Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Broncos did not smell what the Routt was cookin’

Could Brandon Carr stay in the AFC West?
espn.go.com

I thought Denver would be the favorite in the division to land Routt, but the Broncos reportedly never had any interest. Carr could pair nicely with the aging Champ Bailey for the short term. The Broncos could then have Carr take over as the No.1 cornerback if Bailey is eventually moved to safety. The Broncos have cap room and I could see them looking at Carr.

Williamson is just trying to fill space (so am I) with this post tonight, but it does beg the question as to whether the Broncos would cease drafting a cornerback with their first pick and just go after a known quantity like Carr instead.  A combination of Champ Bailey and Brandon Carr would make Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil downright smitten.

Should this dude have been fired?

Jeremy Lin headline slur was ‘honest mistake,’ fired ESPN editor Anthony Federico claims
www.nydailynews.com

The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using “chink in the armor” in a headline about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin said the racial slur never crossed his mind - and he was devastated when he realized his mistake.

“This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” Anthony Federico told the Daily News.

“I’m so sorry that I offended people. I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy.”

The headline - “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets” - appeared on ESPN’s mobile website at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and was removed by 3:05 a.m.

Federico, 28, said he understands why he was axed. “ESPN did what they had to do,” he said.

He said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times” in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.

Context is everything. As a guy who writes several thousand words a week, and further, as a guy who is always looking to turn a phrase into a headline, I can tell you that sometimes you simply don't catch everything.  This is especially true when you are trying to generate content as fast as possible.

Only the patently idiotic would purposely write what Frederico wrote as a joke or a pun. It's clear from this interview he simply pulled a trite phrase from the index in his head of trite phrases.

Certainly there are better candidates to fire at ESPN, aren't there?  Let's start with Chris Berman and end with Stuart Scott.  Berman's powder-blue act is as stale as week-old cornflakes.  Scott's is hardly more interesting, unless you think torturing two-year-old slang into a Tim Tebow highlight is gold.

Chiefs land ex-Raiders CB Routt

Report: Stanford Routt signs with Chiefs
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

According to those same multiple reports, Routt’s deal is for three years and worth $19.6 million.

Oakland’s not off the hook, though. Multiple reports indicate that Routt’s new deal will not offset the $5 million Routt was scheduled to receive from the Raiders in 2012, so the cornerback will be getting two paychecks.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the addition of Routt to the Chiefs is what it means for would-be free-agent cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr was a strong possibility to get the franchise tag, but the Chiefs signing Routt means that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is a much more likely target now.

Atlas shrugging off NFL players?

Late hits: Why do so many former NFL players go broke?
www.cbssports.com

And there is definitely something to say about personal responsibility. Terrell Owens made enough money during his NFL career for several lifetimes, yet he’s broke due to poor investments and child-support payments. That’s on Owens, and it’s possible some of the above stories happened because of irresponsible choices as well.

Yet many of these situations feel like men who simply slipped through the cracks through no fault of their own, and in a league that has so much money, how is it that any former player can be on the verge of eviction or having their car repossessed?

Some of this again is about personal responsibility. Not all of those men are victims. Some of the pain is self-inflicted, but it remains an amazing thing to see, nonetheless. It’s also a reminder of why players fight for every penny when they play.

And the money continues to roll in…

Lloyd and Pats trying to overcome “Condon Thing”

Brandon Lloyd’s agent puts Pats on call
bostonherald.com

If the Patriots want to do business, in this case in pursuit of soon-to-become free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, that’s all that’s necessary. No need for rapprochement, a political term that springs from the French word rapprocher, meaning to “bring together.” No need for a lovefest and no need trying to undercut him through backdoor whispering campaigns designed to convince his client of the need to fire his agent for a deal to get done in Foxboro.

“As I told him [Lloyd] last night,” Condon said, “if he wants to go to the team that pays him the most money, wonderful. If he wants to go to a team that pays him less but where he feels there’s better opportunity for success, wonderful. He’ll make that decision.”

Condon famously once said of his testy relationship with Patriots management: “We pretend there are 31 franchises in the NFL now and they pretend we don’t exist, even though we represent 140 (now over 160) of the best players in the NFL. That’s fine.”

Try to say the word "Condon" five times fast and see what happens.  Yeah, it happened to me, too.  And when the Patriots and Condon are negotiating, you probably ought to wrap up that Jimmy.  It looks like things get really naughty.

Walking the road less traveled on the homeschooling debate

Tim Tebow Debate: Should Homeschoolers Be Allowed on Public-School Sports Teams?
ideas.time.com

Despite — or perhaps because of — Tebow’s success, the prospect of lots of homeschoolers joining high school sports teams has the education establishment up in arms. Many opponents to Tebow laws repeat the mantra, “High school sports are a privilege, not a right.” Others fret that the logistics will be too daunting; for starters, how can you ensure homeschoolers are academically eligible to play? And after years of deriding public schools, homeschooling advocates seem shocked they’re not being greeted with open arms. The controversy surrounding Tebow laws is at once a reminder that homeschooling is too lightly regulated and a cautionary tale for those who want to broaden support for public schools.

In a diverse society like ours, there is value in commonness. Opponents of Tebow laws have it backwards: integrating homeschoolers into our public education system advances the goal of commonality. Besides, given all the problems our public schools face, it makes sense to build bridges to different communities, not exclude them. It’s how you build support and political coalitions. Letting homeschoolers play sports is one way to do that — if the homeschooling community can get past its reflexive opposition to regulation and meet the public schools halfway.

I wrote a few weeks ago that this debate is one in which both sides have legit points; it's difficult to make it a black-and-white issue.  This piece does a decent job of trying to present a third alternative: compromise.  

Elway says Broncos to spend at least $3M more than last year

Elway says Broncos to spend more than NFL salary cap in 2012
www.denverpost.com

In 2011, the Broncos spent $117.5 million in cash on salaries, or 98 percent of the $120.375 million salary cap. The cap is expected to again come in at $120.375 million for the 2012 season.

“That $3 million difference, we’ll roll that over to this year,” Elway said. “And that really came from the savings of Orton, so we’ll have that money to spend this year.”

Certainly not worthy of the "Denver Post Breaking News" spam special email, but whatever. So the cash savings from the Orton release could turn into a player - don't laugh, that guy could be the 2012 version of Chris Harris.*

As for actual news, the Broncos signed 25-year-old 6'2" 308 guard C.J. Davis, formerly of the Panthers. Davis dressed for seven games in 2010 but none in 2011.

* The undrafted free agent who kicked ass this year, not the Panther/Bear who Mason mentioned as a possible FA target. Man, that would be SO annoying.

Krieger: public deserves its cut, too

Is Denver's Skyline For Sale?
www.850koa.com

Is Denver’s skyline for sale? And, if so, what’s it worth?

The first of these questions has gotten a lot of attention in the debate leading up to today’s hearing before the city planning board on The Sports Authority’s proposal to install three 178-foot, lighted signs along the metal band that undulates around the top of the stadium where the Broncos play in northwest Denver. The second question has gotten almost none.

...So perhaps the most surprising aspect of the debate is that at no time has the city or the stadium district asked The Sports Authority to pay an additional fee for the right to vastly augment the signage that went with the original naming rights deal. The money from the naming rights deal—approximately $6 million a year—is divided between the Broncos and the stadium district, which uses its share for upkeep of the facility. If there is excess, it is supposed to go back to the counties that provided the public funding that got the place built.

If the free market allows The Sports Authority to put its brand on the Denver skyline, then the free market should also require it to pay a market rate for the privilege. And that doesn’t mean just picking up the existing naming rights fee, which included much more modest signage rights.

MNF booth only big enough for so much QB slobbery

Ron Jaworski is leaving the Monday Night Football booth
www.awfulannouncing.com

While ESPN is careful not to deem Jaws leaving the booth as a demotion in any sort of way, especially given the five year contract extension, this is a stunning move.  One immediately has to ask whether or not the booth was becoming too small for both Gruden and Jaws?  There is always give and take with a three man booth and there were a few times where I sensed elbowing for position on MNF telecasts, but it wasn’t anything drastic.  I always thought Gruden and Jaws worked well together and made an enjoyable team with Tirico even if some of their QB love was redundant.

Count Drew Magary among those celebrating the end of Jaws and Chucky's sycophantic guffawing.

Instead, it's endless talk of how OUTSTANDING every player is. Yay!

Tebow working with Noel Mazzone on mechanics

Tim Tebow working with QB guru
espn.go.com

The Broncos cannot work with him yet, but Tebow has gotten a jump on his improvement plan. Bruce Feldman of CBS tweeted that Tebow is in Los Angles (sic) this week to work with new UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone on his mechanics.

Mazzone is considered one of the premier quarterback coaches in the college ranks.

Once the Broncos can work with Tebow in the spring, Tebow is going to work closely with the coaching staff and John Elway. He has said several times he will work with Tebow, concentrating on his foot work.

Why something like this didn't happen last year is a great mystery, but hey - better late than never.

Mazzone has been the college OC for several future NFL QBs: Philip Rivers during the Chargers QB's senior year at NC State (2003), Derek Anderson at Oregon State in 2002, Jason Campbell at Auburn in 2001, and most recently ASU QB Brock Osweiler for the past two seasons. Mazzone joined Jim Mora's staff at UCLA in January.