Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

How the smartest guy in the room can be so dumb

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu reflects on the simplistic approach of Jets QB Tim Tebow
sports.yahoo.com

On the flipside of that high praise, Polamalu remains stunned at the simplicity of the offense Denver ran with Tebow and came away with one strong conclusion: “You can’t run that offense unless you have a great defense to go with it,” said Polamalu, who remembers going through the playoff game thinking time after time …

“There’s no way they’re going to run that same route again,” he said. “As a safety, part of your job is to eliminate certain routes that you don’t think they’re going to run. I would line up and say, ‘They ran that the last time, there’s no way they’re going to run it again.’ Then they did. The next time, ‘There’s no way they’re going to run that again,’ then they did.

“It was an incredibly simple offense that you just don’t think can work in this league, but it worked for them with the kind of talent they had.”

Well, now we have the answer to the question: just what the hell was Dick LeBeau thinking?

Clearly, the Steelers thought the Broncos were going to approach last year's playoff game like any other NFL team--that is to say, they were going to try and change things up.  You can't blame LeBeau for making this assumption.  After all, that's exactly what most NFL teams try and do from week to week.  LeBeau may be one of the greatest defensive minds the NFL has ever seen, but in this case, that mind worked very much against him.  LeBeau, it seems to me, was a victim of a cognitive bias known as Curse of Knowledge:

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias according to which better-informed agents find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed agents. As such added information may convey some disutility

Translation: sometimes, the smartest guys in the room (LeBeau, Polamalu, and Co.) can't fathom that everyone else isn't trying to be as clever as they are. This explains why the Broncos could run the same play over and over and over again, while the Steelers tried to outwit a phantom Bill Walsh and Joe Montana. A week later, Bill Belichick forced the Patriots into a Forrest Gump defense with vastly different results.

Can you smell what the Orton is cookin’?

Kyle Orton: Tony Romo’s the man, but I’m not just a backup
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“I feel like I’ve played good ball in this league, I feel I’ve got a lot of good ball left in me,” Orton said. “I don’t see this as committing myself to be the backup. I’m just committing myself to be a part of the team.” “

Tony’s the man, you know? There ain’t no doubt about it,” Orton said. “He’s played great football. He’s a great quarterback. So I’m excited. It’s really the first time I’ve been around another veteran in my career. I’ve done a lot of learning with young guys in the room. I can still learn a lot about football, and hopefully I can help him out in any way I can.”

Orton doesn't quite have the aw-shucks demeanor to cook this five-course meal, but let's head to the kitchen and see what Orton has prepared. (Note: the following recipe was taken from page 15 of the Through My Eyes Southern Homestyle Cookin' Good Cookbook):

  • Soup: "It's all about the team."
  • Appetizer: "I've still got a lot to learn." 
  • Salad: "I support the starting quarterback."
  • Main Entree: "I just want to help out."
  • Dessert: "My goal is to be a starter."

For dessert I prefer a I just want to get better each day peach cobbler, but to each their own.  

I'm proud of Orton.  I didn't think he learned anything from his experience in Denver last year.  It turns out he figured things out quite nicely.  

Billboards, Dallas?

Warren gets $1.25M salary plus $250K in guarantees and $500K in incentives

Broncos gave Warren a guaranteed $250,000 signing bonus
blogs.denverpost.com

In the end, the Broncos gave Warren a $250,000 bonus that the defensive tackle gets whether he makes the team or not, and a $1.25 million base salary. Warren, who returned to the team Wednesday, can also make another $500,000 in incentives.

Warren received a $2.5M signing bonus last year, so before incentives he will count for $2.75M against Denver's 2012 cap.

Bill Williamson’s Summer Jam 2012

AFC West: 2012 backup quarterback
espn.go.com

Assessing the Broncos’ backup QB situation if Peyton Manning is injured and misses time.

Caleb Hanie was a bust in Chicago, but the Broncos believe he fits their system and he can be a solid backup to Manning this year. He is big and strong and has some skill. Yet, he was a disaster last season in Chicago when Jay Cutler went down. Hanie was 0-4 as a starter. He is in an interesting position because Manning has to prove he is healed from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. If Manning can’t come back, the Broncos will be banking on Hanie early. It’s a major risk. The Broncos drafted long-term prospect Brock Osweiler, but the team doesn’t plan on him being a No. 2 this early in his career.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Manning goes out for an extended period: 30.

What does Bill Williamson do when pressed for content during the slow summer months?  He creates a confidence index for Caleb Hanie and Brock Osweiler.

I'm 30% confident you'll find this episode of Sports Science, in which some guy takes a record-setting kick to the testicles, more exciting.

Apparently, Williamson hasn't figured out that when there isn't much Broncos news, you should just give the people what they want: Tim Tebow bath salts.

Day 1 in David Tyree’s American Apocalypse

Wade Davis talks for the first time about being gay in the NFL, working with LGBTQ youth
outsports.com

“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis says. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with Jevon and Samari. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”

When I caught up with Kearse at the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere event in May, he still remembered Davis fondly a decade later. “That’s my dog,” Kearse said. He had no idea that Davis was gay until that event last month. “I know there have been a lot more than just Wade,” Kearse said upon learning of Davis’ sexual orientation. “It’s just becoming more acceptable, which is a good thing so they can come out and not feel secluded.”

Eddie George was on the other side of the ball with the Titans while Davis was there. The former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t know Davis was gay at the time, but he feels a gay athlete on that Titans team would have been accepted. “I don’t see it as a problem,” George said. “I don’t think it would have been a problem at all.”

Watch out, David Tyree.  It appears as if your version of American Anarchy is indeed coming true (or should we say, out?).

Like Tyree, I'm so concerned about the slippery slope that is gay rights, and by default, my hometown being renamed Sodom or Gomorrah, I'm proposing we create individual showers and bathrooms for each and every NFL player--you know, just in case those secretly-gay players get any secretly-gay ideas. Stock each bathroom with a copy of The King James (or Through My Eyes), and we'll stave them off.

David Tyree, I'm scared, too. We let the gays come out now, and what's next? Other players start catching "gayness" like the flu, and soon, sooner than you and your children--wrapped in innocence and preocuppied with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare--can lock the doors to your home and bomb shelter, Roger Goodell (that sissy) wears a rainbow pin.

Tim on Tebowing & Googling

Tim Tebow: I’m Too Busy to Google Myself
mashable.com

“Let’s be honest, I’m not the first athlete to get on a knee and pray,” Tebow told Shira Lazar. “For some reason, it just caught on this year.”

Lazar asked Tebow if he’s conscious of what the Internet says about him.

“I’m too busy to Google myself,” he replied with a smile.

Google yourself? How bourgeois.

As the head of nerdery around here, I give you Mashable's lighthearted interview with Tim Tebow, in which he's asked about the Tebowing meme and how closely he may follow himself online.

Cosell: You’re all wrong about Jay Cutler

Cosell Talks: The Perception and Reality of Jay Cutler
nflfilms.nfl.com

When you watch as much tape as I do, only the most singular plays from years past remain embedded in memory. Yet, there’s one from Cutler’s third NFL start with the Denver Broncos — against the Arizona Cardinals — that still stands out in my mind. Cutler, off play action, rolled by design to his left. He turned his front shoulder, balanced his feet with his back foot planted, and then, in the face of pressure, threw it 65 yards in the air. It dropped accurately and easily into the hands of Javon Walker, as if Cutler had handed it to him. It was one of the best throws I had ever seen, one very few NFL quarterbacks would have even attempted, never mind completed.

I always believed the pairing of Cutler and Mike Shanahan in Denver would have yielded positive results over time. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented that from happening.

"Unfortunately, circumstances prevented that from happening..."

Around these parts, those circumstances go by the name of Josh McDaniels.

I'm not 100% certain, but I believe the records will also show that around 1994, Guns N' Roses hired McDaniels as their new manager.

So, Peyton…what are your tastes in Halloween candy?

A First For Peyton Manning
www.850koa.com

Even after 13 years in the NFL, Manning said Denver reporters asked him a question after Monday’s workout he had never gotten before.

“People are passionate about their football,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, I had an all-time first today. I was being asked about some incompletions that we threw in practice. That’s just never happened to me before. That’s kind of like asking Todd why he didn’t hit more home runs in batting practice.”

Manning also tells Dave Krieger he's enjoying being reunited with ex-Volunteers teammate Todd Helton, that he and Demaryius Thomas kept working after practice yesterday, and that he's of course unhappy with the more stringent practice rules that accompanied the latest CBA.

BTW, Peyton - go with Reese's peanut butter cups. They worked out fine 29 years ago, and their greatness endures.

Stokley and Manning: Bromance, rekindled

Brandon Stokley on Reuniting with Peyton Manning: “It doesn’t take us long to get back on the same page. It’s been a blast from the past.”
sportsradiointerviews.com

Well we have been doing it a lot longer than other guys. It doesn’t take us long to get back on the same page. I know what he likes. I know what he wants. For me it’s been a blast from the past. I am having fun and like you said in those two plays it was kind of like six years ago. It’s definitely helped that I’ve had a relationship with him in Indy for four years and I practiced with him a lot. I am trying to continue to build off that.

Wow, this makes the J-Cutty/BMarsh love affair sound more like a pen pal relationship.

Seriously though, the Slot Machine's role in bringing Peyton to Denver cannot be overemphasized, and it's hard to say if PMFM would be a Bronco were it not for Stokley. But, he is.

Thank You, Stokes.

NFL Players: I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me

Trust me: Player DUI arrests are about more than poor judgment
www.cbssports.com

The safe rides program was never extremely popular, but when the league ran it, it was still used…Now, the service is all but dead. Its lack of use, players say, is about lack of trust…The reasons some players provided why they won’t use the service are, well, quite interesting and relate back to trust issue…Some players believe the NFL puts hidden microphones and cameras into the vehicles. Others believe the drivers are spies for the league or, if they aren’t, the drivers would sell any potential embarrassing information to tabloid newspapers. One player believed the limo drivers might plant embarrassing information on the player and then blackmail him.

Crazy, yes. Extreme paranoia? Definitely yes. But one reason given was actually sensible. One player source says teams will use the number of times a player activates the service when contract time arrives and then use that information against the player. It’s allegedly happened on several occasions.

There's never an excuse to drive while intoxicated, so let's get that out of the way immediately.  Yet the players are playing the Rockwell card, my friends, and in this case, I believe they have a legit point. You think the grifter class of NFL owners wouldn't stoop to these levels to get an advantage at contract time? There's an easy solution, though: the NFLPA. In the meantime, you've got to feel this classic: