Forget the first seed Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Any dreams of Denver stealing the AFC's top playoff seed have likely evaporated in the past five days, and in dramatic fashion.

After having survived a shootout during which Jacksonville had led by 14 points in the fourth quarter, before Mike Mularkey questionably went for it on 4th and 10 in overtime, Houston (10-1) again escaped - this time, with a 34-31 OT win over the Lions (4-7) in Detroit.

Yesterday, Kubes & Co. benefitted from an epic blown call by Walt Coleman's crew, a hotheaded brain fart by Jim Schwartz, and one of the dumbest rules on the NFL's books, to gain a free 81-yard touchdown on what should have been marked a seven-yard gain.

With Detroit up 24-14 midway through the third quarter, and the ball on the 19-yard line, Justin Forsett took a handoff and was clearly tackled at Houston's 26-yard line, but no whistle was blown. The back got up, ran the remaining 74 yards, and was awarded a touchdown.

Continue reading "Forget the first seed Lard"

Adventures in sports betting

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.  Today, I’m thankful for being on vacation, which basically has amounted to two different vacations.  My girlfriend and I flew into Las Vegas Friday afternoon, stayed there through Monday morning, and then drove over to Los Angeles, which is about a 4.5-hour drive.  My brother Chris lives in LA, and he and his wife recently welcomed a new Broncos fan to the world, so we’re doing Turkey Day in SoCal.

Today, I wanted to focus on the Vegas part, because it relates to football.  Really, I want to talk about gambling.  I would say that I’m a reasonably smart guy, and I hold two bachelors degrees and just finished my MBA.  My first degree was in finance, and that’s a fairly math-centric discipline, but the math isn’t difficult.  It’s algebra-based, and it mostly revolves around probability.

From that book learnin’, one thing I know is that over a long enough time period, sports betting is a surefire loser.  The reason why that’s the case is that on straight bets, sports books get you into asymmetric bets, where what you stand to win (if you win) is less than what you stand to lose (when you lose).

Continue reading "Adventures in sports betting"

Open Thread: Thanksgiving 2012

Andy Benoit, Doug Farrar, Bucky Brooks, and Benjamin Hoffman preview the day's games; PFF's breakdowns of Houston/Detroit, Washington/Dallas, and New England/Jets; Matt Bowen checks on the All-22 tape of RG3. Enjoy the games, and your turkey!

Continue reading "Open Thread: Thanksgiving 2012"

AFCW fans should be thankful for Clark Hunt Lard

Happy Thanksgiving, Broncos fans! A day after having given RB Steve Slaton a workout, the team auditioned former Chargers back Jacob Hester on Wednesday.

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos are likely to sign a running back this week to take the spot of Willis McGahee, which we'll translate to mean that Jeremiah Johnson won't be promoted from the practice squad.

Tracy Porter and Chris Kuper practiced fully on Wednesday, marking the first time Porter had done so in three weeks; Kuper had been no more than a limited participant since having suffered his ankle injury Week 9 at Cincinnati.

Champ Bailey got the day off and will practice today. Omar Bolden (concussion) did not practice, while Derek Wolfe (quad), Virgil Green (hamstring), and Demaryius Thomas (knee) were listed on the injury report as having been limited. Ronnie Hillman (hamstring) and Robert Ayers (groin) were listed on the report but were full participants.

Continue reading "AFCW fans should be thankful for Clark Hunt Lard"

A Second Helping of Danny Trevathan and Chris Harris covering tight ends

I wrote recently about the little things that build up to make a good team great. Developmental players who can handle the lights and the pressure of an NFL game are among the keys to any team competing for a chance at the playoffs, and that’s Denver’s goal this season.

The first player I mentioned was Danny Trevathan. Partly, that’s because Trevathan has excited me since I sat down with three of his college games and watched him - his speed, his fearlessness, and his tackling fundamentals all stood out, and I saw a player with a ton of potential.

There was a scouting report comment, repeated by several reports (which might have taken it from the same scout - most teams buy either BLESTO or National’s scouting reports as well as employing their own guys) that Trevathan had trouble in zone coverage despite his quickness - he was too often caught looking at the QB’s eyes and not seeing his man coming into his zone. In one of his games, I saw him do it, too. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t since been coached out of it.

Continue reading "A Second Helping of Danny Trevathan and Chris Harris covering tight ends"

Miller named Defensive POW; Quinn to start for KC

Von Miller has been named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his three-sack performance against the Chargers. It's the second time Von's received the award (2011, Week 11), and the sixth individual weekly honor given to a Bronco this season. Peyton Manning won a monthly award for his stellar October.

In other news, the Broncos will be facing their old teammate at Arrowhead on Sunday, as Romeo Crennel has announced that Brady Quinn will be this week's prey get the start at quarterback. Fortunately for Quinn, he'll be playing behind a line that features two of PFF's top-11-rated offensive tackles in Branden Albert and Eric Winston.

Report: McGahee to IR, could return; Slaton a possibility

Jay Glazer is reporting that the Broncos will place running back Willis McGahee on season-ending IR today.

Although there had been reports that the 31-year-old would be able to recover from his torn MCL and leg fracture in time for the playoffs, the team has obviously given up on that possibility.

Mike Klis reports that the move has not yet been finalized, and that Denver may designate McGahee as eligible to return. Adam Schefter is reporting that the decision has been made, and that the back could be back in time for the AFC Championship game, should Denver make it that far. Lindsay Jones has gotten confirmation of that from Denver PR man Patrick Smythe.

Continue reading "Report: McGahee to IR, could return; Slaton a possibility"

Brian Burke, NFL Consultant (Hire that man) Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Trout/Cabrera MVP voting notwithstanding, the baseball community has embraced statistical analysis more so than any other major sport.

MLB front offices are not only littered with so-called outsiders who utilize a blend of advanced metrics and scouting in their decision-making process, but a large portion of teams, led by the A's, Rays, Rangers, Indians, and Mets, are now run by these people.

Michael Lewis's bestselling book Moneyball glorified this way of thinking as employed by Billy Beane's Athletics, and the Red Sox went from cursed franchise to two-time World Series winner in no small part by studying the A's model. Tampa Bay has become a low-payroll powerhouse, winning an average of 91.6 games over the past five years despite having paid its players an average of just $57M per season over that span.

There's of course always been resistance from the baseball lifers and scouts, and the beat writers who think their access gives them a better understanding of how the game is played and won, this year's AL MVP voting a prime example.

Continue reading "Brian Burke, NFL Consultant (Hire that man) Lard"

Unfortunately for KC, they have to start someone at QB this week Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The big topic of discussion yesterday at Dove Valley was, of course, the injury to Wilis McGahee and how the Broncos will try to compensate for his loss.

Lance Ball, likely understanding that it's his own strongest suit in the race for McGahee's snaps, says picking up the blitz is the most important task for a Denver running back, while Ronnie Hillman admits he's still got some work to do in that facet of the game.

Knowshon Moreno, who is expected to be activated for the first time since Week 2 at Atlanta, says that not playing has allowed the knee injury which ended his 2011 season to heal completely.

Will McGahee's absence harm the Broncos' ability to rely heavily upon 11 personnel? Unfortunately, the prospects of that being the case are strong to very strong.

The bright side of the injury coin is the growing likelihood the Broncos will have Chris Kuper back in the starting lineup Sunday at Arrowhead.

Continue reading "Unfortunately for KC, they have to start someone at QB this week Lard"

Open Thread, Cutler/Marshall Schadenfreude: MNF Week 11 - Bears @ 49ers

Andy BenoitSam Monson, and Benjamin Hoffman break down the matchup, for which Alex Smith has been ruled out. Here are the rest of the inactives; Jay Cutler will not play either, so it's a Jason Campbell/Colin Kaepernick special! Enjoy the game!

Continue reading "Open Thread, Cutler/Marshall Schadenfreude: MNF Week 11 - Bears @ 49ers"