Prime Cuts

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Silverman: John Fox 7th best coach in the NFL

Silverman: Lovie’s A Top 10 Coach, But Not Elite

7. John Fox, Denver – Somehow Fox found a way for the Denver Broncos to win the AFC West last season with a quarterback in Tim Tebow who could not throw the ball straight. They even won a playoff game against the Steelers. Fox’s strength is his ability to work with a defense and put that unit in a position to succeed. He also understands motivation and the human condition. Remember, he took the Panthers to the Super Bowl and now he’s got Peyton Manning on his side. It could be a year to remember in the Rockies.

Silverman ranks these coaches going into 2012, so one assumes a lot of this has to do with 2011's results.  

It's hard to tell, though. He also has Mike Shanahan ranked #10 on the list and writes: "This is largely based on what he did in his previous coaching tenure in Denver and that is now ancient history."

John Fox: D.J.‘s playbook leak ain’t no thang

John Fox says DJ Williams’ playbook Tweet won’t damage defense

Broncos head coach John Fox said Tuesday he isn’t worried about any secret information that may have leaked because linebacker D.J. Williams posted an image from the team’s digital playbook on Twitter late last week.

“Not very much,” Fox said, when asked if the “breach” would affect the Broncos’ defense.

As we thought, D.J. Williams didn't force the Broncos to cut anything out of their defensive playbook with his latest behavior modification concern.

Now he's free to focus on what we all do each and every day: work, and submitting human urine samples.  

Mike Klis goes promise-ring girl

Happy Anniversary, Tebows

Forty-one years ago today, the sports world as we know it began to change. Bob and Pam Tebow were married on June 12, 1971. The bride skipped her graduation ceremony at the University of Florida to instead say “I do,” to Bob.

Their youngest has become both the most popular, and second-most criticized (behind LeBron) athlete in the United States. So raise those bottled waters everybody. Here’s to the Tebows!

We've all seen it: the girl so desperate for a relationship, she's willing to not only have a threesome with the guy's ex-girlfriend, but prematurely tries to meet the guy's parents just so she can place her lips directly on the parents' unblemished (or so they'll tell the world) asses.

Welcome to Mike Klis's world--one in which acce$$ and (metaphorically) fluffing athletes, owners, and executives is more important than objectivity or a healthy skepticism of those who slather themselves with gallons of self-interest lotion.

Only you can prevent forest fires like Skip Bayless

Why ESPN Should Worry About First Take’s Ratings Slide

ESPN is doubling down on a good bet, in other words. But is it really a good bet? A look at the Nielsens over the past few months tells a different story about First Take and perhaps about the value of the new “debate” format. And behind the scenes, a source tells us, ESPN executives have begun to worry about the show, which seemed like found money not so long ago but which might turn out to be only fool’s gold…

...Bayless went all-in on Tebow very early. He became the chief exponent of the kind of priestly mystification and intellectual dishonesty that would eventually go by the name Tebowmania—the unending talk of intangibles, “all he does is win,” etc. Horowitz built a lot of the show’s identity around Bayless’s mindless devotion to the quarterback, and from there the Tebow story was pure teevee conjuring. Bayless and First Take helped create the distorted phenomenon the rest of ESPN was obliged to cover, which gave Bayless and First Take more to talk about, which created a bigger and even more distorted phenomenon, which ESPN was obliged to cover, which is how we got this viral atrocity racking up more than 3.6 million pageviews on YouTube. Tebowmania was the perfect, and perfectly hideous, marriage of format and circumstance…

...But what happens if there isn’t a significant ratings bump from Skip Bayless’s delivering himself of his Very Controversial Opinions about LeBron James? What happens if Tebow really does just become a Wildcat and special teams specialist and the Tebow-Sanchez controversy never materializes? What if the show’s ratings really have stagnated?

Last month, I stopped following Bayless on Twitter; the next week, I stopped watching First Take.  I don't have a real explaination as to why.  It just felt right--like the time I touched myself at band camp. 

It appears as if I'm not the only one who stopped staring at the bearded lady.

Will enough people tune out to see Bayless west bound and down?  Probably not.  Too many people like to watch things burn.  

Hey, Demaryius, remember that time…

Newsbreak: Woman files suit against Cox and Thomas

A woman who accused former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages against Cox and current Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

The woman’s lawyer, Craig Silverman, says he filed the lawsuit electronically Sunday. A jury in March acquitted Cox of all charges and Cox then signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Silverman says the lawsuit allows the woman to “prosecute” the allegations in court.

Civil lawsuits have a lower threshold of proof, as opposed to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal proceedings. The woman became pregnant after visiting Cox’s apartment following a night of partying in 2010. In his lawsuit, Silverman says the woman was drugged at a downtown nightclub then sexually assaulted at Cox’s suburban apartment.

Just in case you forgot Demaryius Thomas was involved with The Perrish Cox Incident, here's another reminder. 

The IAOFM community includes several lawyers, so I'll save explanation of the difference between a civil and criminal case.  What I will say, however, is neither is good publicity for Demaryius Thomas.  

Did D.J. Williams give away state secrets?

Denver Broncos Linebacker DJ Williams Posted Plays Online

DJ Williams of the Denver Broncos isn’t exactly happy that he has to learn new plays for a new defense.  However, I do think he made one major error.  He posted pictures of some plays on his Twitter account, which has to make the coaching staff thrilled.

DJ Williams may have just made one of the dumbest mistakes that a player can make.  Giving away plays is not something you want to do ever.  There is a good chance that those plays will have to be thrown away and more are going to have to be drawn up.  Some people thought that this was a joke but it looks pretty legit to me.  I bet he is going to get a talking to from his coaching staff.

D.J. Williams makes mocking him as easy as pie.  If he's not driving while intoxicated, he's battling accusations of non-human urine samples.  His latest foray into the city limits of Doltville includes posting some formations from his Broncos defensive playbook.

It's tempting to blast D.J. once again, so let's succumb to temptation quickly and get it out of our system. D.J. Williams made a really dumb decision.

But let's not get carried away.  In this case, loose lips don't sink ships. D.J. Williams didn't just give away state secrets. Look at the formations. They are standard 4-3 Under formations which adjust to the offense's motion or formation shift (pro, far, trips, etc.). They also show us the Broncos will, in fact, deploy a one-gap scheme with their defensive tackles (notice the 3-tech and 1-tech).  Further, on the backside, they'll run some cover 1, man under. In other words, they'll be doing the exact same thing you see dozens of college and pro defensives doing each and every week.

I can assure you of one thing: the Broncos will not throw out this defensive scheme because it was posted online. Why? Because you can find plays like these in every defensive playbook in the NFL (or high school, for that matter).  It's standard stuff, but of course, you wouldn't know that if you didn't take the time to look under the hood.

Manning shacking up chez Shanny

Mike Shanahan hosts Peyton's Place

Peyton Manning is taking over John Elway’s old job—and living in Mike Shanahan’s house.

Shanahan’s house is a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Cherry Hills Village, one of the Denver area’s fanciest neighborhoods. It’s only expected to be a temporary deal until Manning finds a permanent place to live in the Mile High City.

Perhaps Manning's clandestine March visit with the Shanahans was to check out fixtures, not formations.

At least we'll know what happened if Peyton shows up at Dove Valley resembling George Hamilton.

How the smartest guy in the room can be so dumb

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu reflects on the simplistic approach of Jets QB Tim Tebow

On the flipside of that high praise, Polamalu remains stunned at the simplicity of the offense Denver ran with Tebow and came away with one strong conclusion: “You can’t run that offense unless you have a great defense to go with it,” said Polamalu, who remembers going through the playoff game thinking time after time …

“There’s no way they’re going to run that same route again,” he said. “As a safety, part of your job is to eliminate certain routes that you don’t think they’re going to run. I would line up and say, ‘They ran that the last time, there’s no way they’re going to run it again.’ Then they did. The next time, ‘There’s no way they’re going to run that again,’ then they did.

“It was an incredibly simple offense that you just don’t think can work in this league, but it worked for them with the kind of talent they had.”

Well, now we have the answer to the question: just what the hell was Dick LeBeau thinking?

Clearly, the Steelers thought the Broncos were going to approach last year's playoff game like any other NFL team--that is to say, they were going to try and change things up.  You can't blame LeBeau for making this assumption.  After all, that's exactly what most NFL teams try and do from week to week.  LeBeau may be one of the greatest defensive minds the NFL has ever seen, but in this case, that mind worked very much against him.  LeBeau, it seems to me, was a victim of a cognitive bias known as Curse of Knowledge:

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias according to which better-informed agents find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed agents. As such added information may convey some disutility

Translation: sometimes, the smartest guys in the room (LeBeau, Polamalu, and Co.) can't fathom that everyone else isn't trying to be as clever as they are. This explains why the Broncos could run the same play over and over and over again, while the Steelers tried to outwit a phantom Bill Walsh and Joe Montana. A week later, Bill Belichick forced the Patriots into a Forrest Gump defense with vastly different results.

Can you smell what the Orton is cookin’?

Kyle Orton: Tony Romo’s the man, but I’m not just a backup

“I feel like I’ve played good ball in this league, I feel I’ve got a lot of good ball left in me,” Orton said. “I don’t see this as committing myself to be the backup. I’m just committing myself to be a part of the team.” “

Tony’s the man, you know? There ain’t no doubt about it,” Orton said. “He’s played great football. He’s a great quarterback. So I’m excited. It’s really the first time I’ve been around another veteran in my career. I’ve done a lot of learning with young guys in the room. I can still learn a lot about football, and hopefully I can help him out in any way I can.”

Orton doesn't quite have the aw-shucks demeanor to cook this five-course meal, but let's head to the kitchen and see what Orton has prepared. (Note: the following recipe was taken from page 15 of the Through My Eyes Southern Homestyle Cookin' Good Cookbook):

  • Soup: "It's all about the team."
  • Appetizer: "I've still got a lot to learn." 
  • Salad: "I support the starting quarterback."
  • Main Entree: "I just want to help out."
  • Dessert: "My goal is to be a starter."

For dessert I prefer a I just want to get better each day peach cobbler, but to each their own.  

I'm proud of Orton.  I didn't think he learned anything from his experience in Denver last year.  It turns out he figured things out quite nicely.  

Billboards, Dallas?

Warren gets $1.25M salary plus $250K in guarantees and $500K in incentives

Broncos gave Warren a guaranteed $250,000 signing bonus

In the end, the Broncos gave Warren a $250,000 bonus that the defensive tackle gets whether he makes the team or not, and a $1.25 million base salary. Warren, who returned to the team Wednesday, can also make another $500,000 in incentives.

Warren received a $2.5M signing bonus last year, so before incentives he will count for $2.75M against Denver's 2012 cap.