Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Reversing the Curse of Brett Kern

Holliday Gives Boost to Broncos
blog.denverbroncos.com

Since the Broncos signed wide receiver Trindon Holliday on Oct. 11, the 5-foot-5 return man has given the team exactly he was brought in for.

His contributions go well beyond his touchdown returns in back-to-back weeks against Cincinnati and Carolina. Dating back to Week 6, when he became a Bronco, Holliday leads the NFL with a 37.4 kick return average and ranks second in the NFL with a 13.0 punt return average.

When the Broncos acquired Holliday, they were 2-3. Since then, they are 7-0. With his 5-0 start as a Houston Texan before being let go, he is the only 12-0 player in the league.

Hey, remember when Josh McDaniels cut Brett Kern during a bye week?  And remember when the Broncos were 6-0?  And hey, do you remember when McDaniels replaced Kern with Mitch Berger (and fries)?  Finally, remember at the time, I tried rationalizing and defending the move?  Yeah, me too.  After the Broncos tanked, the move became known as the Curse of Brett Kern.

Well, that curse can kiss its ass good bye.  Trindon Holliday has restored the Broncos' karmic balance.

Now, about that Matt Prater voodoo doll...

Want a shot at the NFL?  Persevere, get lucky, and unlearn everything you know

The Hard Life of an N.F.L. Long Shot
www.nytimes.com

“Dude,” he said, as I stood staring at his dresser. “I swear to God, if someone tells me right now there’s some miracle body cream out there that would make me feel 100 percent and prevent me from getting hurt but that could also cause cancer or liver damage down the line, I’d use it in a heartbeat. I would.”

He picked up an empty bottle of anti-inflammatory pills and tossed it in the trash.  “Even if I make it,” he said, “the average career is what, three or four years tops. But if I get hurt now, I’m gone. It’s nothing personal. If I’m injured, I’m dead weight. I’m stealing their money. Do you know how many linebackers there are sitting home right now that want my job? Hundreds. I mean, let’s get real. As much as Coach Smith or Coach Pires might like me, it would be: ‘Hey, it’s been a fun ride. You’re a good kid. But see ya, Schiller!’ ”

What's life like for an undrafted NFL rookie?  Look no further than this excellent piece by Charles Siebert.  It's been sitting on our reading list for about a week, but it's well worth your time.  It will also make you appreciate guys like Tony Carter, Chris Harris, and Wesley Woodyard that much more.  

This piece also reminds me that I need to take the time to run the earnings numbers for a variety of NFL players over the course of different career scenarios and compare them to workers across several different fields.  I'd like to really understand the opportunity costs associated with pursuing what amounts to a long shot for most of these kids coming out of school.  After reading this article, one wonders if they really know what they're getting into.  

Paige: Fox, Elway, Manning seek Elway-like exit

Magazine: Denver is John Fox’s last stop
milehighsports.com

“I’m 57, and I don’t want to be coaching forever. I can’t see myself coaching well into my 60s, so this is it.”

There is, though, the other side. If they don’t win a Super Bowl this season or next, or the next, or perhaps the next, this also will [be] their final stop, and a new quarterback, a new coach and a new executive vice president would take over.

But Manning, Elway and Fox strive to ride off together from the Broncos and the NFL as champions.

It's not clear if Woody's suggesting any of the Elway/Fox/Manning triumverate would consider retirement if the Broncos were to win this year's Super Bowl. Rather, it reads likes a vague prediction that he'll later spin as proof of his own genius reporting. Either way, let's hope they're presented with that dilemma in a few months' time.

Ditching his wife for Manning led Stokley back to Broncos

Brandon Stokley knows it's good to be Peyton Manning's friend
www.usatoday.com

Manning promised Stokley tickets to the Duke-North Carolina basketball game if Stokley would come to Durham, N.C., to play catch. Stokley, after promising Lana they would reschedule the anniversary trip, accepted, even if he didn’t feel like he had much to offer…

“I never thought I would be part of the deal. I really didn’t. I never asked him for that,” Stokley said.

“That’s not why I wanted him to come here, so that I could come back. I wanted him to come here because I love watching him play, and I wanted my son to go to games and watch Peyton Manning play. I tried to sell him on the organization and the city, let him know it’s a great place to play football and raise a family.”

Anyone think Lana Stokley would take a trip to New Orleans for their 11th anniversary as a makeup for their postponed 10-year celebration?

Ray Lewis to return Week 15 against Broncos

Source: Ray Lewis back Dec. 16
espn.go.com

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, sidelined with a torn triceps, is expected to return on Dec. 16 to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, a team source told ESPN.

Back when Lewis suffered this injury, the matchup in Baltimore may have looked like just another hurdle to Denver making the playoffs. Seven weeks later, the game instead looms as a showdown that could determine whether one of these teams lands a first-round bye, or even home-field advantage throughout.

Of course, each team has two more games in the interim which could altogether change the narrative yet again, so we'll see just how big Broncos/Ravens turns out to be. But without having to go very far out on a limb, our prediction is that it will be ginormous.

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]