Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Benoit: Broncos might be NFL’s best

Film Room: Broncos-Buccaneers
www.footballoutsiders.com

It’s hard to pinpoint a single player in the league more valuable than Manning. Not only has he masterfully blended his fine-tuned system with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s, he’s also quickly identified and maximized the strengths of every receiver he works with. It’s fun to see on film all the little things Manning does to make the game easy for his teammates. It’s no accident that every Broncos player has adapted so well to the new system and seems to be improving by the week.

Laudable as Denver’s offense has been, it’s the defense that has this team looking like Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. It’s almost fruitless trying to analyze this scheme, as John Fox and Jack Del Rio have sprinkled it with so many different flavors.

Benoit expects Peyton Manning to spend much of Sunday going after young Tampa Bay corners E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson, and to find loads of success there.

As for the defense, he sees several players operating at a Pro Bowl level in recent weeks, and he's bewildered that Tony Carter's elite coverage skills weren't discovered earlier.

A Super Bowl in Denver?

Denver mayor, Broncos pursue 2018 Super Bowl bid
www.denverpost.com

The Denver Broncos and Visit Denver in late August submitted an application to the National Football League’s Super Bowl Advisory Committee to bid to host the Super Bowl in 2018, 2019 or 2020…

...Already, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis have said they are vying for 2018 — which would be announced at the NFL owners meeting in May 2014…

...“The New Jersey game is going to tell a good story on how that works in an outdoor venue,” Scharf said. “We have daily highs that are above Indianapolis and New York. We are 10-degree warmer than Indianapolis and 7 degrees warmer than New York in February. That is also our second driest month of the year. It is not totally out of the question.”

There are a lot of reasons bringing the Super Bowl to Denver is a good move (the rabid fans, the Rocky Mountain skyline, seeing how many out-of-towners get altitude sickness), but one reason stands above all others: we're way better than New Jersey.

Welcome home, Jake

Jake Plummer Rekindles His Love for the Game He Left
www.nytimes.com

Plummer said fans did double-takes when they saw him. But as the game continued, he reminisced with longtime security guards, talked with a young fan whose parents had told him not to bother Plummer, high-fived a mascot and was treated to a few beers by fans who said they remembered him fondly.

Plummer later slipped down to the sideline to watch Manning and Roethlisberger, who had each ruined his postseason hopes. But Plummer did not dwell on that. He cheered on the Broncos’ defense, the way he used to as a player, when he wanted to get back out onto the field as quickly as possible.

After the Broncos won, 31-19, Plummer sat on a patch of grass outside and watched jubilant fans exit the stadium.

“I used to play a big part of that,” Plummer said. “Sending people out of the stadium ecstatic and full of energy.”

Nothing was ever right about how the Snake left the Broncos, or Denver - it's a pleasure to learn he's back in town, and again a part of the Broncos family.

Rule which cost Lions may be overturned before season’s end

After Detroit debacle, NFL could change red-flag rule during season
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

NFL executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson told Mike Florio on the Dan Patrick Show that the league could review the rule that says the referee will not review a scoring play if a coach throws his challenge flag. Anderson said it’s even possible that the rule could be changed during the season, instead of waiting until after the season.

This cannot happen soon enough. The damage done to Detroit's playoff hopes and to the Broncos' #1-seed aspirations is irreversible, but better late than never.

Chiefs fan goes postal

Man charged in Lee's Summit shooting sparked by Chiefs game
www.kshb.com

A 65-year-old Lee’s Summit man is charged with shooting a man after an insult-filled afternoon of watching the Chiefs football game. Ronald L. Hall is charged in Jackson County Court with assault and armed criminal action.

Court documents state Hall, his son and several other men gathered at a Lee’s Summit house on Sunday to watch the football game. Hall’s son told police everyone at the gathering had been drinking and trading insults as they watched the game. He also told police his father was ill-tempered and mean and his disposition had gotten worse in the last year, according to court documents…

...The victim suffered critical injuries, including a stroke.

Kids, listen up to your ol' friend TJ: mixing firearms, alcohol, and Chiefs games is rarely a good idea.

It's One to Grow On...

[Deadspin]

IAOFM wants PFT to know there’s more to rushing the passer than just sacks

Aldon Smith wants Von Miller to know who leads the league in sacks
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Miller is a phenomenal player who was last year’s defensive rookie of the year, but Smith is making a strong case that he’s the premier pass rusher from last year’s draft. Smith had 14 sacks last year to Miller’s 11.5, and Smith’s total of 29 sacks in his first 26 NFL games are the most any player has ever had in the first 26 games of his career.

Whether Smith or Miller is the better player may boil down to a matter of personal preference. Suffice to say, both the 49ers and the Broncos are very pleased with their first-round draft picks from last year.

Personal preference - or a willingness to look beyond the simple comfort of a traditional stat - as we were just discussing with our friends Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.

By PFF's accounting, Von has 61 pressures (13 sacks, 11 hits, 37 hurries) in 663 snaps (9.2%), while Smith has 43 pressures (15 sacks, 9 hits, 19 hurries) in 618 snaps 7.0%). It's not exactly a close call. The site's grades say the same thing - they have Von at +60.1, and Smith at +14.6.

According to Brian Burke, Von also beats Smith in WPA (1.10 to 0.70), EPA (48.0 to 34.5), and Success Count (44 to 37).

So, sure. Miller versus Smith is a matter of personal preference. Or, of thinking versus not thinking.

John Elway to Tebow fans: Go f$#@ yourselves

Elway still on a Rocky Mountain high
www.usatoday.com

Elway said he believes moving on from Tebow to a more traditional quarterback was the right move.

“I believe that there are Tebow fans, and there are Broncos fans,” he said. “My responsibility is to the Broncos fans, and my responsibility is to (owner) Pat Bowlen and what he wants to do, and that’s win championships. “

Thank you, John Elway.

If, for some reason, you don't go to heaven, we'd be happy to join you in your blue and orange hell.

Football endangering Roethlisberger’s life

Ben Roethlisberger has rare, dangerous rib injury
www.nfl.com

Roethlisberger told reporters on Wednesday that the injury could kill him by pressing against his aorta and puncturing his lung. So that’s not good.

His rib is partially dislocated. Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com and NFL Network passes along word from Roethlisberger that his pain level is at a 9 on a scale of 1-10. He’s only sleeping four hours a night. Ed Bouchette of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette doesn’t expect Roethlisberger to play for a while.

This morning I got a paper cut that I would describe as a 6, so one only imagines what would make Roethlisberger dole out a 9.

Some things are more important than football.  A man's aorta (along with his testicles) happens to be one of those.

The Steelers can wait--even if they have to wait until next year.

Tebow strikes while the iron is still hot

NFL quarterback Tim Tebow teams up with TiVo
www.usatoday.com

TiVo is getting Tebowed. The DVR pioneer, on the comeback trail after losing subscribers in recent years, is turning to the NFL’s Tim Tebow to spread the company gospel. TiVo hired the famous backup quarterback of the New York Jets as its brand ambassador — and not just because of the similar sound to their names…

...What Tebow likes about TiVo: Because he spends a lot of time on airplanes, he relishes catching up on favorite shows Revenge and Castle. “Plus, TiVo learns me.” He says he’ll give the Showtime series Homeland a try based on a TiVo recommendation.

We couldn't be happier for the Ultimate Teammate™. As they say, you've got to strike while the iron is hot, even if behind the "aw shucks" persona, you plan to plant the iron squarely across the face of Mark Sanchez.

I still think Sanchez's days are numbered, but, as we found out this morning, The Ultimate Teammate™ isn't exactly inspiring his fellow players in New Jersey the way he did in Denver. In fact, they seem more than happy to rip him--anonymously, of course. Perhaps they saw what happened when Demaryius Thomas dared to defy the zombie horde.

What the Jets really need is a PR guy like Jim Saccomano--you know, someone who keeps his thumb over the local media (and its access) so only the good stuff gets out.  We're not so sure, though, that even the mighty Sacco--the guy in the arena, don't you forget it--could hold down the New York media.  

UPDATE:  Now that ESPN has weighed in, there's no need to comment.  Jason Whitlock must have missed the memo, however.  He just wrote:

What does that make Tebow? A total media creation. Honestly, I’m glad Tebow is an athletic, white quarterback so we don’t have to hear whining about how racist it is that the Jets don’t like Tebow...Tebow is Vince Young, a great college QB who can’t cut it in the pros.

Von Miller, would-be Cam Newton troll

Broncos LB Von Miller: If I sack Cam, I'm doing 'Superman'
www.usatoday.com

If Miller, the Broncos’ bespectacled outside linebacker, sacks Carolina quarterback Cam Newton on Sunday, he’ll forgo the dance he calls the DeSoto Shuffle in favor of something else far more recognizable: The Superman – Newton’s signature touchdown celebration.

Miller, tied for second in the NFL with nine sacks, is already envisioning himself pretending to rip off his white Denver jersey, just like Newton does.

“That would be great,” Miller told USA TODAY Sports Thursday afternoon. “I hope I get a chance to do it.”

Von Miller: obnoxious glory boy, or respectful competitor with a sense of humor? Discuss...