Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Crennel: getting booed motivates Matt Cassel

Crennel Opens Up About Training Camp
www.wibw.com

TUCKER: On a personal level, how did you feel when you heard that Matt Cassel had been booed at a charity all-star game?

CRENNEL: “I was not in town and it was after the fact that I heard that, but what I think it will do, will be motivation for Matt to come out and prove that he is the guy that can get it done and lead this team to the playoffs like he’s done before. I think that that’s what will happen.”

If getting booed motives Matt Cassel, he's got to be really motivated this year.

Would Chiefs fans boo Brady Quinn?  It's a little early to tell, but they'll probably get the chance soon enough.

Concussions do not discriminate for age

Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?
www.washingtonian.com

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Austin,” Michelle said. “He shouldn’t disrespect me like that.”

“He’s a teenager,” Gil said. “I’ll go talk to him.”

Gil went inside. He passed the kitchen table, where his cheesecake sat untouched. He walked up the stairs, the same stairs where Austin would ambush Walker when he came home from school, peppering him with foam darts from a toy gun. The door to Austin’s room was open.

Michelle Trenum heard her husband scream.

Solemnly, we add this chilling tale to the growing list of must-reads that chronicle the effects of concussions. Thanks to Jonathan Dunn for directing us to it.

Philip Rivers again makes it known he wanted Peyton Manning in Denver

Philip Rivers: I wanted Peyton in Denver, Norv in San Diego
content.usatoday.com

Asked Wednesday night on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access about Peyton Manning’s arrival to the Denver Broncos, Rivers responded: “I was probably one of the few people that was crazy enough to say it, but I was hoping he was going to Denver, and I say that with all respect. Certainly (he’ll) make it even tougher. ... We certainly can’t expect that 8-8 will get us in (the playoffs).

“I’ve always believed why wouldn’t you want to play the best? ... To me, any time you’re playing a Peyton Manning-led football team, it’s a challenge. But it’s what you dream about growing up as a kid.”

As for whether he lobbied team brass to retain Head Coach Norv Turner—who is perceived to be in a make-or-break season—after an 8-8 flop in 2011, Rivers offer a non-denial denial.  “I was nothing more than wanting to be a voice for the locker room,” said the four-time Pro Bowler. “I wasn’t trying to persuade or do anything other than say what the guys in the locker room felt and that is a great deal of faith and belief in Coach Norv Turner.

This is the second time Rivers mentioned he wanted Peyton Manning to Denver, but the first time he admitted to being crazy.

We agree, Phil.  You are crazy.  And here's why: they say you should never bring a knife to a gun fight, but the reality is that you should never bring Norv Turner to any fight that involves--well, fighting.

2012 Denver Broncos - There will be balls

Denver Broncos
www.cbssports.com

As John Fox said to me, “We are eager to learn from Peyton.”...Now Peyton is the coach on the field and young wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are about to explode. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two guys who caught 76 passes between them last year combine for 150 receptions this year…

...Manning likes 12 personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) and a no-huddle attack. His former teammate Jacob Tamme told me he takes on the Dallas Clark role which he did for the Colts when Clark got hurt. Joel Dreessen, former Titan and jack-of-all-trades gives the Broncos the flexibility to build a spread set or a two-back set or any other formation in their attack package. There will be a lot of pressure on center J.D. Walton, who will have to learn to check protections constantly as Manning makes multiple changes at the line of scrimmage. Manning is used to Jeff Saturday, who had 13 years of experience in that role. Walton has two years and has never played with the likes of a Peyton Manning.

Don’t think the Broncos will ignore the run game. As Bill Cowher said to me, “Peyton likes the stretch zone run game to set up his play-action pass and he sees so much two high safety coverages he has to take the run.”

You know that ass clown in your fantasy league (it's okay to admit that you play fantasy football, you loser) that, instead of drafting for need or production, drafts all his players from the same team? Well if you've ever thought about playing village idiot yourself and taking all Broncos, this would be the year.  I don't recommend the strategy, but when Jacob Tamme blows up, you can at least take credit for being ahead of the curve.

I threw in Cowher's quote because it's excellent.  If Manning is even close to his form of 2010, teams will often play this high-safety, war-of-attrition defense to simply stay in the game.  If you go into 2012 remembering one thing, you'd do a lot worse than Cowher's quote.  

File under: Things you probably didn’t want to know about Denver’s new fullback

Rob Gronkowski Crossed Swords With His Brothers, And Two Other Fantastic Gronk Stories From The ESPYs
www.sportsgrid.com

“Gronkowski is in line for the bathroom. There’s a line, two urinals and a stall. They’re all waiting. Gronkowski is with his two brothers, who just looked awesome. He goes into the stall and he turns around to one of his brothers and says, ‘Crossys?’ The second brother goes in, the third brother goes in, and then there’s some guy who’s waiting — some small guy — and they say, ‘Let’s get him too.’ They grab this guy and pull him in, and they all pee in the bathroom together, in the stall.”

Yikes, the poor fourth man in on that Schwartz-crossing episode is likely scarred for life. And unless he was several beverages into his evening, one would have to think he had a bit of that Public Restroom Performance Anxiety that strikes all of us at some point in our lives.

For those who missed it, Gronk's older brother Chris is Denver's new fullback.

Dumervil charged with aggravated assault (maybe?)

Broncos' Elvis Dumervil in Miami arrested on felony weapons charge
www.denverpost.com

Broncos star defensive end Elvis Dumervil was arrested in Miami and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, according to court records in Miami-Dade County. The charge is a third-degree felony.

KCNC, CBS’s Denver affiliate, first reported the arrest, and the station reports that Dumervil was arrested Saturday night. The station reported Dumervil was held on $7,500 bail. Dumervil was released from the Dade County jail on Saturday, according to jail records. Details of what led to the arrest are not yet available, and calls to the Dade County sheriff’s offense have not been returned.

UPDATE: According to ESPN, Dumervil's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, refutes this account:

No charges have been filed. No aggravated assault or assault took place. And it is likely that once the full investigation is complete, no charges will be filed against Mr. Dumervil.

Until all the facts are in, it's difficult to intelligently comment on this story. It's unlikely Dumervil sees any jail time regardless of the outcome, but let's just get it out of the way: this is probably going to cost Mr. Dumervil (and the Denver Broncos) on the football side. Roger Goodell had this report at 3:05 a.m. Dumervil was released at 3:00 a.m.

In case you were wondering, here's the legal definition of aggravated assault in the State of Florida:

An "assault" is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.   An "aggravated assault" is an assault: (a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or (b) With an intent to commit a felony...

Brees’s deal tops Manning’s

Brees deal sets new bars for average, guarantee
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

The whopping $60 million in guaranteed money includes $40 million fully guaranteed, and $20 million in guarantees presumably based only on injury until 2013, a function of the NFL’s outdated and unrealistic “funding” rule, which requires a team to put in escrow now any fully guaranteed money due in the future.

To review, only the $18M 2012 salary of Peyton's five-year, $96M deal in Denver is fully guaranteed. If he's on the roster on the last day of the 2012 league year, his $20M salaries in 2013 and 2014 will be guaranteed, with the team holding an out for the 2014 salary in the event of a reinjury to Peyton's neck.

Essentially, barring another neck injury, Manning is guaranteed $58M in his deal over three years, while Brees is due $60M in guarantees over three years, also barring injury. In terms of average annual value, Brees's $20M comes in just ahead of Manning's $19.2M/year.

Isn’t KC supposed to have the most supportive fans?

Big shot: Bill Self homers — yes, homers — in losing cause
www2.ljworld.com

Fans booed K.C. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel during introductions, but gave him polite applause during his at-bats.

At least Broncos fans don't boo their own players - amirite Kyle Orton? Can't wait for the Brady Quinn billboards to go up in Chiefsland. (via PFT)

Chargers would rather fill Qualcomm with Chiefs fans than lower blackout threshold

Chargers Now Actively Trying To Sell Tickets To Chiefs Fans
deadspin.com

To head off embarrassment, yesterday the Chargers sent out an email blast to a number of Chiefs blogs, including Arrowhead Addict.

The good news is, that Chiefs game will be on NFL Network, so with any cable game, it’ll be shown on local TV no matter the attendance, so Chargers fans will be able to watch the game. With the Chargers seemingly on the downswing, that might also be bad news.

This is quite the pathetic aftermath to the story we noted on Tuesday regarding the Chargers' understandable reluctance to lower their blackout threshold. You stay classy, San Diego.

ESPN: It helps to have great young players

Young and (better be) ready in the NFL
espn.go.com

The 32 players picked in the first round of the 2011 draft played an average of 13 games in the 2011 NFL season. And that counts those who missed time because of injury, such as Prince Amukamara, and project quarterback Jake Locker, who played sparingly in only five games. Half of those 32 players started at least 14 games as rookies and 10 started all 16.

What this tells you is that now, when you evaluate a player you’re considering taking in the first round, you’re asking yourself all of the normal questions about whether he can play, learn, behave and lead, and you’re also asking whether he can do it right away.

We were originally sharing this for the sake of the quotes at the end from Foxy regarding Von Miller. But upon further review, we have to file this column under Everything We Write Must Unearth a Trend, Even if We Make It Up from the John Clayton School of Football Journalism.

Yeah, amazing that so many first-rounders played last year - and that Cam Newton and Von Miller were so incredible must mean that the times, they are a-changin'. To see how well that holds up, let's randomly go back 20 years to the 1991 Draft and see how much those first-rounders were coddled, because surely that was a different era of pro football.

Hmm, those 27 players averaged 13.1 games played as rookies, despite Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich being among the worst first-round QBs in NFL history (each of them played in just one game that year). This is totally different from 2011 in that...well, it isn't. We'll grant that last year's rookies did start more games than did the 1991 rookies (only five guys started 14 or more games). But we'd need snaps data to truly know how much everyone played.

Just wait until Andrew Luck and RGIII are struggling come Week 4 of this season, and Clayton & Co. pronounce that the trend of playing rookie QBs is a foolish one.