Bailey, Dumervil, Chris Kuper, Britton Colquitt and Matt Prater also received votes.
The Broncos will again be without Brian Dawkins on Sunday, which means Denver is likely to again have Quinton Carter and David Bruton manning the starting safety spots. In slightly better news, FB Spencer Larsen is listed as doubtful after it was said earlier in the week that he would definitely miss the game due to his knee sprain. Bruton and dime corner Jonathan Wilhite are questionable, while Von Miller and Eddie Royal are probable for Sunday.
For Pittsburgh, CB Cortez Allen and RB Mewelde Moore are out as expected (S Ryan Clark is out as well but not on the injury report, presumably because his absence is a coaching decision), while C Maurkice Pouncey is listed as questionable after being limited in practice, despite earlier reports that he will miss the game. Several key Steelers are probable, including QB Ben Roethlisberger, G Doug Legursky (who would start at center if Pouncey cannot), LB James Harrison, LB LaMarr Woodley, DE Brett Keisel, S Troy Polamalu and T Jonathan Scott.
It looks like Josh McDaniels will be interviewing to get his old job back. No, not that one. With Patriots OC Bill O'Brien reportedly heading to Penn State to take over their HC gig, McDaniels received permission from the Rams (who fired HC Steve Spagnuolo earlier in the week) to seek out a new position for himself, and the Pats have subsequently sought the Rams' approval to chat with their former assistant. It'll be interesting to see which way McDaniels goes should he have a choice between going back to New England and joining Scott Pioli and possibly Romeo Crennel in KC.
Steelers Pouncey won't play Sunday
Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who aggravated his injured left ankle against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday and again in practice on Wednesday, will not play in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game in Denver, the Post-Gazette has learned.
Guard Doug Legursky, who is returning after missing the previous game with a left shoulder separation, will start at center. Former starter Chris Kemoeatu will replace Legursky at left guard.
Obviously, the absence of Pouncey has the potential to be a boon to Denver. Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to Steelers RB coach Kirby Wilson, who was seriously injured in a fire at his home early this morning.
Tebow playing for more than his playoff life
As of right now, Broncos executive vice president John Elway and head coach John Fox regard Tebow as their presumed starter for 2012 and plan to proceed accordingly. Yet in the wake of last Sunday’s 7-3 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs, they’re starting to get a little squeamish. And you can be sure that if Sunday’s season-defining performance against the NFL’s top-ranked defense is an unmitigated disaster, their first order of the offseason will be formulating a viable backup plan – whether it’s drafting a promising passer, acquiring a proven veteran or both…
...If this Sunday is anything like last Sunday, I suspect that plenty of Broncos fans will re-evaluate their conviction on this issue and start imploring the team to explore other alternatives. And Elway and his fellow decision-makers – the people whose opinions do matter – will certainly oblige.
For all Tebow has accomplished this season, the only guarantee it has earned him is that he’ll get another chance to shine on Sunday. It’s showtime, and the magnitude of the stakes should not be underestimated. For should this story take a dark turn, nothing that anyone puts on a billboard will keep his bosses from seeing him in a different light.
There are plenty of quotes to choose from in Silver's piece. I could have gone with the more inflammatory ones, but I picked these for a reason. Mike Silver, despite what a lot of Broncos fans might believe, is close with John Elway. He always has been, going back to Elway's days at Stanford. In fact, interestingly enough, his current Twitter pic is a shot of he and Elway being BFFs. So the context with which he covers the Broncos is not simply that of a hack or a guy with an agenda. To a large extent, I think Silver's got real insight into the mind of John Elway.