Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Cold, cruel world: Broncos release Hanie

Broncos release Caleb Hanie; Brock Osweiler No. 2 QB
www.denverpost.com

In a move to help maintain budget flexibility for later in the season, the Broncos released backup quarterback Caleb Hanie on Saturday. He was replaced on the 53-man roster by defensive tackle Sealver Siliga who was promoted from the practice squad.

Hanie was released so his $1 million base salary would not be guaranteed. The Broncos also avoided paying him a $250,000 bonus for making the active game day roster. Don’t be surprised if Hanie is re-signed by the Broncos on Tuesday.

Death, taxes, and roster axes.

UGH

NFL to use replacement refs
espn.go.com

The NFL will open the regular season with replacement officials.

Replacements will be on the field beginning next Wednesday night when the Cowboys visit the Giants to open the season, league executive Ray Anderson told the 32 teams.

FWIW, Andrew Brandt thinks this impasse will end within a week. Let's hope he's right.

Marcus Thomas unleashes Twitter hell on ‘Madden 13’

Giants DT Marcus Thomas pleads with 'Madden 13' to fix his profile photo
www.cbssports.com

Giants defensive tackle Marcus Thomas—not to be confused with running back Marcus Thomas who had a cup of coffee with the Lions in 2008 and waived by the Broncos in 2009—is fed up. The six-year vet thinks it’s been long enough for the folks at Madden to put a face with a name. Specifically: Thomas’ face with his Madden bio. After exhausting all options (we’re speculating here; for all we know, before Tuesday the extent of Thomas’ gripes may have consisted of cursing EA every time he fired up a game), the New York defender took to Twitter to publicly lodge a complaint…But thanks to the power of the internet, word got back to Donny Moore, whose Twitter bio reads “Madden NFL Live Content Producer & Ratings Czar.” Moore was apologetic and promised to fix the mistake…This prompted a change of heart from Thomas, who tweeted “Thanks, Mr. Madden. I love you.” We’re still not clear if Thomas knows that John Madden isn’t actually a programmer, just the face of a game that’s been around for nearly 20 years. Either way, mystery solved, all is right in the world. Now if Madden could just find a way to help the Jets score a touchdown…

Because how you look on Madden 13 echoes throughout eternity.

Jason Garrett loses mind, compares Romo to Elway

Cowboys' Romo already in mental battle against Giants' D; mail
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Romo was better last year than our memories of him: 66 percent accuracy (and one memorable overthrow of Miles Austin in the close December loss to New York), 4,184 yards passing, plus-21 TD-INT ratio, a 102.5 rating. “He’s more than capable of winning a Super Bowl in this league,’’ Jason Garrett told me earlier in the day. “Look at John Elway. He went 14, 15 years without winning one, and all of a sudden Denver runs it better and plays better defense, and he wins two, and now people think of him as a top three quarterback of all time. With Tony, we’ve just got to be better around him, and I think we will be.’‘

Garrett was going to bat for his boy Romo--we get that.  But whipping out the John Elway comp is simply not the way to go about it.  John Elway was a Hall-of-Fame quarterback whether he won a Super Bowl or not.  He carried several mediocre Broncos teams (if we're being honest, my orange-and-blue bleeding friends) to the Super Bowl.  

What has Tony Romo done with superior talent?  Nada, amigo.

PMFM makes Tracy Porter an offer he can’t refuse

Help me help you: Peyton Manning's pursuit of perfection influences his new teammates
espn.go.com

When practice started this spring, Porter quickly picked off Manning again. A few plays later, Manning burned Porter deep.

As he walked off the field, the defensive back felt a hand on his shoulder. It was the quarterback, who said: “You tell me what I did wrong on that first play and I’ll tell you what you did wrong on that next play. That’s the only way we’re going to get better. Deal?”

Months later, Porter still shakes his head while telling the story. “Dang right, that was a deal,” he says. “He wants me to be better so he can be better. And he wants to be better to help me get better. I’ll follow a man like that into any game, anywhere, any way.”

Gotta admit that ESPN Mag has improved over the past year or so, even if we'd never subscribe to it by choice (it's a necessary evil of the necessary evil that is ESPN Insider). Anyway, this is an excellent article about the influence Peyton Manning has had at Dove Valley.

There are plenty of other great quotes to take away from the piece, but here's hoping that Greg Orton makes it through to Denver's practice squad, because he sounds like one sharp individual.

But wait a tick, didn’t he play great against Pittsburgh last year?

Post-Camp Stock Watch: Irving Up; Ayers Down
www.maxdenver.com

DE Robert Ayers: That Derek Wolfe — and not Ayers — replaced Jason Hunter this week speaks volumes about where Ayers stands in the defense. He now fills the “experienced depth” role that Brooking and Leonhard were signed to handle at their positions. That’s good for a roster spot, and likely to get him some decent playing time at some point in the season, but is nevertheless a long fall considering that he was an every-down player last year.

Raise your hand if you think defensive coordinator Jack Of The River isn't enamorado with Robert Ayers.

Obviously, Del Rio hasn't been exposed to the genius of Mike Mayock.  If he had been, he would have remembered Mayock saying: "Robert Ayers is the best defensive player coming out of this draft.  You can get creative with Ayers. He brings your scheme versatility on defense.  I think he's a special player."

Blame McDaniels?  Hell, why not.

Manning beat ballroom blitzes from Day 1

Peyton Manning Feels He Took a Step Forward in the Process of His Return
sportsradiointerviews.com

Your first touchdown pass in your career came against Seattle in a preseason game. What do you remember about it?:

“It was a funny series because the first play we ran the ball. I remember the coach had told me … if the headphones ever go out, just be prepared to have your own play. The headphones go out on the second play of the game. I kind of stayed poised, didn’t call a timeout, called a little draw play and got four yards. Anyway, it was like a third-and-five or six and Seattle, being a smart defense, naturally you’re going to blitz a rookie quarterback, and they brought everybody. We called a little three-step drop, safe pass, no reads or anything. It was called Scat Right 92 and I was throwing to Marvin [Harrison] breaking the huddle. … They blitzed everybody and he just hit that seam and all I remember is running down that field and thinking, ‘This NFL is easy.’”

Do you hear that?  The NFL is easy, like stealing literacy from a Raiders fan.

Elway: 2012 Peyton = 2009/2010 Peyton

Elway says Broncos' Manning throwing ball better than ever
content.usatoday.com

“He’s throwing the post route and everything well,’’ Elway said. “I went back and looked at film from 2010 and 2009 to get a comparison of Peyton, and he looks to me to be the same guy throwing now that he was then.

“The ball is coming out quicker all the time the more and more time he gets with the offense and getting to know all his receivers and tight ends. ... That’s always been his style. He’s never been the Nolan Ryan of quarterbacks anyway. He’s always throwns the ball with great anticipation and touch.”

Obviously humility is the more societally acceptable choice, but don't you wish JE would have said, "That's always been his style. After all, he's not me"? He also clearly was too kind to Jay Cutler when the then-kitten claimed to have a stronger arm than the Duke.

Chad Johnson cut, but not because he did a bad, bad thing

Source: Dolphins cut Chad Johnson
espn.go.com

One day after being arrested on domestic battery charges, veteran wide receiver Chad Johnson has been released by the Miami Dolphins, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter…

...Only five days earlier, first-year Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said Johnson’s roster spot could be in jeopardy if he didn’t temper his freewheeling behavior. Johnson annoyed the coach by frequently using profanity during a session with reporters.

The headline: Dolphins cut Chad Johnson after being arrested for domestic battery.

The story: Dolphins cut Chad Johnson, whose production on the field didn't match his off-field distractions.

Elway’s BFF Mike Silver strikes again

Broncos VP John Elway eagerly anticipates Peyton Manning taking first hit
sports.yahoo.com

While Elway specifically declined to comment on Manning’s polarizing predecessor, current New York Jets backup Tim Tebow, it’s clear from his comments that he believes the quarterback transition has been transformative. Whereas Tebow routinely delivered errant balls in practice, literally putting some of them in the trees bordering the fenced-off fields at the team’s training facility, Manning is fitting most of his throws into tight windows.

For young receivers such as Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, that’s not an insignificant change.  “They’re gonna be a lot more refined, and they’ve got hope,” Elway says. “Because they know if they run the right routes at the right depth, the ball’s going to be there waiting for them when it’s supposed to. They got really sloppy at the end of last year, because the ball never came out on time.”

I knew I should have checked the trees last year at Dove Valley for souvenirs.  I could have auctioned one of those balls off to a church group for some gambling and strip-club, girl money.

Elway's sentiments seem to agree with our own Doug Lee's last year when he speculated that one reason the receivers were having trouble was Tebow's inconsistent ball placement and timing from practice to games--even between quarters.