Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

When the Broncos tag Demaryius Thomas, he should take his sweet time in signing it

How Do NFL Players, Teams Prepare for Tag Process?
bleacherreport.com

“From a practical standpoint, what you’re seeing is that players sign that thing immediately to guarantee it, but teams rarely revoke the franchise tag. Once you sign it, you’re obligated. You have to show up. It seems like if there’s the threat of you not showing up, sometimes it helps you get a better deal right around the deadline. If Houston doesn’t sign it right away and they revoked it, his agent would be jumping for joy. He could be the highest-paid defensive player in football.”

The Broncos will have between Feb 16 and Mar 2 to tender Demaryius at the franchise level, and until the afternoon of Jul 15 to sign him to a multiyear deal.

Lammey: Denver’s two-TE sets may slow development of Cody Latimer

Future of Broncos WR Cody Latimer Unclear Under New Offense
bleacherreport.com

Under Kubiak, the Broncos should employ the two-tight end set as their base formation. With 22 personnel (two running backs, two tight ends) on the field, there is little need for a slot receiver.

Latimer is not as proven as Sanders is, so this change in philosophy means the second-year receiver could be more of a backup for the new-look Broncos.

Lammey calls Latimer "one of the brightest young stars on the team," which frankly, seems a case of putting the cart before the Bronco.

Despite line struggles, Manning’s quick release limited pressure

Sig Stats: PBE, O-Line Units
www.profootballfocus.com

The Broncos top the whole-line PBE rating, but some of that is certainly due to Peyton Manning and his league-low average of 2.22 seconds from snap to pass attempt.

We all know the Broncos didn't rank #1 because their linemen played particularly well. More specifically, Orlando Franklin posted the second best Pass Blocking Efficiency among the league's guards in 2014, but none of Denver's centers or tackles ranked among the top ten at their respective positions.

PFF: Broncos didn’t blitz often in 2014, but when they did…

Sig Stats: Team Blitzing
www.profootballfocus.com

Near the bottom of the list we find mostly 4-3 teams or teams with two good edge rushers.

That's the whole point of having Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, isn't it? When the Broncos defense did blitz, they were the fourth most productive unit in the league. However, they were 22nd when not blitzing, and that's what kept them from being a great defense, despite their unmatched overall efficiency.

PFF: C.J. Anderson among the NFL’s most elusive backs in 2014

Sig Stats: Elusive Rating
www.profootballfocus.com

C.J. Anderson provided the Denver Broncos a similar boost late in the season and looks like Denver’s running back of the present and future.

Funny thing - or not, depending upon one's viewpoint - it seemed Ronnie Hillman had grown out of his tendency to go down when a defender just breathed on him. However, the numbers don't support that observation, as according to PFF, Hillman had the fewest yards after contact per attempt of any back in the league. Yikes.

Brooks: Broncos have to be thinking tackles in the draft

AFC West rookie grades: Oakland Raiders aced 2014 NFL Draft
www.nfl.com

The Broncos will investigate the top offensive tackles in the 2015 draft class to determine if there is an ultra-athletic edge blocker ideally suited for new coach Gary Kubiak’s zone-based scheme. The emphasis on athleticism should put Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings, Stanford’s Andrus Peat and Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi under the microscope.

This all depends upon the progress of Michael Schofield. Either way, a replacement for Orlando Franklin is another likely draft focus.

Peter King also thinks Peyton Manning will return this season

The Super Bowl Story, According to Tom Brady
mmqb.si.com

I think Peyton Manning’s playing football in 2015. Of course, by now, every one does. That’s assuming his arm, neck and legs pass muster in a team physical a month from now.

By now, Peyton's return seems something of a fait accompli.

Klis: Broncos want Will Montgomery, Virgil Green to return

Broncos evaluating all kinds of players to restock roster
www.denverpost.com

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Broncos also pursue Mark Sanchez, the most accomplished quarterback in the pool of free agents.

The Broncos also are expected to try to re-sign center Will Montgomery and backup tight end Virgil Green, who will command raises without taking up much veteran budget room. Next up among the Broncos’ free agents are tight end Julius Thomas, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, safety Rahim Moore and offensive lineman Orlando Franklin. The Broncos would like them to return, but not at the top-of-the-market prices they will command.

We're going to assume that Klis is just trolling us all with that first line.

Dungy: Peyton Manning doesn’t want loss to Colts to be his swan song

Dungy says he thinks Manning will return in '15 if healthy
www.usatoday.com

“My gut feeling is that he’ll be back unless he really has a health-related problem,” Dungy said. “He enjoys the team. He enjoys his teammates. I think he really wants to come back and play well and not let that be the last game of his career.”

We'll agree with Terrell Davis, who thinks the latest season-ending loss shouldn't be Peyton's main reason for coming back.

Patriots (3x), ‘97 Broncos among rare teams to win SB while being outpassed

Super Bowl XLIX, and Thoughts on ANY/A
www.footballperspective.com

That means the Seahawks averaged 3.46 more ANY/A than the Patriots. And they lost! Only 6 times in the previous 48 Super Bowls had the team that averaged fewer ANY/A won the game: the ’01, ’03, and ’14 Patriots are on that list, in addition to the ’82 Redskins (John Riggins!), ’97 Broncos (Terrell Davis!), ’05 Steelers, and ’08 Steelers (James Harrison!).

Prior to Sunday, the SB 32-winning Broncos lost the passing efficiency battle by a wider margin than any other champion.