Happy Tuesday, friends! Step up to the buffet for a serving. This is going to be shorter than in some weeks, because I’m putting more effort than normal into the next edition of Fat Camp. That’s going to be about NFL economics and how they affect the CBA negotiations, and as you can imagine that’s not a topic that can be covered in any value-adding way without writing a lot of words, and doing a lot of research about it. I could have included it here, but I wanted to publish it under separate cover for a few reasons. Honestly, I'd already started working on it over the weekend, but I’m tabling it for the time being so I can bring you YGS as regularly scheduled. Let’s get right to it. Ready…. BEGIN!
1. Sunday’s games were both excellent in the end after having started off in lopsided fashion. I think what that tells us is that each of the four teams was worthy of being there. Here are some thoughts from the Packers-Bears game:
a. I’m such a smart analyst that I thought the Bears would be a 4-12 team this year, but they played much better than I'd expected them to. When I said that, after their lucky/undeserved win against Detroit in Week 1, their offensive line looked so atrocious that I couldn’t imagine them having a good season. A lot of credit goes to offensive line coach Mike Tice for shuffling his group and putting them in the best position to be successful. A key was realizing that Chris Williams is much better at Left Guard than he is at Left Tackle - just like Oakland experienced with Robert Gallery. Yeah, you used a first-rounder on the guy - but if he can be solid in a new spot, and he’s lousy in the one you drafted him for, you move him to where he’s solid, and get the most you can out of the guy. It still makes me chuckle that when I was a newish rank-and-file poster at MHR in the spring of 2008, I was getting hit HARD for publicly preferring Ryan Clady over Chris Williams. I was the guy who didn’t know what I was talking about. Everybody LOVED Chris Williams and Earl Bennett, and Denver was going to become Vanderbilt West, and the winning tradition of the Commodores would be transplanted into the Broncos. Or something.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Broncos announced last night that Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen would become their new defensive coordinator, their sixth in six seasons. Denver will have had a new coordinator for five straight seasons, starting with Jim Bates in 2007, followed by Bob Slowik, Mike Nolan, Wink Martindale and now Allen. Allen has worked for two seasons under the leadership of Saints DC Gregg Williams, who declined an interview with the Broncos for their head-coaching position. He coached the defensive backs in New Orleans for three seasons, and in 2010 the Saints allowed the fewest TD passes in the NFL. They also ranked 4th in fewest attempts and yards allowed, but were last in the league in interceptions despite Williams' penchant for the blitz. During the Saints' championship season of 2009, Allen's group ranked 26th in passing yards but allowed the 5th-fewest passing TDs and were 3rd in the NFL in interceptions.
As reported by the Denver Post last hour, the Broncos have hired Dennis Allen, secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints as their new defensive coordinator.
Doug Lee will have more on this story in the morning, but I'm comfortable with this move. Perhaps Allen has learned a few tricks from Greg Williams, current defensive coordinator for the Saints. Williams is known for his ultra-aggressive blitzes. One has to believe Allen has been playing close attention.
The Associated Press announced its 2010 All-Pro Team. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is a second teamer and the Broncos' only representative. The 29-year old Lloyd led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards along with his 77 receptions and 11 touchdowns. All were career highs for the eighth-year player, who also tied for second in the league in receiving first downs with 72 - one behind league leader and first-team All-Pro Roddy White. Lloyd's 93.5% first-down rate was tops in the league for all receivers with more than three receptions. Lloyd was also selected to the Pro Bowl and is under contract with Denver through the 2011 season.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yeah, I went there. Overplayed, oft-criticized, end-of-the-nineties one-hit wonder - everyone loved it for about 5 minutes and then got tired of the song's arrogance in calling out one of the most remarkable musicians of our time, among other established stars. Sounds sort of like Jay Cutler, doesn't it? The New Radicals challenging Beck to a fight isn't dissimilar to Jay Cutler saying he had a stronger arm than John Elway, is it? No need to rehash here all of the reasons we can't stand Jay. But at least we no longer stick out as Jay's jilted and jealous ex-fans - we're now just part of the crowd. Everyone hates Jay Cutler, apparently.
Did Jay Cutler quit on his team today in Chicago?
As much as I hate Cutler, I want to say yes. But the truth is, we really don't know. Cutler had the same poor mechanics when he came out injured during the third quarter as he had on the first series. So it's hard to tell from his play.
The early story coming out of Chicago is that Cutler has torn ligaments in his knee; it was Lovie Smith's decision to keep him out of the game.
You'd think that might stop the fans dead in their tracks and give them some measured perspective.
For the most part, it has (outside of some Bears fans burning Cutler's jerseys). One can't say the same for current and former NFL players, though.
Cutler isn't just being criticized by players, he's being crucified.
Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Packers!
Watching the playoffs is a yearly pleasure for me. Almost regardless of who’s playing, I tend to enjoy the games in great part because you get to see the top players competing at their very best. The cerebral/physical chess matches of Dick LeBeau, the visceral, physical matchup that is the Ravens/Steelers matchups, the bitter feud of the Jets and Patriots and the opportunity to see who gets hot late in the season and who goes home are all part of the essence of this year’s games. Last Saturday, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers put on a quarterbacking clinic against the Falcons, completing an otherworldly 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards, 3 TDs and zero INTs. On the Sunday pregame shows as well as the Saturday night sports shows, former players and coaches extolled the precision of his footwork, his remarkable mechanics and the speed of his release. I watched his mobility as well and at the end, realized that he was the first NFL QB in history to throw for 3 TDs in each of his first three playoff games. I enjoyed every minute of watching Rodgers play that game, and it took me back a couple of years to a story I had read about the young man. It explained a lot about how he got to this point, and within it there’s a lesson worth recalling for the Broncos' future prospects.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! These things are rolling out once a week now - the DP and the stake-burning crowd got Josh McDaniels fired, and now the very same
hacks journalists are finally sharing their Jay Cutler info, but two years too late for McDaniels' good. Last week it was Rick Reilly writing that Cutler wouldn't even restrain his petulance for the likes of John Lynch and John Elway. Today, Klis cites three sources who say that Cutler demanded a trade the very day McDaniels was announced as head coach. For the past two years, we've been told by the entire national and local sports media that what caused Cutler to demand a trade was that McDaniels listened to a trade offer involving Matt Cassel. It was McDaniels' foolishness, arrogance and desire to remake the Broncos out of former Patriots that caused him to listen to a trade offer. When Cutler caught wind of this, his undies got bundled he was enraged and only then demanded a trade, or so the story had gone.
Just when you think it's safe to turn out the lights, Brian Xanders scares the hell out of you.
Like most Broncos fans, I was beginning to accept that Joe Ellis, John Elway, and Brian Xanders simply won't discuss what Xanders did or didn't do under Josh McDaniels' reign of fire. Despite the fact that Elway and Ellis are now presenting the Broncos as an open choose-your-own-adventure book--complete with Twitter requests for head-coaching candidates--I was beginning to move on with the understanding that the fans are supposed to readily accept that the search for a general manager wasn't going any farther than Arvada. I was even prepared to drink some Xanders-laced Kool-Aid. He can't possibly screw up the 2nd-overall pick, I thought.
But then came freaky Friday.