Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Josh McDaniels has learned a few things over the past four years

Josh McDaniels eager for another head-coaching gig

“I think one of the things I really learned in Denver was the value of being a good listener,” McDaniels said. “Sometimes when you do something like that for the first time, you run through everything and try and be in charge of too many things. And sometimes, that’s a significant negative. I’ve tried really hard in St. Louis and here in New England to really gather some ideas.”

Too bad he didn't pick up these lessons pre-2009. Oh well...

Manning wasn’t exactly dinking and dunking in 2014

Guest Post: Marginal YAC, 2014 in Review

His passing yardage and TD count were significantly inflated by passes that involve very little skill on the part of the quarterback. Conversely, the 2012 Broncos with OC Mike McCoy threw hardly any screens, and by 2014 Moreno was gone and defenses figured out how to stop the bubble plays. Considering the lack of easy throws, a weaker offensive line, and a harder schedule, it’s conceivable that Manning did just as much for the Broncos in 2014 as he did in 2013.

Especially later in the season, a lot of Peyton's throws just didn't look so hot. But when they were completed...

It’s still unfair to blame Peyton Manning for his playoff record

Breaking Down Peyton Manning’s Playoff Woes

Though he has accumulated 11 wins (second most among active quarterbacks) his winning percentages lags behind the much less celebrated Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, and even his younger brother Eli, who is one more 9-win-turned-super-bowl-run season away from surpassing his older brother in postseason victories.

This doesn't help in comparisons to say, Tom Brady, but Peyton deserves credit for having led his teams to seven first-round byes in 16 seasons. FWIW, in their 23 combined seasons as starters, Flacco, Eli, and Sanchez have led their respective teams to two first-round byes (a one-and-done for Eli and a title game loss for Flacco). There's something not quite right about crediting wild card wins while also ignoring byes earned by superior play.

Eddie Mac: Given choice, keep Demaryius over Julius

If Elway Has To Choose A Thomas, Ed McCaffrey Says Keep Demaryius Over Julius

Obviously, the two biggest names on offense are Demaryius and Julius Thomas. Former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey was quick to say he’d keep Demaryius over Julius if Elway ends up having to pick between the two.

Of course, it's not a simple either/or matter, as re-signing Demaryius Thomas will command significantly more cash and cap (think 50% more) than will keeping Julius Thomas. The choice is probably closer to Demaryius, or Julius and a starter-quality player or two. That said, I agree with McCaffrey.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

Broncos desire to cause more turnovers in 2015 season

“We have to be more disruptive and create more turnovers. I think we can get to that. Actually I know we can get to that,” defensive end DeMarcus Ware said in the Pro Bowl locker room. “We want to get to where you talk about us as the Orange Crush, where we are at that next level. That’s how we wanted to be viewed.”

I've been a Broncos fan for 28 years now, and I swear, I've read some iteration of this article in approximately 26 of those years.

So far, Julius Thomas hasn’t heard from Broncos

Thomas: Ankle Is Better As He Heads Into Important Offseason

General manager John Elway said back on Jan. 12 that re-signing both the big tight end and star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas were his top priorities after finding a new coach. “I didn’t hear about that until now from you,” Thomas told The Associated Press. “But I think it’s good that’s something they want to do. Obviously, those conversations and negotiations will take place in the next coming weeks. Hopefully it all works out.”

We probably shouldn't read much into this, as Elway & Co. have had plenty on their plate in cobbling together a new coaching staff.

Broncos won’t be trading a pick for Vance Joseph, because they can’t

Broncos still hoping to hire Vance Joseph as D coordinator

And forget the Broncos trying to trade a draft pick to the Bengals in return for Joseph, who has one year left on his contract in Cincinnati. NFL rules allow trades for head coaches, but not for assistant coaches. If the Bengals continue to refuse, the Broncos are expected to interview Wade Phillips and Mike Smith for the job this week.

Vance Joseph must be some coach, huh?

Clady: I’ll finally be 100% next season

In blocking, Ryan Clady ready to zone out

“I was struggling with it early in the season,” Clady said. “I just tried to stay on top of it with treatment and stuff. It’s the hardest injury I’ve ever had. I’m a year and a half from the first surgery now, and I still feel a little soreness here and there…It’s definitely better, and this next year I’m just excited to get a full offseason, I don’t have to rehab, and just come back 100 percent.”

It's not quite time to bury the 28-year-old anchor of the Broncos' offensive line, just because he had a rough season.

Rosterbation: Derek Newton an option for Broncos at RT?

An Agent's Take: Connecting dots to 2015 NFL free agency

New coach Gary Kubiak may lobby general manager and executive VP of football operations John Elway to pursue Texans right tackle Derek Newton. Shoring up the offensive line is particularly important if Peyton Manning returns for his 18th NFL season. Signing Newton, a connection from Kubiak’s days as the Texans’ coach, would allow Louis Vasquez to move back to right guard, his natural position.

Newton broke out somewhat in 2014, posting a plus-8.9 in 1,130 snaps after grading out at an atrocious minus-28.3 over 848 snaps the year before. The 6-6, 313-pounder is coming off the last year of his rookie contract, and turned 27 in November.

Renck: Expect many changes along Denver’s offensive line

Pro Bowl observations: Beckham’s one-handed catches, Broncos’ roster talk

It’s unlikely that Orlando Franklin returns at guard. The scheme requires mobile linemen who can reach the second level on blocks. That means the Broncos must sign a right tackle — Paul Cornick and Chris Clark didn’t work out last season — and draft a right guard given how poorly Manny Ramirez performed.

The Broncos will keep Demaryius Thomas and I fully expect them to make a strong effort to re-sign tight end Julius Thomas. They will try to keep defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. It would not surprise me if Rahim Moore receives more money on the open market, leaving the Broncos to find a safety for the second consecutive year in free agency.

What of Michael Schofield, 2014 third-round pick?