Matt Prater absent from Broncos workouts
Broncos kicker Matt Prater, a free agent until he was slapped with a $2.6 million franchise tender for the 2012 season, has not been participating in the team’s offseason workout program.
“”There’s no message, it’s voluntary,” said Frank Bauer, Prater’s agent.
Prater made some huge kicks last year, and he was a bigger part of Denver's winning streak than a kicker would typically be. But he's still a kicker, and one who's made just 80.4% of his attempts with the Broncos, including an atrocious 20 of 33 from 40-49 yards (60.6%).
If you're wondering, Ryan Longwell is available and has made 83.2% of his career kicks, including 73.5% from 40-49 yards.
Steven Hauschka, who stepped in for an injured Prater in 2010 and became Seattle's kicker last season after Denver cut him in the preseason, was good 83.3% of the time in 2011, including 7 of 8 (87.5%) from 40-49. He's also a free agent - perhaps Denver should consider bringing him back.
Statistics corrected 11am ET July 3, 2012
Thomas Preparing for 'Best Year Yet'
“I’m excited, man,” Thomas said, smiling from ear to ear. “I’m just excited to get healed and work with the team and not sit here and look around – to actually be on the field doing stuff. This is my first year in the NFL being healthy. I’m feeling good, I’m in the right shape, good size. It’s just exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
...Thomas took advantage of the opportunity to learn from an All-Pro receiver in Johnson, who along with Thomas is one of the bigger receivers in the NFL. “It was basically just coming off a press and how breaking down the end of your routes will help you because as big receivers, it’s different for us,” Thomas said of the advice he received from Johnson. “Just small little things and just basically to work hard—something good is going to happen if you keep working hard.”
We'll soon be reading that Peyton Manning feels like a 27-year-old after a year off, that J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles have made incomparable strength gains after their first full offseason conditioning program, that Brock Osweiler's mechanics are PMFM-like, and Omar Bolden is running faster than he did pre-knee injury.
What's that you say? We've already heard those last two? Okay, then next it'll be that Nate Irving and Rahim Moore will be ready to make major contributions after the lockout stunted their professional development, and Knowshon Moreno is ready to thrive without the weight of lofty expectations.
Keep that PR machine churning, Sacco.
* ITBSOHL (In The Best Shape Of His Life) has been popularized by the peerless Mets blog Amazin' Avenue, referring to the sunny optimism that is an annual rite of spring training media coverage.
Somebody has been pretending to be the safety from Syracuse, spinning a story so convincing that the fake Phillip Thomas has appeared on blog posts, conducted radio interviews and tweeted a bogus signing with the Washington Redskins. The fake Phillip Thomas created a Facebook page loaded with pictures of the real Phillip Thomas along with photos from inside Redskins Park. The fake Phillip Thomas even posted a picture of a Redskins playbook that appears to have been taken in a hotel room.
On Friday, the real Phillip Thomas laughed nervously as he scrolled through the fake Phillip Thomas’s Facebook page on a laptop. He was shocked by the fake Phillip Thomas’s misspellings, pointing out that the fake Phillip Thomas had used the word “week” when he should have used “weak.” All of it unsettled him, he said. For instance, what was the page’s main photo, which appears to show someone talking to a group of children in a classroom? The implication was he was speaking to a class, but he had never seen the children or the room or even the photo. The person talking to the class is conveniently looking down, his face hidden from view.
“I have no idea who this is,” the real Phillip Thomas said. “He’s got to be watching my every move.”
One of the strangest stories you'll ever read, to be sure.
The key to recognizing a fake, of course, lies in the details. One that struck me was when the fake Thomas talked about the significant time he spent with Mike Shanahan
We all know Shanny doesn't waste his time on you unless your name is John Elway, Robert Griffin, or Dale Carter.
He's got better things to do, like work on his base tan.
McDaniels is back with more miles on him
Asked why he’d come back to New England with nothing left to prove, McDaniels said, “I think it’s more about what I have to learn. I think this is a great environment for a young coach to learn. As old as I might feel, I’m still really young and have so much more to learn and understand. There is not a better teacher than Coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft and the way we do things here, how we adapt each year, and I think that gives any coach – young or old – an opportunity to really grasp those things and really improve.”
McDaniels actually has plenty to prove. He hasn’t coached a winning offense since 2008 when Cassel carried the Patriots to 11-5. He needs to show he is still one of the most innovative minds in football but also do it with a different cast than the one he had in New England his first time.
Former Broncos DT Ryan McBean settles suit, signs with Ravens
Before signing a one-year contract Monday with the Baltimore Ravens, former Broncos defensive tackle Ryan McBean settled his lawsuit complaint against the NFL. In exchange for dropping his lawsuit, the NFL reduced his suspension from six to three games, according to two sources familiar with case.
Williams is continuing with his legal fight against the NFL.
D.J. must think he can do better than getting his suspension cut to three games; we can hope that is Denver's worst case scenario.
Mike Florio says the league's willingness to compromise with McBean points to the flaws in the NFL's discipline system and its insistence upon using in-house arbitration.
Updated 2:28 pm ET
Former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the NFL in April detailing how he was instructed to lie to the NFL by current and former Saints assistant coaches Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams in 2010 about the team’s bounty program.
Hargrove said Williams then said he was going to deny the existence of any bounty system, and that both Williams and Vitt instructed Hargrove to do the same. Williams also said: “Those [expletives at the NFL] have been trying to get me for years” and if all the Saints “stay on the same page, this will blow over.”
Ravens sign NT Ryan McBean
The Baltimore Ravens announced they have signed nose tackle Ryan McBean, who has been suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
The Broncos removed McBean’s $1.272 million restricted free-agent tender last month after they signed Justin Bannan. McBean, 28, started 21 games the past three seasons for the Broncos. He had a career-high four sacks last year.
Although McBean did have his best year as a Bronco in 2011, it's the lowlights that will define his legacy in Denver:
Rookies Get Their Numbers
95: DE Derek Wolfe; 6: QB Brock Osweiler; 34: RB Ronnie Hillman; 47: CB Omar Bolden; 64: OL Philip Blake; 70: DL Malik Jackson; 59: Danny Trevathan; 8: WR Gerell Robinson; 19: WR Eric Page; 38: S Duke Ihenacho; 45: CB Coryell Judie; 46: LS Aaron Brewer; 48: LB Elliot Coffey; 49: LB Jerry Franklin; 57: LB Steven Johnson; 60: OL Mike Remmers; 62: OL Austin Wuebbels; 69: OL Wayne Tribue; 77: DL Jamie Blatnick; 86: TE Anthony Miller
In addition to the rookies choosing their numbers, tight end Jacob Tamme will wear 84, with tight end Cornelius Ingram switching to No. 82. Cornerback Tracy Porter will now wear No. 21, defensive lineman Jeremy Beal switched to 79 and defensive lineman Sealver Siliga will wear No. 98.
Brock Osweiler will be the first player to wear #6 since Jay Cutler.
Draft fallout: Did Denver land any starters?
John Elway wasn’t afraid to wheel and deal his way out of the first round. The Broncos executive vice president traded down twice on opening night, leaving Denver without a clear home-run hitter. That set the tone for an underwhelming draft haul, but not a hopeless one. Still, it’s unclear where the starters are in this group…
...The Broncos have been one of the league’s most active players this offseason. Elway’s masterstroke, landing Peyton Manning, will define his legacy. It was an exciting power play that shifted the landscape of the AFC West. You can’t say the same about Denver’s draft.
Cuz what the world needs now is a another draft expert, like I need a hole in my head.
Former Seau teammate Gary Plummer: 'He was crying out for help'
Said Plummer: “In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar. They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter. As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don’t have five of these (Grade 1 effects) each game, you were inactive the next game.
“Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions. I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.”
Plummer tells of players struggling to find direction in their post-NFL lives, and he proposes that all players receive mandatory counseling at the end of their careers. Ex-NFLers are too proud to seek help, says Plummer, and he stresses that Seau's example is not an isolated one.