Wild-Card Games: What the Film Says
This could be a surprisingly tough matchup for the Steeler offense, and not because running back Rashard Mendenhall is out (ACL)...No chance the Steeler offensive tackles hold up one-on-one against Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
The Steelers are more of a zone defense, although corner Ike Taylor is a world-class press-man defender (expect him to hold Demaryius Thomas to under four catches) and William Gay, Keenan Lewis and Bryant McFadden are capable of handling untalented wideouts man-to-man. Whatever coverage the Steelers choose will work…The Broncos will have trouble breaking 200 yards of total offense.
Tracking Tebow, Week 17: Stuck in reverse
Tebowmania reached a crescendo last month, after the Broncos went from 1-4 to 8-5, but now that the new-car smell has worn off and Tebow apparently doesn’t possess otherworldly powers, reality has set in…We’ve talked about it previously, but the concern with Denver’s read-option offensive philosophy was that eventually, defenses would catch up to it, as was the case with the wildcat several seasons ago. Unlike the wildcat, however, teams appear to have figured out the option in weeks instead of months.
The result: the Broncos conventional rushing attack, headed by Willis McGahee, is as good as ever. But with each game, Tebow become less a factor in the running game. When you couple that with his erratic passing skills, that makes him something less than one dimensional.
Source: Bears release GM Jerry Angelo
“There isn’t anyone like him,” Angelo said. “I’ve always believed that 60 percent of evaluating quarterbacks is based on intangibles, and he has all the ones you’d want. He has talent too, but the main thing that drives [the Broncos] is his teammates’ belief in him. You hear people talk about his religious beliefs—and that’s O.K. I’m strong in my faith as well. But I believe there is some divine intervention associated with what’s taking place.”
That quote from Jim Trotter's SI cover story on Tim Tebow pretty says all one needs to know about Jerry Angelo's methods for talent accumulation.
Add McCoy, O’Brien to the Jags interview list
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Jags will interview Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. John Clayton of ESPN reports that Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy also will be interviewed.
O’Brien can be interviewed during the bye week. McCoy can be interviewed, with Denver’s consent, after the wild-card game, if the Broncos win. Neither man can be hired until his team’s season ends.
Mike McCoy has become the latest whipping boy of the Tebowites, but he did extract seven wins out of a QB who can't throw. Just a few weeks ago, McCoy was seen as a coach molding the Denver offense to his QB's strength(s). Apparently that's the impression that has stuck around the league...
Broncos re-sign Ryan Harris to help offensive line
Tackle Ryan Harris, a starter from 2008-2010, re-signed on Monday, according to a team source, filling the roster spot left by guard Chris Kuper, who was placed on injured reserve. Kuper broke his lower left leg and suffered a dislocated ankle in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to Kansas City. Harris, a 2007 third-round draft pick, was an unrestricted free agent before this season and nearly re-signed with the Broncos then. He chose instead to sign with Philadelphia, but suffered a back injury during training camp.
Source: Turner, A.J. could return to Bolts
There seems to be a lot of waffling on the future of San Diego coach Norv Turner, and, according to a source close to the organization, there’s good reason. He believes that Turner and general manager A.J. Smith will be retained. Of course, that’s not set in concrete. Nothing is this time of year. But it’s the first tangible sign that both will return next season. Turner has two years left on his contract at $3 million per, and Smith has three years left at $2 million per season. According to the source, he believes that ownership is reluctant to fire each or both, then have to pay them.
But there’s more to it than that. Quarterback Philip Rivers is a big fan of Turner and voiced his support Sunday for his embattled head coach. Owner Dean Spanos is reluctant to fire Turner, too, one reason he wants time to sit on the decision.
In a related story, a lot of Broncos fans experienced group orgasm.
Steelers lose Rashard Mendenhall to torn ACL
The news is in on Rashard Mendenhall’s right knee injury, and it’s as bad as it could be. Mendenhall has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports. Obviously, Mendenhall won’t be playing for the Steelers in the playoffs, and the question with an ACL tear is whether he can even be ready for the start of next season. He may be at less than 100 percent when the 2012 regular season begins.
When I wrote yesterday that I would get excited if the Steelers went into the playoffs with their starting QB, RB, and WR all going down, I didn't, at the time, realize that Mendenhall had sustained an injury. Things may suddenly get more interesting. I wonder if Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace want to play some pick-up basketball today. Stranger things have happened to the Broncos' opponents this year (see Culter, Jay and Forte, Matt).
Raiders' Carson Palmer considers season a failure
Carson Palmer was asked after the Raiders’ season-ending loss Sunday whether the midseason trade for him - at the cost of a first-round pick and a second-rounder - was a failure. “It was this year,” he said. “It didn’t work out for us this year. I always feel like when you don’t win, the quarterback can always play better, and I can definitely play better. It stinks to sit here and say next year, what are we going to do next year.
I am completely amused by this, I must say. Hue-bris Jackson (Jason Whitlock's nickname for Jackson) got exactly what he deserved.
Source: Polians out with Colts
Colts vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian are out in Indianapolis, a source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.
The Colts (2-14) finished with fewer than three wins for only the second time since moving to Indianapolis in 1984, and fans have been calling for the ouster of the Polians and coach Jim Caldwell.
As they say, the fluttering of Peyton Manning's wings can create climate change on the other side globe. Oh, and close to home? It can get you fired in a matter of 16 games.
All kidding aside, this probably means the end of the Manning era in Indy.
Denver safety Brian Dawkins is doubtful
Denver safety Brian Dawkins is doubtful for Sunday’s game against Kansas City with a neck injury that has been bothering him for several weeks. He did not practice all week. It will be up to rookies Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore to anchor the defense in a critical game against the Chiefs. Denver will win the AFC West with a victory over the Chiefs and former Denver quarterback Kyle Orton.
If Denver losses, we may not see Dawkins in a Denver uniform again. He is 38 and there is concern in Denver about the neck injury. He has been the unquestioned leader of the team since he arrived as a free agent from Philadelphia in 2009.
For Kansas City, running back Jackie Battle (foot) is out and safety Jon McGraw (ankle) is doubtful to play Sunday.