Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

FO: Ravens not positioned well to take advantage of Denver’s few weaknesses

AFC Divisional Round Preview
www.footballoutsiders.com

But when they really, really need to run for just a yard or two, the Broncos get it more often than not. The Broncos converted 67 percent of runs in “power” situations (i.e. third down, fourth down, or goal line with 1-2 to go), which ranks ninth in the league. Meanwhile, the Baltimore defense, which has been great against the run for over a decade, slipped badly in 2012 and ranked just 26th in our rankings. The Ravens were also awful in those short-yardage situations, allowing opponents to convert 76 percent of the time.

It's single-elimination time, which means fourth-down decisions matter more than ever. We hope tomorrow's outcome won't hinge upon such a call, but if it does, know that the Broncos are actually very good in short yardage, and the Ravens are not.

Memo to John Fox: punts and field goals are for losers.

Cutcliffe: When Peyton says “whatever it takes,” he means it

David Cutcliffe: Peyton Manning’s recovery a tribute to hard work
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

And in a feature that will air Saturday on NFL Network’s NFL GameDay Morning, Cutcliffe details just how hard Manning worked to get to this point. The NFL Network feature includes footage from a simulated game Manning ran at Duke’s football facility in which he made every single throw the same way he had made them in a 2010 playoff win over the Jets, and that’s a “game” Cutcliffe says he remains very proud of “winning.”

“I don’t think I ever won a game that I felt better about what we accomplished than this ballgame that nobody watched,” Cutcliffe said. “It is really a story worth telling about hard work. Everybody says, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes.’ That’s whatever it takes right there.”

While it's incredibly frustrating waiting for these pieces to actually air, as the host teases them fifteen times an hour, but at least we won't be forced to watch Chris Berman and Frank Caliendo for this one.

John Elway for NFL Executive of Every Year

Save The Black Quarterback
deadspin.com

Broncos (-9) 28, Ravens 27: I think John Elway should be granted the next 15 NFL Executive of the Year awards for what he did this year alone. If I were Elway, I’d just walk around all day with my balls hanging out of my pants. Who’s gonna argue? He made the Broncos better AND ruined Tim Tebow’s career all in one offseason. I take back all the mean things I said about his horsey face.

Of the eight teams left, I’m pretty sure I want the Broncos to win it all. Denver Peyton still remains far more likeable to me than Indianapolis Peyton, and a Broncos ring would come at the expense of either Jim Harbaugh, Green Bay fans, Bill Simmons’s pet pick, or the Falcons. Shit, I hope he wins the Super Bowl 97-0.

Undoubtedly, Denver Peyton > Indy Peyton.

Since the HOF voters forgot: Terrell Davis dominated the postseason like no other

Playoffs Leaderboards Added
www.sports-reference.com

Did you know that Emmitt Smith has the most career playoff rushing yards? How about Aaron Rodgers owning the highest career playoff passer rating? What about Larry Fitzgerald with the most receiving yards in a single playoffs? You can find out all these & more at our new list of NFL playoffs leaders!

On the day that TD gets snubbed by the HOF votes for the sixth straight time, it's rather appropriate to remind everyone that Davis was the greatest postseason runner in history, and the only eligible player not in the HOF who was the best player on two SB-winning teams.

Losing out on PMFM last year wasn’t good for job security

Peyton Manning's failed suitors suffer
espn.go.com

The Arizona Cardinals, who hosted a visit with Manning but could not sign him, fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who could not get so much as a visit with Manning despite their efforts, fired head coach Andy Reid.

The New York Jets, who also could not get so much as a visit with Manning despite their calls, fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who tried but failed to get an audience with Manning, fired head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.

The Tennessee Titans, finalists for Manning before losing out on his services, fired chief operating officer and head of football operations Mike Reinfeldt.

The Miami Dolphins, who never advanced very far in their pursuit of Manning, didn’t reach the postseason after drafting quarterback Ryan Tannehill with their first-round pick.

Shudder to think where the Broncos and their sack of topsoil would be right now...

Reid makes coordinator hirings with Chiefs

Doug Pederson, Bob Sutton reportedly new Chiefs coordinators
www.kansascity.com

The Chiefs reportedly have hired Bob Sutton as their new defensive coordinator and Doug Pederson as their new offensive coordinator.

The 61-year-old Sutton has spent the last 13 seasons with the New York Jets, 10 as linebackers coach.

Pederson, 44, was an NFL quarterback for 12 seasons and has been an offensive assistant with Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles for the past four years.

Reid interviewed Brad Childress about a non-coordinator position earlier in the week, while Ray Farmer and John Dorsey auditioned for the GM vacancy.

Chargers open coaching search with Lovie Smith

Lovie Smith to interview with San Diego Chargers
www.nfl.com

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith will interview with the San Diego Chargers on Friday.

New GM Tom Telesco may also meet with Colts OC Bruce Arians, who says he's interested in the San Diego gig.

No Broncos among HOF finalists

Finalists for Class of 2013
www.profootballhof.com

Four first-year eligible nominees – Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp, and Michael Strahan – are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in New Orleans, La. on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.

Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Karl Mecklenburg, and John Lynch didn't make the cut. This was Lynch's first year of eligibility; Davis has been a semifinalist for six straight years but never went beyond that, while Mecklenburg and Atwater's hall bids have been cut short here for the second year in a row.

What now for the Ultimate Teammate™?

Message delivered loud and clear to Tim Tebow: QB's game is not suited for the NFL
sports.yahoo.com

Sure, Tebowmaniacs point to his record in 2011 and how he beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs and blah, blah, blah. What they ignore is that Denver’s defense was really good last season, Tebow pulled out more improbable escapes than Criss Angel and that, when faced with good strategy by teams like New England and even Kansas City, Tebow was an unworkable mess as a quarterback.

That’s where Tebowmaniacs do him the most harm. Instead of understanding his faults – he’s a horrible practice player with bad mechanics who can’t read defenses – they say, “Just look at the record.” In doing that, Tebow and his group of enablers (starting with his father and brother Rob) seem to think nothing is wrong, that he can go on playing the way he does until somebody in the NFL wises up and just gives Timmy a chance to start again….Maybe instead of coddling Tebow by making him a co-No. 2 quarterback the way Ryan did when the Jets played Jacksonville in December, people who actually coach in the league will say openly, “You’re not good enough.”

And this is exactly what Tebow needs to hear…Tebow is a good kid and obviously well-meaning. He’s the kind of person who may have been able to make the changes if he was told that this was the only way he could survive in the league. If a team would spend a couple of years with Tebow on the bench as a No. 3 quarterback and teach him simple things – such as the difference between two-deep and three-deep coverage – Tebow might be able to make it.

More than likely, though, it’s probably too late and Tebow’s only real hope of staying in the league is to shift to fullback or H-back or some other non-essential position. That’s because, starting with the absurdly bad decision by former Denver coach Josh McDaniels to draft him in the first round, Tebow has suffered through perhaps the most mismanaged career in the history of the NFL. It has been so bungled that Tebow could be out of football in a few months if he doesn’t wise up.

Now that the Jaguars have officially said no to the idea of Teebs coming to Jacksonville, I'm thinking the Oakland Raiders need to step up and put an end to this madness.

Legwold’s revenge?: Not all coaching pursuits make sense

Cowboys eye Monte Kiffin for DC
espn.go.com

If Kiffin is hired, the Cowboys would be switching from a 3-4 defensive front to a 4-3, forcing pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware to play defensive end, with his hand on the ground for the first time in his career.

Kiffin resigned as defensive coordinator at USC, where his son Lane is the head coach, and expressed his desire to return to the NFL.

Jones, Garrett and Kiffin could not be reached for comment.

Andy Reid was interested in appointing Kiffin to be his defensive coordinator when he took over the Kansas City Chiefs but Kiffin was not interested in that opportunity.

Kiffin going to Dallas to coach the players they have there isn't actually too much worse a fit than a Peyton Manning/Norv Turner collaboration.  The Cowboys have CBs who are best at playing man coverage, and now they want to go to Tampa 2?  It would require a position change for DeMarcus Ware, and the indentification and acquisition of 2 quality DTs, and also a box safety.  It would also likely foreshadow the departure of OLB Anthony Spencer, which isn't a total surprise.  

I'm scratching my head, because if the owner wants to win now, a dramatic change in defensive schemes isn't the way to accomplish that.  This seems like chasing a big name, for the sake of doing so.  Maybe Legwold is right, and it is "possible" for the completely absurd to happen.