Would a division title now be good for the Broncos in the long term?

Broncos Win By Losing
dailydickpunch.com

Well, it was a really fun ride. Stop laughing, I’m serious. It was a blast going 7-1 down that magical stretch when things just started falling into place for the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately every lucky streak — and that’s what it was, don’t kid yourself — must come to an end at some point. After the Patriots game I still thought that the Broncos would win out, make the playoffs, and could even win a playoff game at home. I see nothing. And if I’m being honest, I have no desire to see this version of this team playing an obviously superior Pittsburgh or New England in the “real season” of the playoffs.

I actually rooted for the Broncos to lose the season finale last year, and coming up short against San Diego likely made the difference between Denver landing Von Miller at #2 rather than someone else at #5 or #6. I'm more interested in sustained success and SB titles than a win here and there, so I can certainly see where Sam is coming from here. And, there's always the (likely) chance that the bar be set inappropriately high next year by both fans and punditry should the Broncos win the West:

They were a playoff team last year. Couple more pieces and they're contenders.

But Tebow carried them to the playoffs. Of course he's the future!

There is value in making the playoffs, especially in the form of experience for young players and cash in Mr. B's pockets. But what if the Broncos are just this year's version of the 2010 Chiefs? Would a division title now be more costly down the road?

The Daily Lard 12-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver made a surprising move yesterday, waiving Quan Cosby and bringing back FB Austin Sylvester. Cosby had been an effective return man for much of the season, with a 10.0-yard average on 27 punts and a 26.9-yard average on 17 kickoffs, before muffing a punt against New England and being a healthy scratch against Buffalo. Cosby's release leaves Eddie Royal and Eric Decker as punt returners, with Matt Willis presumably returning kickoffs (he returned seven kicks Sunday for a 19.7-yard average).

Denver also waived FB Will Ta’ufo’ou from the practice squad and added TE Cornelius Ingram in his place.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-28-11"

Fifty Million Evangelicals Can Be Wrong

Tebow has ways to go to win respect as QB from fellow players
www.nfl.com

It should be noted, by the way, that Tebow’s most recent falter against the Bills, which included four interceptions, occurred after the Pro Bowl vote. Tebow’s season was instead judged on his seven wins and two losses (to playoff teams Detroit and New England). 

While he might forever muster a respectable portion of the fan vote (which accounts for one-third of the overall selection process), attaining the vote of the players and coaches (which each also account for one-third) will be a different story.

Surprise, Romeo Crennel wants to win

Romeo Crennel to use Chiefs' starters
espn.go.com

Few people outside Oakland would begrudge the Chiefs for taking it easy against Denver. Crennel doesn’t expect that to be the case, though. He plans to put his best team on the field rather than get some young players in for the experience, guys like rookie quarterback Ricky Stanzi who have spent the majority of the season on the practice squad or the sideline.

“Every game that you play, the guy has to look in the mirror and know he’s giving his best effort to try to win the game,” Crennel said. “I think that’s the case Sunday with Denver, every guy on the team, the coaches included. Like I said, it’s never one guy.”

It's wishful thinking to suggest that Romeo Crennel approach Week 17 against the Broncos as if it doesn't matter. 

It's also comical.  Hey Romeo, um, listen, would you mind playing your practice squad quarterback this game, you know, for experience?  We know you want to coach again in this league and want to win bad, but let's pull back on that fire a bit and let Ricky Stanzi play this thing out.  He could be the real deal.  

Three Broncos to Pro Bowl; six are alternates

Although the NFL is set to officially announce the Popularity Contest Pro Bowl rosters at 7PM ET, word has slipped out that Broncos stars Von Miller, Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil have made the AFC squad. Ryan Clady, Britton Colquitt, Brian Dawkins, Willis McGahee, Matt Prater and Tim Tebow have been named as alternates. This marks Champ's 11th selection in his 13-year career, while for Dumervil it's his second.

Observations from a debacle

Happy Tuesday, friends.  I have limited time today, due to a confluence of continuing holiday activities and the continuation of my year-end financial close, so I’m just going to share some observations from my fantastic trip to Buffalo on Saturday. 

a.  It’s really pretty funny, but Tim Tebow looked great in warmups before the game, and during the game.  Whenever he was just making throws in non-game situations, the throws were perfectly on-target, and his delivery looked excellent.  Didn't his reputation used to be that he couldn't make a throw in warmups?  Maybe it was bizarro Tim on Saturday – good in practice, shaky in the fourth quarter of actual games?

Seriously, though, of the interceptions I witnessed in person, there were three flavors of them.  The first one was a good decision and a very good job extending the play, but a terrible overthrow of Demaryius Thomas.  The second pick was a case of staring down Eric Decker and not looking off a Cover-1 Safety; Tebow needs to get better at looking away from the intended receiver, because Decker had his corner beat, and the throw was good, if Jairus Byrd isn’t able to jump it.

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Wilson: Tebow still improving, but Buffalo perfected game plan Patriots introduced

Tracking Tebow, Week 16: Defenses are catching on
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

A week after New England worked to contain Tebow in the pocket and forced him to win the game with his arm, Buffalo perfected the game plan. The Bills usually rushed four, dropped seven into coverage, made sure Tebow didn’t break the pocket for long runs, and made him squeeze throws into tight windows, often with disastrous results.

But don’t mistake the Bills’ game plan for Tebow reverting to the form that had him embarrassed by the Lions back in October. He continues to improve, even if incrementally. The problem: as defenses become more comfortable recognizing and attacking the Broncos’ option scheme, Denver will need to find ways to adapt. And that will mean using Tebow in more conventional ways. Can they (he) do it?

The Daily Lard 12-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Nick Canepa, the Chargers will fire Norv Turner at some point next week, and there's a good chance that A.J. Smith will be joining him. For his two cents, Canepa thinks firing Smith would be a mistake, and he says not only that rumors of Bill Cowher already having interviewed for Turner's gig are untrue, but that San Diego owner Dean Spanos is unlikely to hire one person to handle both the GM and head coaching duties - something Cowher is said to be seeking.

If Smith retains the GM gig, Canepa is hearing that Jeff Fisher could be interested in joining the Chargers, but he says Smith's closeness to Jon Gruden makes Chucky the best fit for the job, if not the most likely successor to Turner. Meanwhile, Kevin Acee writes that should Spanos drop the axe on Smith, the Rams will pounce and hire the egomaniacal pair of A.J. and Chucky. This would apparently send current Rams HC Steve Spagnuolo back to Philly as their DC, and of course it also would free up Josh McDaniels (this part is my speculation) to potentially be reunited with Scott Pioli in KC as either his head coach or handpicked OC - perhaps under Romeo Crennel.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-27-11"

Will Von Miller lose Defensive Rookie of the Year?

Miller's production has slipped after injury
espn.go.com

Miller, the No. 2 overall draft pick, needs three sacks Sunday at Kansas City to tie Jevon Kearse’s rookie record of 14.5 sacks, set in 1998. San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, the No. 7 overall draft pick, has 14 sacks. He has 6.5 sacks since Miller’s injury. It will be interesting to see who wins the NFL defensive rookie of the year award. Miller has been on the field more than Smith and has he had a bigger impact throughout the year, but Smith’s sacks numbers may be difficult to deny even though Miller has 29 more tackles than Smith.

Williamson raises a fair point that wouldn't have been even remotely possible three weeks ago.  As we know, and as John Elway confirmed this morning, Miller's hand injury has affected his sack totals.  But do sack numbers mean more than overall production?  Let's just quickly throw down the lines of both players"

Name Team  Snaps  QB Sacks  QB Hits  QB Pressures  Tackles  Assists  Stops 
 Aldon Smith SF 446 14 12 30 12 2 22
 Von Miller DEN 873 11.5 19 28 41 8 41

I could have easily turned all of these into rate stats (sacks/snap, etc.), but they would essentially show the same thing: Aldon Smith has been more productive as a pass rusher, while Miller has been more productive overall. We're clearly biased here at IAOFM. We think Miller is the next Derrick Thomas, but with the chops to also play the running game. Does that mean he's Defensive Rookie of the Year?  In our minds, it certainly does.

Maher breaks the first rule of satire

Bill Maher Slams Tim Tebow on Twitter
www.opposingviews.com

On Saturday, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos had a very bad day as they lost to the Buffalo Bills 40 - 14.  That led so-called comedian Bill Maher to tweet: “Wow, Jesus just f****d #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.’
Fox News’ Eric Bolling responded:  “Bill Maher is disgusting vile trash. I can’t even repeat what he just tweeted about Tebow..on Christmas Eve. #straighttohellBill”

Eventually I'll learn not to dip my toe into these things, but until then, here we go.  I get satire; I get hyperbole; in fact, I engage in a fair amount of it myself. Sometimes, I'll even get a reader who emails me upset until I remind them that they shouldn't read every headline I write literally until reading the story.

When you're a young and impressionable man, they send you--cleanly shaven, of course--to Satire School. On the first day, before they assign you lockers, they write on the chalkboard the fundamental rule: No Hitler jokes.

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