Open Thread: Sunday Week 17

Inactive for Denver are Caleb Hanie, Trindon Holliday, Tracy Porter, Chris Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, C.J. Davis, and Sealver Siliga. Chris Kuper will dress, but Manny Ramirez gets the start at right guard and should play the bulk of the plays.

Kansas City's inactives are T Branden Albert, DE Tyson Jackson, WR Josh Bellamy, QB Ricky Stanzi, S Abram Elam, RB Nate Eachus, and OL Rich Ranglin.

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Game Day Limerick: Kansas City Chiefs

A lot of things happen when you get on a winning streak.  One of those things is that you forget your responsibilities--namely, a game-day limerick.

So here goes (in pure-form anapests):

It's the last of the games of the year
for the AFC West to revere
     the appeal of the pass
     and a hoof up their ass:
it is Manning and Denver to fear.

Thanks to my boy Alaskan for reminding me of my responsibilities.  Feel free to give it your own shot (anapestic or not) below.  Just remember, crude and lewd is quite shrewd, dude.

We’ve come a long, long way Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Hard to believe it, but the end of the regular season is already here today.

We've all understandably had our eyes to the future - on playoff seeds and scenarios, and dreams of a Broncos trip to New Orleans. And incredibly, after years of mediocrity or worse, last week brought a 34-12 home blowout that was, for all intents and purposes, boring.

It's amazing how drastically things have changed in the nine months since Peyton Manning showed up, and the two-and-a-half months since the team trailed 24-0 at halftime in San Diego. We're already taking blowouts for granted, after having endured, almost exactly a year ago, an excruciating 7-3 home loss to Kansas City in a win-and-they're-in scenario.

364 days later, the Broncos again will host the Chiefs to close out the regular season, and once again, the game has significant playoff implications.

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A Second Helping of Derek Wolfe against the Browns

I’ve been an unabashed supporter of Derek Wolfe for quite some time now - I like his game. It might be easy to forget that I’ve also listed the concerns that I’ve had with his play, starting prior to the draft:

The first problem that I noticed with Wolfe was that oddly, despite his substantial college production and decent test times, he looked somewhat slower in the drills. He lacks some of the lower body development that I thought I’d see, based on the games I'd watched. Explosion, particularly on his first step, seemingly isn’t his forte, which is odd. I’ve seen him blow past an OL player, and I’ve seen him pretty much standing still when they got their hands into him, and I’m not sure which is the real Wolfe - probably both of them. He has several decent pass-rushing moves, including a nice rip move, and that’s not common among college players, but he also forgets how to use his hands and arms on other plays. That was true in the few games that I saw him - hardly enough for a full scouting report, but it matched well enough to those I have.

He cannot smoothly handle a double team and will often end up on the ground when faced with those - you can help him out schematically in degree, but that’s a problem at the next level. It’s back to his lack of good lower body strength and a resulting inability to anchor: his balance and ability to use leverage also play into that.

I’ve seen evidence of those pre-draft concerns at times this year, but I’ve also seen them diminishing.

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I’ll be damned - a self-aware and conscientious sportswriter

T.J. Quinn, a former baseball beat writer, and one of the two key reporters on the BALCO case and other baseball PED matters, has decided not to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But too often, I've seen writers use their votes as a way to punish or reward players, and I don't think journalists should be in that position. I don't see voting for the Hall of Fame as the equivalent of a political reporter voting for a candidate; it's more like a political reporter serving in the Electoral College. I liked having that power, but I just can't justify it.

This is a really prominent and respected guy, doing a really unusual thing, and he's doing it for extraordinarily sensible reasons.  I'm shocked, and I commend Mr. Quinn.

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McCoy, JDR reportedly prepping for bye-week job interviews Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While the Broncos and other teams are prepping for the postseason, with an eye tomorrow toward playoff seeding, many other franchises are ready to dump their coaches, perhaps as early as Monday.

It's apparently known around the NFL as Black Monday, but someone probably needs to come up with a more accurate moniker, given the difficulty black coaches still have in finding opportunities as head coaches, and even rarer, offensive play callers. Perhaps Not-Black Monday would be more appropriate.

As for the field of candidates and job openings, each got at least one smaller last night, as Sean Payton agreed to a new five-year deal with the Saints. Not only does that settle the situation in New Orleans, but it also makes Payton unavailable to Jerrah Jones and the Cowboys, further ensuring Jason Garrett's job security in Dallas.

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Blow your mind watching Peyton Manning’s highlights as a Denver Bronco

Thanks to Zachary Gonzales for knitting together this quilt of beastliness.

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STDL: Sunday a foregone conclusion?

So, the Chiefs suck, the Broncos are well-rounded and still improving, and may be the best team in the NFL.

The kickoff time for Pats/Dolphins has been shifted to 4:25pm ET, in order to coincide with Broncos/Chiefs, and ensure that Denver has something to play for.

Should be a blowout, right?

Probably, but the Broncos were supposed to have emerged from Kansas City with more than the eight-point victory they did a month ago.

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Homefield Advantage still mulling over potential ski trip to Denver

Denver--With Week 17 almost in the books, Homefield Advantage is still weighing his options.

Faced with the prospect of Houston, Denver, or New England, the elusive recluse, who has vacationed in New England during the last two years, could only say: "I've not made any decision yet."

It's thought that the Houston Texans may have the inside edge due to Houston's mild winter climate, but Denver's ski slopes could also be a deciding factor.  It's unlikely, though, that Homefield Advantage would want a third straight trip to the bitter wind and cold of New England.  By Friday morning, he wasn't giving anything away.

"I love Aspen," he said.  "The girls on the slopes are pretty stacked, if you know what I mean.  And I've not seen Denver since I freebased some NoDoz on gameday with Mark Brunell in '96.  But, listen, I also love moon rocks, too.  Isn't that where Kennedy was shot?  Wait, is Dallas out of this thing yet?"

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Must have been the LOLJets’ cook Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! So, turns out that the UT™ didn't actually demand out of the LOLJets Wildcat package, thus preserving his reputation as someone who would never tell a lie. Neat little trick by the Tebow camp:

One last word on what was effectively a Tim Tebow mutiny. A source close to the situation explained that Tebow didn't say directly to coach Rex Ryan that he would no longer play in the wildcat after learning he was being passed over for Greg McElroy. But this fact was definitely conveyed to the Jets from a member of the Tebow camp -- with Tebow's knowledge -- to the Jets.

Tebow is a good human being. There's no question about that, but there's also no question this was blatant insubordination. It doesn't matter if Tebow later came to his senses and told Ryan he would do whatever the team needed. It was too late.

If almost any other player had pulled a stunt like this, they'd be pilloried by fans. The same should happen to Tebow.

Yeah, we know - Timmy played hard for the Broncos in 2011. Big whoop. Does that mean the other 52 guys on the roster didn't?

Why was it okay to call all summer long for D.J. Williams's head while excusing everything from the UT™? Did D.J. - who was the team's leading tackler and third-leading sack man - not play hard last year too? Can anyone really be sure the Broncos would have made the playoffs without D.J.?

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