Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Big Ben's Big Change of Course
A Patriots player after the game texted me: “What do you hear on Wes?” I can tell you that former Patriots teammates were concerned for Welker and asking about him. They have since gotten in touch with him, I believe.
I can say this with certainty: After however many concussions he’s had (three, five, 10?) and the hits he’s taken, there are a lot of people close to Welker who want him to walk away from the game for the sake of his long-term health.
We won't speculate about Welker's current or future health here; we just hope that whatever decision he makes is the best one for his long-term wellbeing.
Broncos’ T.J. Ward is Patriots’ public enemy No. 1
I feel bad he got hurt, you know, but that’s about it…Gronk’s a big dude. He gets hit, and he keeps going. Guys bounce off him, and he’s throwing guys left and right…I was taught that if you can take a guy’s wheels away from him, he’s no longer mobile, and that’s what you’ve got to do with big guys. I’m not going to go in there and bang heads with somebody that’s 60 pounds more than me. I’m going to hurt myself…I shook his hand after it happened, but I don’t see no reason to reach out to him…It’s a dog-eat-dog world between those hashes.
Since they're no longer whining about Wes Welker's hit on Aqib Talib, the Massholes need another gripe on which to focus, right?
Ware has always been impressed with Miller’s physical ability and his potential. But it took working out and playing alongside him to fully realize how talented he is. “Coming here, working out in the offseason,” Ware says, “I’m like, Dang, he’s faster than I thought. He works harder than I thought he worked. He’s gotten everything back together.”
FWIW, Von is again PFF's highest graded linebacker (+26.4) so far, although Oakland rookie Khalil Mack (+23.0) and KC's Justin Houston (+22.5) aren't far behind.
A look at 2015's NFL coaching candidates
And Gase comes with other concerns, most notably his age. In the modern NFL, few head coaches hired so far before their 40th birthday have succeeded at a high level—many failing in colossal fashion. Highlighting just the past decade of these mistakes are Lane Kiffin, Raheem Morris, Eric Mangini, and Josh McDaniels (coincidentally a roommate of Gase’s when both worked at Michigan State).
Maybe the allure of getting to coach Manning will keep Gase around for another year or two. Then again, safe to say the Broncos will fine as long as Peyton's around, Gase or not.
The Broncos look like a juggernaut this season
To try to explain how solid this team looks, imagine merging one of the great Steelers or Ravens defenses from last decade with … a Peyton Manning offense. By all measures, the Broncos appear to be a Category Five super team.
Admittedly, I wasn't that excited about this team until these last two blowout wins, and even those came at home against injury-ravaged squads. The Pats are pretty banged up too, but with a win on Sunday, these Broncos have a very real shot of running the table at 15-1.
NFL Week 9 Playoff Implications: A Crucial Week For The Saints And Panthers
Going into Week 9, the Broncos are the clear favorite, with a 79 percent chance of winning the No. 1 seed. If New England is able to pull off a victory at home, the race opens up considerably. The Broncos’ chances drop to 59 percent, with the benefit largely accruing to the Patriots: The Patriots’ top-seed probability would increase from 9 percent to 21 percent.
According to this, a Denver win would increase their chance at the #1 seed to 91.3%.
Meanwhile, the Broncos are still #1 in the Elo ratings, but are the slightest of underdogs this week.
SNEAK PEEK – “Terrell Davis: A Football Life”
“Terrell Davis: A Football Life” premieres Friday, October 24 at 9pm/ET on NFL Network.
I've written this a million times, and will do so another billion times. TD was the best player on a team that won two Super Bowls. He was better than half the running backs already in the HOF, and better than most of his contemporaries on this list.
In a sport as physically brutal as football, it is an absolute joke to weigh longevity more heavily than pure greatness. Terrell Davis was a pure great.
UPDATE: Jason La Canfora echoes a tweet from Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs that Marshall was yelling at Bears’ kicker Robbie Gould.
UPDATE II: ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright had a source tell him that Marshall called out Bears quarterback Jay Cutler after the loss.
Dare I say it?
Thank you, Josh McDaniels?
Broncos to start Paul Cornick at right tackle vs. 49ers
After Clark started the Broncos’ first five games at right tackle, the Broncos are giving Paul Cornick the job today, according to three NFL sources. It won’t be the easiest of starting debuts for Cornick as he will be matched up against San Francisco 49ers’ defensive end Justin Smith in the game tonight at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Cornick is an undrafted free agent from North Dakota State who spent his first two NFL seasons on the practice squads of the New York Jets (2012) and Broncos (2012-13). He played in 21 offensive snaps last week in the team’s three offensive tackle package (Cornick was officially a tight end) and impressed the Broncos’ coaching staff.
During our in-game chat last week, I told Doug that Chris Clark was not the answer at right tackle. While it seemed a little dramatic at the time, I'd simply been noticing Clark's struggles in the running game each and every week.
This doesn't mean Cornick is the answer, by any stretch, but an extra twenty pounds anchoring the right side of the line certainly won't hurt.
Julius is the red zone monster that anyone would expect, but it’s Demaryius who stands out as the type of receiver Manning might build in a lab. Demaryius doesn’t have the hands or the jump-ball skills that someone like A.J. Green does, but the game he had against the Cardinals two weeks ago is proof of how he and Manning can be an absolute nightmare.
This is a fun exercise, especially if you've been following the NFL as long as Peyton's been in it. What stands out is how few of Peyton's touchdown passes went to familiar names like Edgerrin James (11) and Jacob Tamme (9), and the pure insanity of Manning's production with the Thomases.