Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

John Elway is the classiest guy imaginable

Tebow deserves respect, not scorn, for sticking up for himself
www.cbssports.com

Even so, the Broncos wanted no part of Tebow as their long-term quarterback, and that’s fine. You don’t see me ripping the Broncos for that. They didn’t want Tebow, so they acquired Peyton Manning and put Tebow on the trading block.

The Jets and Jaguars made offers, and the Broncos did the classiest thing imaginable—they left it up to Tebow. They told him the Jets wanted him, and the Jaguars wanted him, and that he could choose. So Tebow chose the Jets.

Most of this piece is spent defending the Ultimate Teammate's™ refusal to play in the Wildcat (It's bullshit, of course.  If Cam Newton had pulled the same thing, white America would be petitioning Roger Goodell to give Newton a lifetime ban), but the Broncos (as they always do) somehow got pulled into the matter.

In this case, Gregg Doyel thought the Broncos were classy.  That might very well be the case, but I would have preferred they had cut a deal with the Jaguars.  Draft picks are draft picks, and although they are generally like a roll of the dice, the Broncos restricted--if even by a little--the available pool of picks by cutting a deal with the Jets.

Still, TYJE.

(Note to the UT™ Zombies who continue to email us that we spend too much time writing about Tebow.  The more you curse and whine and complain, the more we'll continue giving you what you want but say you don't: more coverage of the Ultimate Teammate™)

Eric Decker tells us why he beat Ravens CB Cary Williams like a drum

The Drive hour 3 12/21/12
www.1043thefan.com

“The first drive, I caught a ball on the sideline…it was an eight- or nine-yard completion.  I was down by contact.  He decided to give me that extra shove, and then he walked over me.  And you know, as a player, it’s the ultimate disrespect if you’re going to want to do that…I did take it personal.  And it takes a lot for me to get really fired up, but again, you’ve got to control your emotions—not responding back physically as far as throwing a punch or doing something stupid—just proving it with your game. 

I knew I was going to have a lot of one-one-one battles with him [Cary Williams] all day, so I just wanted to prove to him that I was the better person…and I got his number a bunch.  It felt really good, especially at the end.  I caught a ball on the sideline and was able to say something to coach Harbaugh and to him, and just kind of have fun with it…Harbaugh was complaining that I was pushing off all game, so I was like ‘come on, man, you’ve got to take this guy [Williams] out, you’re hurting his ego.’”

I'd been meaning to get this interview down for a few days.  Last week, we noted how Eric Decker feasted on Ravens' Cary Williams like he was mashed potatoes.  In this interview from December 21st, Decker confirms just that.

If the Ravens somehow find their way to Denver for a playoff game, our advice to Harbaugh is to be nicer to Eric Decker.  You might not like him when he's angry.  Oh, and play zone.  It's possible you'll be in the game a wee bit longer.

Raiders continue commitment to make no sense

Scouting next Chargers opponent: Raiders
www.nctimes.com

Win or lose Sunday, the Raiders are assured a top-10 draft pick for the seventh time in 10 years. How many of those six top-10 draftees went on to Pro Bowl? Zero, a mini-trend within Oakland’s 10-season streak of no winning records or playoff berths

The Raiders invested top-10 picks in all-time bust JaMarcus Russell, the LSU quarterback taken first overall in 2007, and eighth-round choice Rolando McClain (’10, Alabama), a linebacker who sits the bench. McClain sat out two games this year for conduct detrimental to the team.

Overseeing the next draft will be general manager Reggie McKenzie, hired last year after working more than a decade in Green Bay’s front office.

There are some who believe that a strong Oakland Raiders makes for a better AFC West and a more compelling matchup for the Denver Broncos fans.

I beg to differ--a decade of watching "The Violator" look like he's been violated is pretty damn compelling to me.

Merry Xmas, Oakland.  Here's hoping Santa brings you another first-round bust.

Patriots will have to come to Denver, and that’s bad for them

Why the Denver Broncos are Super Bowl favorites
www.nfl.com

No matter what seed the Broncos end up with, I’m comfortable calling them the slight AFC favorites to go to the Super Bowl. It’s simple math, really. The Houston Texans are not playing well, steamrolled in two of their last three games. They should be seen as underdogs to Denver and New England because of quarterback play, among other factors.

That leaves the Broncos and Patriots as the two most likely AFC representatives for the Super Bowl. If New England is going to make it to New Orleans, the Patriots are probably going to have to win in Denver. Advantage Broncos.

Patriots, come out to playaaaaay


¹ Best gang from this movie had to be the The Furies.

Giving John Fox his due

Broncos' John Fox seeks 100th win, endorses Peyton Manning for MVP
www.denverpost.com

What sets Fox’s record apart is he won eight games, including one in the playoffs, with Tim Tebow at quarterback during the 2011 season. He’s won 12 more so far this year with Manning at quarterback.

“I’ve had a great staff, great players,” Fox said. “A lot goes into that. It’s not one guy. They put it on your record or tombstone or whatever, but I just happened to be head coach during that. But there’s a lot of efforts and I appreciate all those efforts. We’re just worried about this week. We’ve got a good team coming in.”

We've had our share of debates about John Fox's decisions on fourth downs, to be sure.  We'll save that argument for another day.

Leave little doubt that John Fox's management style generates respect from players, coaches, and, well, just about everyone around the league.  He lets his players play and his coaches coach.  And he does it without a lot of arrogance, ego, or PowerPoint presentations.  In the time of cholera Bill Belichick,  there's something to be said for that.

Broncos make lifestyle changes, reverse third-down ranking

Dominating Defense Fuels Win Streak
www.denverbroncos.com

The team’s highest statistical jump since the beginning of the win streak has been in third-down conversions. During the first five games of the season, opponents were successful on 46.7 percent of their third-down attempts, which ranked 29th out of the 32 NFL teams. Since then, that number has plummeted to 20.9, which is best in the league—6.3 percentage points ahead of the second-place San Francisco 49ers.

Lower your salt intake, increase your servings of fruits and veggies, add a little Wesley Woodyard, Chris Harris, and Tony Carter, and watch what happens to your defense's third-down percentage.

Will this year be Jay Cutler’s greatest collapse?

Apocalypse Now: Chicago Bears and the NFL’s Greatest Second-Half Collapses
www.coldhardfootballfacts.com

The Bears are now on the verge of missing the playoffs after a 7-1 start, which has rarely happened since the 16-game season began in 1978. A total of 61 teams started exactly 7-1 from 1978 to 2011, and 58 of them made the playoffs.

Chicago (8-6) must win out on the road against Arizona (5-9) and Detroit (4-10), and even then will need some help to make the playoffs.

We all remember 2008, so there's no need to rehash beyond threegameleadthreegameslefttoplaybuhbye. And of course, this can't all be Jay's fault, as he's playing behind an absolutely atrocious offensive line, as per usual.

But Cutler hasn't been so good himself - his QB rating is four points below his career figure, and he's thrown more TD passes than picks in only six games this season. To compare him to a totally random NFL QB - how about Peyton Manning - PMFM has a rating 8.6 points higher than his pre-2012 career, and has tossed more scores than interceptions in 12 of his 14 games.

Manning, Miller, and Bailey all tops in fan voting

Peyton Manning tops fan voting
espn.go.com

Manning, who has 31 touchdown passes and has thrown for 4,016 yards this season, topped the fan balloting with 993,045 votes cast on NFL.com.

Before we get too carried away, remember that this is only 1/3 of the vote.  The players and coaches still have their turn.  Manning leads everyone, while Bailey and Miller are tops at their respective positions.

It's hard to imagine, though, the outcome changing for these three Broncos.

Tebow yuks going mainstream

Tebow's time in New York nears end
www.usatoday.com

It surely can’t end soon enough, because this season — Tebow has attempted all of eight passes — has done nothing to convince his detractors he can throw the ball well enough to be an NFL quarterback.

A high-ranking NFL personnel evaluator, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share his scouting report, said: “(Tebow) attempts to play quarterback despite poor footwork, throwing platforms, release, timing, efficiency, progression, reads, anticipation, arm strength, accuracy and any other position-specific category you can think of.

“God bless him for trying,” the personnel man said, “but I wouldn’t touch him and would pass on the Jacksonville (Jaguars) job if it forced me to take him.”

Interesting to see everyone coming out of their zombie shelters now that Rex Ryan (stupidly) made it safe and the risk of infection is so much lower.  

Weenies.  Where were these guys yuking it up last year when we were fighting off the bath salts crowd with only our keyboard and Bill F-ing Murray?

The good news for these cats?  We've stockpiled tetanus shots.

Clady: Manning makes me look good

Ryan Clady Says Peyton Manning Has Made Him a Better Player
sportsradiointerviews.com

How different it is blocking for Peyton Manning as opposed to Tim Tebow:

“One of the differences is pretty obvious. Peyton Manning just gets rid of the ball a little faster. That definitely helps out the offensive line. Also with Peyton you know the spot he is going to be in for the most part. With Tebow it was kind of up in the air as to where he was going to be.”

On the improved running game:

“Yeah, no question. It’s something our coaches have been harping on. Something they have been harping on and the past couple of weeks it’s something that all good playoff teams need to have is a good running game so I think we have done that and we need to continue to run the ball well.”

Whether he feels like Peyton Manning has made him a better player:

“I feel like he has. His ability to play the quarterback position always helps out the offensive line. When he was in Indy he never really had any big name offensive linemen but he made them look good which is a good thing and that’s what good quarterbacks do.”

Does this mean Clady is cool if the Broncos slap the franchise tag on him at the end of the season?