The Broncos at 8-8 enter today's first-round playoff game as the #4 seed hosts of the #5 seed defending AFC Champion Steelers, who won 12 games despite a rough 2-2 start which included 11 giveaways by their offense (seven of them in their opener at Baltimore). And while the Broncos have lost three straight and the Steelers have won 6 of their last 7 games, Pittsburgh is also limping into this matchup - both physically and in terms of the quality of their play. The Steelers offense is on another bad run of turnovers, having given it up 10 times in four weeks, the same as Denver.
Neither team's defense has taken the ball away much, either on the season (18 by Denver, 15 by Pittsburgh) or in those past four weeks (2 by the Broncos, 3 for the Steelers). Turnovers are again were the Broncos' hopes lie today. Let's check out the numbers:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are - it's been six years, but the Broncos are back in the playoffs, and they're facing the same franchise that beat them last time and prevented them from
whipping facing the Seahawks in SB 40. Of course, these Broncos bear little resemblance to that eariier version, with only Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams remaining; of course, Champ made the key play the week prior to help the Broncos halt the Patriots' quest for a threepeat championship. It will probably take something similar today (multiple takeaways, not necessarily of the 100-yard return variety) to send the Broncos to a matchup with the Patriots in Foxborough next week.
What would be more poetic than a rematch of Tim Tebow and Tom Brady's Week 15 duel, and a faceoff between the Broncos and Josh McDaniels, their last head coach and new (again) OC of the Patriots? Not much, obviously. But first things first...
Enjoy the games, everyone!
Class of 2012 Finalists
15 modern finalists for 2012 Hall of Fame being announced on NFL Network: Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed, Cortez Kennedy, Charles Haley, Bill Parcells, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Aeneas Williams, Jerome Bettis, Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Chris Doleman and Kevin Greene.
Oh well, it's wait til next year for Terrell Davis, Karl Mecklenburg and Steve Atwater...
As @mortreport reported on Sat edition of NFL Countdown, Colts plan to use the No. 1 pick on Stanford QB Andrew Luck.
Not sure what the point of this is, especially before Jim Irsay hires a new GM. It's not like any trades can happen now, if Irsay wants to drum up interest, and if the intention is to draft and keep Luck, this serves to make things unnecessarily awkward for Peyton Manning.
Darlington: Quinn joked that maybe if I quote him as “anonymous player,” you’ll be more likely to believe it. A player making a journalism joke…nice!
Florio: Quinn has zero incentive to be honest about this.
Darlington: What about his incentive to maintain my trust?
Florio: Seriously Jeff?
This is pretty amusing, especially Darlington's take. Does he really think the Broncos and Brady Quinn are more concerned about what Darlington thinks of them than they are about trying to win tomorrow's game and potentially not tip off their strategy? Even if Darlington has this story correct, he obviously has quite a bit of self-importance to him.
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.