Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Demaryius Thomas, ITBSOHL

Thomas Preparing for 'Best Year Yet'
www.denverbroncos.com

“I’m excited, man,” Thomas said, smiling from ear to ear. “I’m just excited to get healed and work with the team and not sit here and look around – to actually be on the field doing stuff. This is my first year in the NFL being healthy. I’m feeling good, I’m in the right shape, good size. It’s just exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”

...Thomas took advantage of the opportunity to learn from an All-Pro receiver in Johnson, who along with Thomas is one of the bigger receivers in the NFL. “It was basically just coming off a press and how breaking down the end of your routes will help you because as big receivers, it’s different for us,” Thomas said of the advice he received from Johnson. “Just small little things and just basically to work hard—something good is going to happen if you keep working hard.”

We'll soon be reading that Peyton Manning feels like a 27-year-old after a year off, that J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles have made incomparable strength gains after their first full offseason conditioning program, that Brock Osweiler's mechanics are PMFM-like, and Omar Bolden is running faster than he did pre-knee injury.

What's that you say? We've already heard those last two? Okay, then next it'll be that Nate Irving and Rahim Moore will be ready to make major contributions after the lockout stunted their professional development, and Knowshon Moreno is ready to thrive without the weight of lofty expectations.

Keep that PR machine churning, Sacco.

* ITBSOHL (In The Best Shape Of His Life) has been popularized by the peerless Mets blog Amazin' Avenue, referring to the sunny optimism that is an annual rite of spring training media coverage.

How to impersonate an NFL football player and drive him absolutely nuts

The real Phillip Thomas signed with the Eagles; his sly imposter wanted to be on the Redskins
sports.yahoo.com

Somebody has been pretending to be the safety from Syracuse, spinning a story so convincing that the fake Phillip Thomas has appeared on blog posts, conducted radio interviews and tweeted a bogus signing with the Washington Redskins. The fake Phillip Thomas created a Facebook page loaded with pictures of the real Phillip Thomas along with photos from inside Redskins Park. The fake Phillip Thomas even posted a picture of a Redskins playbook that appears to have been taken in a hotel room.

On Friday, the real Phillip Thomas laughed nervously as he scrolled through the fake Phillip Thomas’s Facebook page on a laptop. He was shocked by the fake Phillip Thomas’s misspellings, pointing out that the fake Phillip Thomas had used the word “week” when he should have used “weak.” All of it unsettled him, he said. For instance, what was the page’s main photo, which appears to show someone talking to a group of children in a classroom? The implication was he was speaking to a class, but he had never seen the children or the room or even the photo. The person talking to the class is conveniently looking down, his face hidden from view.

“I have no idea who this is,” the real Phillip Thomas said. “He’s got to be watching my every move.”

One of the strangest stories you'll ever read, to be sure.

The key to recognizing a fake, of course, lies in the details.  One that struck me was when the fake Thomas talked about the significant time he spent with Mike Shanahan

We all know Shanny doesn't waste his time on you unless your name is John Elway, Robert Griffin, or Dale Carter.  

He's got better things to do, like work on his base tan. 

Belichick suckles McDaniels again, and this time Josh intends to learn a thing or two

McDaniels is back with more miles on him
www.csnne.com

Asked why he’d come back to New England with nothing left to prove, McDaniels said, “I think it’s more about what I have to learn. I think this is a great environment for a young coach to learn. As old as I might feel, I’m still really young and have so much more to learn and understand. There is not a better teacher than Coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft and the way we do things here, how we adapt each year, and I think that gives any coach – young or old – an opportunity to really grasp those things and really improve.”

McDaniels actually has plenty to prove. He hasn’t coached a winning offense since 2008 when Cassel carried the Patriots to 11-5. He needs to show he is still one of the most innovative minds in football but also do it with a different cast than the one he had in New England his first time.

McBean drops suit for reduced suspension; Williams still fighting punishment

Former Broncos DT Ryan McBean settles suit, signs with Ravens
www.denverpost.com

Before signing a one-year contract Monday with the Baltimore Ravens, former Broncos defensive tackle Ryan McBean settled his lawsuit complaint against the NFL. In exchange for dropping his lawsuit, the NFL reduced his suspension from six to three games, according to two sources familiar with case.

Williams is continuing with his legal fight against the NFL.

D.J. must think he can do better than getting his suspension cut to three games; we can hope that is Denver's worst case scenario.

Mike Florio says the league's willingness to compromise with McBean points to the flaws in the NFL's discipline system and its insistence upon using in-house arbitration.

Updated 2:28 pm ET

Suspended Saints appeal punishments, were allegedly told by Williams, Vitt to lie to NFL

Document: Anthony Hargrove was told to lie by Gregg Williams, Joe Vitt about bounty program
sports.yahoo.com

Former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the NFL in April detailing how he was instructed to lie to the NFL by current and former Saints assistant coaches Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams in 2010 about the team’s bounty program.

Hargrove said Williams then said he was going to deny the existence of any bounty system, and that both Williams and Vitt instructed Hargrove to do the same. Williams also said: “Those [expletives at the NFL] have been trying to get me for years” and if all the Saints “stay on the same page, this will blow over.”

All four players are appealing their suspensions, but as with the NFLPA before them, they are not disputing the facts of the case, but rather Commissioner Roger Goodell's power to levy the penalties.

Ryan McBean stalks his way to Baltimore

Ravens sign NT Ryan McBean
espn.go.com

The Baltimore Ravens announced they have signed nose tackle Ryan McBean, who has been suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

The Broncos removed McBean’s $1.272 million restricted free-agent tender last month after they signed Justin Bannan. McBean, 28, started 21 games the past three seasons for the Broncos. He had a career-high four sacks last year.

Although McBean did have his best year as a Bronco in 2011, it's the lowlights that will define his legacy in Denver:

  1. The two face mask penalties McBean committed during the Jaguars' game-winning drive in the 2010 opener.
  2. His arrest on stalking charges, which were later dropped.
  3. The recent suspension amid accusations that his drug-testing sample for the league consisted of non-human urine.

Denver rookies assigned jersey numbers

Rookies Get Their Numbers
blog.denverbroncos.com

95: DE Derek Wolfe; 6: QB Brock Osweiler; 34: RB Ronnie Hillman; 47: CB Omar Bolden; 64: OL Philip Blake; 70: DL Malik Jackson; 59: Danny Trevathan; 8: WR Gerell Robinson; 19: WR Eric Page; 38: S Duke Ihenacho; 45: CB Coryell Judie; 46: LS Aaron Brewer; 48: LB Elliot Coffey; 49: LB Jerry Franklin; 57: LB Steven Johnson; 60: OL Mike Remmers; 62: OL Austin Wuebbels; 69: OL Wayne Tribue; 77: DL Jamie Blatnick; 86: TE Anthony Miller

In addition to the rookies choosing their numbers, tight end Jacob Tamme will wear 84, with tight end Cornelius Ingram switching to No. 82. Cornerback Tracy Porter will now wear No. 21, defensive lineman Jeremy Beal switched to 79 and defensive lineman Sealver Siliga will wear No. 98.

Brock Osweiler will be the first player to wear #6 since Jay Cutler.

Soothsayer alert: Broncos may not have landed any starters

Draft fallout: Did Denver land any starters?
www.nfl.com

John Elway wasn’t afraid to wheel and deal his way out of the first round. The Broncos executive vice president traded down twice on opening night, leaving Denver without a clear home-run hitter. That set the tone for an underwhelming draft haul, but not a hopeless one. Still, it’s unclear where the starters are in this group…

...The Broncos have been one of the league’s most active players this offseason. Elway’s masterstroke, landing Peyton Manning, will define his legacy. It was an exciting power play that shifted the landscape of the AFC West. You can’t say the same about Denver’s draft.

Cuz what the world needs now is a another draft expert, like I need a hole in my head. 

Ex-teammate: Seau likely had over 1,500 concussions

Former Seau teammate Gary Plummer: 'He was crying out for help'
www.mercurynews.com

Said Plummer: “In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar. They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter. As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don’t have five of these (Grade 1 effects) each game, you were inactive the next game.

“Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions. I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.”

Plummer tells of players struggling to find direction in their post-NFL lives, and he proposes that all players receive mandatory counseling at the end of their careers. Ex-NFLers are too proud to seek help, says Plummer, and he stresses that Seau's example is not an isolated one.

NFLPA: League ceded power to punish pre-CBA actions

Appeal filed on bounty suspensions
espn.go.com

The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance challenging the authority of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend four players for their involvement in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program.

The grievance claims Goodell is prohibited from punishing players for player conduct prior to Aug. 4, when the current collective bargaining agreement took effect.

“In connection with entering into the 2011 CBA, the NFL released all players from conduct engaged in prior to the execution of the CBA, on August 4, 2011,” the grievance says.

The grievance also claims that the actions in question were “on the playing field” and under the jurisdiction of hearing officers Ted Cottrell and Art Shell, not off-the-field actions handled by the commissioner.

CBA, Schmee-B-A. The Ginger Hammer has a brand to protect, rules be damned.