Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Lombardi is hearing that if Gary Kubiak does not become available, then Denver's next choice for head coach may be former Broncos OC and Giants HC Jim Fassel thanks to his strong relationship with John Elway. Fassel had been an assistant coach at Stanford while Elway was there, and Fassel's 1993 arrival in Denver led the QB to a much higher level of efficiency, which Elway would carry through the rest of his career. Fassel is known as a quarterback guru, primarily for his work with Elway and for helping revitalize the career of Kerry Collins with the Giants - but most of his NFL career was spent coaching QBs who are towards the end of their primes, including Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason and Steve McNair. Still, if Tim Tebow is the future (and he sure looks the part), bringing in a head coach with plenty of experience working with QBs makes sense - especially one with the wisdom to hire John Fox as his first defensive coordinator.
Although Fassel led the Giants to SB XXXV (where they lost to Baltimore), his tenure in New Jersey was one of wild inconsistency; in seven seasons, Fassel's G-Men made three playoff appearances but also had three losing seasons and blew a 24-point third-quarter playoff lead in San Francisco in 2002. Most recently, Fassel has coached Las Vegas to two UFL titles.
Friends, have fun ringing in 2011 however you celebrate; be safe, and if you're drinking, please don't drive!
NFL Films previews Sunday's game.
Eric Studesville's Thursday presser.
If you care to know more about him before he's gone
next week, Steven Hauschka gave the mothership an interview.
Mason on Bailey, his health, season and future.
Eric Studesville will apparently get a formal interview to make his gig permanent.
Pat Graham on Correll Buckhalter's rough season.
Legwold explains why the Broncos aren't about to switch Ryans Clady and Harris with a southpaw playing QB.
Notes from Klis and LJ - Denver added RB Brandon Minor to the practice squad.
Legwold turns to some personnel execs around the league to support his narrative that the Broncos have no talent. In doing so, he managed to find the six guys who don't consider Champ Bailey to be an "elite" talent. These experts do not consider Brandon Lloyd to be a Pro Bowl-level player, and they label Jabar Gaffney and Robert Ayers "role players". Finally, none of the people Legwold spoke to consider Zane Beadles or JD Walton of quality to become a "long-term starter." No mention of Ryan Harris or Justin Bannan. Granted, these folks are apparently paid to evaluate NFL talent, and we are Broncos fans. But these seem a bit harsh, no?
In his "Analysis" Legwold thinks a win Sunday would give the Broncos momentum, and that Sunday will measure how the Broncos have improved (or not) in the two years since Shanny was canned. Oh, brother.
Chris Jenkins examines the parallels between Tim Tebow and Philip Rivers and their arrivals to the NFL.
Notes on the Dolts - Antonio Gates has landed on IR; to replace him on the roster, the Dolts signed FB Billy Latsko.
Here's a Reuters story on Rivers.
Tafur on the progress of Jokeland's offense.
Somehow, Jokeland has dominated the West but is just 7-8.
In case you're missing BMarsh or feel he was run out of town by Josh McDaniels, he's got a little reminder of what kinda guy he is: Marshall says he's "not sure" about whether he and Chad Henne can become a successful duo next year. He misses playing with Jay Cutler because he likes a QB who is willing to "Throw a pick or whatever." He's also delusional about his own abilities (12.1 YPR), saying he could average 15 or 16 yards per reception, likening himself to Roddy White (14.2) and Calvin Johnson (15.5 YPR). To top it off, Brandon isn't a huge fan of Kyle Orton despite the fact that he and Orton hooked up for the most TDs Marshall has scored in a season. (Thanks, tom3565!)
The Jets have been fined $100K by the league for their sideline tripping antics.
Randy Cross is certain a new CBA will be agreed upon before next August and rookies will face a salary cap, while he thinks the Pats will win the SB and Auburn the BCS.
Jack Bechta lost a potential client recently because a rival agent claimed he could get the player drafted to the team of his preference. Now, that would be impressive.
Don Banks hands out his yearly awards.
PK previews Week 17.
Luis DeLoureiro says Carson Palmer put up the QB performance of the year last week.
Brian Burke comes back with the defensive side of his All-WPA Team.
Mike Kuchar writes a guest post at SmartFootball.com explaining the advantages an offense has when properly utilizing a tight end.
CHFF points out that a win Sunday would be of historic note for the Patriots franchise.
Tanier shares his All-Rookie Team.