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.
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?
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?
Per Adam Schefter: Filed to ESPN: Miami plans to hire Joe Philbin as its head coach.
This after Klis wrote that McCoy had a marathon 16-hour interview with the Dolphins over the last two days.
(Note: This is the first part in a
Epic mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; We'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011)
When John Elway and John Fox entered the 2011 season, one thing stood out above all others, and it had nothing to do with Tim Tebow.
The Broncos had a glut at the wide receiver position. Coming back were All-Pro Brandon "The Pretzel" Lloyd, jackknife Eddie Royal, Jabar "Steadyhands" Gaffney, and a whole host of hotshot whippersnappers like Eric "GQ" Decker, Demaryius "MiniTron" Thomas, Matthew "Don't call me Matt" Willis. Add in a hyped-up tight end class from the 2011 Draft and the Broncos had a problem.
Too many hands and not enough balls (yeah, I just wrote that).
At the same time, the Broncos had potential holes on the defensive line. Compounding the problem was the 2011 Draft, in which, for the second straight year, the Broncos completely ignored the defensive tackle.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel says the Dolphins are expected to announce their head coaching decision this morning, with Mike McCoy still considered the frontrunner by several sources. As Jeff Legwold notes, superagent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents several Dolphins, hit the airwaves yesterday saying he believes McCoy will be the choice. Meanwhile, Dave Hyde is reminding Miami fans that the team's most high profile coaching hires haven't worked out, so he suggests that hiring a lesser known coach like McCoy or Joe Philbin is perhaps preferable.
As for the Broncos, it will be interesting to see how McCoy structures his staff should he get the gig; usually departing coordinators are allowed to take an assistant or two from their old team with them. This is pure speculation, but one might figure the guys John Fox brought with him from Carolina would stick around, while any of Brian Callahan (quality control, offense), Clancy Barone (tight ends) or Eric Studesville (running backs), who were all hired by Josh McDaniels, could be more likely to go with McCoy. We've already heard that QB coach Adam Gase would likely become the new OC, with Buffs assistant Rip Scherer taking the QB coaching spot.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Word is that Tim Tebow's injuries from Saturday night would likely have kept him out of the AFC title game had the Broncos won; Barry Petchesky considers how Tebow and the Broncos should deal with this going forward. There were some comments yesterday noting that Tebow's injury occurred in the pocket, and so his being a running QB shouldn't mean he's more prone to injury than any other QB. But this is about Tim's style of play inviting more contact than other QBs take, because he is more often a runner without the in-the-pocket QB protections. He's just going to take more hits than other quarterbacks. Add in the ridiculous hype that surrounds him, and just like guys supposedly want to play harder for him? His opponents surely relish taking him down too - they also have extra motivation. Obviously, his size, strength and toughness help, but eventually the multitude of hits he takes will cost him.
What about Cam Newton? Well, the same can be said for him too, although Cam has a much better chance of success should the Panthers ever decide to put a rein on his running. And, who cares? Whatever the Panthers do with Cam Newton has nothing to do with whether Tebow can can survive the punishment.