Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Going for the jugular to prevent concussions

Can Science See Inside An NFL Player’s Skull Before It’s Too Late?
deadspin.com

Think of it this way: In a collision, the brain is basically driving without a seatbelt or an airbag. While better helmets and the banning of helmet-to-helmet detonations might help keep your skull intact, they would do nothing to stop the brain from smashing into the windshield in even minor collisions.

Bailes’s answer to this brain slosh amounts to stuffing the whole car full of packing peanuts. His newest research takes groups of rats and puts a small, circular device around their necks, compressing their internal jugular veins. That increases the volume of blood in the skull, which creates added pressure on the brain, locking it in place. In theory, that should keep the brain’s movement inside the skull more in line with the skull’s own movement, allowing all the new space-age helmets to do their jobs.

So far, Bailes’s team has seen a 30 percent increase in cranial pressure, and, after concussing the rats and examining the resulting computer models, an 80 percent drop in the precursors to amyloid protein. “This was only a proof-of-concept pilot study, and it hasn’t been proven in humans, but we think the theory is sound,” he said. “If it moves forward, we’re going to expand to a broader group of patients, and we hope to do that sooner rather than later.”

If the research can be replicated and no unforeseen safety concerns pop up—neither of which is guaranteed in research like this—there are already people and players volunteering as test subjects. Why wouldn’t there be? If a simple necklace could reduce the accumulation of brain injury, and there is virtually no downside to wearing it, isn’t that worth whatever minor discomfort it causes and a few hours a year of testing?

Concussed rats and jugular veins.  Who knew?

If Manning wins, Norv Turner and The Head are collateral damage

Peyton Manning, Norv Turner, Eagles under pressure in 2012
www.nfl.com

There’s a reason it feels like Turner always starts the season on the hot seat: He does. Under Turner, the Chargers haven’t won a playoff game since the 2008 season and the San Diego fan base is more than a little restless. Despite having two years left on his contract, it was widely thought that Turner’s failure to make the playoffs for the second straight season in 2011 would result in his dismissal. However, team president Dean Spanos decided to stay the course with both Turner and general manager A.J. Smith. I can’t imagine they will be as fortunate if they fail to make the playoffs this season.

...Most of the pressure on Manning will be the result of his past production. His résumé is ridiculous: He’s a four-time MVP and 11-time Pro Bowl selection. And he’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards an amazing 11 times! Not counting last year, he’s never tossed fewer than 26 touchdowns in a season. To put that in perspective, the Broncos haven’t had a quarterback throw that many touchdown passes since Jake Plummer did it in 2004.

It's positively delicious that Peyton Manning could drive the nail in Turner's powder blue coffin while at the same time popping the hot-air ballon that is AJ Smith's head.

No, I won't mention that quarterback stat. I'm going to close my eyes and pretend I didn't read it.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack do a defensive magic trick

Jack Del Rio Calls Broncos’ Defensive Coordinator Turnaround ‘Unusual’
denver.cbslocal.com

“We want to be Top 5 in everything that we do, and so that’s what we’ve set our goals for,” he said. “We’ve got a ways to go.”

Del Rio had some of the best defensive lines when he coached in Jacksonville, and he said he’s not at all worried about the Broncos’ defensive line. “I’m not worried about it, I’m working it; and that’s what we have to do,” he said. “We’ve got to work to fix whatever problems we have. Obviously last year the defensive tackle position here went the entire year without a sack. That’s going to change.”

He said having Ty Warren healthy and drafting Derek Wolfe is going to help the cause.

Recall previously that Del Rio had said the Broncos want to be a top-10 defense.  It appears as if those numbers have adjusted in the right direction.

Do you hear what I hear?  Why, it's the sound of Del Rio's brass balls clanking together as he walks.

Peyton Manning is kind of a big deal

Mayweather Tops List Of The World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes
www.forbes.com

Peyton Manning is the NFL’s highest-paid player with earnings of $42.4 million, which ranks 10th overall. The Indianapolis Colts paid Manning $26.4 million in 2011 even though he missed the season recovering from neck surgery. Manning joined the Denver Broncos as a free agent in March, when he inked a five-year, $96 million contract that paid him a $6 million advance on his 2012 Broncos’ salary. Manning continues to be the NFL’s top pitchman, earning $10 million annually off the field from Reebok, Gatorade, Sony, DirecTV, Wheaties and Papa John’s.

Here's the PMFM entry on Forbes's latest abusive slideshow which makes you click 100 times to read a single list. Thanks to the folks at NowPublic for posting it in its entirety and sparing us all.

Peyton does good deed, DP nowhere in sight

Two earn Manning Scholarship
www.knoxnews.com

“The scholarship has always brought me back to the University of Tennessee every year,” Manning said. “It makes me feel old now that we’re up in the teens as how many we’ve given. This year, we’re giving two, and we’ve always just given one. The scholarship that I won as a student-athlete was put in an endowment and was matched and added to by the university, and this year, Ashley and I added one donation back to the university. We wanted to give two because it’s such a great program for these scholars to get into, because they automatically get into the Haslam Scholars Program, which is just outstanding. It’s been a special connection for me to not just the football program but the entire university.”

In related news, Archie and Olivia Manning recently celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary, not that Mike Klis felt it was worth mentioning.

John Elway just told us everything we need to know about Knowshon Moreno

KOA Q&A – Elway, Part Two
blog.denverbroncos.com

850 KOA: What do you think this offense will look like this season? Will it look like what Broncos fans saw when they watched the Colts? Will it be a combination of different personnel groups?

JE: I think there’s a misconception out there a little about Peyton in that they (the Colts) didn’t run the football in Indianapolis. When they were successful in Indianapolis, they ran the football. What we’re looking for is balance. When we won the championships back in the 90’s, we had balance. Willis McGahee had a great year last year. (Mario) Fannin, the young kid we signed as a free agent last year out of Auburn, is coming back off a knee injury in camp. (He) looks good. And then (Ronnie) Hillman, who we drafted in the third round, is a guy that has big-play ability. I think you’re still going to see good balance. I think the misconception is that Peyton throws the ball all the time but when they were winning and doing well, they were top 12 in the league in rushing.

If you had any doubt about the Broncos' plans for Knowshon Moreno, you've got clarity now.

Perhaps the mention of Knowshon Moreno slipped John Elway's mind.  What's more likely, though, is Moreno will compete with Jeremiah Johnson and Lance Ball for a spot on the roster.  Unfortunately, with each passing season, the expectations for the former first-rounder continue to plummet.  He's now--in John Elway's mind--less valuable than two guys who have yet to see the field.

What also sticks out from this interview is the Broncos' plan to use more two-back sets than Manning is used to in short-yardage situations--precisely the reason they acquired Chris Gronkowski.

NFL Rewind just made its crack more addictive

The NFL Will Make Its All-22 Film Available To Everyone Next Year, And Football Writing Will Never Be The Same Again
deadspin.com

Rejoice, football dorks! The NFL evidently rolled out its Game Rewind 2012 today and announced that there’ll be real full-game-length All-22 film in there. This is big…

...Now, we’ll know for sure which defensive back got beat on a given play, and we’ll know for sure which lineman on the left side gave up the pressure. We’ll have a much better sense of the coverages and blocking schemes teams run, because writers will distill all of this for us and publish it. (You won’t have to watch the game tape, and lucky you, because it’s captured in 4:3—not HD-friendly—and without sound.)

It took a few years, but the NFL listened. Giving anyone--even addicts like me--access to the coaches film is like putting a Taco John's next to a hash bar. It's good for business.  Really good.

What does it mean for Woody Paige? Let's just say that while Woody is picking out his next jacket, we'll be watching film.

#Winning (not #Losing) The Saccomano Way

Broncos Have One of a Kind Sellout Streak
blog.denverbroncos.com

When fans go to a game,they want to see their team win. And they don’t want to see their team lose.

Jim Saccomano: drinking tiger's blood since 1978.

Phil Rivers: It’s a Sproles-type thing

Philip Rivers is Excited about San Diego’s New Faces, Will Work on “Taking Care of the Football”
sportsradiointerviews.com

On what he’s noticed thus far in offseason practices:

“First thing that stands out is we’re fast. I think we’ve gotten faster. Fast maybe not the word but speed. There’s gonna be a lot of quickness and speed, maybe more than we’ve had. We’ve always been a fast team but that’s the first thing that pops out to me.”

On Eddie Royal:

“He jumped out to me these first few OTAs. He’s kind of an added dimension that we hadn’t had here maybe since the Sproles type. … Just that dimension of a guy who’s got some of that jitter bug, but can also take a punt back.”

We think what Rivers meant to say here is that there's a difference between quickness and outright speed; further, that with the addition of Eddie Royal, the Chargers will be a bit quicker.  Instead, Rivers threw a synonym party, which we should point out is much different than a party in your pocket ( and I know you're gonna rock it).

The loss of Eddie Royal has largely been overshadowed by the Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning dramas, and the comparison to Sproles is probably a bit of a stretch.  However, it gives us some insight as to why Royal drew so much free-agent interest prior to the draft.

It's also worth asking the important question: just what the f$%! am I supposed to do with my Eddie Royal jersey now?

Peyton: No time for sentiment; more practice, please

Peyton quickly working off the rust as Broncos kick off their minicamp
www.cbssports.com

Manning recently put on the Broncos uniform for the first time for a DirecTV photo shoot with his brother, Eli Manning. He also put it on Tuesday for some television shots. Was it weird?

“I didn’t take a moment to reflect,” Manning said. “I just enjoy being back out on the field. I really haven’t been too nostalgic about it. I have so much on my plate. My rehab. New plays. New receivers. We could have 45 of these [minicamp practices] and I would take them. There is so much to do.”

Peyton tells Pete Prisco he's been watching more film of his own throwing than he used to, to ensure that he's avoiding any inadvertent compensations in his mechanics. He also says retirement was never a consideration, thanks to his doctors' assessments of his neck.