Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Burke: Cowboys should have let Broncos score late

When Should DAL Have Allowed DEN to Score a TD?

Once Demaryius Thomas crossed the line to gain at the DAL 14 yard line with 1:50 to play, the DAL defense should have intentionally allowed the TD. With 2 timeouts and 1:40+ to play, they would have had a better chance of winning than allowing DEN to choke the life out of them and kick an easy FG for the win.

For a long time, I used to laugh at the memory of the Packers having allowed Terrell Davis to walk in for his third touchdown in SB 32. But in truth, Green Bay gave themselves a chance to even the score rather than tie their hopes to a missed chip shot by Denver. On Sunday, that's precisely what Dallas should have done.

The Cowboys are clearly not DRC’s favorite assignment

ReFo: Broncos @ Cowboys, Week 5

In two games against Dallas last season Rodgers-Cromartie let up 150 yards and two scores on seven catches (nine targets) — yesterday he let up a season high 110 yards and two scores (second and third of the season) on just four catches. Furthermore,  he surrendered a defensive pass interference penalty worth 20 yards to Dez Bryant when beaten down the right sideline, pulling back the arm of Bryant to prevent another completion over his head.

As Stockwell suggests, we can only criticize Rodgers-Cromartie so much, given how well he's played this season. Thankfully, there are no more Dez Bryants on the schedule this season, unless Champ Bailey isn't back by Week 16, when the Broncos travel to Houston to face Andre Johnson & Co.

Bedard: Crucial pick wasn’t Romo’s fault

Week 5: Decisive Moments

The push by Robinson caused Romo to step on Smith’s foot as he threw, which took some zip off the ball—let alone the fact that Wolfe was allowed to get right in Romo’s face. Allowing that kind of pressure against three rushers is inexcusable by the offensive line.

As for Escobar, he got out of his break at the 21-yard line yet wound up at the 25. By not sharply cutting parallel to the line of scrimmage, he allowed linebacker Danny Trevathan to undercut the route and intercept the pass—a mistake the rookie acknowledged after the game.

The chuckleheads on TV say Denver beat Dallas because of Tony Romo's mistake. But how perfectly is a guy expected to play; is 506 yards and five touchdowns not enough for the blame to lie elsewhere? Mind you, Peyton Manning threw a huge pick at the end of the third quarter, one which Romo turned into a touchdown five plays later.

Here's an idea: instead of focusing on Romo and saying the game turned on his mistake, why don't we credit Trevathan (as Andy Benoit does here) for making a freakishly athletic play for the interception?

Larry Johnson has gainful post-NFL employment

Larry Johnson Is Now A Strip Club DJ

Larry (and his flask) has gone from following the footsteps of Tony Richardson to following the footsteps of Cedric Benson,, but I woudnt be shocked to learn that LJ’s a terrible DJ given his past tendencys to only care about his own records and avoiding hits at all costs folks.

PFT Commenter is on the case of reporting Larry Johnson's post-NFL career.  Apparently, Larry isn't the regular DJ at Tootsie's, but he guests a lot there.  I wonder if he trained under Strip Club DJ Yoda to learn how to speak exactly like every other SCDJ in America.  

Annnnnd nowwwww.... taking the main stage.... get out of your seats for the lovely PASSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHION!

The NFL almost nixed the no-huddle offense in the 80s

Wyche: NFL tried to nix no-huddle

“I immediately told the NFL delegate along with the referee who was in the office there with me and [now-Bengals owner] Mike Brown, I said ‘Go get Pete Rozelle on the phone right now because I want to tell him that he’s interfering with the competitive balance of this game, and if we get penalized and lose this ballgame, the first thing I’m bringing up in the press conference is this conversation and there are a lot of gamblers out there who aren’t going to be very happy.’

“It wasn’t 20 seconds before he came back, he left the room and came back, I’m not exaggerating, I bet it wasn’t 20 seconds. ‘Uh, commissioner says go ahead and use the no-huddle, no problem,’” Wyche said.

The NFL has always been a heavy-handed organization, and fundamentally, a conservative and closed-minded one.  To this day, anytime somebody tries to do something different or innovative, we're treated to a cacaphony of failure predictions.  This is a reminder of acute the heavy-handed stodginess was under late commissioner Pete Rozelle.

Benoit: Look for Peyton to pick on Claiborne

Sunday Slate: Analyzing the Week 5 Matchups

But does Kiffin have faith that his corners can match up to Denver’s wideouts? Orlando Scandrick might be quick and physical enough to spar with Wes Welker. Brandon Carr has the size and innate sense of timing to challenge Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker outside. But what about Morris Claiborne on the other side? The 2012 first-rounder has battled various injuries this season, showing none of the fluidity needed for one-on-one press coverage. Whoever Claiborne defends will be Manning’s go-to target.

Claiborne has been demoted in a sense, and for good reason - in 210 snaps, he's graded out at -6.8 according to PFF, with 16 completions allowed on 24 targets, for a whopping 286 yards and QB rating against of 107.3. While he's allowed no touchdowns, he has zero interceptions and only one pass defensed.

PFF: Holliday a particular problem for Dallas

3TFO: Broncos @ Cowboys, Week 5

Led by PFF Team of the Month honorees Trindon Holliday and David Bruton, Denver is easily our top special teams unit through four games at +43.6, with Seattle a distant second at +26.6.
But, Chris Jones has graded as our second-worst punter thus far at -3.2 and is allowing 57.9% of his punts to be returned, the fourth-highest rate in the league. If Dallas can’t limit Holliday’s return touches, he and the rest of his “special” teammates could be the difference in the game.

So, they may not see a lot of kickoff returns from Holliday, but the Cowboys will have to hope against hope they also don't have to chase him down on many punts, either.

Tarik Glenn: Peyton knows when to keep his mouth shut

Defenses dumbfounded on how to get to Peyton Manning

Manning is always careful not to supply bulletin-board material. He does not taunt pass rushers who fail to get their licks.

“He’s in about as vulnerable a position as you can be in,” Glenn says. “The last thing he needs to do is egg on somebody to get a cheap shot because they’re angry at him. … He doesn’t talk a lot. He doesn’t need to. Peyton finds pleasure in scoring a lot of points on defenses and breaking their will just by executing well.”

So much great Broncos reading out there today - this one from LJ & Co. includes insight from Bill Polian, Phil Simms, Bruce Smith, and Chris Clark.

Westhoff: We deserve to see more of Trindon Holliday

The Touchback Era Is Ruining the Game

Their kick returner, Trindon Holliday, is one of the most exciting players in football. We all saw him light up Baltimore in the playoffs last year. And he’s got two special-teams touchdowns (one kick return and one punt return) already this year, with the rules as restrictive as they are. Even more amazing? Holliday has had a chance to return three kickoffs this season; the rest were touchbacks. So this play that gets stadiums going crazy and can change the momentum of a game in an instant (one of his three returns was a 105-yard touchdown), this play that gives Holliday a chance to make an NFL Films memory, has been mostly eliminated. Three kick returns for Holliday in four games.

The legendary special-teams coach presents an intriguing idea for eliminating touchbacks on kickoffs, while maintaining an eye toward player safety. Given Holliday's presence, it would be wise for John Elway & Co. to push for a proposal like this with the competition committee.

Eagles’ Wolff: I had no shot on Welker’s touchdown

All-22: The State Of the Eagles’ Defense

“Honestly, there’s not a whole lot I could have did there,” Wolff said. “I’m lined up inside and the only route that will get me is the out route. And that’s basically what it is. No lie, before the snap, I lined up, I said, ‘If he runs an out route, it’s a touchdown.’ That’s what I told myself, man. I was like, ‘I hope he doesn’t run an out route.’ And I kind of figured he was because on film, that’s what they did when they were in the bunch, No. 3 mostly runs an out route.”
“The thing is, Wes Welker, he’s the type of receiver to where if you’re lined up outside, he’ll run inside. Him and Peyton have option routes,” Wolff explained.

This is the same play Ted broke down earlier in the week, but it's great to learn what the player was thinking. Be sure to check out the article though, as there's analysis on several plays from Sunday's win. (via FO)