Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are, two days after the team nailed down a big win and the AFCW title, and they have to head out on the road and play again in two days from now.
Welcome to the NFL in 2012.
It's a brutal request of these players, to put their bodies through the punishment of two regular-season games within the span of five days. Two games in seven or eight days is difficult enough - to recover from the first game's physical and emotional toll, to prepare for the coming matchup, to travel, and suit up again. For his part, John Fox says he won't be putting his guys in full pads this week.
But at least it's the Raiders, and the bright side is the Broncos will afterward have ten days to heal and get ready for the biggest matchup left on their schedule - a road trip to Baltimore and a fight for what is likely at best the AFC's #2 seed.
Brandon Stokley was a limited participant in yesterday's imaginary practice, while Wesley Woodyard and Matt Willis would not have practiced. But no, the NFL does not condone gambling.
Due to Woodyard's status as a jack-of-all-personnel-packages player and the difficulty in replacing that, the team figures to make an early decision on whether he'll play Thursday.
As TJ had suspected, Fox took Champ Bailey off the field late on Sunday due to the lopsided score and short turnaround.
Nathan Miller goes to great detail to chronicle the vastly improved route running (even within the season) of one Demaryius Thomas.
Cole Schultz reviews Broncos/Bucs for PFF and finds yet another remarkable performance by Chris Harris, cannot avoid singing Von Miller's praises, and notes that Elvis Dumervil was in a two-point stance for almost every snap he played.
The Broncos are third in the league in scoring, but now would be a good time to stop referring to all points as "scoring offense," especially when we're talking about a team that has seven touchdowns on defense and special teams, plus two defensive safeties. Even so, the team ranks fourth in the league in offensive touchdowns. Also, can we PLEASE stop referring to differentials as ratios?
And in light of the defense's performance against Doug Martin & Co. Sunday, the Raiders can try all they like to take a page out of KC's game plan by running the ball on Thursday. But Denver is seventh in yards allowed, and tied for second in fewest allowed per carry.
More details have emerged in the Perkins/Belcher tragedy; the police report paints the picture of a young man who had committed a heinous act, and within minutes realized he couldn't live with himself for what he'd done. The Chiefs organization had apparently been providing relationship counseling to the couple, and Belcher thanked Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel for all they'd done for him, before shooting himself as police vehicles were arriving on the scene.
The families of Jamaal Charles, Kasandra Perkins, and Jovan Belcher each released statements yesterday about the tragedy.
Belcher's ex-teammates are struggling to find the balance between honoring the loss of their friend and reconciling his crime, but their perspective on Sunday's win over Carolina is well-measured. This is likely in no small part due to the influence of their rock-steady head coach.
Oakland is preparing for Thursday night without Dennis Allen, who is still in Texas due to his father's failing health; he's expected to rejoin the team tomorrow night. Three defenders, including starting safety Matt Giordano and reserve corners Mike Mitchell and Phillip Adams, sustained concussions against Cleveland and sound unlikely to play.
But the Raiders are expected to have running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson back from the injuries that have kept each of them out for four games.
San Diego is now 21-23 over the past three seasons, and the chorus calling for A.J. Smith's gigantic head continues to grow as a result.
Washington (6-6) avenged their earlier loss to the G-Men (7-5) and pulled back into a second-place tie with Dallas thanks to a 17-16 win over New Jersey. Washington's first score came on an incredibly fortunate bounce of a fumbled ball by RG3 that caromed right into the arms of wideout Joshua Morgan. Griffin threw the game-winning TD pass early in the fourth quarter, and he broke Cam Newton's year-old record for rushing yards by a rookie QB along the way; Daniel Snyder reacted to the win in typical Snyderian fashion.
Jim Harbaugh is sticking with Colin Kaepernick as his starting QB.
Andy Reid says Nick Foles will be his starting QB the rest of what will be an excruciating final four games, provided he doesn't himself get fired. As for Reed's latest scapegoats, it could be that he got rid of defensive line coach Jim Washburn because Washburn is a dick (as is offensive line coach Howard Mudd, apparently).
Baltimore LB Terrell Suggs suffered a torn biceps Sunday, but his status for the short and long term, including the Week 15 matchup with Denver, is as of yet unknown.
If Indy can beat Tennessee this week, and New England takes down Houston, there's a very real chance the Colts could overtake the Texans for the AFCS title.
Jason La Canfora says expectations around the league are that Mike McCoy will be a head coach in 2013, and he thinks Josh McDaniels and Mike Nolan could get some looks too.
In the FO crew's discussion of Sunday's action, they also express bewilderment at Greg Schiano's decision-making, and figure the irreverent coach and Cortland Finnegan would be a match made in heaven.
Brian Burke is dumbfounded by play callers who trot out their jumbo personnel when facing a fourth-and-short at midfield.
Mike Tanier takes measure of the HOF semifinalists and agrees with us that Terrell Davis is clearly the Broncos' most deserving candidate.
Chase Stuart presents his idea for a college football playoff system that blends a play-in round, automatic bids, and a selection committee.