Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Clady: Manning makes me look good

Ryan Clady Says Peyton Manning Has Made Him a Better Player
sportsradiointerviews.com

How different it is blocking for Peyton Manning as opposed to Tim Tebow:

“One of the differences is pretty obvious. Peyton Manning just gets rid of the ball a little faster. That definitely helps out the offensive line. Also with Peyton you know the spot he is going to be in for the most part. With Tebow it was kind of up in the air as to where he was going to be.”

On the improved running game:

“Yeah, no question. It’s something our coaches have been harping on. Something they have been harping on and the past couple of weeks it’s something that all good playoff teams need to have is a good running game so I think we have done that and we need to continue to run the ball well.”

Whether he feels like Peyton Manning has made him a better player:

“I feel like he has. His ability to play the quarterback position always helps out the offensive line. When he was in Indy he never really had any big name offensive linemen but he made them look good which is a good thing and that’s what good quarterbacks do.”

Does this mean Clady is cool if the Broncos slap the franchise tag on him at the end of the season?

Arian Foster may run for a living, but he doesn’t walk anywhere

Arian Foster gifts Segways to line
espn.go.com

The star running back gifted each of his offensive linemen with a Segway personal transporter on Wednesday.

Foster said the Texans’ offensive linemen were always getting on his case about him riding his Segway.

“I feel like all of them big hogs up front can enjoy the joy that I get from riding my Segway,” Foster said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Guys like Chris Myers and (Duane) Brown and Wade Smith, they’re always getting on me about riding my Segway. ‘You can’t walk? You’re too good to walk?’

If the Broncos play the Texans in the playoffs, please, someone, anyone, tamper with Foster's Segway so his legs get tired and he feels no joy.  

Kenny McKinley: all too human

Where did it all go wrong?
espn.go.com

In September 2010, there was a notice from the water company taped to the door of McKinley’s house in Aurora, Colo., and rent that was past due. He had a court date to increase his child support payments. On crutches, with reality suffocating him, he got on a plane to South Carolina. He went to the clubs and walked the same streets he used to walk with Murdock and Thomas. He went to the Gamecocks’ Sept. 11 home game against Georgia. When his face appeared on the big screen, the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. McKinley soaked it in and waved. He was still the biggest star at Williams-Brice Stadium.

He stayed with Terrence Campbell, an offensive lineman for the Gamecocks at the time, and Campbell asked him to hang around in Columbia longer. It would be like old times. McKinley said he had to go. He told Campbell to get to work and focus on his season.

McKinley went back home to Georgia for a few days, watched his old high school team play a football game, then flew to Denver on Sept. 19. He paid his back rent, post-dated a check for October and chatted with his landlord’s 11-year-old son, a Broncos fan. McKinley went out that night, then slept in.

Sometime in the early-afternoon hours of Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, he pulled a sheet over himself, put a semiautomatic .45-caliber handgun to his head and squeezed the trigger. He was dead when police arrived at his house on Caley Place. The shades were drawn; the TV was on with the volume down low. McKinley died with the NFL Network on.

If you've got the time, we highly recommend you check out this story on the late Broncos WR Kenny McKinley and his pact with two college friends to make it in the NFL.  It also gives a few more details about McKinley's relationshp with former Broncos QB Tom Brandstater, who emptied his bank account to help McKinley with his growing expenses.  Finally, it paints a picture of a young man who struggled with the need for friendship, the desire for success, and the setbacks of life--in other words, with being human.

John Fox: the Browns are a lot more awesomer than you think, people

Not Judging Browns by Record
www.denverbroncos.com

“They’re 3-0 versus our division,” Head Coach John Fox said. “They’ve won three out of four of their last games. Really, that was a close game last week against Washington. They’ve got good players. I’ve said all year long, we don’t look at team’s records, we look at the tape and they’re very capable.”

Although I may not be the biggest John Fox supporter when it comes to strategy, I do love the dude's ability to keep a straight face while telling everyone to fear the Cleveland Browns.

After all, they've beaten the Chiefs, the Raiders, and the Chargers (by one point).

Stop laughing.  Fear Cleveland.

Von or Aldon - tough choice? Not so much

Von Miller vs. Aldon Smith: Which pass rusher is superior?
www.nfl.com

When you really study the skills that each player brings to the table, it’s hard to go wrong with either man. Smith is a dominant pass rusher with intriguing skills and a non-stop motor. While he is still refining parts of his game, it’s tough to dispute his effectiveness. Miller is a monster playmaker off the edge with a game that is polished in every aspect. He can rush the passer from the linebacker position or as a defensive end, or he can play in coverage. Given that he has such a versatile and explosive game, Miller gets the nod in a close debate.

Don't get us wrong - anyone would take Aldon Smith for their team. But choosing between him and Von Miller? That's an easier choice than Bucky Brooks portrays.

Smith leads Miller in sacks by 3.5, but Von is ahead in tackles for loss, by wider a 25-17 margin; PFF has Miller down for 82 pressures and an overall grade of +77.9, which both dwarf Smith's impressive 65 pressures and 19.8 grade. The difference is Von's completeness, thanks to his vastly improved play against the run and in coverage.

Smith's a great player in his own right, but Miller is a superstar who is already surpassing comparisons to his idol Derrick Thomas, and instead should be measured against the great Lawrence Taylor.

The Cutler Show

The many faces of Jay Cutler
www.sportsonearth.com

“You know, I’m becoming more and more aware of it. Parts of me just say, ‘Hey, forget it, just play your game.’ The PR people are always in my ear, ‘Camera here! Camera here! Watch this! Watch that!’ So it’s a mixed bag.”

On one hand, good for Jay - that he prefers being his true self - over letting the Jim Saccomanos of the world choreograph his facial expressions.

On the other, we sure are glad that Jay's there, and Peyton's here.

John Elway, the epitome of team player

‘Coaching Confidential’: Q. and A. With Gary Myers
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

Shanahan also told me that John Elway once offered him $300,000 out of his own pocket to leave San Francisco and coach the Broncos. Shanahan, who had worked two different times with Elway in Denver, turned him down, but returned to the Broncos two years later.

Or, a guy who desperately wanted someone other than Dan Reeves calling plays for him.

Clayton: Elway best exec for getting Manning, dumping Tebow

Who is the best exec?
espn.go.com

Elway found a way to resolve the Tim Tebow problem. Tebow may not be an accurate quarterback, but he is popular. Too popular. Tebowmania wore down a pretty good quarterback in Kyle Orton. When John Fox put Tebow into the starting role, it may have been painful watching the offense, but Tebow won games.  I’m sure Tebow fans wondered how anyone would think of replacing him after he won a playoff game over Pittsburgh. Elway didn’t blink.

Elway thinks in terms of Super Bowls, not 8-8 seasons. Getting Manning prevented the Broncos from falling into a future of offense mediocrity and put them in the Super Bowl hunt if he stayed healthy. Even better, Elway was able to get trade value for Tebow, who went to the Jets. Tebow made headlines in New York, but the Jets are out of the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

People also forget Elway solved the Tebow problem in the most gracious of ways: he gave Tebow a choice between the Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars, despite the fact that the Jaquars offered more in total compensation.

Wait--isn't getting less value a mark against being Exec of the Year?

Did we mention he bagged Peyton Manning?

Mike Silver hittin’ da crack

Voter bias for QBs must cease, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson deserves NFL MVP award
sports.yahoo.com

Just as the last running back to win MVP, LaDainian Tomlinson, did so on the strength of eye-popping numbers — 1,815 rushing yards, 508 receiving yards and an NFL-record 31 touchdowns, 28 on the ground — Peterson’s 2012 campaign is too extraordinary to be ignored.

I’m even willing to apply an old most valuable litmus test: Close your eyes and picture the Vikings without Peterson. Would they be anywhere near a wild-card berth? Would they have beaten the Rams last Sunday? Would Ponder and head coach Leslie Frazier be in danger of losing their jobs?

Now open your eyes and watch Peterson run, on this or any Sunday. He’ll make his case with clarity and ferocity, all day.

Imagine the Vikings without Peterson?

Okay, I just did.  At worst they're probably 3-13 like they were last year.  At best, they're struggling to make the wild card.

Big deal.

Imagine the Broncos without Manning?  At worst they're probably 5-11 or 6-10; further, they're struggling to emerge from a cesspool that includes the Chiefs and Raiders.

At best?  You're seeing it right now--they're quite possibly the best team in football.

He’s no CPOY, but the Slot Machine deserves mention

Peterson, Peyton astound, but don't forget these other comeback tales
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

It’s good to have friends in high places, and in Denver, nobody resides in the same stratosphere these days as Peyton Manning. At least in part, a relationship with the Broncos new quarterback was how Stokley’s improbable return to the NFL unfolded.

Let us also not forget that Stokes played some role (host, bicyclist partner for game of catch) in making Peyton's initial visit to Denver a familiar, and thus comfortable one. Does Peyton still sign with Denver without Stokley's presence and hospitality? Probably so. But we can't know for certain, and it doesn't matter.

He won't get any votes for Comeback POY, but for having headed to Duke in February and opened his home to buddy Peyton in March, we say, Thank You, Brandon Stokley.