Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Mike Pereira changes his tune: refs in Ravens-Broncos game struggled after all

Drew and Scott hour 2 1/17/13
www.1043thefan.com

“The performance of that crew really to me was not up to playoff level. They had some areas of the game that they struggled in that you shouldn’t. If you’re this supposed all-star crew, you shouldn’t have the difficulties that you have with the passing game specifically, you know, where they were pretty inconsistent on what they called and they didn’t call…it just wasn’t their best performance.”

Last week, Mike Pereira wrote how pleased he was with the refs in the Ravens-Broncos game.  We told him to go do something to himself reserved only for the double jointed.

I guess when he spoke to a Denver-based audience, he changed his tune--either that or he did the thing we told him to do and the feel-good endorphins were running through his body.  

Gase: 2013 Broncos offense to raise tempo

Gase: ‘We’re going to try to play faster’
milehighsports.com

“You’re not starting over, and in April we’ll be ready right from the get-go,” Gase said Thursday.

Tempo will be paramount, Gase noted, and he admitted that the offense is “going to try to play faster” than it did in 2012.

The notion that Manning was a de facto offensive coordinator was dismissed. “Peyton wants to be coached,” Gase said, adding that he learned how to be on point, because there was no end to how many questions Manning would ask. Gase also said Manning tweaked calls. “If you call something and it’s not good, he fixes it and puts you in a better play,” he said.

Playing faster? With a year of familiarity under the belts of Peyton & Company?

Sounds great. Now, about fourth downs...

Deadspin commits an epic act of journalism, and exposes Manti Te’o as a fraud

Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax
deadspin.com

There was no Lennay Kekua. Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te’o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te’o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te’o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te’o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te’o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te’o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest.

Read this article.  It's an outstanding piece of journalism.  That is all.

Update 7:52pm ET - Te'o and ND have each released statements claiming Manti was a victim of an internet hoax, but the story all along included claims of in-person meetings between Te'o and his alleged girlfriend.

Tom Moore wants an OC job.  Know anywhere he might fit?

Moore looking for OC job, and one makes too much sense
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Moore didn’t mention any specific possibilities, but there just so happens to be a team that just lost an offensive coordinator, which just so happens to employ a quarterback Moore is familiar with. Moore has only the thinnest background working with Denver coach John Fox, as they were with the Steelers together in 1989. But since the Broncos catered the offense to Peyton Manning this year anyway under now-Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, and Moore called that offense with the Colts, it’s simply a logical step to make.

This is a very logical step to make; I agree with Darin Gantt completely.  It's maybe just as logical to promote QB coach Adam Gase to OC, but I think he and Moore represent continuity, and that that's the most important thing for the Broncos offense.  I'm less of a fan of the ideas of hiring Ken Whisenhunt or Pat Shurmur.  Whisenhunt will probably be gone for another HC job within a year or two, and Shurmur is a scheme guy from a West Coast background.

Mayor Hancock should have read this article before making his Broncos/Ravens bet

Lewis Follows in Fancy Footsteps, but Few Can Follow in His
www.nytimes.com

The dance comes fraught with risks, however. Some advice? Stretch beforehand. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith recalled seeing an online video clip of a young man who tore up his knee trying — and failing — to imitate Lewis’s routine.

“Just some random dude,” Smith said glumly, adding that only Lewis can truly execute his trademark moves — those elongated slides, those dramatic chest pops. “I’ve never seen any dances like that. You ever seen any dances like that? Nobody dances like that.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apparently injured himself today while warming up for his version of Ray Lewis's pre-game dance, which is his end of a bet made with Baltimore's mayor.

A reminder that Champ Bailey had a great 2012

Offensive outburst, meeting of legends set up conference finals
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

On the evidence of a full season of play. Bailey had gone one-on-one with the best receiver of nearly every team Denver had faced. And, until Saturday it had worked every time. Bailey had a superb season. We voted him our 2nd Team All-Pro corner (an honor that was replicated in the AP All-Pro team released on Saturday) because he stood out on tape and this was reflected in the numbers too.

In terms of giving up first downs/touchdowns per coverage snap he was ranked fourth overall among corners, and of those above him, no one was given the same coverage responsibilities he had. On balls that traveled over 20 yards in the air he allowed only three to be completed all year, with none of these going for touchdowns. Covering the likes of Vincent Jackson, Andre Johnson, A.J. Green, Roddy White and Brandon Lloyd, Bailey gave up only 17 completions of more than 10 yards and a single touchdown all year.

Naturally, Saturday marked Bailey's worst grade of the season according to PFF. His best? Week 15 at Baltimore, when he held Torrey Smith to one catch for 14 yards.

Champ had a great season, and the 1,048 snaps he took prior to Saturday showed he is far from over the hill. No, he couldn't have had his worst game as a Bronco at a more inopportune time. But don't let that define him, his season, or his future in Denver.

Ravens-Broncos good, but not great

Does Ravens-Broncos Rank as One of the Best Playoff Games?
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

This one belongs in the discussion of “greatest playoff games of all time.” It’s hard to give it the nod, though, because the most dramatic play and the most dramatic decision were more about one team’s mistakes than about another team’s greatness. The mistakes came from the Broncos. One was safety Rahim Moore’s failure to recognize his deep-half zone responsibilities on Jacoby Jones’ 70-yard touchdown. Another was John Fox telling Peyton Manning to take a knee with half a minute to go in regulation when the Broncos had acceptable field position (own 20 yard-line) and two timeouts. Why are you paying Manning more than $1 million a game if you’re not going to lean on him in that situation?

Somewhat lost in the aftermath of this instant classic’s drama is the epic performance of Joe Flacco…On Saturday, Flacco kept the Ravens in it early with a pair of first-half touchdown strikes to Torrey Smith. No one who watched the film on Denver’s Week 15 thrashing of Baltimore would have ever imagined the young wideout beating the future Hall of Famer’s press coverage…Flacco is the reason Baltimore pulled off one of the bigger divisional round upsets in N.F.L. history.

Now that I've had time to review some tape from Saturday and Week 15, I absolutely agree with Benoit.  In Week 15, Champ was able to keep Smith at the line of scrimmage much longer and with much more force.  It's hard to blame Del Rio for employing press man with Champ in the first half of Saturday's game based on what Bailey had done to Smith previously.

I'm not as quick to reward Flacco, though.  He made some decent throws, but it's not as if he didn't just throw the ball up and hope for the best on more than one occasion.  Of course, I'm also pissed off still, so I might be slightly biased.

Go Patriots?

Bailey already watched the tape and he didn’t like what he saw

Day after, Broncos lament chance that slipped away vs. Ravens
www.denverpost.com

Bailey, who was burned for two touchdowns by the Ravens’ Torrey Smith, said he had already reviewed the game.
“It’s tough because I know I’m better than what I put on that tape yesterday,” he said. “There are a couple of plays I would love to have back. But if you haven’t been beaten as a corner, you really haven’t played.”

I was listening to SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier in the evening when a caller (I assume from Denver, although I wasn't paying attention) seriously suggested that after yesterday's game Champ Bailey should consider retirement.

We're all feeling a little punch drunk about now.  Even so, let's not get too carried away.  The Bailey-to-safety talk I can somewhat understand after a tough loss, although that's at least a year or two premature.  But retirement?  

Someone's been tappin' grandpa's moonshine. 

Former Ref: I think the refs did great yesterday

Refs make best of frigid conditions
msn.foxsports.com

There were 18 penalties called in the game and you could say the officiating crew got a frigid review from my Twitter followers, many indicating that the game was not called very well.

I disagree.

Baltimore-Denver was a tough game to officiate. There were a lot of points scored (73), a lot of passes thrown (77) and as I mentioned, it was cold. In fact, it was so cold where I was, I’m surprised my fingers didn’t go numb typing this sentence. But I have a good idea why so many people felt that way about the officials. Because the announcers weren’t always in agreement with what was ruled on the field. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that the officials were wrong.

The officials did not call a poor game. If you think otherwise, that’s just cold.

Hey Mike Pereira, I think I can speak for all Broncos fans when I say: go f#$@ yourself.

And another thing: your mother wears combat boots.  

(h/t: AldenBrown)

John Fox: Coward of the county

RAMSEY: Fox's cowardice dooms Broncos
www.gazette.com

Bad stuff did happen, largely because of Fox’s cowardice. He doomed his Broncos to a 38-35 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Against all odds, the Broncos found a way to lose to an inferior team.

With 31 seconds left in regulation, Fox was blessed with two timeouts, one of the top five quarterbacks to ever walk our earth and a field-goal kicker capable of launching the NFL’s first 65-yard field goal through the middle of the uprights. Fox commanded Peyton Manning to kneel, running out the clock. He surrendered to his fears, and deserved to walk off the field as a loser. He should have told his players to attack. If Manning had moved his teammates 50 yards, Matt Prater would have been asked to kick a 50-yard field goal to win the game.

A 50-yarder is a chip shot for Prater.

And if the Broncos had moved the ball approximately 35 yards, Fox could have asked Prater to attempt a walk-off 65-yarder. Would Prater have made this kick? Probably not. But there would have been little danger in the attempt.

Dave Ramsey decided to bring out the brass knuckles on this one, but there's never a wrong time for a Kenny Rogers reference.

Coach Fox, we love you. We love your easygoing manner. We love your gruff voice.  Hell, we even laughed at your "cook" joke last year.

You're good with players and you're likeable as the day is long.

But, as Kenny Rogers says, "Sometimes you got to pass when you're a man."