Interesting matchup today, right? Have you ever seen so much talk about a regular-season game featuring an eight-point spread (the third-biggest one behind Packers/Chiefs and Saints/Vikings)? It's pretty bizarre, but that's the power of Tim Tebow. He's all anyone ever wants to talk or read about (just ask Skip Bayless about his show's ratings), except of course for when the author/commentator's viewpoint doesn't match that of the readers/viewers/listeners.
This is the animal we're dealing with. Anyway, big betting line or not, this is an exciting day to be a Broncos fan, because we get to see how our team measures up against NFL royalty (if not the far-from-perfect class of the conference). Let's see how the two teams match up.
Tim Tebow attempted 40 passes last week, so he finally qualifies to be ranked in NFL QB rate stats. In terms of traditional QB rating, Tebow sits at 14th among 32 qualifiers at 83.9, and in terms of PFR's NY/A and ANY/A he ranks 29th and 18th, respectively, out of 32 quarterbacks.
Those rankings aren't so bad, especially relative to the criticism lobbed at Tebow's play from folks like, well, this guy. Of course, the whole point of doing this is to see how much Tebow's running adds to his offensive contribution to the Broncos as compared to other QBs who run less, or not as well. Let's see how the numbers have changed since the first and second weeks we've done this.
Need I say more?
As the Broncos prepare to face the Pats' lethal passing attack, they have made another move to bolster their secondary. After bringing back CB Tony Carter on Tuesday and releasing S Kyle McCarthy, they've decided to re-sign McCarthy to their active roster and waived FB Quinn Johnson to open a spot for him.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! PFF has a new feature called The Scramble, featuring the writing of four different analysts about a given topic. The first installment covers late-round rookies who've excelled, and Chris Benson chose to profile Denver nickel corner Chris Harris, who of course wasn't even invited to the Combine, even less drafted or talked about by draft pundits.
As Benson sees it, Harris has been the most valuable rookie corner in the league, and in his limited play (331 snaps) Harris ranks second only to Antoine Winfield in terms of run stopping rate. Benson doesn't see Harris becoming a shutdown corner due to the physical limitations which kept him so far under the radar in the first place, but he thinks his smarts, physicality and work ethic could help him peak as a #2 corner or career nickel corner. Either result would be great if Harris were drafted perhaps anywhere outside the top 20 picks or so. But from a guy not drafted or invited to Indy? Beyond remarkable.
Of course, Harris isn't alone - several key Broncos went undrafted, including Wesley Woodyard, Britton Colquitt, Matt Prater and Lonie Paxton.
Happy Friday, friends. It’s time to Digest the New England Patriots. This isn’t the same Patriots team that we’re used to, and the Broncos obviously aren’t the same Broncos team that Tom Brady and company are used to losing to, so it should be very interesting.
Off the top, it’s interesting that the Patriots are seven-point favorites on the road against a team that has won six straight games. I almost never talk about betting lines, because I don’t believe in betting on sports, but this is an interesting bit of narrative psychology to me. The media has set a narrative around the Broncos such that Joe Six-pack is led to believe that there was some magic happening, and a plucky QB who loves his Jesus was behind it, but just wait until the Tebows play the Bradys. The Tebows will come back to Earth. People are betting heavy for the Patriots, obviously, I think because they think in terms of media narratives.
Of course, I think conflating a whole team with its QB is completely stupid. There’s so much happening on a football field on any play that it’s silly to just focus on who’s throwing the ball. As always, today, we’re going to explore the rest of the story.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! As Dave Krieger points out, John Fox is now the first NFL coach to win three OT games in a single season for two different teams, as his 2003 Panthers played in five extra-session games including one in the playoffs, and winning four of them. Interestingly, Fox's teams have only been to overtime three times in his other eight seasons, and when combined, those '03 Panthers and these '11 Broncos are 7-1 in overtime.
Another crazy set of numbers? Those two squads are a combined 19-10 despite a mediocre minus-12 in point differential. Naturally, a point differential like that would suggest a record more along the lines of 14-15 or 15-14. Luck? Great coaching? Crappy offenses? Conservative coaching? Obviously, it's a combination of all of those. Perhaps at some point we'll take a look at OT coaching records and how they compare to regulation records. OT records will of course provide tiny samples, but it'd be interesting to see if they mirror a coach's overall record as he coaches more OT games.
Brian Dawkins and Andre' Goodman were both back at practice today for Denver, pretty much a prerequisite for the Broncos to have any chance at winning Sunday.
Meanwhile, plenty of news involving old friends - PFW is hearing Josh McDaniels is the current frontrunner to replace Handshake Haley in Kansas City, it appears that Kyle Orton will be starting for the Chiefs on Sunday, and Wade Phillips had surgery on his kidney and gall bladder.
Obviously, McDaniels ending up in KC would be a perpetual fountain of storylines - Denver's most emphatic victory of last season came at the Chiefs' expense and ended in the infamous non-handshake, the rematch in KC three weeks later would be McDaniels' final game as Denver's coach, and of course his pursuit of Matt Cassel led to the trade of Jay Cutler in return for Orton and the draft picks that would eventually be part of Denver acquiring Tim Tebow.
Lastly, this Sam Hurd story is only going to get more and more interesting - not only was Hurd apparently one of the biggest dealers in Chi-town, but the police have a list of fellow NFL players Hurd dealt to.