Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Matt Prater: Livin’ it up at the Hotel Ca-La Quinta

Broncos Kicker Matt Prater Inks Four-Year Deal, Preps to Move Out of Hotel
sportsradiointerviews.com

What are you going to do to celebrate your new deal?: “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I’m looking forward to, I’m actually in the process of looking for a condo or townhouse, because I’ve actually lived in a hotel for the last five years. So I’m excited about moving out of the hotel.”

Why were you living in a hotel for five years?: “Because I bought a house in Florida a couple years ago and just out here, it was real convenient for me. I was going two years in a row on a one-year deal so I didn’t want to buy a place and have to move.”

I think it's safe to say Matt Prater likes hotels a lot more than the average bear:

The incident started just before 3 a.m. on Aug. 2. Police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident at 9280 E. Costilla Ave., just outside the Hyatt Summerfield Suites...The witnesses said the driver fled into the hotel's lobby...After the accident, she and the man went into the hotel to get a room, but the hotel was full...Police ultimately found Prater at the nearby La Quinta hotel.

Although it's not clear if Prater has made La Quinta his hotel of choice during the last five years, I think we can all sleep better knowing their corporate slogan: "La Quinta takes care of everything, so you can take care of business kickoffs and extra points."

We can only imagine Prater's vigor were he to stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before a game.

Barnwell: Broncos should be going Moneyball route with its kickers

NFL's Frequent-Flier Phenomenon
www.grantland.com

But it’s not entirely clear that Matt Prater was an above-average kicker in 2011, and Denver’s decision to lock him up represents one of the many ways in which organizations fool themselves into spending money in the wrong places…he’s now hit 78.4 percent of his field goals across five pro seasons. That ranks 37th out of 44 regular kickers over that time frame, so it’s safe to say that Prater’s not known for his accuracy.

As for the walkoffs, while they were valuable, they’re far more indicative of opportunity than skill…Consider that Prater had three game-winners in overtime this past season and just one over his previous four years in the league.

Denver’s thin air allows them to get more out of average kickers than anyone else in football. They should use that to their advantage and exploit a built-in market inefficiency by being thrifty at kicker and applying the savings elsewhere. Instead, the Broncos have handcuffed themselves to a known mediocrity for years to come.

As noted yesterday, I'm glad the Broncos didn't give as much of a guarantee to Prater as had been speculated. But his accuracy issues from 40-49 yards remains a serious concern, and one to keep an eye on going forward.

BTW, I've updated the distance splits on the prior columns, because PFR is oddly missing that data from 2009. So, Prater is actually 20 of 33 from 40-49 yards - not 12 of 23 - as I'd written yesterday and prior. This is a more palatable success rate, but still a very poor one, especially for a kicker with a reputation of a strong leg and a contract to match.

Legendary Broncos return man Rick Upchurch battling leukemia

Former Bronco Rick Upchurch embraced warmly by Puebloans
www.chieftain.com

“I am not the first and I won’t be the last (to have cancer), so for all the cancer survivors and everybody that is going through it right now, we are all going through it together and we can defeat this,” Upchurch said.

Former Broncos offensive tackle Dave Studdard was at the event supporting his best friend. “Rick and I have known each other since 1979. He took an offensive lineman under his wing and we’ve been buddies ever since,” Studdard said.

Studdard, a cancer survivor himself, said if anyone can beat the disease, it’s Upchurch. “Anything I can do to be there for Rick, I will do it. He’s like a brother to me and I have five brothers. You could never have enough brothers,” Studdard said with a laugh. “Rick right now is just understanding what is going on in his life and it sucks. He will deal with this and he already is doing a good job of it. I will love him until we both die.”

Our thoughts go out to Upchurch, the Broncos' all-time franchise leader in punt returns, punt return yards, and punt return touchdowns. During nine seasons with Denver, Upchurch was named to four Pro Bowls, was a three-time first-team All-Pro, and dated someone who would later become far more famous than he. (via PFT)

Phrase of the day: Willis McGahee’s pimpette

A Blow-By-Blow Account Of The Fred Davis Lawsuit, Which Is The Strangest Lawsuit Involving A Female Pimp We’ve Seen Today
www.sportsgrid.com

Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been involved in an 18-month legal battle that is among the strangest we’ve ever seen. Makini Chaka, a 33-year old woman that Davis alleges to be a “pimpette,” was granted a temporary restraining order with regard to Davis back in January 2011, and later sued for a permanent one…She also claims that Davis continually violates the temporary restraining order and “harasses” her, and that he “blacklisted” her from DC nightclubs with his influence, and that he once impersonated Santana Moss on the phone to keep her out of one, saying no Redskins would go if she was allowed in. She claims this has lost her business and clients, and she wants compensation. Davis says she’s extorting him.

Of course, Chaka says it’s not about money. To prove that, she boasted a bit. Davis claims she’s a “pimpette,” providing prostitutes for athletes. A man named “Prince,” who has worked as Davis’s bodyguard and is also friends with Chaka, backed up the claim that Chaka is a “madam/pimpette,” saying that it’s widely known in DC. Chaka denied that, describing herself as a “celebrity broker who organizes parties for sports and entertainment stars.” She claimed that she does well and doesn’t need money from Davis, citing that one of her main clients, Willis McGahee, “happens to be a first round draft pick. He makes over 40 million dollars… yet you’re saying that I want to get Mr. Davis for money and he’s a second-round draft pick, and his, he doesn’t even gross anywhere close to Willis.” Boom, roasted, Fred! For the record, McGahee is a veteran with significantly more career earnings than Davis, but Davis is making much more than McGahee this season. She also name-dropped Snoop Dogg, Vonta Leach and others as clients.

Moral to the story: if you must impersonate Santana Moss, do a better job of it.

Psychiatrists: ADHD meds don’t aid players who don’t need them

Is There An ADHD Epidemic in Major League Baseball?
mlb.sbnation.com

Professional athletes will look for any edge, they said, and only those who truly require ADHD medication in order to properly function should be permitted to take it. Moreover, Dr. Hallowell added, Ritalin, Adderall and similar drugs do not produce a super-focusing effect for people without ADHD. Those drugs work by altering the brain’s chemistry. According to Dr. Hallowell, if a ballplayer’s brain chemistry doesn’t “need” altering, then he’s more likely to experience the unpleasant side effects of the drugs—like elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia and weight loss—and none of the benefits.

In the end, Dr. Tuckman noted, “when ADHD is appropriately diagnosed and the medication is appropriately prescribed and taken, it doesn’t give someone with ADHD an edge any more than giving contact lenses to someone who is far-sighted.”

The NFLPA has quite a bit on its plate at the moment; but once they get past the Saints bounty scandal, we hope they'll turn some of their attention to the Ginger Hammer's inconsistently levied and often heavyhanded penalties for ADHD medication use.

2009 Draft was so terrible, Denver’s haul doesn’t look that bad

Flash-forward: 2009 AFC West draft review
www.coldhardfootballfacts.com

Denver collected a lot of high draft picks, but they did a poor job when it came time to turn those cards in for players…It was a lot of effort for not a lot of value.

Denver has one starter on defense, a running back that could contribute something if healthy, and a depth player at safety…In the 2009 NFL Draft, apparently getting anyone to fill a roster spot is a noteworthy accomplishment. This was not a good draft by any means.

The Broncos' performance in the 2009 Draft (the first by Josh McDaniels) was immediately panned by football analysts far and wide, and it didn't take long for Alphonso Smith to become a favorite target of the McDoofus Sux crowd. Over time, it has grown impossible for even this McDaniels apologist to suggest Denver fared well four Aprils ago. But the overarching theme to Scott Kacsmar's thorough examination of the 2009 Draft is that a lot of teams flopped.

To that end, Knowshon Moreno, who hasn't lived up to even his critics' expectations, actually has a higher CarAV (15) than twelve other first-rounders; Robert Ayers is right behind him at 14. Surprisingly, among the AFCW teams, Denver's picks have played in the most NFL games and amassed the highest CarAV.

Demaryius Thomas: Route tree is back in vogue

For Demaryius Thomas, the Arrival of Peyton Manning Means it’s Time to Run Routes Again
sportsradiointerviews.com

On having to run more routes with Manning at quarterback:

“You’re gonna have to run the whole route tree now. The comebacks, the slants, the posts, the ins. And I didn’t have to do that much when I was my first couple of years in the league.”

For those who don't remember what it looks like:

 

Peytonpalooza > Tebowmania

Broncos May Renovate Stadium Thanks To Manning
www.forbes.com

Of the Broncos’ 130 total suites, the team tries to lease 115 each season, leaving 15 to sell on a game-by-game basis. Last season, the Broncos left more than five additional suites unleased because they couldn’t find anyone willing to buy the leases, which cost an average of $115,000 per season.

But the Broncos are so confident that they will be able to sell suite leases for the upcoming season that they are planning to convert two 32-person party suites, which are sold on a game-by game basis for $15,000, into six to eight mini suites, which they would lease on a seasonal basis for $60,000. The renovations would allow the team to generate an extra $276,000 of revenue per season from the same amount of square feet in their stadium, according to Ryan Barefoot, the Broncos’ senior director of premium seating.

In related news, the team announced today that single-game tickets will go on sale July 23.

It’s not a BMarsh interview without someone going under the bus

Marshallisms: Bears WR on Cutler, anger, Twitter, fans and more
www.chicagotribune.com

On receivers coaches:

“To be honest (when I arrived in Miami) I was like, ‘You know, I need some coaching. Right now I’m coming off my natural ability. I want a coach who’s played the position or played the game before, who knows and understands the receivers position. So they can take me and my world to a whole other level.’ I haven’t had a good coach as far as that receiving position since I’ve been in the NFL .... As far as technique and someone who understands the game, the last time I had a good receiving coach was DJ McCarthy in college.”

He's already dumped on every QB he's played with save Cutler, so might as well move on to WR coaches, right? Marshall's position coaches in Denver were Adam Gase (2009), Jedd Fisch (08), and Steve Watson (06-07), who of course played nine seasons with the Broncos, despite BMarsh's suggestion that none of his coaches possessed firsthand knowledge of the position.

Brandon also provides some insight to the supposed genius of Jeremy Bates, who apparently had Cutler and Marshall play sandlot football in Denver.

Tomlinson pondered Denver before retirement

Tomlinson considered continuing career in -- gasp! -- Denver
www.utsandiego.com

“The only team I really gave a thought to was the Broncos, because of Peyton,” Tomlinson said Saturday, referring, of course, to Denver’s signing of quarterback Peyton Manning. “We talked. Tom (Condon, Tomlinson’s agent) talked with them ... It made me pause a little (and think), ‘Was this what I really want to do?’ … I said, ‘They got Peyton, they have a good defense already; they went deep in the playoffs with Tim Tebow, what are they going to do with Peyton?’ I seriously thought about it.”

“That was the only reason I considered Denver,” he said. “At the same time, I thought, ‘How much is a Super Bowl ring really going to do for you at this point?’ Because it’s not with the team I really wanted to do it with.”

It's impossible to discern from Kevin Acee's story whether it was the Broncos or Tomlinson's agent, Tom Condon, who initiated contact between the two sides. Also unclear is whether discussions went any further than a preliminary feeler; Condon, of course, also represents Peyton Manning. But however much Tomlinson might have left in the tank, one thirtysomething running back would seem enough for Denver's roster, so it's hard to imagine the Broncos would have been willing to offer any guaranteed money to add the NFL's fifth all-time leading rusher.