Three New England Patriots players originally listed as questionable have been downgraded and won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. The team announced Saturday that wide receiver Deion Branch (groin), linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee) and running back Shane Vereen (hamstring) have been ruled out. The Patriots also ruled out two others—safety Patrick Chung (foot) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/foot)—who were originally listed as doubtful.
Fans petition Broncos, Tim Tebow to support gay youth
A growing group of fans and activists are petitioning the Denver Broncos, specifically QB Tim Tebow, to join the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign in support of gay teens. Says petition organizer and Broncos fan Andy Szekeres: “It’s the good Christian thing to do.” The project, founded in September, 2010, is an effort to curb suicides among lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender teens.
As the Broncos prepare to face the Pats' lethal passing attack, they have made another move to bolster their secondary. After bringing back CB Tony Carter on Tuesday and releasing S Kyle McCarthy, they've decided to re-sign McCarthy to their active roster and waived FB Quinn Johnson to open a spot for him.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! PFF has a new feature called The Scramble, featuring the writing of four different analysts about a given topic. The first installment covers late-round rookies who've excelled, and Chris Benson chose to profile Denver nickel corner Chris Harris, who of course wasn't even invited to the Combine, even less drafted or talked about by draft pundits.
As Benson sees it, Harris has been the most valuable rookie corner in the league, and in his limited play (331 snaps) Harris ranks second only to Antoine Winfield in terms of run stopping rate. Benson doesn't see Harris becoming a shutdown corner due to the physical limitations which kept him so far under the radar in the first place, but he thinks his smarts, physicality and work ethic could help him peak as a #2 corner or career nickel corner. Either result would be great if Harris were drafted perhaps anywhere outside the top 20 picks or so. But from a guy not drafted or invited to Indy? Beyond remarkable.
Of course, Harris isn't alone - several key Broncos went undrafted, including Wesley Woodyard, Britton Colquitt, Matt Prater and Lonie Paxton.
Jermichael Finley calls Tebow coverage “kind of disturbing”
Packers tight end Jermichael Finley told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that it is “kind of disturbing” to see the amount of time the media spends talking about Tebow. He thinks that more time should be spent on the season that Aaron Rodgers is having and he also thinks that the time is coming when Tebow will no longer be everybody’s favorite player.
“He’s telling everybody what they want to hear,” Finley said. “You see him and he’s patting everybody on the back saying, ‘You’re going to make this catch. I promise because God said,’ and he makes it happen. Stuff like that. It confuses people. People that don’t know the game outside of the fans, of course they’re going to hype it up. But guys that see a good player and a good quarterback, they know what kind of guy he’ll be down the road when he gets exposed. Everybody who knows the game knows what kind of player Tebow is going to be.”
Tebow joining LeBron and Tiger as stars moving the sports needle
Perhaps the most remarkable finding is that Tebow now rates alongside such celebrities as Jennifer Aniston, Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks, Will Smith and Taylor Swift when it comes to aspiration (the degree to which consumers feel a celebrity has a life to which they would aspire) and influence (the degree to which consumers believe a celebrity is an influence in today’s world).
Happy Friday, friends. It’s time to Digest the New England Patriots. This isn’t the same Patriots team that we’re used to, and the Broncos obviously aren’t the same Broncos team that Tom Brady and company are used to losing to, so it should be very interesting.
Off the top, it’s interesting that the Patriots are seven-point favorites on the road against a team that has won six straight games. I almost never talk about betting lines, because I don’t believe in betting on sports, but this is an interesting bit of narrative psychology to me. The media has set a narrative around the Broncos such that Joe Six-pack is led to believe that there was some magic happening, and a plucky QB who loves his Jesus was behind it, but just wait until the Tebows play the Bradys. The Tebows will come back to Earth. People are betting heavy for the Patriots, obviously, I think because they think in terms of media narratives.
Of course, I think conflating a whole team with its QB is completely stupid. There’s so much happening on a football field on any play that it’s silly to just focus on who’s throwing the ball. As always, today, we’re going to explore the rest of the story.
5 questions for ... Shannon Sharpe
You played in Denver, do you think Tim Tebow can keep this up?
I’m treating this like I’m dating a Victoria’s Secret model. I’m not worried about if we’ll be together three years from now, I’m enjoying this right now. Why should John Elway come out and say this is our guy? John Skelton has won four of five for the Cardinals, so I guess they should commit to him? No, let it play out. This isn’t Aaron Rodgers. He’s winning, but there’s limitations on what he can do.
Three to Focus On: Patriots @ Broncos, Week 15
The Patriots’ defense is misleadingly efficient at keeping teams out of the end zone despite giving up over 400 yards per game, so Denver needs to capitalize on whatever opportunities they earn.
It’s hard to picture Tebowmania extending another week against a quality opponent like New England, but the Broncos have been counted out before and proved their doubters wrong. To beat the Patriots, Denver needs an inspired defensive effort. If it comes down to a shootout between Tim Tebow and Brady, the Broncos could find themselves out of the game quickly.
Peek at the Week: If Tebow beats Pats, critics have less to crow about
So now it’s that he’s lucky or is carried by a defense that, oh, by the way, yielded close to 500 yards to a rookie quarterback two weeks ago…In any case, the more Tebow and the Broncos win, the more it infuriates critics who refuse to admit that maybe, just maybe, they might have been wrong. So they search for something, anything, not to give the guy credit, waiting for him to screw up and to declare themselves victors.
I know, Tebow isn’t doing this alone, but consider this the next time you shred the guy: He has one of the league’s worst sets of running backs and receivers around him, with Denver trading away Brandon Lloyd—its top pass catcher—soon after Tebow took over. OK, so Willis McGahee has been a load. He was also all but washed up when Baltimore let him walk. And tell me what you know about Tebow’s go-to receiver, Eric Decker. Someone? Anyone?
Never mind that the Broncos' best player was on the sideline in Minnesota. Yeah, the defense ain't any good either.