Bite-size Nuggets

Should Denver try to trade for Jordan Gross?

The NFL's trade deadline is still 4.5 weeks away (4pm ET on Tue, Oct 29), and no team (except for the Browns) is ready to cut bait on 2013.

Of course, trades can occur anytime between now and then, and Robert Mays has a few ideas, including one that would have Denver send a fifth-round pick to Carolina in exchange for left tackle Jordan Gross:

Why the Broncos should pick up the phone: With Ryan Clady done for the year, Denver’s only real weakness appears to be at left tackle. Replacement Chris Clark played very well against Lamarr Houston on Monday night, but Gross is a proven commodity. Denver has the inside track to the Super Bowl right now, and bringing in a proven left tackle as a one-year rental would be a perfect way to keep it. You can replace “Denver” with “Seattle” in that last sentence, and the point stands

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Quick thoughts on the Broncos and Collie, Woodson, and Freeney

Happy Saturday, friends. As per Doug's request from last night, I have some thoughts on the potential matches between the Broncos and new free agents Charles Woodson, Dwight Freeney, and Austin Collie.

All are established veterans, but have enough tarnish at this point that they won't command much contractually - think one-year deals, with little or no guaranteed money.

Collie's issue is concussions, but I'd take a look at him as a fourth WR for the minimum.  I'm sure he has better chemistry with Peyton Manning and knowledge of the route concepts than Matt Willis (who's also an unrestricted free agent) does.

I think there's more potential value to the Broncos with Collie than there is to any other team, and the risk to the team is nil.

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San Diego is not a plum job

A little while ago, Doug mentioned the idea that Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy may prefer the San Diego Chargers head coaching job to that of the Arizona Cardinals.  I wanted to weigh in briefly with the thought that I think people are getting the Chargers job wrong, vis-a-vis its quality.  Philip Rivers is cited as the primary reason why it's a good job, and the fact that the Cardinals don't seem to have a viable QB is the reason Arizona is a bad one.

I'd say that not only do the Chargers not have a good enough QB, they have a problem worse than that.  They have a guy who was once near-elite, but who has been declining steadily, and complicating things, he's misperceived by the football media as still being a good QB, and he remains locally popular, to the extent that Chargers fans give a crap about their team.  This is Bernie Kosar in the early 90s, if Chargers fans were as engaged as Browns fans.

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The Broncos are great at playing from ahead

Do you know how sometimes people say a football team isn’t built to play from behind?  The 2011 Broncos were such a team, and the 2012 Texans and Vikings seem to be also.  Teams which rely heavily on their running game, and which lack the ability to complete passes downfield in obvious passing situations tend to fit this description.

Although the Broncos have only really had one comeback win this year (the first Chargers game), they showed a good ability to put up points quickly in the second half of games, in the losses to Atlanta, Houston, and New England.  I feel pretty good about their ability to play from behind, if necessary.

Do you know what I feel great about?  The Broncos' ability to play from ahead.  I was listening to Pat Shumur talk on Sirius last week, and he mentioned something about the Broncos that I’ve also made note of during the 2012 season.  That is, when the game gets one dimensional, such as in a second half, with the Broncos holding a lead of two or more, the pass rush becomes dominant, and next to unstoppable.

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The real reason Bill O’Brien is staying at Penn State

Earlier today, Doug lauded Bill O'Brien's stated dedication to all that is good and right about college athletics, apple pie, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but me, being me, I'm going to have to take a moment to suggest that it had a wee bit to do with his $18.4 million buyout with Penn State.

You see, even if some crazy owner wanted to pay that buyout on O'Brien's behalf (which would be absolutely insane), the story wouldn't be over.  Since they'd be paying O'Brien's debt to Penn State, that would be ordinary income for him, and he'd have tax liability for it, even though it passed through his bank account instantaneously (if at all).

If somebody pays you $18.4 million, and you never see a dollar of that in cash, it gets to be hard to come up with the $7.3 million (39.6%) you'll owe Uncle Sam.  Of course, last week/year, the bill only would have been $6.4 million (35%).  So fans who really wanted O'Brien can blame Barack Obama if they want.  In any case, there's no way O'Brien could even pay the tax on the buyout, even if a team was willing to drop all that cash, which is extremely unlikely.

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Mike Klis + Mailbaggery = Fail

Mike Klis participated in some mailbaggery today for the DP, and was asked the following question:

I have followed Peyton Manning closely since his freshman year at Tennessee. Against Cleveland was the first time in Peyton's career he has ever worn a glove. Is this a result of his nerve injury and inability to grip the ball in cold weather? As an aside, notice how even with a new offense, he doesn't need a play-calling cheat sheet on his wrist. A testament to his unparalleled football acumen, something even Brady can't claim.
--Rodney, Asheville, N.C

Klis went on to answer this dude, and I don't want to quote him directly that much, because the DP has a history of being overzealous about Fair Use, to the point where you paste any of their content, they now give you this as an added bonus:

Read more:Broncos Mailbag: Peyton Manning's glove and why it's so important - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/broncosmailbag/ci_22296666/broncos-mailbag-peyton-mannings-glove-and-why-its#ixzz2GqhZBw8m

Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

Thanks for that, guys.  To paraphrase, here's the gist of Klis's answer:

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Chill a minute on the McCoy/Del Rio speculation

Happy New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, friends.  Since it’s also Black Monday, and there have been a lot of firings today, the speculation has started to ramp up regarding who will be getting specific jobs in specific places.

That has led to speculation that Mike McCoy and/or Jack Del Rio will be getting head coaching positions, and it follows that Broncos fans want to speculate on who’d replace them.

One thing I want to say here is let’s just chill for a hot minute.  There’s no guarantee that a team will want to hire either coach, and further, they may not want to take a bad job if one is offered.  Remember, the fact that either coach may not be able to start work until February 4th is working in favor of the Broncos.  A hiring team is going to have to really want McCoy or Del Rio to sacrifice having their guy in place for a lot of key offseason work-ups.

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Alex Marvez is what’s wrong with the Hall of Fame

Did you get a load of this, from Doug's most favoritest football writer Alex Marvez?

This is a guy who used to be a voter for the Hall of Fame, as president of the Professional Football Writers Association, but doesn't presently hold one of the 44 seats.  Other reporters, such as his FoxSports.com colleagues John Czarnecki and Nancy Gay, do get to vote.  Remember my Rule Number 1 of sports: anything which is decided by reporters voting is diminished by that fact, and I'd go so far as to say it's inherently worthless.

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Are the Raiders getting their act together?

Oakland is expected to waive Rolando McClain today, which prompted the following from Bill Williamson:

McClain never lived up to his billing on the field. He was out of shape, slow and often out of position. He didn’t show the instincts expected from a top-10 pick. He was convicted on a gun charge last year, but it was recently overturned on an appeal, according to his attorney.

The new Oakland regime was charged with salvaging McClain’s time in Oakland. He didn’t make improvements and his playing time dwindled in some games. Now, it is over.

McClain will be the 27th player to leave since new general manager Reggie McKenzie took over. Last week, fellow starting linebacker Aaron Curry was cut.

Some thoughts:

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Digesting the Saints defense

Happy Thursday, friends.  I have a few minutes to cook up a bite-size nugget, so open up.  I had occasion to watch the Saints-Bucs game on Wednesday night, and the most noticeable thing is that the Saints defense is atrocious.

To that end, they’re 32nd in total defense, 30th against the pass, 31st against the run, and 29th in scoring defense.  It’s a complete horror show.

I don’t think too highly of Steve Spagnuolo as a coach, because I think his defenses have tended to be very good when his talent is great.  It’s easy to have a team with a great pass rush when you have Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Justin Tuck.  I don’t think he’s ever elevated marginal talent through excellent scheming, like, say, Mike Nolan or Rex Ryan.

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