Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

McGahee goes beast; comes into camp at 245

Peyton Manning has Broncos abuzz
espn.go.com

McGahee turns 31 in October, which is ancient for a running back. Since college, McGahee has conquered doubts, and he has an answer this year. He dedicated himself to the weight room and arrived in camp a muscular 245 pounds, about 10 pounds heavier than last year. His upper body is ripped. His body fat dropped to 9 percent.

Today's public service announcement: do not f#!@ with Willis McGahee.

Broncos stockpiling veterans; Keith Brooking coming to Denver

Broncos sign five-time Pro Bowl veteran LB Keith Brooking
www.denverpost.com

The Broncos took another plunge into the free agent-market Monday, signing veteran linebacker Keith Brooking…Brooking started three games for the Cowboys last season after a 97-tackle season in 2010 and a 106-tackle season in 2009.

It was only a few minutes ago (okay an hour, but minutes seems more dramatic) that we surmised the Broncos weren't set at linebacker.

Does Brooking still have any gas in the tank? The Broncos aim to find out.  It would appear his days as a starter are over, however.  

We can be sure of one thing.  The Broncos haven't had a middle linebacker who gets as fired up as Brooking since Al Wilson.  Check out this pregame Hulk Hogan.  And for good measure, here's another.   Finally, here's the original, reminding you little Bronco maniacs to take your vitamins, say your prayers, and drink your protein shakes.

(H/t: Steve Williams)

Chargers prefer to disappoint all their young fans rather than just some of them

Chargers won’t sign autographs at FanFest
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Fanfest note: No team auto session this year. Has become too big; too many kids going away bummed w/o autos. Still great day with your team.

MDS suggests this is a proper solution to memorabilia sellers loading up on merch, but why not just set an age and/or item limit for autographs (ie 15 and under, one item each)?

You stay classy, San Diego.

Chris Harris will not go gently into that good night

Broncos' Peyton Manning, WR Eric Decker continue to click, look ready for regular season
www.denverpost.com

Position battle: No competition may be more hotly contested than at nickel back. Drayton Florence, a 10-year veteran, was signed as a free agent with the idea of playing either the nickel or right corner. Tracy Porter has the right spot locked up but at nickel, Chris Harris is hardly conceding the job he held last year as a rookie. Harris was the Broncos’ first-team nickel Sunday and went head-to-head against veteran Brandon Stokley.

One of the true bright spots last year was the play of (then) rookie Chris Harris.  It seems Mr. Harris didn't get the memo that Drayton Florence and Omar Bolden came into camp with the notion of killing Harris's NFL career.  

Rage, rage against the dying of the light, Chris Harris.   

Not bad, Bill Williamson

Camp Confidential: Denver Broncos
espn.go.com

Former Chicago quarterback Caleb Hanie has the inside track to be Manning’s backup. Still, Adam Weber or rookie Brock Osweiler could pull off the surprise and beat him out…The Broncos are high on undrafted rookie linebacker Steven Johnson. The Kansas product could get some looks at middle linebacker in the preseason…The Broncos will look at a lot of punt return options. Having Decker do it may be risky. I think it is an area Denver will look to upgrade on the waiver wire…The Broncos would like to see middle linebacker Joe Mays shore up his tackling in camp. He is a solid player, but he whiffed too many times last season…Defensive lineman Ben Garland is making an impression. He is athletic and has great feet and could make the team.

A rare column from the cuddly Pork Chop--meaning that it's probably worth your time reading.  He gives some additional observations outside the Paige/Klis/Jones contingent. The notes on Ben Garland, the punt return situation, and the battle at quarterback are interesting bits; further, always interesting is the state of flux that is the Denver Broncos' linebackers.  Steven Johnson beating out Joe Mays?  Could it really happen?  One thing you can be sure of: Johnson works his butt off, as this video demonstrates.  

Anthony Perkins creates his own luck

Training Camp 2012: Day Three P.M.
blog.denverbroncos.com

Perkins worked out with the team during the rookie minicamp earlier this summer and has kept himself in shape since then, anticipating an opportunity…After working out with Offensive Line Coach Dave Magazu’s son in Boulder, Colo., Perkins was headed to Dove Valley to check out the facilities when his phone rang. “I got the call when I was about 15 minutes away,” Perkins said of finding out he was signed. “It was a little unreal.”

Perkins, who still watched the morning practice, stood next to and talked with Secondary Coach Sam Garnes throughout the evening walkthrough, trying to absorb as much as possible given his late start.  “At this level, every detail matters,” Perkins said. “You’ve got to be detailed in every single thing you do. Practices like that, you’ve got to be good at the details. I’m kind of playing catch-up right now, trying to get into the playbook and making sure that I’m able to be as detailed as these guys are that are practicing out there.”

If the definition of luck is indeed preparation meeting opportunity, then Anthony Perkins is one lucky guy.  With an attitude and work ethic like this one, luck could continue finding him in training camp.

Timothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore

Tebow-mania falls on deaf ears
espn.go.com

New York Jets fans caught the opening act of Tebow-mania at training camp Saturday, and it wasn’t love at first sight.  Tim Tebow was heckled by a few loud fans during the Jets’ first public practice, which drew an announced crowd of 2,588 on a rainy morning. The overall reception was lukewarm at best, as the backup quarterback was anything but sharp during the 2½-hour session…Tebow, working exclusively with the second team, took 12 snaps in team drills. He completed only three of eight passes in the padless practice, taking a “sack” on a play in which he scrambled from one side of the field to the other.

The play seemed to take forever. As it unfolded, some fans screamed, “Throw the ball!”  When the play finally ended, one fan screamed, “That’s why you’re No. 2.”

New York isn't Denver, that's true.  But we've seen this story before.  In fact, near the end of training camp last year, Kyle Orton finally let down his steely guard after it had become clear to everyone how little of a threat Tim Tebow was to him as a passer.  He even took Tebow aside and helped him work on his dropbacks--very big brother-like of him.  Six games into the season, Orton was sitting on the bench.

Fans are as fickle.  I give Sanchez eight games, and that's only because, unlike the Broncos, the Jets will use Tebow in the red zone, allowing the Jets just enough success to leave Sanchez as their starter a bit longer.

Broncos Thunderstruck on Friday

Broncos forced inside to close quarters
www.cbssports.com

The Broncos began their work outside under ominous skies that turned threatening when lightning struck within three miles of the facility. They promptly sprinted inside their headquarters building as officials sent the 2,917 fans back to their cars. The relocated practice was closed to the public; there was barely enough room for the media, let alone the fans, in a building whose dimensions compromised the practice. To simulate kickoff returns on the 80-yard field, the football was handed to returners Mike Adams, Matt Willis, Ronnie Hillman, Omar Bolden and Andre Caldwell; any actual kickoffs would have skipped off the dome’s ceiling. When receivers ran crossing or out routes, they had to hold up, because the distance from the sideline to the wall was less than 10 feet.

Interesting note from this weather-related bit?  Mike Adams is being considered for (we assume) punt return.

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.