Good Morning, Broncos fans! It was a big day on the coaching carousel yesterday, with the most significant move being Oakland's firing of Huebris* Jackson. As Monte Poole details, it appears the Raiders will finally be operating the way most other sports franchises do: with a clear hierarchy, and with new GM Reggie McKenzie's handpicked coach able to hire/fire his own staff and even call plays without keeping one ear open for a call from Big Al.
But thankfully, a couple of Raiders trademarks will endure: firstly, their locational uncertainty continues, as owner Mark Davis says the team is considering either a move back to LA, shacking up with the Niners, or a new stadium in Oaktown. Secondly, it appears Davis has the potential to someday sport a look as caricature-like as his late father did: his hairdo appears to be an amalgam of those belonging to Lloyd Christmas and Ishmael.
More good news for Denver arrives from Jacksonville, where the Jaguars have hired
Mark Mike Mularkey, meaning Mike McCoy is out of the running for that gig. Guess the Broncos are stuck with his terrible playcalling, huh?
* This one belongs to TJ
Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders have fired coach Hue Jackson after just one season. Speculation had grown in recent days that new Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie was considering bringing in a handpicked head coach. It's certainly understandable, especially considering the exceptional amount of power Jackson had wielded in recent months.
Jackson had become the de facto GM following the death of Al Davis, and it had been Jackson's curious decision to trade away two high picks for QB Carson Palmer. Under McKenzie, Jackson would have been taking a step backwards within the organization (even if it was called for), and of course the new GM has his own legacy to forge with the organization. Why do so with a coach who outranks you in terms of seniority, and who just got used to calling all the shots?
The Broncos have placed FB Spencer Larsen on IR; Larsen injured his knee against KC in Week 17 and along with FB Austin Sylvester did not dress for Sunday's victory over Pittsburgh. To take Larsen's roster spot and play Saturday should Eric Decker's own knee injury keep him out, the Broncos promoted rookie D'Andre Goodwin from the practice squad.
Denver also added WR Tim Toone to the PS to take the spot vacated by Goodwin's promotion. Toone was 2010's Mr. Irrelevant, as the Lions selected him with the final pick in that year's draft; he most recently was a member of the Bills. He also happens to have a head of hair which makes him look like Michael Bolton, except for the dreadlocks.
So, um, yeah. How about them Broncos? I’ve been thinking for the last few days about how to strike the right tone with regards to Tim Tebow. As most know, I’ve been saying that the guy will win Super Bowls in the NFL since he was a sophomore in college, long before he was ever drafted by the Broncos. Having now seen Tebow play great in his first NFL playoff game, I feel like I should revisit that. I don't want to be a gloater, and I definitely don't want to call out anybody personally who has disagreed with me.
Despite being both a longtime Florida Gators and Denver Broncos fan, I’m not emotionally invested in Tebow’s success. I made an evaluation of the guy years ago, have basically stuck to it, and I still think I’m right. Honestly, the Kansas City game made me wonder if the guy wasn’t as fearless as I’d always thought. Maybe I’d misevaluated that – it happens, right? If a QB is afraid to throw to a small window against tight coverage, he can’t play in the NFL. With more evidence of that deficiency, I’d have completely supported a change.
I’ve said this before, but I don’t care about whether I was correct in the past, I care about being correct right now. Being a good analyst is kind of like playing Cornerback; you have to forget the times you got burned, and be ready to dominate on the next snap. I'm right a lot more often than I'm wrong, and I have years of archives to back that up. As they say, tape don't lie.
Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend
But in typical Tebow fashion, defying logic and physics along the way, he proved that above all else, he’s a winner. The Steelers were successful in what they sought out to do: shut down the league’s best rushing game. It’s just that they didn’t account for Tebow’s sudden mastery of the deep ball, nor did they expect cornerback Ike Taylor to have the the worst game of his career.
We joked about it on the most recent episode of the Pick-6 Podcast, but nobody—Tebow, his family members, Urban Meyer, his high school coach, Thomas—figured he’d be stroking it like he was Jeff George playing a pick-up game against a bunch of middle schoolers.
They took out…from what I could tell they were getting a lot more 1-on-1′s outside, which is what happens when you run the ball a lot like they do. Asking him to throw to some spots, and he was hitting routes that aren’t as hard to complete. Like curl routes or back shoulder stop route. If you can’t complete those, you really shouldn’t be playing quarterback in the NFL. But he made the throws he needed to make.
So with more reps, more practice, another offseason to continue to learn, I don’t see why he couldn’t continue to become a better passer. But what I see him do that kind of throws me off, is he doesn’t anticipate down-field throws. They were saying on one…I can’t remember when it was, but it was later in the game…he didn’t make the down-field throw on a deep in route. And then the very next drive, Roethlisberger did it with ease. If he’s going to make it in this league for a long time, he’s going to have to start making those throws. It’s not forcing them, it’s just taking them when they appear. And that’s part of becoming a top-level QB, so I don’t know. He might struggle with that as far as throwing goes. But he can win, and that’s all that matters in the league.
Plummer is referring to Phil Simms' fluffery of Tebow as pointed out by Josh Levin.
The owner of The Fast Frame sports memorabilia shop says his Denver store was burglarized early Sunday after someone threw a bottle through a window. Two men grabbed two signed jerseys and took off. The other jersey was from John Elway. According to KMGH-TV, the two jerseys were being sold for $2,300 each.
I realize I'm perpetuating the silliness by posting this, but what a time we're in when this is the sort of story that hits NFL.com, and that John Elway's jersey in Denver is a mere footnote...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In FO's Audibles column, Tom Gower points out the Broncos had an illegal formation (only six on the LOS) for their game-winning play. Did I say something yesterday about the breaks going against Denver? Here's a story on the same from the DP, including a screenshot.
Of course, this is a rather nitpicky point, and it pales in comparison to the blown lateral call which had the very real potential of costing Denver the game. To think, that mistake (and subsequent Pittsburgh TD) in concert with a different result on the OT coin toss, and we instead could all be rightfully bitching for the next several months over how the Broncos got jobbed. Or, the officials could have called back the touchdown, Denver could have lost, and again we'd be stuck focusing on the lateral non-call. Just another reminder that it
usually often comes down to a little bit of luck.
The Broncos’ unexpected success in 2011 has helped their coordinators become hot head coaching candidates. According to a league source, the St. Louis Rams formally asked the Broncos’ permission today to interview Dennis Allen, Denver’s first-year defensive coordinator.
With the Broncos preparing for their second-round AFC playoff game Saturday at New England, the team has said Allen and McCoy can be interviewed for the head coaching positions, but not until Thursday afternoon.
Uh oh. How long does John Fox want to be a head coach?
They did it. They shocked me, and I’ve got a lot of company. It might not have been a great passing performance, but it was a very good one with multiple long receptions. The Steelers were down to their starting QB limping and their starting RB out as well as some line problems, and that’s a shame, because I think that on that day, Denver would have beaten them, healthy or not. The whole team talked about it all week long - this isn’t about some QB. This is the Denver Broncos, they were at home in the playoffs, they earned it, and ending the regular season with three losses wasn’t making anyone in that locker room happy. The team came out of the runway and ran straight into history. I can’t imagine anyone complaining about the pass protection - the OL gave Tim Tebow lots of time, and while he didn’t complete for a high percentage, he threw big passes. Sometime I think he likes it that way. Beating Pittsburgh, at home, after the last time Denver faced them in the playoffs, was special. Winning in overtime at home is even more so.
One thing that I really liked (and there were many) was David Bruton’s performance. He kept his gap discipline on the Pittsburgh 17-yard run in the fourth quarter: the run was not directly inside his gap, but two or three three techniques over. He immediately saw that there was no defender, took off from a full stop and built speed quickly: he took a good angle to make the tackle, downfield or not, and with his speed, he kept it out of the endzone. He had a half-dozen good plays over the course of the day. I’ve always believed that Bruton has what it takes to make it as a starting safety. Yesterday suggested the same thing.