Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

After four pass attempts by Osweiler, Elway takes a victory lap

Elway: Osweiler would be top QB in 2013

“From what I’ve seen from this class and what I’ve seen from Brock in the past year, I’d put him first,” Elway said. “Would he be a top-10 pick? I’m not sure, but he’d definitely be a first-round pick .... Now, I’m biased. But I really like what I’ve seen from him. And he is getting great training playing behind Peyton .... We’re really lucky to have Brock. We’re excited.”

Count me as someone consistently puzzled by criticism of the Osweiler pick, given the Broncos' mindset after signing Manning.  Peyton would be around for a few years, allowing the youngster time to develop; further, the Broncos wanted to avoid the 2011 disaster that befell the Colts, who never bothered to develop more than a clipboard holder for Peyton.

It doesn't so much matter what Osweiler was a year ago, or even what he is today. Let's judge him by what he does during his NFL career, which we'll hope doesn't begin in earnest for another two or three years.

Until then, I guess Elway & Co. will consider themselves free to say whatever they want about Brock and his value.

Kacsmar: Fox’s use of Peyton Manning on 4th down absurd

NFL Plagued By Epidemic Of Gutless Coaches

John Fox was bashed for being conservative in Denver’s epic playoff loss, but consider the fact that with Peyton Manning as the quarterback, the Broncos only went for it a league-low five times on fourth down in 2012. Every time it was with 1-2 yards to go. Three times they did it while trailing, and three times they converted. Willis McGahee let a fourth conversion slip through his hands in New England. A fifth play was actually a fake field goal against the Raiders, so Fox only had Manning actually go for it four times, which is absurd…

...While I can learn from my mistakes and believe in the data, NFL coaches have shown they are increasingly more afraid to even be in a situation that makes them look wrong on fourth down.  With a quarter of the league changing head coaches, six of which are first-time NFL head coaches (seven counting interim-only Bruce Arians), it will be interesting to see if 2013 continues the gutless approach, or if this new breed will start to turn the tables and roll the dice a bit more.

Trust the numbers. Double check them too just to be safe. But trust that going for it on fourth down is going to be worth it more often than not.

John Fox: Manning will be stronger and better next year

Broncos' John Fox looking forward to healthier Peyton Manning

“A lot was made of the neck and the surgeries. But in reality, it’s a nerve situation, and it takes a while for nerves to grow,” Fox said at the NFL scouting combine. “He’s getting better every day. I think he’ll be, health-wise, he’ll be even better this year.”

The rehab process isn’t over — and might never be for the 36-year-old quarterback — but Fox said he thinks this spring and summer should be markedly different for the four-time MVP.

“He’ll have a full offseason for his whole body to get ready, not just the arm, the neck and some of those rehab things,” Fox said. “He can actually work out now. I think he’ll just get stronger and better.”

Okay, Fox, we'll buy it: Manning will be stronger and better in 2013.

Does this mean you'll let him throw with 30 seconds remaining in the half or at the end of a game?

Will John Fox get stronger and better?

McCoy shocked Chargers offered head job so quickly

Mike McCoy: Philip Rivers is a “Great Guy to Have as the Face of Your Franchise”

On being surprised that the Chargers told him they were ready to hire him during the interview:
“To be perfectly honest, it kind of caught me off guard a little bit because I had not been here very long. By the time the interview process started, after I came out here Monday morning … when the job was offered to me I said, ‘Listen, I can’t say yes or no right now,’ because I have to go talk to my family. I had no idea where they were in the process. We had not talked to them before that point in time, so it all happened extremely fast and then I went home and made the decision to come down here.”

On the importance of having a franchise quarterback in this league:
“In this league you’ve gotta have a franchise quarterback to have a good opportunity to do great things. So it’s gonna start there.”

Let's imagine how this conversation went, shall we?

McCoy: Hey, Honey, you want to live in San Diego and make more money?

Family: Cool.  Do you like Philip Rivers?

McCoy: It doesn't matter.  If we lose, he's the first-year scapegoat.  After all, he's moving a little slower these days.

Benoit: Considering Denver’s free-agent options at DT

Four Downs: AFC West

The interior rotation of Justin Bannan, Kevin Vickerson, Mitch Unrein, and Derek Wolfe was sensational at holding ground and drawing double-teams in 2012. But the 34-year-old Bannan is set to become a free agent. So is the more explosive (and wildly underrated) 30-year-old Vickerson. The losses of those players would impact whoever is at middle linebacker.
Elway could re-sign all three interior defensive starters and still have a little money left over. Or, he could trust his existing linebacker depth to fill Brooking’s void, lowball Vickerson, say goodbye to Bannan, and try to upgrade by luring a second-tier free agent defensive tackle -– say a Randy Starks, Terrance Knighton, or Alan Branch-type –- to Mile High.

FWIW, Starks just turned 29 in December, graded out at +3.5 over 826 snaps for Miami according to PFF, and drew $3.85M in compensation last season. Knighton saw 666 snaps with the Jaguars, graded out at +4.2, made $1.26M in the final year of his rookie deal, and will turn 27 on Independence Day. Branch recently turned 28, netted a +1.8 grade over 645 snaps with Seattle, and was paid $4.3M.

All three were second- or third-round picks and figure to draw heftier deals than either Bannan or Vickerson.

Eagles, Vick pare contract to one year

Michael Vick signs with Eagles for '13

The Philadelphia Eagles re-signed Michael Vick on Monday to a one-year deal for the 2013 season, league sources said.

This contract replaces the one Vick had signed and he now is scheduled to be a free agent after next season.

Vick was reportedly paid a $3M roster bonus last week, and had been due to draw a $15.5M salary for 2013, in a deal that ran through 2015.

Instead, the former number-one overall pick has taken a hefty pay cut, with a one-year deal that has the potential of topping out at around $10M.

Broncos likely to play SNF opener at Giants, visit Cowboys on Thanksgiving

Broncos most likely to open on SNF, play on Turkey Day

Broncos @ Giants – Peyton Manning versus Eli Manning. The huge New York television market. According to sources, it will be a “major upset” if this is not the SNF opener.

If Denver opens at home on Monday Night Football, the logical match-ups would be the Chargers, with former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy now at the helm in San Diego, and the Chiefs, with Andy Reid making his regular-season debut as the head coach in Kansas City.

While the plan for opening weekend is still being finalized, one game on the Broncos schedule is all but set in stone. Denver will be playing on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) in Dallas. “It’s a lock,” said a league source.

As you might recall, the Broncos' last trip to Dallas was also on Thanksgiving, and ended on a Jason Elam chip shot that followed a 55-yard OT run (video) by Ron Dayne in 2005.

Is the NFL the new Phillip Morris?


Suppose you work for Phillip Morris. Er, Altria. Whatever. And suppose you’re making a commercial, highlighting advances in cigarette filter technology. The theme is forever nicotine. The target audience is moms, kids, potential customers, anyone with a sneaking suspicion that smoking might be, you know, bad for them. Crazy, right?

Anyway, you need celebrities. Familiar faces. Names viewers can trust. Like Walt Disney. He was a smoker. As was Paul Newman. And Peter Jennings. Thing is, all three men died of lung cancer. With that in mind, would you still include them—well, actors portraying them, touched up with a little digital magic—in your spot? No? Congratulations. You’re officially less cynical than the NFL…

....When Deion Sanders says on NFL Network that he doesn’t “buy all these guys coming back with these concussions … half these guys are trying to make money off the deal … I wish they’d be honest and tell the truth because it’s keeping kids away from our game,” Goodell could levy a fine. Or maybe pretend to be as upset as he was with BountyGate. When CBS announcer Jim Nantz cites an imaginary statistic that women’s soccer players are 2.5 times more likely to get a concussion than college football players, the NFL’s new-and-improved concussion committee could provide accurate numbers…When concussion expert Dr. Robert Cantu—a senior advisor to the NFL’s new committee—says that children under age 14 shouldn’t play tackle football because their immature bodies and developing brains are particularly vulnerable to injury, the league could concur, and perhaps even lead the way, signaling to concerned parents and a confused public that a multibillion-dollar industry cares about something beyond its public image and publicly-subsidized bottom line.

Whatever your view on the NFL and concussions, can you imagine if Cantu's advice was heeded, and kids didn't play football until they reached the 9th grade?

I think you can safely assume Roger Goodell and the NFL want no part of that nightmare.  Kids would gravitate to other sports, NFL jersey sales would plummet, and MMA (or I suppose baseball, in another universe) might become America's national pastime. 

Further research must precede legalizing use of deer antler fuzz

Recovery remedies worth a look

What struck me, though, was the idea that some banned substances might actually be re-evaluated if indeed they do help with recovery. Commissioner Roger Goodell stresses safety, and he’s right in doing so. Safety is a major topic in the NFL, but shouldn’t recovery be a priority too?

If deer antler spray can make a player recover quicker, should the NFL allow trainers to apply it? As physical as the game of football is, protecting the player is one thing, but getting him back on the field should also be a priority.

Deer antler fuzz as a topical preparation has some benefits - it helps speed muscle repair, and that’s going to draw interest from athletes, both pro and amateur. However, deer antler fuzz has an uncomfortable side effect - it’s a carcinogen.

There is somewhat less absorption into the bloodstream when used topically as opposed to orally, but you still have the same problem, just slightly lessened. It’s still going to get into the bloodstream, and you’re going to see higher rates of cancer among those using it.

Pro athletes are notorious for being willing to accept health issues down the road as a tradeoff for short-term outcomes, but that doesn’t make it an intelligent choice. This is a substance that cries out for further investigation, especially if it’s going to be the next ‘big’ thing in athletic rehabilitation. 

The most Jay Cutler thing ever

A Heart-Warming Tale of Jay Cutler Romance

“It was so silly. I was in the airport, leaving Chicago,” Cavallari said. “We had just spent however many days together and we were texting and somehow it came up, like, ‘Oh, shall we get married?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah, OK.’ And then he sent my ring in the mail. So I actually had my ring sitting at home for a couple of weeks before I put it on.”

I could totally see Cutler dropping a wedding ring in a small empty envelope, slapping a stamp on it and dropping it in a mailbox. “Will it get there? Whatevs, I could get another. No big whoop.” To Cutty’s credit, at least he knew the woman wanted to marry him before sending her a ring in the mail. Take notes, Roy Williams.

Ah, love...