Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Mort reporting Colts have already decided to draft Luck

Twitter
twitter.com

As @mortreport reported on Sat edition of NFL Countdown, Colts plan to use the No. 1 pick on Stanford QB Andrew Luck.

Not sure what the point of this is, especially before Jim Irsay hires a new GM. It's not like any trades can happen now, if Irsay wants to drum up interest, and if the intention is to draft and keep Luck, this serves to make things unnecessarily awkward for Peyton Manning.

Florio, Darlington engaging in Twitter cat fight

Twitter
twitter.com

Darlington: Quinn joked that maybe if I quote him as “anonymous player,” you’ll be more likely to believe it. A player making a journalism joke…nice!

Florio: Quinn has zero incentive to be honest about this.

Darlington: What about his incentive to maintain my trust?

Florio: Seriously Jeff?

This is pretty amusing, especially Darlington's take. Does he really think the Broncos and Brady Quinn are more concerned about what Darlington thinks of them than they are about trying to win tomorrow's game and potentially not tip off their strategy? Even if Darlington has this story correct, he obviously has quite a bit of self-importance to him.

Fox: Fans demanding more passes should keep their day jobs

Spoiler Alert: John Fox Says The Broncos Aren’t Going To Pass It Much
deadspin.com

I don’t really understand what that means unless they say pass it a lot more. If you look at our stats whenever we have thrown it 35 or 45 times it’s been very lopsided, so I’d say they gotta stick to what they do because they know that better than they know this.

Tebow’s worst nightmare

Source: Brady Quinn gets some first-team snaps in practice
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Earlier this week, Rodney Harrison questioned my sanity and/or sobriety when I suggested, both in our weekly One-on-One segment and on NBC SportsTalk, that the Broncos should get quarterback Brady Quinn ready to play, in the event that starter Tim Tebow continues to play like he has played in the last three games he has played.

Apparently, Rodney also needs to question the sanity and/or sobriety of Broncos coach John Fox and/or Broncos V.P. of football operations John Elway.  Per a league source, Quinn has been getting roughly half the first-team reps in practice this week.

It’s unknown whether Quinn actually will play on Sunday against Pittsburgh, either as a replacement for Tebow (if he fails to “pull the trigger”) or an unexpected change-of-pace insertion.  Either way, the use of Quinn could throw a wrench into the Steelers’ Tebow-specific game plan.

OMG alert!  OMG alert!

Update: Andrew Mason is reporting that this report is false.  The same goes for our buddy Cecil Lammey.  OMG!  Who is right?  I can't catch my breath, y'all.

Double Trouble Update:  Jeff Darlington says Quinn told him he didn't get more reps via text. OMG, I need to calm down and take a deep breath.

Triple Dawg Dare Update: Florio is standing by what he reported, saying Quinn doesn't want to let the cat out of the bag--Tebow's potential benching.  ZOMG!

Quadruple Diggy Dawg Dare Update: Florio swears they have special packages for Quinn now that he's checked with his source yet again.

Dawkins may retire, but not because of neck injury

Dolphins expected to seek pass rusher to pair with Wake
www.profootballweekly.com

SS Brian Dawkins’ neck injury has limited his playing time in recent weeks, but the veteran doesn’t believe it will force him to retire when the Broncos’ playoff run is over. A team source told PFW that the safety feels that he has recovered from worse injuries and that the injury will not impact his decision to return or not in 2012. He may retire, per the source, but it will not be because of the neck issue.

Let's just hope Dawk makes the correct decision for his long-term health, whatever that may be.

Steelers C Pouncey won’t play; RB coach badly burned in house fire

Steelers Pouncey won't play Sunday
www.post-gazette.com

Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who aggravated his injured left ankle against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday and again in practice on Wednesday, will not play in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game in Denver, the Post-Gazette has learned.

Guard Doug Legursky, who is returning after missing the previous game with a left shoulder separation, will start at center. Former starter Chris Kemoeatu will replace Legursky at left guard.

Obviously, the absence of Pouncey has the potential to be a boon to Denver. Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to Steelers RB coach Kirby Wilson, who was seriously injured in a fire at his home early this morning.

Mike Silver strikes again

Tebow playing for more than his playoff life
sports.yahoo.com

As of right now, Broncos executive vice president John Elway and head coach John Fox regard Tebow as their presumed starter for 2012 and plan to proceed accordingly. Yet in the wake of last Sunday’s 7-3 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs, they’re starting to get a little squeamish. And you can be sure that if Sunday’s season-defining performance against the NFL’s top-ranked defense is an unmitigated disaster, their first order of the offseason will be formulating a viable backup plan – whether it’s drafting a promising passer, acquiring a proven veteran or both…

...If this Sunday is anything like last Sunday, I suspect that plenty of Broncos fans will re-evaluate their conviction on this issue and start imploring the team to explore other alternatives. And Elway and his fellow decision-makers – the people whose opinions do matter – will certainly oblige.

For all Tebow has accomplished this season, the only guarantee it has earned him is that he’ll get another chance to shine on Sunday. It’s showtime, and the magnitude of the stakes should not be underestimated. For should this story take a dark turn, nothing that anyone puts on a billboard will keep his bosses from seeing him in a different light.

There are plenty of quotes to choose from in Silver's piece.  I could have gone with the more inflammatory ones, but I picked these for a reason.  Mike Silver, despite what a lot of Broncos fans might believe, is close with John Elway. He always has been, going back to Elway's days at Stanford.  In fact, interestingly enough, his current Twitter pic is a shot of he and Elway being BFFs.  So the context with which he covers the Broncos is not simply that of a hack or a guy with an agenda.  To a large extent, I think Silver's got real insight into the mind of John Elway. 

Benoit: Broncos need deep balls, luck and trick plays to win

Film Room: Broncos vs. Steelers wild-card preview
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

Whatever LeBeau chooses will work; we’re talking about the league’s top-ranked pass defense against the league’s most inept passing quarterback…The first idea is to just throw deep and hope luck tilts your way (a cornerback falls down, a ref calls pass interference, two Steelers collide while going after the same easy interception, etc.)...Another idea is to draw up trick plays. Lots of trick plays.

As lopsided as this matchup seems, the final score could be tight given that Pittsburgh’s offense might have trouble against John Fox’s and Dennis Allen’s defense…As much as the Broncos might like their secondary, they can’t expect it to be the league’s first unit that sustains coverage against the Steelers’ prolonged improvisational plays. Thus, when the Broncos do blitz, don’t be surprised if they bring the kitchen sink to ensure that Roethlisberger goes down or throws hot.

Barnwell: Broncos could win a puntfest

Playoff Preview: Steelers at Broncos
www.grantland.com

The Steelers might not have beaten a tougher team on the road this year than the one they’ll face this Sunday…If the Steelers get out to a double-digit lead early, the Broncos basically have no hopes of coming back. But there are reasons to believe that this will be a close game.

...the Steelers will need to hit on a big play or two downfield to score points. Mike Wallace is certainly up to the task, but if Roethlisberger is inaccurate and the Broncos pass rush comes to play, we might see a lot of punts.

Tebow went from offering up two turnovers in five weeks to two turnovers per week. If he arrests that trend, the Broncos might be able to turn this game into a field-position war…There’s no reason to think the Steelers will be totally unable to create turnovers because of what happened in the first half, but there’s also not any strong evidence suggesting they’re the ballhawks from 2010, either.

None of this is unreasonable - the Broncos definitely have more than an anything's possible chance.

Yellow and black attack!

Expect a lot of Steelers fans in Denver Sunday
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

So come Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET, expect Sports Authority Field to be littered with Steelers fans and Terrible Towels. Never mind that this is the Broncos’ first postseason appearance since 2005 (the Steelers knocked them out of the AFC Championship game that year), or that Tebowmania is still alive. As of Thursday morning, there were 3,900 seats available on StubHub and 5,700 ready for purchase on Ticketexchange. Even if those tickets remain unsold, history suggests that it’s fair to expect Steelers fans to number in the tens of thousands.

Part of the problem? Maybe Tebowmania isn’t quite so much alive as on life support. After winning six in a row and getting the Broncos to 8-5, Denver backed into the playoffs after three uninspiring losses. The last, a 7-3 effort against the Chiefs that saw the Broncos punt three times for each point they scored, was the last straw for some fans.

“That game was one step above watching paint dry,” said longtime season holder Todd Tenenbaum (via the Associated Press). “To watch the running back and quarterback bump into each other to see who can get up the middle first is just boring. I’d rather stay home and watch ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ with my kids.”