Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Bucky Brooks dug into the film of Denver's last three games, and within them he sees a blueprint for stopping Tim Tebow and the Broncos offense. He says that in response to Denver's success running against sub packages, both the Bears and Bills decided not to allow the Broncos to dictate personnel. A Jets coach raised this point with Brooks, and the numbers appear to support the strategy - even more so than Brooks cites. Against the Jets, Bears and Bills, the Broncos averaged 127.3 rushing yards per game, while in the other seven games since Tebow took over, Denver ran for a staggering 217.9 yards per game. Of course, the last time these two teams faced off, Denver ripped off 244 rushing yards against Romeo Crennel's defense, and two weeks ago the Broncos ran for 252 against Bill Belichick's guys.
As for the passing game, Brooks points to teams' use of man coverage on Denver's wideouts (and a heavy reliance upon Cover-1), with the Bills focusing on locking up Tebow's primary read, and he says teams are relying upon a four-man rush to contain Tim within the pocket, rather than blitzing and risking an open lane for Tebow to escape through. The question, of course, is whether Tim will be able to start beating this one-on-one coverage with his arm, and whether the Broncos will have some viable wrinkles to get the running game going against what may be a solid game plan for stopping them.
Notes from Andrew Mason and Jeff Legwold: Brian Dawkins again missed practice, but is being called day-to-day; Champ Bailey says Kyle Orton has a great understanding of Denver's D thanks to playing on the scout team after his demotion.
Legwold has apparently gotten a slew of emails saying the loss in Buffalo was all the defense's fault, although he points out that Denver has scored more than 18 points just three times in Tebow's ten starts. Plus, he weighs the likely impact of the Chiefs being without RB Jackie Battle and Denver sans Brian Dawkins.
Of course, figure Dwayne Bowe to be shadowed by Champ on Sunday.
Mike Klis profiles J.D. Walton, whom he says, "is well on his way to stardom." A bit much, no?
Woody Paige tries to give Tebow a pep talk or something with his latest column.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be calling Sunday's game.
CBS Sports Network is running a Tebow/Gators marathon on Saturday.
Chiefs RB Jackie Battle again missed practice, as did S Jon McGraw and WR Jeremy Horn.
DT John Henderson and RB Darren McFadden are likely out for Oakland.
Chris Benson previews Raiders/Chargers for PFF.
The contracts of several veteran Chargers are up after this season.
There are currently more than a dozen lawsuits filed by ex-players against the league regarding its handling of concussions, all having the potential to cause the NFL major problems should any of them go to trial.
LaDainian Tomlinson says he may hang em up after Sunday if the Jets don't make the playoffs.
Titans HC Mike Munchak says he's not interested in the Penn State job, and there are now rumors that Eric Mangini is a candidate. Pats OC Bill O'Brien is also reportedly a candidate, and for NFL head gigs too.
Terrell Owens may suit up for an indoor football team and become a part owner.
Mike Tanier is taking the Broncos among his weekly picks.
Denver has a 79% chance of making the playoffs, including a 47% chance even if they lose Sunday. Pretty good.
Chase Stuart examines the oddity that is the Packers' negative yardage differential.
Doug Farrar thinks Mike Pereira's column in which he criticized Jon Gruden was unprofessional and calls into question his ability to be objective. And, he's typically confused by Jeff Triplette's officiating mumbo jumbo.
Matt Bowen analyzes the Packers and Lions' use of TEs in the red zone.
Les Carpenter looks back on the comparisons of Cam Newton to JaMarcus Russell and realizes they were silly from the get-go. Ah, hindsight.
Joe Nocera for the NY Times is the latest to plead a case for college athletes to be paid.