The Broncos are again without S Brian Dawkins at practice today due to the neck injury referred to two weeks ago as potentially being a career ender. FB Spencer Larsen is also out of action and expected to miss Sunday's game against the Steelers as a result of a knee sprain suffered against Kansas City.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh addressed their injury-plagued running back corps by adding Chad Spann from their practice squad and placing LB Chris Carter on IR to create space for him on the roster. The promotion of Spann was prompted by the season-ending knee injury to Rashard Mendenhall and the strong possibility that Mewelde Moore will be unable to go due to his own knee injury.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Most of the injury talk concerning the Steelers has centered around who will be absent for Pittsburgh (RB Rashard Mendenhall, S Ryan Clark), but unfortunately for Denver, the Steelers should be getting a pair of key players back in time for Sunday's game. Starting left guard Doug Legursky and linebacker LaMarr Woodley are expected to play; HC Mike Tomlin described Legursky as having a "strong chance" of returning to the starting lineup, and he said Woodley "is going to be capable of playing in the football game."
Legursky had missed the season finale against the Browns, and Woodley has been out for six of PIttsburgh's last eight games.
Denver has signed LB Brian Iwuh and released S Kyle McCarthy to create a spot for him. Iwuh is an ex-CU Buff who was a top special teams player for the Bears but was unexpectedly released on November 29th at a time Chicago was considering extending his contract. Iwuh is in his sixth NFL season, having spent his first four years with Jacksonville before joining the Bears in 2010, and has been credited with 115 tackles, one sack and three forced fumbles in his career. At the time of his release by the Bears, he was their leading special teams tackle with 14.
We decided not to do Chewing the Fat on Sunday, as New Year’s Eve recovery efforts remained underway at 4:15 PM ET. I went out of my way not to overdrink on Saturday night, so I’m pretty spry, and I decided to do a running diary of both the Broncos game and the one between the Raiders and Chargers. I’m hoping for simultaneous excitement that comes across as compelling writing. If the games disappoint, at least you’ll get my on-the-fly thoughts on both games.
Step into my man-cave:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis naturally fields a bunch of questions blaming Sunday's loss on the coaching staff, namely Mike McCoy. Yet as he notes, Tim Tebow attempted 51 passes over the past two weeks, and he completed just 19 of them. Somehow that's the coaches' fault? Oh, brother.
Meanwhile, Dave Krieger raises an interesting point - will sneaking into the playoffs the way they did (by winning a tiebreaker over one slightly underachieving 8-8 team and a fellow craptastic one*) serve to set the franchise back in the longer term? Will they commit to building around this offensive offense they've been running?
* I know, you are what your record says you are, right? And the Broncos must be better than the Chargers and Raiders because the rules say they are, right? Not quite. Thanks to our friendly Pythagorean wins, we can divulge that the Broncos and Raiders were 8-8 teams that more closely resembled 6-10 teams, while the Chargers were more like a 9-7 team. Blech.
Denver has reportedly signed Jeremy Jarmon, Cyril Obiozor and Ramzee Robinson to future contracts. Jarmon had been acquired by the Broncos in exchange for WR Jabar Gaffney in July before failing to make Denver's 53-man roster in September. The 24-year-old DE was originally taken by the Redskins in the third round of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. Obiozor is a third-year LB who has had stints with the Packers, Chargers and Rams, while Robinson is a fourth-year CB who was a seventh-round pick by the Lions in 2007 and has also been a member of the Eagles and Browns.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Believe it or not, your Denver Broncos are the 2011 AFC West Champions and the AFC's fourth seed; they will host the Pittsburgh Steelers (the fifth seed) in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday at 4:30PM ET on CBS; Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will again be
excusing every Tim Tebow misstep calling the game.
As for how they got there, the Broncos may have redefined the term "backing into the playoffs" as they lost a 7-3 stinker to the Chiefs which was characterized by the same brand of inept offensive Foxball they've played for most of the past eleven weeks. It was the team's third straight loss and included two more turnovers by Tim Tebow, but San Diego's 38-26 victory over Oakland enabled the Broncos to take the division title via common opponents tiebreaker over both the Raiders and Chargers, who also finished at 8-8.
On a day when the scoreboards at SAFaMH did not display the score of the Oakland/San Diego game, the Broncos and Tebow were playing what they knew to be a must-win game, and what they came up with amounted to three gifted points (after taking over on the KC 20 following a muffed punt by Javier Arenas) and 266 yards of offense on 71 plays. On 11 of its 12 possessions, Denver failed to move the ball more than 36 yards, and the one time they did so (a 70-yard march to start off the second quarter), yet another fumble by Tebow (his 13th of the season) during a rare would-be third-down conversion snuffed out what was an almost guaranteed three points and perhaps even seven.
|Kansas City||Kansas City|
|San Diego||San Diego|
|Tampa Bay||New England|
John Elway said he was willing to risk his Broncos legacy with a turn on the dance floor as Executive Vice President.
His headband and leotard were predominately orange, his leg warmers and wrist bands blue; he was ready to strut his stuff.
His decision to unload his previous dance partner, Kyle Orton, after Week 7 saved the Broncos $2.6 million.
Today that decision didn't matter much. The Broncos limped into the playoffs despite Elway's move.
In the street (and on the turf) a pitiful b-boy battle ensued between Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton. It was marked by some really bad quarterback play. Kyle Orton hardly mattered. Tim Tebow mattered even less. In the end, however, it was an attempted headspin by the Oakland Raiders that won the day for the crew from Denver. As it turns out, Hue Jackson's trade for Carson Palmer was one of the worst in history, not the best. Palmer slipped badly on the linoleum.
Welcome to the real dance, Broncos fans--the NFL playoffs. I guess we should be glad the Broncos fell backwards based on the third tiebreaker. Somehow, right now, that's not comforting. Perhaps the Steelers will lose their starting running back, starting QB, and, just perhaps, their first wide receiver. Then we can get excited.
Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Broncos and Chargers! Denver's inactives today are S Brian Dawkins, FB Austin Sylvester, LB Mike Mohamed, G Manny Ramirez, T Tony Hills, TE Julius Thomas, and DE Derrick Harvey. For KC, QB Tyler Palko, S Jon McGraw, OL David Mims, WR Jerheme Urban, TE Jake O’Connell, DL Brandon Bair, and DL Jerrell Powe are scratched.