Happy Friday, Broncos fans! After long being expected to land one of the biggest names among potential candidates, whether Nick Saban or Chip Kelly, the Browns went for the surprise move by hiring Rob Chudzinski.
Chudzinski, an Ohio native who grew up rooting for the Browns, had previously been an assistant on two Cleveland staffs, coaching tight ends for Butch Davis, and working as Romeo Crennel's OC.
Prior to his recent stint directing the Panthers offense and guiding Cam Newton to an unprecedented career start, Chudzinski was the assistant head coach/tight ends for two seasons under Norv Turner in San Diego. With Carolina, Turner's son Scott was on Chudzinski's staff, and why are we discussing the Chudzinski/Turner connection?
The Broncos again got full participation from everyone on the roster, except for Tracy Porter, who continues to deal with the effects of his latest concussion.
Archie Manning says son Peyton is "elated" with how this season is playing out, and that he's finally taking the time to smell the roses a bit, for the first time in his NFL career. The Mannings will be at SAF@MH tomorrow.
Early on, Peyton made it rather clear to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker what their route-running would mean to their involvement in the offense:
"He wants it to be perfect every time," Thomas said. "I used to round my routes, not make a clean break every time. He started saying, 'You round your route, you don't get the ball.' He wasn't yelling or anything, but you could tell he was serious. I never had anybody work with me like that before, push me so hard to be right every single time."
Even on a unit where he's at best the fifth or sixth best player, Wesley Woodyard has apparently become the emotional leader of the Broncos defense.
Jeff Legwold says the Broncos basically need to do exactly what they did well in Baltimore to win tomorrow.
For whatever reason, the AFC's top seeds have struggled since 1990, much more so than have the NFC's one seeds. Of course, this would be trivia, and not a statistic with any bearing on tomorrow.
The PFWA named Peyton Manning, Ryan Clady, and Von Miller as All-Pros; from the official site, Q&A sessions with Knowshon Moreno and QB coach Adam Gase; the DP added Champ Bailey to its collection of desktop Broncos.
Bernard Pierce, Vonta Leach, and Dannell Ellerbe made limited returns to practice, while guard Jah Reid remained sidelined.
The Ravens seem to think their improved health since Week 15 will be the key to a different result.
While the injury talk has focused on Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, and Bernard Pollard, it may be even more costly for Baltimore that Haloti Ngata has been severely hobbled this season.
Chase Stuart considers the oddity of Ray Rice's playoff fumbling problem in the context of his remarkable ball security during the regular season.
At least Flacco is preparing himself for a loss tomorrow and for ending the career of Ray Lewis. (h/t BottomfedBuddha)
According to a tweet from Jimmy Johnson, Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman is going to be the next head man of the Bears.
Doug Pederson is considered the likeliest future OC of the Chiefs under Andy Reid.
Philly interviewed Lovie Smith yesterday; Bengals OC Jay Gruden met with the Cardinals yesterday and may talk to the Eagles next week; the Bears will interview Packers OC Tom Clements; Jacksonville wants to talk with Rams OC Brian Schottenheimer for some reason.
Pittsburgh waived RB Chris Rainey after his latest domestic violence arrest; the Gators had dumped him following his prior one.
Three-time AFC Championship game loser Bernie Kosar has been undergoing intravenous therapy and taking dietary supplements to help alleviate the long-term symptoms of his many concussions.
Pete Carroll says that when college coaches flirt with NFL jobs, it hurts their recruiting efforts, since competing coaches can tell prospects not to expect them to stick around.
Doug Farrar is tired of hearing the NFL claim to be at the forefront of looking out for player safety when their actions show they're more interested in reducing liability and playing the PR game. Meanwhile, former Chargers fullback Fred McCrary recalls a frightening head-to-head training camp collision he had with Junior Seau, which left the two of them concussed.
Andy Benoit (AFC, NFC), Mike Tanier, Brian Burke (Denver 78%), Bill Barnwell, Nathan Jahnke (DEN/BAL), Pete Prisco, Shutdown Corner (DEN/BAL, SF/GB), Benjamin Hoffman, Gil Brandt, and John Clayton preview Divisional Weekend, the best the NFL has to offer each year.
Chuck Culpepper looks at the finest games provided by Divisional Weekend over the years.
Ben Muth studies film of Washington/Seattle for Shanny's Toss Bunch Crunch, and Seattle's Zach Miller executing a slice block; Matt Bowen revisits how the Niners blocked their run game against the Packers in Week 1.
J.J. Watt is PFF's POY, with Von Miller, Adrian Peterson, and Geno Atkins as runners up.
Dan Marino apparently practiced yoga during his playing days with some interesting company.