Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Stockwell: There’s more than one strength-on-strength matchup on Sunday

Setting the Edge: Seattle Offense vs. Denver Defense
www.profootballfocus.com

The deep passing game the Broncos are coming up against isn’t exactly complex either. Seattle is very good at executing go routes (14-of-32, 530 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs) which Denver just happens to be excellent at defending (9-of-42, 366 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs).

FWIW, Seattle's offense has failed to net 200 passing yards in any of their past six games, and only twice during that stretch (against St. Louis and San Francisco) was Russell Wilson particularly efficient.

The elephant in the room alongside Denver’s record-setting offense

Super Bowl Profile: Broncos Wide Receivers
www.profootballfocus.com

As productive as the Broncos’ receivers have been this year, their one caveat has been drops. Manning saw 43 of his passes dropped in the regular season, third-most among quarterbacks. This wide receiver trio accounted for 27 of them, more than eight other teams had all year. With a Drop Rate of over 11% for the third time in four seasons, Welker has been most responsible…The drops have continued into the playoffs as Welker dropped two more in the divisional round against the Chargers while Thomas let another get by against New England.

We've covered this time and again this season - unforced errors are this offense's Achilles' heel. And when we're talking about the postseason, issues like these can become fatal flaws.

Benoit: Seahawks must give Wilson simple third-down reads

The Battle for Third Down
mmqb.si.com

The way to help a young, uncomfortable quarterback in “must-throw” situations is with defined reads. That’s when the quarterback’s target is predetermined or decided by a simple either/or post-snap look at the defense (if the leveraged defender goes here, the read is to receiver A; if the defender goes there, it’s to receiver B).

This is a great complement (or response, even) to the concerns raised by Davis Hsu of Field Gulls yesterday.

Barnwell: Looking beyond Sunday

Super Bowl Swan Song
grantland.com

Given their perpetual need for bodies up front, that could lead them to a former 3-4 lineman like Ziggy Hood or Tyson Jackson, both first-round picks who failed to develop as planned in their first stops. If Shaun Phillips leaves, I wonder if the Broncos would target Jared Allen on a one-year deal to serve as their primary pass-rusher while Miller recovers from his ACL tear. And with question marks at cornerback, if they don’t sign Rodgers-Cromartie and they release Bailey, the Broncos could target one of the top cornerbacks on the market, like Aqib Talib or Sam Shields. DeAngelo Hall would even make sense on a lesser contract.

FWIW, Barnwell also sees Eric Decker, Zane Beadles, and Champ Bailey back on team-friendly contracts, plus new deals for several key youngsters. Of course, we'll be looking at all of this in depth once the offseason hits.

DRC clarifies retirement talk

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: “I’m definitely not retiring”
blogs.denverpost.com

“That was misread,” Rodgers-Cromartie said on the swaying Cornucopia Majesty cruise ship Wednesday morning. “I’m definitely not retiring. What I’m saying is when I look at the history of the NFL and these guys that come up with one-year contracts, that’s it for them.

As for Mike Klis's suggestion that how DRC performs on Sunday will affect the market for him in free agency, that's as ridiculous as claims that the SB will determine Peyton Manning's legacy. And no, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger didn't get their contracts based upon one game, either.

Elway: I’d want to play for me too, if I were Peyton

Bond between Peyton Manning, John Elway runs deeper than you think
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

“Here’s another great funny thing, and this isn’t on your list,’’ said Elway, standing in the bowels of Newark’s Prudential Center, where the NFL conducted its Media Day for this first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl. “You know on the Chinese calendar, it’s the year of the horse, right? Well, we were both Colts and Broncos. We’re horse-related.’‘

Anyone ever seen/heard John Elway say he was a Colt before? That was weird...

Benoit: 3 x 1 = Trouble for Seattle’s defense

How Manning Can Get the Seahawks Right Where He Wants Them
mmqb.si.com

If the Seahawks match personnel and put cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond to the three-receiver side, either Kam Chancellor or K.J. Wright will be left outside against Julius Thomas. There’s your weakness. While Chancellor is an excellent strong safety and Wright is a superb outside linebacker, neither is a good press-man cornerback—at least not against someone like Julius Thomas, who is a limber 6-5, 250 pounds, angular and explosive in confined movement.

We'll take that matchup all night long, and surely, so would/will PMFM.

How the mighty mite has fallen

Setting the Edge: Third Phase
www.profootballfocus.com

So the burning question is this: do the Broncos play it safe with the best punt coverage unit in the NFL bearing down on their returner and go for Eric Decker once more or do they chance the speedy but slippery-handed Holiday?

It really hasn't been that long since Trindon Holliday was tearing up opposing coverage units, but it feels like it's been a lifetime. Does anyone even remember that he had two return scores this season?

PFF: Seahawks can only hope to contain Knighton

Super Bowl Profile: Terrance Knighton
www.profootballfocus.com

On multiple occasions the Patriots tried to have their center perform a reach block on Knighton with no help on an outside zone or stretch play…The Seahawks run a very zone heavy scheme and we’ll see a very similar stretch play more than a few times super bowl Sunday. Center Max Unger struggled a couple times to make the very same block against Glenn Dorsey with him lined up at the 0-technique (defensive tackle head-up on center).

Most of the talk is about Denver's offense against Seattle's defense. But what about Seattle's 26th-ranked offensive line versus Pot Roast, Malik Jackson, Robert Ayers, Sly Williams, and Shaun Phillips?

Breaking News: Jay Glazer is a meathead

Jay Glazer once tried to fight Peyton Manning
www.awfulannouncing.com

At the Pro Bowl in 2007, Glazer got into a shouting match with Peyton Manning after Manning made a lighthearted wisecrack to Glazer about New York Giants legend and ABC-talk-show co-host Michael Strahan’s divorce. (Glazer and Strahan are best friends.)

Yay, journalism!