Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Not bad, Bill Williamson

Camp Confidential: Denver Broncos
espn.go.com

Former Chicago quarterback Caleb Hanie has the inside track to be Manning’s backup. Still, Adam Weber or rookie Brock Osweiler could pull off the surprise and beat him out…The Broncos are high on undrafted rookie linebacker Steven Johnson. The Kansas product could get some looks at middle linebacker in the preseason…The Broncos will look at a lot of punt return options. Having Decker do it may be risky. I think it is an area Denver will look to upgrade on the waiver wire…The Broncos would like to see middle linebacker Joe Mays shore up his tackling in camp. He is a solid player, but he whiffed too many times last season…Defensive lineman Ben Garland is making an impression. He is athletic and has great feet and could make the team.

A rare column from the cuddly Pork Chop--meaning that it's probably worth your time reading.  He gives some additional observations outside the Paige/Klis/Jones contingent. The notes on Ben Garland, the punt return situation, and the battle at quarterback are interesting bits; further, always interesting is the state of flux that is the Denver Broncos' linebackers.  Steven Johnson beating out Joe Mays?  Could it really happen?  One thing you can be sure of: Johnson works his butt off, as this video demonstrates.  

Anthony Perkins creates his own luck

Training Camp 2012: Day Three P.M.
blog.denverbroncos.com

Perkins worked out with the team during the rookie minicamp earlier this summer and has kept himself in shape since then, anticipating an opportunity…After working out with Offensive Line Coach Dave Magazu’s son in Boulder, Colo., Perkins was headed to Dove Valley to check out the facilities when his phone rang. “I got the call when I was about 15 minutes away,” Perkins said of finding out he was signed. “It was a little unreal.”

Perkins, who still watched the morning practice, stood next to and talked with Secondary Coach Sam Garnes throughout the evening walkthrough, trying to absorb as much as possible given his late start.  “At this level, every detail matters,” Perkins said. “You’ve got to be detailed in every single thing you do. Practices like that, you’ve got to be good at the details. I’m kind of playing catch-up right now, trying to get into the playbook and making sure that I’m able to be as detailed as these guys are that are practicing out there.”

If the definition of luck is indeed preparation meeting opportunity, then Anthony Perkins is one lucky guy.  With an attitude and work ethic like this one, luck could continue finding him in training camp.

Timothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore

Tebow-mania falls on deaf ears
espn.go.com

New York Jets fans caught the opening act of Tebow-mania at training camp Saturday, and it wasn’t love at first sight.  Tim Tebow was heckled by a few loud fans during the Jets’ first public practice, which drew an announced crowd of 2,588 on a rainy morning. The overall reception was lukewarm at best, as the backup quarterback was anything but sharp during the 2½-hour session…Tebow, working exclusively with the second team, took 12 snaps in team drills. He completed only three of eight passes in the padless practice, taking a “sack” on a play in which he scrambled from one side of the field to the other.

The play seemed to take forever. As it unfolded, some fans screamed, “Throw the ball!”  When the play finally ended, one fan screamed, “That’s why you’re No. 2.”

New York isn't Denver, that's true.  But we've seen this story before.  In fact, near the end of training camp last year, Kyle Orton finally let down his steely guard after it had become clear to everyone how little of a threat Tim Tebow was to him as a passer.  He even took Tebow aside and helped him work on his dropbacks--very big brother-like of him.  Six games into the season, Orton was sitting on the bench.

Fans are as fickle.  I give Sanchez eight games, and that's only because, unlike the Broncos, the Jets will use Tebow in the red zone, allowing the Jets just enough success to leave Sanchez as their starter a bit longer.

Broncos Thunderstruck on Friday

Broncos forced inside to close quarters
www.cbssports.com

The Broncos began their work outside under ominous skies that turned threatening when lightning struck within three miles of the facility. They promptly sprinted inside their headquarters building as officials sent the 2,917 fans back to their cars. The relocated practice was closed to the public; there was barely enough room for the media, let alone the fans, in a building whose dimensions compromised the practice. To simulate kickoff returns on the 80-yard field, the football was handed to returners Mike Adams, Matt Willis, Ronnie Hillman, Omar Bolden and Andre Caldwell; any actual kickoffs would have skipped off the dome’s ceiling. When receivers ran crossing or out routes, they had to hold up, because the distance from the sideline to the wall was less than 10 feet.

Interesting note from this weather-related bit?  Mike Adams is being considered for (we assume) punt return.

Crennel: getting booed motivates Matt Cassel

Crennel Opens Up About Training Camp
www.wibw.com

TUCKER: On a personal level, how did you feel when you heard that Matt Cassel had been booed at a charity all-star game?

CRENNEL: “I was not in town and it was after the fact that I heard that, but what I think it will do, will be motivation for Matt to come out and prove that he is the guy that can get it done and lead this team to the playoffs like he’s done before. I think that that’s what will happen.”

If getting booed motives Matt Cassel, he's got to be really motivated this year.

Would Chiefs fans boo Brady Quinn?  It's a little early to tell, but they'll probably get the chance soon enough.

Concussions do not discriminate for age

Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?
www.washingtonian.com

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Austin,” Michelle said. “He shouldn’t disrespect me like that.”

“He’s a teenager,” Gil said. “I’ll go talk to him.”

Gil went inside. He passed the kitchen table, where his cheesecake sat untouched. He walked up the stairs, the same stairs where Austin would ambush Walker when he came home from school, peppering him with foam darts from a toy gun. The door to Austin’s room was open.

Michelle Trenum heard her husband scream.

Solemnly, we add this chilling tale to the growing list of must-reads that chronicle the effects of concussions. Thanks to Jonathan Dunn for directing us to it.

Philip Rivers again makes it known he wanted Peyton Manning in Denver

Philip Rivers: I wanted Peyton in Denver, Norv in San Diego
content.usatoday.com

Asked Wednesday night on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access about Peyton Manning’s arrival to the Denver Broncos, Rivers responded: “I was probably one of the few people that was crazy enough to say it, but I was hoping he was going to Denver, and I say that with all respect. Certainly (he’ll) make it even tougher. ... We certainly can’t expect that 8-8 will get us in (the playoffs).

“I’ve always believed why wouldn’t you want to play the best? ... To me, any time you’re playing a Peyton Manning-led football team, it’s a challenge. But it’s what you dream about growing up as a kid.”

As for whether he lobbied team brass to retain Head Coach Norv Turner—who is perceived to be in a make-or-break season—after an 8-8 flop in 2011, Rivers offer a non-denial denial.  “I was nothing more than wanting to be a voice for the locker room,” said the four-time Pro Bowler. “I wasn’t trying to persuade or do anything other than say what the guys in the locker room felt and that is a great deal of faith and belief in Coach Norv Turner.

This is the second time Rivers mentioned he wanted Peyton Manning to Denver, but the first time he admitted to being crazy.

We agree, Phil.  You are crazy.  And here's why: they say you should never bring a knife to a gun fight, but the reality is that you should never bring Norv Turner to any fight that involves--well, fighting.

2012 Denver Broncos - There will be balls

Denver Broncos
www.cbssports.com

As John Fox said to me, “We are eager to learn from Peyton.”...Now Peyton is the coach on the field and young wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are about to explode. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two guys who caught 76 passes between them last year combine for 150 receptions this year…

...Manning likes 12 personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) and a no-huddle attack. His former teammate Jacob Tamme told me he takes on the Dallas Clark role which he did for the Colts when Clark got hurt. Joel Dreessen, former Titan and jack-of-all-trades gives the Broncos the flexibility to build a spread set or a two-back set or any other formation in their attack package. There will be a lot of pressure on center J.D. Walton, who will have to learn to check protections constantly as Manning makes multiple changes at the line of scrimmage. Manning is used to Jeff Saturday, who had 13 years of experience in that role. Walton has two years and has never played with the likes of a Peyton Manning.

Don’t think the Broncos will ignore the run game. As Bill Cowher said to me, “Peyton likes the stretch zone run game to set up his play-action pass and he sees so much two high safety coverages he has to take the run.”

You know that ass clown in your fantasy league (it's okay to admit that you play fantasy football, you loser) that, instead of drafting for need or production, drafts all his players from the same team? Well if you've ever thought about playing village idiot yourself and taking all Broncos, this would be the year.  I don't recommend the strategy, but when Jacob Tamme blows up, you can at least take credit for being ahead of the curve.

I threw in Cowher's quote because it's excellent.  If Manning is even close to his form of 2010, teams will often play this high-safety, war-of-attrition defense to simply stay in the game.  If you go into 2012 remembering one thing, you'd do a lot worse than Cowher's quote.  

File under: Things you probably didn’t want to know about Denver’s new fullback

Rob Gronkowski Crossed Swords With His Brothers, And Two Other Fantastic Gronk Stories From The ESPYs
www.sportsgrid.com

“Gronkowski is in line for the bathroom. There’s a line, two urinals and a stall. They’re all waiting. Gronkowski is with his two brothers, who just looked awesome. He goes into the stall and he turns around to one of his brothers and says, ‘Crossys?’ The second brother goes in, the third brother goes in, and then there’s some guy who’s waiting — some small guy — and they say, ‘Let’s get him too.’ They grab this guy and pull him in, and they all pee in the bathroom together, in the stall.”

Yikes, the poor fourth man in on that Schwartz-crossing episode is likely scarred for life. And unless he was several beverages into his evening, one would have to think he had a bit of that Public Restroom Performance Anxiety that strikes all of us at some point in our lives.

For those who missed it, Gronk's older brother Chris is Denver's new fullback.

Dumervil charged with aggravated assault (maybe?)

Broncos' Elvis Dumervil in Miami arrested on felony weapons charge
www.denverpost.com

Broncos star defensive end Elvis Dumervil was arrested in Miami and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, according to court records in Miami-Dade County. The charge is a third-degree felony.

KCNC, CBS’s Denver affiliate, first reported the arrest, and the station reports that Dumervil was arrested Saturday night. The station reported Dumervil was held on $7,500 bail. Dumervil was released from the Dade County jail on Saturday, according to jail records. Details of what led to the arrest are not yet available, and calls to the Dade County sheriff’s offense have not been returned.

UPDATE: According to ESPN, Dumervil's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, refutes this account:

No charges have been filed. No aggravated assault or assault took place. And it is likely that once the full investigation is complete, no charges will be filed against Mr. Dumervil.

Until all the facts are in, it's difficult to intelligently comment on this story. It's unlikely Dumervil sees any jail time regardless of the outcome, but let's just get it out of the way: this is probably going to cost Mr. Dumervil (and the Denver Broncos) on the football side. Roger Goodell had this report at 3:05 a.m. Dumervil was released at 3:00 a.m.

In case you were wondering, here's the legal definition of aggravated assault in the State of Florida:

An "assault" is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.   An "aggravated assault" is an assault: (a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or (b) With an intent to commit a felony...