Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Manning practiced with Walton, Decker, Julius Thomas today

Peyton Manning throwing in practice session Monday near Denver
blogs.denverpost.com

Manning practiced Monday at a Denver suburban-area high school in a non-team sanctioned throwing session.

Here they are, the first photos of Peyton Manning working out in Denver Broncos gear. Still surreal, right? According to Lindsay Jones, Manning worked out with J.D. Walton, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas; Decker told LJ his injured knee is healing well, and he'll be ready for OTAs.

As Decker told LJ,

Just some drill work, talking through stuff, so he gets familiar with the verbage and the calls. The biggest thing is he wanted to get a feel for us, and a feel for being under center. He looked real good, though he probably won't admit that he's feeling good or feeling back to the way he wants to be.

Of course, CBA rules (scroll down) prevent these guys from practicing together at Dove Valley and receiving coaching, so expect this to be a daily occurrence.

Klis: Expect five primetime games for Broncos in 2012

Expect Broncos 2012 schedule to load up on primetime games
blogs.denverpost.com

The early word on the Broncos’ schedule: “Our fans should get ready for more night games,” Ellis said. “Home and road.”

A team can have a maximum of six primetime games a season: four scheduled on ESPN’s Monday Night Football or NBC’s Sunday Night Football; one on the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football and a sixth that can be flexed on NBC’s Sunday Night Football after week 10.

With Peyton Manning the toast of the league, look for the Broncos to have five primetime games on their 2012 schedule when its released. And then look for a “flexible” opponent in the final weeks.

Gonna be lots of late nights in Broncos Land this year. Of course, IAOFM will have you covered.

PK: Tebow had choice, Manning is elephant-like

Bounty saga still dominating league landscape at owners meetings
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Tebow and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, absolutely had a choice on where the Broncos would trade Tebow, despite Tebow’s statement that only Denver controlled that. The Jags had a better fourth-round pick on the table than the Jets were offering—by seven draft slots. The Jags were offering $500,000 more than the Jets in compensation for the advances paid on his contract. But Denver was willing to deal Tebow to either team. And it was a very difficult choice for the young quarterback, because he is from Jacksonville. But the decision made sense. The Jets wanted him more, and would use him more, ostensibly. It’s simple.

Oh, and PK finds it interestingly interesting that Peyton Manning remembers the names of the coaches with whom he spent SIX+ HOURS EACH over the past few weeks. Yeah, incredible. Guy would clearly put Ken Jennings to shame.

Broncos may add Dixon to QB mix

AFC West notes
espn.go.com

The Broncos are visiting with Pittsburgh reserve quarterback Dennis Dixon. His visit started before Denver signed QB Caleb Hanie. Hanie has the inside track to back up Peyton Manning in Denver, but the Broncos are still interested in signing Dixon to compete with Hanie during training camp.

If Dixon is signed, Denver may still draft a quarterback to develop.

Adding Dixon would make four QBs for Denver, and drafting one would make five. Heck, why not draft two?

Lavelle Hawkins didn’t want to slow dance with Peyton Manning

Hawkins implies adding Manning would have set Titans back
www.nfl.com

“We are good with what we have, so I wasn’t too worried about it,” Hawkins told The Tennessean in a report published Friday. “This year, with all of us coming back and with (quarterbacks) Matt (Hasselbeck) and Jake (Locker), we want to build off the things we did last year. I want to grow with those guys.”

The veteran Hasselbeck and rookie Locker led the Titans to a 9-7 finish last season, when the team fell just shy of making the playoffs. Hasselbeck started every game, throwing for 3,571 yards and 18 touchdowns. Locker played in five games, racking up 542 passing yards and four scores without getting picked off once.

“If Peyton would’ve come, we would have started a lot of things over,” Hawkins said. “Now we can just continue on with what we have.”

There are two kinds of receivers out there:

  1. Those that want to play with Peyton Manning.
  2. Those that lie about wanting to play with Peyton Manning.

The inevitable comparison between Peyton Manning and Joe Montana

Can Manning Top Montana’s Second Act?
blogs.wsj.com

Peyton Manning’s career has a lot in common with Joe Montana’s career through age 35.

The parallels between the two great quarterbacks at this stage of their careers are remarkable. Montana had the big edge in Super Bowls, playing in four and winning them all in his 12 seasons with the 49ers. Manning appeared in two for the Colts, winning one. Manning has the statistical edge, after getting an earlier chance to start and never relinquishing it: He’s started 208 regular-season games to Montana’s 139 through 1990. Manning has completed 64.9% of passes, throwing touchdowns on 5.5% of them and interceptions on 2.7%. Montana’s equivalent numbers at this stage: 63.6%, 5.3% and 2.7%. And, like Montana after his age-34 season, Manning suffered a serious injury that forced him to sit a year and eventually led to his leaving his team for the AFC West. Montana went to the Chiefs after missing 1991 with an elbow injury and backing up Steve Young in 1992. Montana played two seasons in Kansas City before retiring…

Overall, 22 quarterbacks have had a strong season past age 36 in the last 43 years. Warner and Brett Favre were the last two to do it, and Favre and Moon were the only ones to do it past 40. The list is an eclectic one, including nine Hall of Famers and two likely future inductees in Favre and Warner. Steve DeBerg, Craig Morton and Jim Plunkett are among the other 11 on the list.

The main reason to hope for more from Manning than most of his predecessors is that he’s already one of the best QBs in history. What held back others may not apply to him. His career adjusted net yards per attempt is 21% better than league average, higher than all but three of the QBs to have strong years after turning 36: Steve Young, at 22%, and two QBs with whom he’s tied at 21%: Roger Staubach, and Montana.

I love the smell of stats in the morning. 

Hopefully, stats trump neck injuries for the Broncos.

Rovell: Broncos can’t make money off Manning

Peyton Manning may not pay off big as a Denver Bronco
www.usatoday.com

Peyton Manning was negotiating to play in Denver with the Broncos. And while fans of the team undoubtedly celebrated, making money off Manning will be difficult.

Why? Well, start with the fact that Manning’s deal averages $19.2 million a year.

There’s not a lot of inventory to sell because the Denver Broncos are one of those teams that will have fans in the stands no matter how competitive they are. They’ve sold out every game since 1970. Ticket prices around the stadium are locked in for 2012 and suite contracts are locked in for longer. Selling more Broncos jerseys won’t matter. All teams split up merchandise sales equally. National television money is also split equally, so it doesn’t matter how many games they play on the national stage.

That's why they call it revenue sharing--everyone makes money, no matter who is on the roster of the individual teams.

The Broncos didn't bring in Manning with the idea of increasing jersey sales.  It's about winning, as John Elway said.  Unlike some owners, Pat Bowlen's philosophy seems to be that making money comes from winning, not the other way around.

Dawkins: Tebow went Bon Jovi and laid his hands on me

Dawkins says Tebow “laid hands” on injured neck
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“In our Bible study sessions when my neck was pretty bad and I’m hurting, [Tebow] along with our chaplain and [Broncos director of player development] Jerry Butler laid hands and prayed on me pretty good,” Dawkins said.  “They brought snot and tears to my eyes and all that type of good stuff with prayer.”

It shouldn't come as a surprise that athletes will go to any extreme to try and influence the outcome of their performance, and that this behavior would extend to injuries.  In fact, the less control an athlete feels he has over an outcome, the more superstitious his behavior becomes. Taylor Clark, author of the fascinating book Nerve Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cooldevotes almost an entire chapter of the book to this very topic. According to Clark, athletes are less likely to employ superstition in situations in which outcomes are easily controlled, like fielding a groundball. That's because fielding percentages of major leaguers are well over 95%. In short, these players feel like they are in complete control over fielding.

Other outcomes are different, however. As Clark notes, the reason you see so much ritual and superstition around outcomes like the hitting of a baseball, for instance, is because it's damn difficult (outside of the steroids era, and even then no one has been able to touch Ted Williams' .406 batting record). In short, players feel like they have less control over the outcome. And they're right. When going 3 out of 10 is considered elite, it certainly speaks to the difficulty of the job. That's how you end up with someone like Wade Boggs, who was obsessive compulsive in his superstitious approach to hitting a baseball.  Not only was he known as the "Chicken Man" for eating poultry as a pre-game meal, before each at-bat, he would write the word "Chai"--the Hebrew word for life--into the batter's box. Here's another example from the movie Major League (hey, bartender, Jobu needs a refill).

Dawkins and Tebow are no different in the case of Dawkins's neck injury. Laying of the hands beats--at least in their minds--sitting around and hoping the neck injury gets better. This is especially true given their religious convictions, which--how should we put it?--are more passionate than your average bear.

So the behavior shouldn't surprise anyone. In fact, there is interesting scientific data on faith healing, whether you believe in placebos or not. The surprise will come if Dawkins returns to the Broncos for another season given the extent of his neck injury.

Andy Reid wanted Manning over Vick

With Payton and Peyton, NFL is still the place
www.latimes.com

Two NFL insiders, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid was ready to walk away from the Eagles if he didn’t get more personnel control, and now he has it.

Something else about the Eagles: Reid wanted to jump in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, despite the signing of Michael Vick to a six-year, $100-million contract last season. Talks never got too serious, the insiders say, because Manning didn’t like the idea of playing against his brother Eli, quarterback of the New York Giants, at least twice a season.

Either Reid has some regrets about signing Mike Vick to a long-term extension or he's confirming what we all thought: every team outside of New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay (and apparently, Houston) wanted to talk to Peyton Manning.

This ain’t your father’s Photoshop job

Topps unveils card of Peyton Manning wearing a Denver Broncos uniform (pic)
www.sportressofblogitude.com

“It’s important to capture the sport accurately, which is why we’re doing everything we can to get the players in their new uniforms.”

That's fine and all, but don't these people know the Broncos are going back to orange? Well, at least the airbrush work has gotten better over the years.