Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Tom Moore wants an OC job.  Know anywhere he might fit?

Moore looking for OC job, and one makes too much sense
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Moore didn’t mention any specific possibilities, but there just so happens to be a team that just lost an offensive coordinator, which just so happens to employ a quarterback Moore is familiar with. Moore has only the thinnest background working with Denver coach John Fox, as they were with the Steelers together in 1989. But since the Broncos catered the offense to Peyton Manning this year anyway under now-Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, and Moore called that offense with the Colts, it’s simply a logical step to make.

This is a very logical step to make; I agree with Darin Gantt completely.  It's maybe just as logical to promote QB coach Adam Gase to OC, but I think he and Moore represent continuity, and that that's the most important thing for the Broncos offense.  I'm less of a fan of the ideas of hiring Ken Whisenhunt or Pat Shurmur.  Whisenhunt will probably be gone for another HC job within a year or two, and Shurmur is a scheme guy from a West Coast background.

Mayor Hancock should have read this article before making his Broncos/Ravens bet

Lewis Follows in Fancy Footsteps, but Few Can Follow in His
www.nytimes.com

The dance comes fraught with risks, however. Some advice? Stretch beforehand. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith recalled seeing an online video clip of a young man who tore up his knee trying — and failing — to imitate Lewis’s routine.

“Just some random dude,” Smith said glumly, adding that only Lewis can truly execute his trademark moves — those elongated slides, those dramatic chest pops. “I’ve never seen any dances like that. You ever seen any dances like that? Nobody dances like that.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apparently injured himself today while warming up for his version of Ray Lewis's pre-game dance, which is his end of a bet made with Baltimore's mayor.

A reminder that Champ Bailey had a great 2012

Offensive outburst, meeting of legends set up conference finals
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

On the evidence of a full season of play. Bailey had gone one-on-one with the best receiver of nearly every team Denver had faced. And, until Saturday it had worked every time. Bailey had a superb season. We voted him our 2nd Team All-Pro corner (an honor that was replicated in the AP All-Pro team released on Saturday) because he stood out on tape and this was reflected in the numbers too.

In terms of giving up first downs/touchdowns per coverage snap he was ranked fourth overall among corners, and of those above him, no one was given the same coverage responsibilities he had. On balls that traveled over 20 yards in the air he allowed only three to be completed all year, with none of these going for touchdowns. Covering the likes of Vincent Jackson, Andre Johnson, A.J. Green, Roddy White and Brandon Lloyd, Bailey gave up only 17 completions of more than 10 yards and a single touchdown all year.

Naturally, Saturday marked Bailey's worst grade of the season according to PFF. His best? Week 15 at Baltimore, when he held Torrey Smith to one catch for 14 yards.

Champ had a great season, and the 1,048 snaps he took prior to Saturday showed he is far from over the hill. No, he couldn't have had his worst game as a Bronco at a more inopportune time. But don't let that define him, his season, or his future in Denver.

Ravens-Broncos good, but not great

Does Ravens-Broncos Rank as One of the Best Playoff Games?
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

This one belongs in the discussion of “greatest playoff games of all time.” It’s hard to give it the nod, though, because the most dramatic play and the most dramatic decision were more about one team’s mistakes than about another team’s greatness. The mistakes came from the Broncos. One was safety Rahim Moore’s failure to recognize his deep-half zone responsibilities on Jacoby Jones’ 70-yard touchdown. Another was John Fox telling Peyton Manning to take a knee with half a minute to go in regulation when the Broncos had acceptable field position (own 20 yard-line) and two timeouts. Why are you paying Manning more than $1 million a game if you’re not going to lean on him in that situation?

Somewhat lost in the aftermath of this instant classic’s drama is the epic performance of Joe Flacco…On Saturday, Flacco kept the Ravens in it early with a pair of first-half touchdown strikes to Torrey Smith. No one who watched the film on Denver’s Week 15 thrashing of Baltimore would have ever imagined the young wideout beating the future Hall of Famer’s press coverage…Flacco is the reason Baltimore pulled off one of the bigger divisional round upsets in N.F.L. history.

Now that I've had time to review some tape from Saturday and Week 15, I absolutely agree with Benoit.  In Week 15, Champ was able to keep Smith at the line of scrimmage much longer and with much more force.  It's hard to blame Del Rio for employing press man with Champ in the first half of Saturday's game based on what Bailey had done to Smith previously.

I'm not as quick to reward Flacco, though.  He made some decent throws, but it's not as if he didn't just throw the ball up and hope for the best on more than one occasion.  Of course, I'm also pissed off still, so I might be slightly biased.

Go Patriots?

Bailey already watched the tape and he didn’t like what he saw

Day after, Broncos lament chance that slipped away vs. Ravens
www.denverpost.com

Bailey, who was burned for two touchdowns by the Ravens’ Torrey Smith, said he had already reviewed the game.
“It’s tough because I know I’m better than what I put on that tape yesterday,” he said. “There are a couple of plays I would love to have back. But if you haven’t been beaten as a corner, you really haven’t played.”

I was listening to SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier in the evening when a caller (I assume from Denver, although I wasn't paying attention) seriously suggested that after yesterday's game Champ Bailey should consider retirement.

We're all feeling a little punch drunk about now.  Even so, let's not get too carried away.  The Bailey-to-safety talk I can somewhat understand after a tough loss, although that's at least a year or two premature.  But retirement?  

Someone's been tappin' grandpa's moonshine. 

Former Ref: I think the refs did great yesterday

Refs make best of frigid conditions
msn.foxsports.com

There were 18 penalties called in the game and you could say the officiating crew got a frigid review from my Twitter followers, many indicating that the game was not called very well.

I disagree.

Baltimore-Denver was a tough game to officiate. There were a lot of points scored (73), a lot of passes thrown (77) and as I mentioned, it was cold. In fact, it was so cold where I was, I’m surprised my fingers didn’t go numb typing this sentence. But I have a good idea why so many people felt that way about the officials. Because the announcers weren’t always in agreement with what was ruled on the field. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that the officials were wrong.

The officials did not call a poor game. If you think otherwise, that’s just cold.

Hey Mike Pereira, I think I can speak for all Broncos fans when I say: go f#$@ yourself.

And another thing: your mother wears combat boots.  

(h/t: AldenBrown)

John Fox: Coward of the county

RAMSEY: Fox's cowardice dooms Broncos
www.gazette.com

Bad stuff did happen, largely because of Fox’s cowardice. He doomed his Broncos to a 38-35 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Against all odds, the Broncos found a way to lose to an inferior team.

With 31 seconds left in regulation, Fox was blessed with two timeouts, one of the top five quarterbacks to ever walk our earth and a field-goal kicker capable of launching the NFL’s first 65-yard field goal through the middle of the uprights. Fox commanded Peyton Manning to kneel, running out the clock. He surrendered to his fears, and deserved to walk off the field as a loser. He should have told his players to attack. If Manning had moved his teammates 50 yards, Matt Prater would have been asked to kick a 50-yard field goal to win the game.

A 50-yarder is a chip shot for Prater.

And if the Broncos had moved the ball approximately 35 yards, Fox could have asked Prater to attempt a walk-off 65-yarder. Would Prater have made this kick? Probably not. But there would have been little danger in the attempt.

Dave Ramsey decided to bring out the brass knuckles on this one, but there's never a wrong time for a Kenny Rogers reference.

Coach Fox, we love you. We love your easygoing manner. We love your gruff voice.  Hell, we even laughed at your "cook" joke last year.

You're good with players and you're likeable as the day is long.

But, as Kenny Rogers says, "Sometimes you got to pass when you're a man."

Nobody understands John Fox, except John Fox

Denver Broncos' John Fox coached not to lose game
www.nfl.com

“The reality is, we had a good season. We got to the elite eight,” coach John Fox said after the game. “I’d like to have been that team to hoist the trophy, but we’re not.”

The most inexcusable reason the Broncos lost: Fox played not to lose. He played like his quarterback was Jake Delhomme or Tim Tebow. He coached to his defense, which was not having a good day.

None of this comes a surprise to folks that have watched Fox coach a long time. But it’s a shame to not even try to win with Manning on his side. The Broncos didn’t go out swinging. They went out hoping not to lose.

Let the John Fox beatings begin.  As long as they don't kill coach, we're okay with it.  

How else is he gonna learn?  Coaches, like dogs, need behavior modification, and they need it immediately.

At least one Tebow is feeling great about football tonight

Tim Tebow’s brother happy to see Peyton Manning lose
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

And after the Broncos lost, Peter Tebow called himself “the only one in Denver who’s happy right now.”

Peter Tebow’s Twitter account (which gives his bio as “You can have this whole world, just give me Jesus”) is not verified. But Tim Tebow has made clear on his own verified Twitter account that the @PeterTebow account does belong to his brother.

Tim Tebow usually goes out of his way to portray himself as a nice guy who always says the right thing. His big brother, however, is not above a little gloating.

I have to admit this one made me smile.  It's hard to slam the guy for feeling like he has to stick up for the little guy Tim.

Hold your tweets, Broncos fans.  Hit him up when the CFL starts.

FO: Ravens not positioned well to take advantage of Denver’s few weaknesses

AFC Divisional Round Preview
www.footballoutsiders.com

But when they really, really need to run for just a yard or two, the Broncos get it more often than not. The Broncos converted 67 percent of runs in “power” situations (i.e. third down, fourth down, or goal line with 1-2 to go), which ranks ninth in the league. Meanwhile, the Baltimore defense, which has been great against the run for over a decade, slipped badly in 2012 and ranked just 26th in our rankings. The Ravens were also awful in those short-yardage situations, allowing opponents to convert 76 percent of the time.

It's single-elimination time, which means fourth-down decisions matter more than ever. We hope tomorrow's outcome won't hinge upon such a call, but if it does, know that the Broncos are actually very good in short yardage, and the Ravens are not.

Memo to John Fox: punts and field goals are for losers.