Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie Team came out this past week. Everyone knew that Von Miller would be on it. What people didn’t expect was that undrafted nickelback Chris Harris would be joining him. I’ve talked a lot about Miller, so I’ll pass for today - but what do you know about Chris Harris, other than his coming out of ‘nowhere’ and nailing down the starting nickel corner position after ripping it out of the hands of veteran Jonathan Wilhite?
The Broncos not only went from 4-12 to 8-8 and from the bottom of the division to the top this season, but they had a lot of players who got some well-deserved recognition for their play at season’s end. There have been no shortage of awards and compliments, and it’s been a while since that’s been true. The one that I got the most enjoyment from is probably the one that no one saw coming, and that was Harris' honor. A supposedly too-short (at 5’9 and a quarter inch but 192 chiseled lb.) cornerback who has been talked about as a free safety out of Kansas, even a brief glance through his college record makes the fact that the Combine overlooked him even stranger.
Dennis Allen, Raiders to talk again
Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been invited to interview a second time for the Oakland Raiders’ head coaching vacancy, according to league sources.
The Raiders also are said to be considering another coach, but the fact that Allen is thought to be the first candidate asked to interview a second time is a sign he is one of the favorites, if not the favorite, for the job.
Allen’s second interview with the Raiders is expected to take place this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
No idea whether Allen will make for a good head coach, but we already know he's a terrific DC, and that's only after one season in the position. So as much as it would sting for him to end up in Oakland, who knows how he'd do there. What is certain here is that losing him would hurt the Broncos in a big way. (h/t RSH, Esq)
Meanwhile, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie says the team could name a new head coach as soon as Saturday.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Two hard-fought, physical games ended with special teams gaffes last night, first the Patriots surviving a last-minute drive by the Ravens after Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard FG which would have sent the 23-20 game into overtime. Only moments prior, Ravens WR Lee Evans had a potential game-winning TD catch knocked out of his mitts; he actually had the ball with both feet on the ground, but Sterling Moore knocked it away at what was probably the last possible instant before the play would have been ruled a catch.
New England's opponent in the Super Bowl will be the Giants, who defeated the Niners 20-17 in overtime after being given the ball on the 49er 22-yard line when Kyle Williams fumbled a punt return for the second time in the game.
It will be the first Super Bowl rematch since the Cowboys pummelled the Bills in Supes 28 and 29, and the two teams got there in much the same manner as when the 10-6 Giants took down the 16-0 Patriots four years ago. These overdog Patriots won 13 games and took home-field advantage, while the Giants again overcame a sluggish start to their season and rumors of Tom Coughlin being on the hot seat before taking down both of the NFC's top seeds. However, this time the Pats open as three-point favorites instead of the 12-point line which preceded SB 42.
Enjoy the games, everyone!
In the Deadspin column TJ cited the other day, Drew Magary called out Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels for ruining the "Patriots Way" by their own actions. It’s true that neither Pioli nor McDaniels have found the nearly instant success that marked the rise of the New England Patriots, and this has been true of others who achieved well with Belichick too, although Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has been successful away from him.
That fact led to a spirited (and polite) discussion here of how people relate to Belichick and the NE success. It ranged from a stated personal hatred of Belichick and a perception of him as a failed coach and a less than brilliant man who has gotten lucky to the possibility that he’s very talented. The fact that Belichick hasn’t won a Super Bowl in several years was brought up, and the fact that BB "got lucky" on Tom Brady and the possibility that he has ridden Brady’s coat tails was also mentioned. There were also folks who defended him, in various degrees. The discussion ranged the full gamut on how people feel about Belichick. It was a good thread, not that long, but with lots of ideas and perspectives.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his column today, Woody Paige revisits his relationship with the late ex-owner of the Broncos, Edgar Kaiser Jr. It's an interesting read, especially when noting how the NFL has changed in the past thirty years, from what sounds like a whimsical hobby of billionaires to the serious moneymaker it is today. As Kaiser told Paige, his purchase of the franchise from the Phipps family was completed "in a matter of hours," and then-Colts owner Robert Irsay apparently chose Denver as John Elway's trade destination because Irsay had befriended the young Broncos owner.
Franchises swapping hands and moving cities on flip decisions, owners agreeing to trade star players and directing their GMs to do so; sure, it all seems quite haphazard in retrospect - but will the game ever be as fun as it was back then?
Will Tim Tebow be the Broncos starting QB in 2012?
Two minutes of your life you can’t get back:
In Tim Tebow, sports world gets needed role model — and he's hated
Tebow’s a challenging mirror to peer into. “We want to know at the end of the day that guy is one of us,” says Leslie Seppinni, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. “In Tim Tebow’s reflection, we are threatened by our own laziness to do the work, our self-centeredness, and our unwillingness to take a risk.” It’s easier to hope he face-plants into the Mt. Everest of coke than rise to his public example.
Another Tebow is a better human than you and you should be ashamed of yourself column, complete with Mike Vick dog fighting comps.
Yet there is some wisdom in the psychobabble above. Taking a risk in life is hard, requires thousands of hours of hard work, and it exposes you to criticism and failure. But Tebow--without even bringing into the discussion religion and politics--does pull the trigger on going for his dream. It's completely admirable.
Most people, on the other hand, whether they are evangelicals or not, live lives of quiet desperation, as Henry David Thoreau once said. They simply prefer to watch from the couch and either hope Tebow takes a dive or invest themselves emotionally in his success. In fact, the more of these lazy bastards there are out there, the better for Roger Goodell and his band of merry men. After all, the margins on jersey sales don't just create themselves, now, do they?
Bowles as DC might have worked against McCoy
McCoy, as I reported earlier in this space, was confident he was going to get the Dolphins job. At 39 years old, he was the only one of the finalists that fit into Stephen Ross’s desire to hire “a young Don Shula.”
But that’s not the reason McCoy was so confident. Turns out he was reading signs from the team. He gauged their enthusiasm following his first meeting with them Monday. And he was even more confident after flying to New York for a Thursday interview because that went a full eight hours—nine hours if you count the meal—and afterward general manager Jeff Ireland told McCoy that if things went as expected, the team would send a plane for McCoy and the family to bring them from Denver back to South Florida on Friday. But it never got to that point and McCoy thinks he knows the reason.
Seems during the McCoy interview, the topic of defensive coordinator came up. And the Dolphins told McCoy they really liked Todd Bowles and would like him to hire Bowles as the defensive coordinator.
At any rate, McCoy didn’t agree to hiring Bowles as his defensive coordinator. He told the Dolphins that as a first time head coach, and an offensive-minded coach at that, he’d like to hire an experienced defensive coordinator. He told the Dolphins he’d like someone that had done the job and succeeded in the job previously so he could concentrate more on upgrading the Miami offense.
Mike McCoy--flexible enough to change his entire offensive system, but apparently not flexible when it comes to defensive coordinators.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! By now, everyone knows that Mike McCoy lost out in his bid to become the head coach of the Dolphins, who instead chose Packers OC Joe Philbin. And while a certain segment of the fan base thinks they could do a better job of calling plays than him, there is no doubt that retaining McCoy is the best thing for Tim Tebow's future as a quarterback and with the Broncos. Unless he suddenly becomes a candidate for the Tampa or Indy job, or Reggie McKenzie overlooks McCoy's snub from earlier in the week, the former QB will be entering his third season as Denver's OC.
Just as was the case heading into the 2011 season, nothing could be more important for Tebow's development than continuity. Denver call-in shows have likely spent the week suggesting candidates to replace (and upgrade over) McCoy, but we should all be letting out a big sigh of relief. McCoy understands Tim's strengths and weaknesses and how he learns, and he's seen them on display everyday at Dove Valley for the past two years. He's already shown a willingness and commitment to adapt his playbook for Tebow in a way most OCs likely would not; can anyone imagine Mike Shanahan doing such a thing? Mike Martz? McCarthy? Payton? Think any of those offensive geniuses would take over the Broncos if they were forced to have Tebow as their starting QB?