Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! As we learn more about the effects of head injuries on football players during and after their playing careers, the future of the sport itself continues to come into question.
First there was Malcolm Gladwell's article in the New Yorker which likened football to dogfighting, Jeanne Marie Laskas's GQ piece focusing on the NFL's blackballing of CTE researchers, and her subsequent story on former Vikings star Fred McNeill. More recently we heard from Tony Dorsett about the ghastly treatment of his head injuries by the Cowboys medical staff, and a pair of economists writing for Grantland laid out their vision of how football will someday lose its standing as America's favorite sport.
Fans and even ex-players have begun to question whether they'd allow their own children to play the sport they spend so many hours watching on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays, not to mention reading and writing about it on blogs like this one. Countless NFL retirees have filed suit against the league for having turned a blind eye to their concussions and resultant health and cognitive problems.
Now add to the mix a Hall of Famer and three-time SB champion who is one of the faces of the league - FOX's current lead football analyst Troy Aikman, whose own playing career was shortened by the effects of the head injuries he suffered.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're just days away from the 2012
Cattle Call Combine, which means we're in for a deluge of meaningless quotes from EFX™ courtesy of NFLN. Well, meaningless except for the unintentional comedy they will surely provide. Chris Farley Brian Xanders is already obliging us:
We plan to be aggressive and smart at the same time and try to get some good signings in here, some valued signings that help contribute to wins. We also have to address signing our own unrestricted free agents, and we also have the free agency market. So we will have a plan for that. We have a long term vision, too.
Of course, as long as he keeps drafting guys like Von Miller and uncovering gems like Chris Harris, we'll happily take the X-Man's malapropisms.
* EFX is the intellectual property of Woody Paige, who also happens to have been a co-inventor of the internet along with Al Gore
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Clinton Portis has been cleared to resume his career after playing in just five games in 2010 and missing all of 2011; according to his agent, multiple teams have expressed interest. For this Portis fan, every mention of his name evokes memories of this beatdown of the first-place Chiefs - one of the best individual games we'll ever see by a Bronco. Of course, it's the one where his friend Pastor Troy gave him a championship belt after his five-TD performance. Good luck finding a new NFL home, CP - you were a superstar for us. Oh, and thanks for bringing us Champ.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In addition to guard C.J. Davis, Denver signed former Jaguars and Niners WR Jason Hill to a one-year deal yesterday. The 6-foot, 202-lb receiver (he's apparently shrunk an inch since
cattle call combine, or got a haircut?) has 76 catches for 1,028 yards and eight TDs in 50 career games; he has virtually no experience as a return man, with just one kick return as a pro and two punt returns in college.
Last year for Jacksonville he caught 25 of the 53 passes thrown his way for 367 yards (14.7 YPR) and three scores, along with four drops. Hill will turn 27 next Monday and was originally drafted by the Niners in the third round of the 2007 Draft (76th overall) out of WSU after running the second-fastest combine time that year among receivers with a blistering 4.32-second forty.
Hill's speed will be a much-needed addition to an offense that had hardly any in 2011, whether at running back or wideout. Andrew Mason seems to think the signing of Hill makes it even less likely that Denver would bring back free agent Eddie Royal, despite Woody Paige's claims to the contrary. Eddie will surely present a hopeful outlook on Facebook and Twitter about sticking around, but he's a sunny guy. We can take his pro-Tebow comments at face value, or we can note that Tim targeted Eddie just 48 times in 12 games - 28 times in Denver's last nine games. Anyone really think he wants to be third or fourth banana again and relegated to return duty? Don't count on it.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Adding to yesterday's news that Tim Tebow is working with new UCLA OC Noel Mazzone on his mechanics, it's worthwhile to note the duo has teamed up before. Prior to Tebow's pro day in 2010, he worked with Mazzone, Marc Trestman, Zeke Bratkowski, and Sam Wyche. Here's some of what Mazzone had to say back then:
I think it's going to change some opinions...He looks totally different to me...This guy's an NFL quarterback in my eyes.
I'm not trying to change the guy's motion. I went back and looked at his high school film. He's got a great motion.It's different when you're in the gun your whole life and not making five- and seven-step drops. Bad feet make bad throws. We worked a lot on loading up his back foot, having good posture and getting his feet and body more involved with his throw.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! There's perhaps a bit of disconnect between the title and the article, but Mike Klis says there's a good chance Denver will use its franchise tag on K Matt Prater this offseason. The title says the team is "likely" to do so, while Klis simply writes that "Prater is the strongest candidate" to be tagged, so it's unclear how much of this is based upon something out of Dove Valley and how much is simply Klis speculating.
Either way, it's kind of a no-brainer if the team were unable to agree to a long-term deal with Prater, as according to Klis, tagging a kicker is like to only cost a team around $2.6M for the 2013 season. Plus, the tag is often used by teams to buy more time to agree to a longer contract.
None of Denver's other free agents figure to be tag-worthy, as placing the restriction on Brodrick Bunkley or Marcus Thomas would require overpaying either of them with a $7.9M salary; Wesley Woodyard would get $8.8M, and Eddie Royal would command $9.4M - it's pretty safe to say the Broncos will not be shelling out anything close to those amounts on a one-year contract for any of those players.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Mason summarized the issues facing Broncos this offseason for the Sporting News, first pointing out the team had the second-worst point differential of any playoff team in NFL history. Mason says Denver is fond of Nate Irving's potential, and he wouldn't be surprised to see Irving end up the starting Mike in 2012. Obviously, Mason is in possession of some inaccurate information and/or hasn't checked in with überscout and Denver pulse-reader Woody Paige, who says Irving "didn't wow anybody."
According to Mason, both starting DTs Marcus Thomas and Brodrick Bunkley would like to return via free agency, although of course the team will be looking to improve its inside pass rush - the duo combined for a minus-16.8 pass rush grade which tempered their stellar plus-39.0 score against the run (31.2 of which was credited to Bunkley).
If Brian Dawkins should retire, Mason suggests ex-Panthers S Chris Harris as a possible replacement as a veteran presence to aid the progress of Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore. However, this would not be advisable since it would be really f#$%ing confusing to have two Chris Harrises. NFL.com is already unable to handle the problem, as the Bronco's profile is adorned with a photo of the recent Lion.
As for Tim Tebow, Mason thinks the team will likely telegraph their intentions by virtue of what veteran QB they sign to either back up or compete with Tim.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! RIP, Whitney Houston.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! A pair of academic economists thinks the end of football is a much stronger likelihood than most of us are willing to consider, especially as we learn more about the wide-ranging and long-lasting effects of head injuries. Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier believe either liability suits or potentially conclusive medical research linking CTE to football will bring down our beloved sport, as parents seek to protect their children and those involved in the sport at the coaching and administrative levels depart due to litigation fears.
An earlier Grantland piece by Jonah Lehrer (sorry to say we missed this one the first time around) addresses the difficulties facing high school coaches and medical staffs as they attempt to prevent, diagnose, and treat concussions. Sadly, even the most generously funded and purely intentioned of programs appear to be losing that battle, which cannot speak well for those with smaller budgets and less institutional dedication to attacking a problem which may have no solution.
If that's the case, Cowen and Grier suggest that basketball will become America's sport if or when football loses its stranglehold. So, how about this Jeremy Lin?
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! My, how quickly things have changed in Oakland. It was only last February that the Raiders gave CB Stanford Routt a puzzling $20M in guarantees to stick around, later restructuring his deal to make it a five-year contract worth a potential $54.5M (but with no extra guarantees beyond the $20M). These were the kind of kooky decisions Al Davis made - with both of his starting corners hitting free agency, Big Al gave Routt only $5M less in guarantees than all-world CB Nnamdi Asomugha ended up getting from the Eagles.
Since then, Davis has moved on to another world, Huebris Jackson is no longer the coach, and Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are now running the show. Yesterday, the duo established in full that the Raiders are their team, and they put the entire roster on notice by cutting Routt, who had allowed nine touchdowns and dubiously led the league with 17 penalties called against him in 2011.
Routt's agent has reportedly already garnered interest from Buffalo and Tennessee, but no matter where the 2005 second-rounder lands, the message is clear: McKenzie and Allen will not hesitate to differentiate themselves from Davis's ways - which can only be a bad thing for the Broncos and the rest of the AFC West.