Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Fun with graphs, 2012 Broncos edition

Franchise Visualization Updated with 2012 Data
wp.advancednflstats.com

The brainchild of Chase Stuart of Football Perspective, the franchise viz plots the offensive and defensive production, in terms of EPA, on an x-y plot for every team since the 2000 season.

Looking back to the 2000 season, the 2012 Broncos feature the best offense and best defense they've since had.

No surprise there, and also as expected, the 2008 squad had the worst defense, while the 2011 team was the worst offensively.

Remember how it was said that all the 2008 Broncos needed was an average defense and they'd have been contenders? That was true, but unfortunately for Shanny, getting to average was a long road to hoe.

According to this visualization, Josh McDaniels and Mike Nolan pulled that off, turning out the best Broncos defense of the 2000-'11 span, but of course, that came at the expense of the offense.

(Be sure to click through to see exactly what we're talking about.)

Orlando Franklin: altitude and fans are a big deal

Evans and Klatt hour 3 1/2/13
www.1043thefan.com

On the attitude of this year’s team:
“That’s the thing about training at this level. It’s called being a professional…we’ve got an unlimited amount of professionals on this team that just get it done each and every week. Every day as far as the film room; as far as the field; as far as doing the extra treatment. Guys are willing to put in the extra miles. It’s been great to be a part of this team.”

On getting the #1 Seed:
“I think it matters a lot. We’d much rather people have to come up here to Mile High and play in this altitude and play at our home field because we’ve got great fans out here in Denver so I definitely think it matters a lot.

Orlando Franklin will maul you at sea level.  

At altitude, and in the 4th quarter, you might as well just give up and play dead.

Ray Lewis to retire

Ray Lewis to retire after season
espn.go.com

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said Wednesday he plans to retire as the end of this season.

He told the team Wednesday that, “this is my last ride.’‘

Amazing player. May have covered up a murder.

Chiefs scare Koetter into re-upping with Falcons

Koetter signs extension with Falcons
msn.foxsports.com

A source told FOXSports.com the Atlanta Falcons have signed offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to a contract extension that will keep him off the market until the 2014 offseason.

This is a rather bizarre development, unless Koetter - who interviewed with the Broncos in 2011 - was convinced he didn't have a real shot at any of the openings he was scheduled to interview for. He met with the Chiefs yesterday about their vacancy, was scheduled to meet with the Eagles and Browns, and will forego both opportunities to stay put in Atlanta.

For Mike McCoy, that's one fewer competitor for him to fend off for the Philly gig.

Update 10:50am ET - Koetter had also interviewed with the Bears, so he also drops out of the competition with McCoy for that job.

One of McCoy’s opportunities already about to vanish

Report: Cardinals “very close” to hiring Andy Reid as head coach
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Tim Ring, the sports director at KTVK-TV in Arizona, is reporting that the Cardinals are very close to hiring Reid as their next head coach.

As quickly as Mike McCoy's list of suitors had grown to three with the addition of Buffalo, it will apparently be pared to two again shortly, as Andy Reid is expected to become the man in Arizona. If the Cards do end up hiring Reid, that would reunite him with Kevin Kolb, the backup QB he'd dealt to Arizona just a year and a half ago.

Still, the Bears gig remains the best one available in our eyes, and there's always the chance that McCoy hears from more interested parties in the coming days.

Update - 5:50pm ET - In addition to Kolb, Reid would apparently be reconvening with familiar faces Pat Shurmur, Tom Heckert, Brad Childress, and Juan Castillo.

SB 32/33 champ Neil Smith among latest to sue league

Former Chief Neil Smith sues NFL over brain injuries
www.kansascity.com

Smith, 46, contended in his suit that because of repeated and misdiagnosed concussions he suffers from “permanent and debilitating injuries,” including loss of memory, “cognitive impairment” and early-onset dementia.

“Indeed, Mr. Smith suffered three concussions — all of which were improperly diagnosed and treated — in one game during the 1988 season,” the suit alleged. “Despite exhibiting concussion symptoms, Mr. Smith was regularly returned to play, significantly increasing his chances of longterm brain damage.”

According to nflconcussionlitigation.com, more than one-third of all living, former NFL players are now suing the league over its handling of head injuries.

Rumor Mongering: Reid eyeing Chargers gig

Source: Reid has his sights set on San Diego
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

The Los Angeles native wants to coach the Chargers, according to a league source.  Per the source, Reid is making his intentions known as he lines up a potential coaching staff — part of the “multi-level musical chairs” tournament unfolding throughout the league.

Reid rightfully catches a lot of heat for his game-day clock management, and for his role in Philly having committed megadollars to Michael Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha.

But don't forget that Reid's Eagles won seven NFCE titles during his 14-season tenure, had at least a .600 winning percentage in nine of those years, and made it to five conference title games, including four consecutively. Between 2000 and 2011 (omitting his first and last years), Reid coached the Eagles to a .634 winning percentage, which was bettered only by New England, Pittsburgh, and Indy.

Many Broncos fans understandably find humor in the idea of Josh McDaniels taking over for Norv Turner, but Reid? That would be no laughing matter.

Rumor Mongering: Mini Shanny or Son of Marty to the Chiefs?

Five NFL coaches most likely to get fired and their potential replacements
sports.yahoo.com

Kansas City Chiefs – Romeo Crennel deserves a medal for what he has been through this season, particularly the murder-suicide involving Jovan Belcher. Sadly, his work as head coach fell far short of acceptable.
Possible replacements – Bruce Arians, Jim Caldwell, Ray Horton (Cardinals defensive coordinator), Jay Gruden (Bengals offensive coordinator), Kyle Shanahan (Redskins offensive coordinator), Brian Schottenheimer (Rams offensive coordinator).

Jason Cole is hearing that Mike McCoy may be a candidate for the Buffalo gig, along with Mini Shanny. Although it would be strange for Kyle to end up coaching the Chiefs, it's nothing like the possibility we'd all pondered in 2009 of Mike himself jumping straight from Denver to KC. Wherever Mini Shanny ends up, if anywhere, one has to figure he'll bring Chris Simms (who's currently a New England assistant) along with him, what with their coordinated tattoos and all.

As for Son of Marty, how someone with an offensive resume like Brian could be in consideration for a head gig is beyond us. But, bring it on. John Elway would surely be happy to torture Marty's kid just like he did his dad.

Status updates for Holliday, Porter, Kuper, and McGahee

Broncos' Trindon Holliday doubtful
espn.go.com

Kick returner Trindon Holliday is doubtful for the Denver Broncos’ season finale against Kansas City because of a sprained ankle. The injury has sidelined him all week and prevented him from working on ways to cut down on fumbling.

Cornerback Tracy Porter (concussion) was ruled out for Sunday. He was injured last week just three snaps into his first game since Oct. 7. He had been sidelined after experiencing symptoms similar to those he had before a seizure during training camp. “That’s so unfortunate because he’s been waiting for this opportunity to get back in there. And I just hope he’s OK. I think he will be but only time will tell,” cornerback Champ Bailey said.

Right guard Chris Kuper is 50-50 for Sunday after participating on a limited basis for the second straight day. He’s been sidelined with a sprained left ankle and migraines.  Fox said he wasn’t worried about Kuper’s availability heading into the playoffs.  “He practiced for the first time yesterday and then today. I think he’s making good progress,” Fox said. “He’s been out for a little bit. We’re just going to make sure he’s ready to play football and we’ll make that decision day to day.”

Fox said he was pleased with the progress of running back Willis McGahee, who went on recallable IR after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Nov. 18 when he was tackled low by San Diego cornerback Quentin Jammer.

A few quick thoughts:

  • No big deal on Holliday.  That's why the Broncos have Jim Leonhard.  The bigger question is how Holliday will be mentally after a long layoff in the playoffs.
  • The loss of Porter won't change things much, since he's been out a lot of the year.  On a personal level, Porter has been the victim of some bizarre and unlucky breaks.
  • Kuper won't be 100% until he gets to the offseason, so if the big guy can go, let him go.
  • McGahee will gain three yards on third down no matter what if he's available for the AFC Championship
  • I've never liked Quentin Jammer anyway, now I hate him even more.

Cutler defenders can now add oldest excuse in the book

The Seahawks Now Have Two Victories Thanks To Bad Calls
kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com

In the past three weeks, Seattle has certainly proven itself a team to be reckoned with as the postseason approaches. That said, without the benefit of some questionable officiating, the Seahawks would be entering Week 17 at 8-7, trailing both the Vikings and the Bears for a Wild Card berth, rather than already having clinched.

It’s somewhat petty that a member of the Bears organization leaked to the media what is supposed to be a confidential communication between the team and the league just because it vindicated the Bears’ gripes. So it’s safe to assume Jay Cutler loves it.

This KSK piece is a better repackage of the original Chicago Tribune story that basically lets us know that the league regularly has confidential communications with teams about disputed calls; further, that the league admits when they're wrong.  In this case, the Bears wanted their fans to know they got screwed as a pre-emptive strike in case they don't make the playoffs.

Does anyone think the Seahawks would not beat the Bears right now?  Additionally, there are calls that have probably gone the other way to balance the scales. 

And if not, it's Jay Cutler, and we're cool with it.