Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Dungy: Don’t forget about the Patriots’ substitution antics

Dungy: NFL needs to restrict New England’s substitution game
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“The NFL is going to have to do something about the Patriots’ ineligible-eligible substitution game. It is nothing but an intent to deceive and they are doing it very well. They’re reporting so fast and going so quickly the defense can’t respond. In fact, the officials can’t keep up.”

There's pretty much no other way to view it, unless you live in a certain region of the country.

Also, the Patriots are even more dominant when it’s raining

Patriots Do Notably Well in Wet Weather, Analysis Shows
www.nytimes.com

Over the past 12 seasons, the New England Patriots have played so well in wet conditions that their margin of victory in those games has exceeded the betting “spread” — set by a global market that tries to take all known advantages into account — a remarkable 80 percent of the time, according to a new statistical analysis by a sports betting information website.

In those 20 games, New England's average score has been 30.5-13.2, for a whopping 17.3-point average margin of victory.

For some reason, the Patriots hardly ever fumble

The Patriots Have Incredible Ball Security
www.advancedfootballanalytics.com

I’m not sticking my neck out here and saying this is evidence of anything. It’s fair to say that Belichick emphasizes ball security emphatically, and is quick to bench players who drop the ball. Everyone will have their own opinion anyway. I’ll just say, either way, it’s worth looking at. If it’s a result of an unfair advantage, that’s interesting. If it’s the result of good coaching, that’s just as interesting.

These numbers are stunning. FWIW, the Broncos were fumbling machines prior to 2014.

Kubes: Let’s win one for Mr. B

Klee: Broncos and Gary Kubiak emphasize family, and this hire is for the patriarch
gazette.com

Kubiak stopped me before I could even finish, his heartfelt response proof enough.

“I know where you’re going,” Kubiak said. “It’s tremendous motivation for me to come here and work for their family. It would be a dream come true to come here and let them hold that trophy again.

“You’re right. He’s been a very special man in my life. It means a great deal to me.”

Brick wall, anyone?

John Elway didn’t need to cheat to throw well

John Elway 'never even thought about' deflating footballs
www.usatoday.com

“I never even thought about it,” John Elway told USA TODAY Sports Wednesday afternoon.

Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-general manager of the Denver Broncos, played in all sorts of weather conditions in his 16-year NFL career and dismissed the idea that quarterbacks would want to alter the level of inflation in a ball to help gain a better grip.

As for cheating to get under the salary cap, well...

Should Britton Colquitt really be Denver’s ninth highest paid player?

Lessons learned: The just so-so special teams
espn.go.com

Couple those issues with a ho-hum season from Colquitt – his 37.6 net yards per punt was his lowest showing in net yardage since 2010 – and a lack of an overall impact, save for Omar Bolden’s work late in the season, in the return game, and new special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis has a big to-do list.

Colquitt is schedule to be the Broncos' ninth highest paid player in terms of cap value, and remains the highest paid punter in the league relative to AAV, despite being the league's fifth-worst in terms of net average. Cutting him (post-June 1) would leave $750K in dead money and save $3M against the cap.

Montee Ball plans to trim down for 2015

Briefs: Broncos LB Von Miller looks at Pro Bowl as chance to end well
www.denverpost.com

Ball said he is prepared for the challenge. He plans to play at 210 pounds next season after bulking up 10 pounds for training camp last season.

“I will push the reset button and work even harder to come back ready,” Ball said. “I will be ready.”

Ball was listed at 215 pounds, which is just a pound over his weight at combine two years ago. Can't wait for those "I'm in the best shape of my life and feel faster" stories.

Somewhere in this quote is one of the reasons John Elway fired John Fox

Broncos' Gary Kubiak is fine with John Elway's high expectations
www.denverpost.com

“If you make any kind of decisions that you want to do something, all you have to do is tell me why. I want a reason why. I want to know that it is thought through, that when we made this decision it was the best decision we could make. If I don’t get a why, then you need to help me here.”

To speculate wildly, it might have been the offensive line changes, a restriction on Peyton Manning's ability to audible, leaving the team's playoff chances to a coin flip, or a slew of John Fox Specials. Chances are, we'll all hear and read over the coming months more hints of what drove Elway and Fox apart.

Some free agent ideas for the Broncos from Bill Barnwell

NFL Playoffs Postmortem: What’s Next for the Eliminated Teams?
grantland.com

Could they go after somebody like Ndamukong Suh and build a devastating defense behind Kubiak’s perennially effective rushing attack, perhaps with C.J. Anderson splitting time alongside Justin Forsett?

That sort of cap space is exciting to think about given how close Denver was last season, but seeing as the alternative at quarterback is Brock Osweiler or a trade for somebody like Jay Cutler, I’m guessing that Broncos fans would rather Manning come back and try for one last ring with much of the current roster in 2015.

If your eyes haven't rolled back into your head from the Cutler idea, you'll see the other names Barnwell floats: Michael Crabtree, Cecil Shorts, Jordan Cameron, and Owen Daniels.

Kiszla: Departure of Dumervil scarred Denver locker room

Kiszla: Team-first players right for Broncos
www.denverpost.com

Elway can stand in front of the Broncos and passionately demand championship intensity from his players. Bless him for caring. Inspirational speeches, however, don’t leave as lasting an impact in a locker room as the hole left by pass rusher Elvis Dumervil when squabbling over money sent him packing to the Baltimore Ravens.

As I've often mentioned recently, I think the failure to re-sign Dumervil is John Elway's biggest mistake to date. Yeah, I know DeMarcus Ware is better against the run, but in a passing league, I'd take Doom's 11.9% Pass Rushing Productivity in 2014 over Ware's 8.8%. The difference was even starker in 2013, when Doom's PRP was 15.1% to Shaun Phillips' 8.6%.