Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

The more things change, the more they stay the same, and TYJE

Cosell’s Take: You say you want a revolution?
sports.yahoo.com

The bottom line is this: Quarterbacks must be able to pass the ball against multiple pressure and coverage concepts designed specifically to challenge not only them, but the pass protection schemes. This is what happens on third down, the possession down, the down in which the proactive offensive tactics (read option, for instance) have no relevance. Passing the ball well in those difficult and critical situations demands specific and identifiable attributes. They are necessary for all quarterbacks to consistently succeed at the NFL level. There’s no question different players possess these characteristics in distinctive and varying degrees. But make no mistake: a tangible skill set that can be quantified is required.

It remains to be seen whether Brock Osweiler becomes as good at reading defenses, and anticipating and making throws, as the Broncos will ultimately need him to be. But Cosell's words are a great counter to the concern that Brock isn't in the read-option mold of the NFL's so-called quarterback of tomorrow.

The legend of Bill Polian continues to shrink

Colts owner Jim Irsay opens up about Peyton Manning
www.usatoday.com

According to Irsay, in 2004, a frustrated Polian was at wit’s end as he attempted to secure Manning’s new $98 million contract and, in a fit of pique, told Irsay, “We need to trade Peyton; we can get a bunch of defensive players and become like Tampa Bay or Baltimore.” Irsay said no. “Understand something, Bill, we are not trading Peyton Manning, period,’’ Irsay recalled telling the former team president.

First, Polian declared that "Moneyball does not work in the NFL," which would suggest there's hardly any underpaid or underappreciated talent out there to be found. Chris Harris and Tony Carter, both of whom were not invited to the national combine in their draft years, might disagree. So might Rod Smith, Wes Welker, Tony Romo, and Kurt Warner, who all went undrafted.

Now, this.

BTW, Manning's contract was signed in between his first pair ('03, '04) of back-to-back MVP seasons ('08, '09).

Unhappy endings don’t always involve punching or spitting for Bill Romanowski

Bill Romanowski, ex-Denver Broncos LB, owes $5 million, tax court says
www.denverpost.com

A federal judge has ruled that ex-Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski is on the hook for about $5 million in back-taxes stemming from a horse-breeding scheme he says he got caught up in.  The U.S. Tax Court decision last week found Romanowski, his wife Jill and a business they created in 2003 to invest in a Kentucky-based horse breeder wrongly took deductions dating back to 1998.

The deductions were related to more than $13 million the Romanowskis borrowed to invest in a breeding operation called ClassicStar. The company eventually went bankrupt and its principals were convicted of federal tax fraud. The Romanowskis deducted some of their losses as business losses.

Silly little Chiefs

Blackledge Curse? Chiefs swing and miss with another QB retread
www.cbssports.com

What the hell are the Kansas City Chiefs doing trading a reported two second-round picks to get quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers? Haven’t they played this let’s-go-get-somebody-else’s-quarterback-castoff game before? How has that worked out?

From Joe Montana to Matt Cassel, the Chiefs have chased that quarterback dream for decades with nothing but nightmares in the end…What I see in Smith is another in the long line of “manage-the-game” quarterbacks. When you point to a guy’s lack of interceptions—the past two seasons—as a reason to prop him up, it tells me he’s not taking shots down the field. He’s playing it safe.

The ghost of Todd Blackledge seems to be hanging over this franchise when it comes to quarterbacks. They picked Blackledge in the vaunted Class of 1983, and he ended up being the worst of the six taken, a class that included Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly. They passed on Marino and Kelly by the way.  In the time since, the Chiefs have tried to plug in guys to play quarterback. Guys like Steve DeBerg and Trent Green and broken-down guys like Montana and Warren Moon, all the while hoping to get to a Super Bowl.  Matt Cassel was the latest to fail in the plug-them-in system. So what do they do about it? They try it again.

My advice to Chiefs fans: Study the backups on the other NFL teams. Two years from now, one of those guys might be your next starting quarterback.

Regardless of your feelings about Smith, Prisco's point about the Chiefs is correct. Kansas City has a long and storied history of trying to get quarterbacks from anywhere other than their own draft.

Of course, it's damn hard to find a good quarterback.  If it weren't, Marty Schottenheimer would have several Lombardy Trophies

With no cap space, Raiders forced to try other tricks

Report: Raiders interested in Mike Holmgren to fill a front-office job
www.contracostatimes.com

Long-time Packers and Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren is the latest candidate to surface in the Raiders search for an established football person to assume a leadership role.  ESPN cited two unnamed sources as saying the two sides have spoken about the prospect of Holmgren joining the Raiders in some capacity.

The Raiders did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the report. Holmgren most recently was with the Cleveland Browns as their team president until he stepped down late last season. He and current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie worked together when they were with the Packers.

Another night. Another rumor of an AFC West team trying to get up to par with the Denver Broncos.

The trouble for the rest of the AFC West is the move that really mattered happened last year when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning.

Besides, the legend of Mike Holmgren > Mike Holmgren. 

Whitlock: free the gays

Goodell can be beacon of tolerance
msn.foxsports.com

The fallout from Te’o’s romantic relationship/publicity stunt with a fake dead male girlfriend should not be left to the Jeff Irelands of the NFL. The issue is too complex and important to leave to general managers, head coaches and Couric. The commissioner should intervene.  Because if Te’o is hiding in the closet, he is highly vulnerable to exploitation and extortion. There is a popular theory that the possibility of hustling money from Te’o — and not love — motivated Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind and voice behind Kekua.

It could all be a coincidence, but Te’o just happened to have a horrendous performance in the BCS Championship as the Kekua fraud was unraveling. Maybe he was distracted. Or maybe the wrong people knew his secrets. Whatever the case, difficult questions must be asked, and they should come from the commissioner’s chair. It’s Goodell’s job to protect The Shield. It’s Goodell’s job to protect the employees.

The best protection for the league and the players is the freeing of the gays.

Let’s be honest. I think it’s reasonable to assume that 15 percent of NFL players are gay and/or bisexual. Generally speaking, they’re forced to conceal their sexuality out of fear of being ostracized and potentially released from the team.  They need to be set free, released from the grip of the most hostile work environment in America. Is there a more homophobic work setting than a football locker room? I can’t think of one…

...Goodell, who has an openly gay brother, can be a real leader and carve out a legacy that rivals Pete Rozelle’s.

While I'm not sure where Whitlock came up with 15%, he did at least raise a point that I'd not considered before, a point that has nothing to do with religion or one's world view.  

Extortion, blackmail--Roger Goodell and the NFL may move on the issue of homosexuality for more than just moral reasons.

Could Lennay Kekua’s boyfriend could drop to round two?

Manti Te’o draft stock dropping after he runs poor 40-yard dash
www.thesportsbank.net

If it were possible to trade NFL Draft stocks you would short shell that of one Notre Dame inside linebacker. Manti Te’o draft stock suffered yet another price decrease today when ran a very poor 40 yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

It came just a couple of weeks after Manti Te’o draft stock suffered a major correction with Alabama’s thrashing of Notre Dame in the National Championship Game and the real beginning of 2013 NFL Draft speculation season. There was a major Manti Te’o draft stock sell off as Crimson Tide (and future NFL) running backs ran all over him, and the future NFL OL of ‘Bama pushed him around.

Te’o clocked unofficial times of 4.81 and 4.80 in the 40. There are 12 defensive linemen listed by NFL.com that ran at least a 4.81 in the 40. LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, a 262-pound defensive end, ran a 4.81. Two 300-pound offensive linemen ran a shade better than 4.7 at the combine. Maybe even Lennay Kakua could run a faster 40; and she doesn’t even exist.

Prior to Deadspin’s mind-blowing story, one of ESPN’s draft experts, Mel Kiper Jr. published his first NFL Mock Draft. Kiper doesn’t always know what he’s talking about, but he’s usually pretty close. Kiper had the Notre Dame linebacker with “elite athleticism” and “elite intangibles” going 8th overall to the Buffalo Bills in the upcoming draft.

Is Te'o still the linebacker Mel Kiper Jr. envisioned? 

No, far from it.  Far from it.  

Peyton to Barkley: Be a dick

Meet the strangers that top this year's draft; more from combine
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

One of the last things we discussed is Barkley’s trip to the Manning Passing Academy last July, his first trip to see into Peyton’s and Eli’s worlds. “I learned a valuable lesson from Peyton, about sometimes you have to be a d—-,’’ he said. In other words, if players don’t want to work out in the offseason, you tell them there’s no option; you tell them when and where to be somewhere. Now, maybe that doesn’t happen in the first year. But a quarterback has to have the respect and authority to make sure players do what’s necessary, particularly in these days of less intense offseason programs. NFL players are off until mid-April now. Next year, wherever he is, Barkley’s going to have to get his guys in gear to work out somewhere before that.

“Doing what is asked is not enough to win in the NFL, I know that,’’ he said. “You’ve got to do more. And I intend to.’‘

Matt, first you'll have to see about actually becoming a starting QB somewhere. Good luck with that one.

I'll admit I was a little too smitten by Barkley's game during his junior year, in part because the Broncos were trotting out a quarterback who couldn't throw, at all. But last year, as a senior? Barkley was all kinds of terrible, as far as top QB prospects go.

Is Alex Smith about to become the new quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs?

Reports: Trade that will take Alex Smith out of San Francisco is ‘all but done’
sports.yahoo.com

According to multiple reports, the San Francisco 49ers have wrapped up a trade that will put quarterback Alex Smith in a new city. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported via Twitter that the 49ers have sewed up negotiations with a willing trade partner. The interested team is not yet known, though Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com says that from everything he’s heard around the scouting combine this week, the Kansas City Chiefs have a deal for Smith that is “all but done.”

Since the Broncos would almost have to run the table to improve on last year's 13-3 season, the Kansas City Chiefs have nowhere to go but up.

While Andy Reid and Alex Smith won't exactly strike fear in the heart of Jack Del Rio, the Chiefs are going to be a much tougher out in 2013.

After four pass attempts by Osweiler, Elway takes a victory lap

Elway: Osweiler would be top QB in 2013
espn.go.com

“From what I’ve seen from this class and what I’ve seen from Brock in the past year, I’d put him first,” Elway said. “Would he be a top-10 pick? I’m not sure, but he’d definitely be a first-round pick .... Now, I’m biased. But I really like what I’ve seen from him. And he is getting great training playing behind Peyton .... We’re really lucky to have Brock. We’re excited.”

Count me as someone consistently puzzled by criticism of the Osweiler pick, given the Broncos' mindset after signing Manning.  Peyton would be around for a few years, allowing the youngster time to develop; further, the Broncos wanted to avoid the 2011 disaster that befell the Colts, who never bothered to develop more than a clipboard holder for Peyton.

It doesn't so much matter what Osweiler was a year ago, or even what he is today. Let's judge him by what he does during his NFL career, which we'll hope doesn't begin in earnest for another two or three years.

Until then, I guess Elway & Co. will consider themselves free to say whatever they want about Brock and his value.