Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Jimmy Haslam is as terrible an NFL owner as we all expected him to be

Browns' mess with Gordon, Manziel starts with owner Haslam's meddling

“The guys on the business side want to run football operations. The GM wants to coach the team and have input on play calling. Jimmy calls the shots, and everyone is afraid of him with that quick trigger finger. If you stand up to Jimmy, he’s done with you. Jimmy’s own worst enemy is Jimmy.”

Per La Canfora, pending UFA tight end Jordan Cameron can't wait to get away from Cleveland's dumpster fire. FWIW, Bill Barnwell mentioned Cameron as a sensible fit in Denver to replace Julius Thomas.

In which ‘exciting’ is a synonym for ‘woefully incompetent’

Broncos Mailbag: How to interpret Peyton Manning's second-half slump?

In my estimation, the Broncos’ erratic performance relates to bad karma based on John Elway’s actions during the Tim Tebow period. Elway sold out and dumped the young, exciting, unconventional quarterback. He amassed a team around a single player (Peyton Manning) who when he does not perform well, the team loses. Tebow was a ratings sensation who could also rally his teammates to many great finishes. Tebow handled all the adversity with class where Elway and the organization did not. You have to have a solid foundation to stand up, and the Broncos do not.

When one can do no wrong in some people's eyes, telling flat out lies in public apparently qualifies as "[handling] adversity with class."

Legwold: Don’t expect Broncos to import any big free agents

This time Broncos' offseason plan will have more local flavor

...the Denver Broncos will have enough room in 2015 to try to attack the long list of their own free agents and perhaps make a quality late signing or two to fill in the gaps. But a splash like last year’s is not in the cards this time around.

Combining a significant amount of cap space, as many as four comp picks, changes to both the offensive and defensive schemes, and John Elway's aggressive nature, we're not buying Legwold's take. With those comp picks (which are untradeable), we could see the team trading their own picks to move up for a rookie starter to replace someone like Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, or Terrance Knighton.

Screw the Super Bowl: The Big Lies of the Big Game

Everything Stupid Is Alive, and Everything Stupid Can Kill You: Welcome to Goodell World

The fundamental tragedy of the NFL—the fact that by merely working properly on every play, it risks destroying people—is one cast down from the game itself to send the real world shuddering. That the NFL’s hermetic environment could only think to suppress the story while attempt to divert attention with “safe tackling” protocols and big fines for telegenic tackles only reified the severity of the problem and the psychotic clown show overseeing it.

Sadly, if not predictably, the NFL apparently convinced Rolling Stone to unpublish this column. You should read it, though.

Stokley: Manning probably should have rested down the stretch

Stokley: At Season’s End, Manning’s ‘Bad Was Really Bad’

“That’s just not his mentality. It’s not what he does. That’s why he’s out there in practice every day. He feels like he needs to be out there for the team, for himself…You look back and say ‘He probably should have taken some time off’ but it’s hard to do it.”

If Peyton really did have a torn quad or two, as has been reported, was a week or two really going to make any difference in his performance?

How close was Tony Romo to becoming a Saint or Bronco?

Bill Parcells book: Almost became Saints coach, almost traded them Tony Romo

According to the book, the Saints offered the Dallas Cowboys a third-round pick for quarterback Romo when Payton first took over as New Orleans’ coach in 2006—when Romo was still a backup. But Parcells and Dallas owner Jerry Jones wanted a second-round pick, which the Saints deemed too costly.

One has to wonder what would have come for Denver had Mike Shanahan been able to convince Romo to sign with the Broncos as an undrafted rookie in 2003. He would have been phenomenal in Shanny's offense.

Kollar: Phillips defense won’t be that big of an adjustment

D-line looks to build with smooth transition to 3-4

“I think this will be a good scheme; it gives the outside guys, the two outside linebackers in Ware and Miller a real chance to get after the passer, then obviously we go to the sub package when you get into three wide receiver sets and stuff and you’ll have two defensive linemen inside, also. But they’ll be pretty familiar, really, with this defense.”

As usual, the talk will be about sacks and turnovers, and with good reason: for all those three-and-outs, the Broncos defense ranked a mediocre 21st in both sack and turnover rates in 2014.

Expect Patriots to open title defense versus Pittsburgh

The Super Bowl Mailbag

Likeliest—Pittsburgh (11-5) or Philadelphia (10-6). The Steelers or Eagles are most likely, because they’d be competitive offensively…My guess is Pittsburgh. Tom Brady-Ben Roethlisberger is a pretty promotable game.

Provided Peyton Manning comes back, Manning/Brady 17 will take place in Denver. And should he play out his contract, the two would face off again at SAF@MH in 2016.

OTC: The Chargers really need to draft well

Chargers 2015 Salary Cap Outlook

The Chargers are an older football team with just 6 players under contract beyond the 2016 season. If things are kept status quo next season they will have 10 starters that are no younger than 29, five of whom will be at least 34. This really is a franchise that is working its way through a transition and likely going to piece things together year by year until they can get more of a talent base in place or are forced to go heavy in free agency. This is partially because of poor decisions that the current front office was saddled with.

Aside from bringing in some young talent via the draft, San Diego's biggest offseason priority is extending Philip Rivers, whose contract runs out after 2015.

As bad as the call was, don’t excuse Russell Wilson’s poor footwork and throw

Seattle's last play was Russell Wilson's fault, not Pete Carroll's

But he weakly takes his 2.5-step drop, throws the ball off his back foot and sails it high, right to Butler. If that ball is low and around Lockette’s hip, there’s no chance of an interception. Wilson did everything wrong on that play. Had he received the shotgun, stood tall and whipped the ball to Lockette, Seattle would be planning a Super Bowl parade today.

A better throw probably doesn't result in a touchdown. It may even have resulted in an incompletion, or a tipped pass and interception. But with Wilson's muddy drop and back-foot toss, he deserves a good deal of the blame for the outcome.