Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Broncos continue to bring in more quarterbacks before the draft

Broncos bringing in QB prospects for NFL draft, including Cousins, Lindley
www.denverpost.com

The Broncos are bringing in quarterback draft prospects Kirk Cousins of Michigan State and San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley for visits this week. A Broncos contingent also flew down to Arizona State last week to give a private workout of Brock Osweiler.

Osweiler and Cousins are projected to be drafted in the second or third rounds. Lindley is expected to go in the fourth round, where the Broncos have two selections — the first acquired from the New York Jets in exchange for Tim Tebow.

Visiting the Broncos’ facility last week was Connecticut defensive tackle Kendall Reyes. Utah State running back Robert Turbin will visit today and Tuesday. Reyes is a projected late-first or second-round pick. Turbin could go anywhere from the second to fourth round.

So, do you think Woody Paige did a lot of homework on his Reyes pick this morning? 

Lindley is an interesting prospect, and Greg Cosell considers him a sleeper:

The San Diego State quarterback was a compelling study. He ran a pro offense, with the focus on five- and seven-step drops, and play action. No quarterback I evaluated attempted, and made, more big-time intermediate to deeper NFL-type throws. He was very decisive as a pocket passer. The ball came out without hesitation. If you spliced together his 25 best throws from the 2011 season — and did the same for all the passers in this draft — Lindley would have the biggest “wow” factor, without question.

Having seen Lindley play numerous times, I can vouch for the "wow" in the strength of his throws.  His accuracy, though, was at times a little suspect.  For his career, he was under 60%.  For those that subscribe to the view that the Football Outsiders have pimped over the last six or seven years--that a quarterback's college accuracy needs to be over 60% if he's going to be a good pro--this might give pause.

Foley, Horan, and other Broncos named in concussion lawsuit against NFL

More and more recognizable names joining concussion lawsuits
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

First, some context.  I’ve been following the NFL closely since 1973, and I bought hundreds of Topps football cards from ’73 through ’78 or so.  Thus, the names that ring a bell for me may not ring a bell for everyone else.  But if I type all 1,200 names:  (1) I’ll have carpal tunnel syndrome; and (2) the recognizable names will get lost in the shuffle.

Of Florio's 184 names, here are the former Broncos I recognized:

  1. Steve Foley (1976-1986)
  2. Mike Horan (1986-1992)
  3. Roc Alexander (2004-2005)
  4. Shane Dronett (1992-1995)
  5. Lionel Dalton (2002)
  6. Randy Gradishar (1974-1983)
  7. Dale Carter (1999-2000)
  8. Tony Dorsett (1988)

Expect the list to grow as more names come out.  If I missed someone from the list (and I'll keep looking), let me know in the comment section and the name will be added.

The most tragic (if one has to pick) is Shane Dronett, who took his own life at the age of 38 after several years of symptoms including paranoia,episodes of violent rage, and dementia  associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

Quarterbacks bust, but not because of this flawed logic

If history holds true, either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III will be a bust in the NFL
www.nydailynews.com

Luck and Griffin will be just the seventh set of quarterbacks to go 1-2 since the NFL started the draft in 1936. It will be just the fifth time it’s happened since the 1970 merger and it hasn’t happened at all since 1999. Luck and Griffin are expected to be franchise quarterbacks and resurrect their teams.  If the history of quarterbacks going 1-2 is a way to predict the future, then Luck or Griffin will become a star — but not both…

1998: Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf . There was actually doubt which quarterback the Colts would select right up until the day before the draft. San Diego general manager Bobby Beathard , who was picking third, traded two No. 1s, a No. 2 and running back Eric Metcalf to the Cardinals to move up just one spot to guarantee getting Manning or Leaf. He made that trade in the middle of March, more than a month before the draft. He said he would be happy to get either one. “It doesn’t make any difference to us,” Beathard said. “The Colts are the only ones that have to make a decision. Not us. We get whoever’s left.” Oops. Manning became one of the all-time greats. Leaf is the No. 1 flop in NFL draft history.

I'm not sure I follow Myers' logic here--just because we've seen Rick Mirer and Drew Bledsoe or Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf or even Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb doesn't mean we're in for a bust from either Luck or Griffin.

The real reason Luck or Griffin could bust isn't because they will be taken 1-2.  It's because the NFL draft has a high bust rate in general.

It's also easy to criticize Bobby Beathard now with all of our hindsight bias, but at the time, there were few teams that wouldn't have drafted Leaf if they were in a similar.  It's probably fair, though, to criticize the trade up to #2, which is often ignored in the Manning-Leaf discussion.  Yet even that is probably unfair.  Imagine if the Colts had drafted Leaf.  Beathard's trade would have seemed rather clever at this point.    

Rang: Broncos should take DT Worthy, RB Polk, WR Matthews, and QB Wilson with first four picks

Projecting the draft: Denver Broncos
www.cbssports.com

DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 27)
The Broncos’ biggest need - literally and figuratively - is clearly at defensive tackle…As such, should Worthy still be on the board when the Broncos pick at No. 25, the powerful and explosive defender certainly would make a great deal of sense.

RB Chris Polk, Washington (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 61)
Despite leading the NFL in rushing last season, the Broncos need help at the position…Polk has as good of tape as any running back in the country not named Trent Richardson. He’s the type of determined, physical runner that Fox has preferred over his career and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield capable of earning Manning’s trust quickly. If Denver is comfortable with the heavy workload Polk had with the Huskies, he’d be a quality schematic fit in the second round (No. 57 overall).

WR Rishard Matthews, Nevada (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 89)
...[The Broncos]could make a versatile playmaker like Matthews a surprise target in the middle rounds (like third round pick, No. 87 overall)...Matthews, who stepped up his game for the Wolfpack in 2011 after Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, is not only a talented receiver but returned punts for touchdowns in each of his two seasons at Nevada, as well.

QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 115)
..adding a player with Wilson’s starting experience and composure makes sense as well. If still available when the Broncos are up with their first of two picks in the fourth round, the underrated Wilson might simply provide too much value to pass up at No. 108 overall.

CB Leonard Johnson, Iowa State (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 136)
Johnson may slip a bit on draft day after a disappointing showing at the Combine, but he plays with the physicality and competitiveness necessary to enjoy success behind the Broncos’ extraordinary pass-rushing duo of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. He’d make sense with the Broncos’ second fourth round pick, No. 120 overall.

While we wouldn't call this a mock draft, it's a scenario that's realistic; it fits all of the Broncos perceived needs. If the Broncos sign Marcus Thomas before the draft, they probably draft one defensive lineman.  If they don't, expect them to snag two.

The surprise here is Wilson, given the Broncos' recent obsession with tall quarterbacks.  However, remember something Mel Kiper, Jr. said about Wilson recently: if he was two inches taller, he'd be a first-round draft pick.  For a leprechaun, he's got a rocket. 

So who’s gonna be the interim interim coach?

Joe Vitt will take over as Saints coach on Monday
www.nfl.com

New Orleans Saints assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt will assume the day-to-day activities of suspended head coach Sean Payton, effective Monday, the team announced Thursday.

Loomis said Vitt will provide the best continuity in Payton’s absence. Not yet determined is who will fill in for Vitt once his six-game suspension begins at the start of the regular season.

Sure, replacing one suspended coach with another one definitely provides continuity. But coaching? Not so much.

Update 5:43 pm ET: Adam Schefter reports that offensive line coach Aaron Kromer wll be the interim² coach.

Someone ought to tell Jabar Gaffney how Twitter works

Things sound good in the Gaffney household
kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com

Lito Sheppard is the biggest p#$%y mf’er in the world if u c him tell him I said it & it’s whatever…4-12 is my anniversary woke up and couldn’t find my soon 2 be ex wife anywhere. F#$% dat b@#$% I can’t wait till its final in a few weeks…Feelings are for suckas Neva Eva again. Black heart dead soul!!! Get it how u live & I’m outta here.

My beef wit Lito don’t got nothing to do bout a girl he just a person I don’t f#$% wit he lame to me so don’t hit me up wit that. #Realtalk

Ain’t nobody f#$%ed my wife but for anybody saying any slick s@#% better watch ur girl and not let me get hold to her…Last tweet: b@#$%s ain’t grateful no matter what u do for em. Homeboys will change on u. I keeps it 100 don’t read into that’s all it is…I’m done tweetin all u smart asses i be in da 904, 407 & 703 tell me what u think if and when u c me

Gaff apparently didn't learn anything from his Twitter debacle from last year.

Update 5:36 pm ET: Just added some more of Gaff's colorful prose. Jabar and Lito Sheppard were teammates at Florida and again for a few months in 2006 when the Eagles signed Gaff as a free agent but cut him prior to that regular season.

Peyton Manning continues to make Emily Post proud

Peyton Manning calls to say thanks
blogs.indystar.com

In my time on the beat, which began before Manning arrived in 1998 on a fill-in basis, no player has ever called to say farewell.

Manning said thanks for my work over the years. Classy move. He said everything had happened so fast, but he wanted to call the local writers and express his appreciation for what they had done while he was in Indy.

I’ve always said Manning is the most clever athlete I’ve ever dealt with when it came to how to handle the media. And while his critics will suggest this was just a PR move, I’ll confess I initially thought I wouldn’t write anything about the call. I didn’t want anybody to think it was about me.

As someone who strives to be professional, I am human and will choose to be a bit sentimental about this. I’ll always remember the phone call.

As I said to him, it was a first-class way to say farewell.

Surely, Mark Kiszla got a call just like this from Jay Cutler, right? Right?

“Predominantly orange” jerseys may reappear for two regular season games this year

New Uniforms and Old Traditions
blog.denverbroncos.com

The former alternate jersey becomes the new primary jersey, as worn by future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey at the unveiling in New York, the road while will stay the same, and Denver’s alternate jersey, which may be worn for two regular season games, now is the navy blue.

Sacco also mentions that the orange of Crush fame was originally intended to match the color of the Vols, but presumably they changed their minds once they realized Woody Paige was a Tennessee alum.

Demaryius Thomas, not sad about the end of Tebow Time

Demaryius Thomas on Tim Tebow: “I feel like he thinks he can take Sanchez’s spot. I feel good about Tim going out there.”
sportsradiointerviews.com

I ain’t going to say I was sad because the only thing they remember is that pass. You gotta go back and look at the rest of the games. I wasn’t getting no balls and you had to make some of these plays where some players were open and he is not making the throws, but I don’t want to talk bad about Tim, but hey I am happy we got Peyton.

There wasn’t much talk about him, but you know everything on ESPN was all about Tim. That bothered some players too because they would say ‘Tim Tebow Time.’ I felt like it was a team thing. If it wasn’t for the defense most of the time there wouldn’t be no supposed ‘Tim Tebow Time.’

To cover the bases, Tim Tebow did actually target Thomas a fair amount - 81 times (for just 42 receptions) in 12 games, including playoffs. As for how many of those throws were catchable, that's another story. By PFF's measure, only one of those targets was picked off, and six were dropped by Demaryius.

In another interview, Thomas says a plate and three screws were recently removed from the left pinky he had injured last year. DT also sounds like he was as surprised to go at #22 in the draft to Denver as we all were, and he admits it will "be kind of tough" to adjust to Peyton Manning's acumen at changing plays at the LOS.

Andrew Mason joins IAOFM in Zombieland and lives to tell the tale

IMLTHO*: Responses Worth a Reply, and an Epiphany at Speakers’ Corner
www.maxdenver.com

Tebow never said anything to which I objected until now. If someone wants to take a knee and pray in the corner of the game or end zone, fine. If he wants to answer his first press conference question with “I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” I can live with it; it seems to be an odd non-sequitur because it is neither germane to the topic broached by the inquisitor nor to the subject at hand: football. But it’s his thing. I didn’t use the quotes about his faith unless it was tied to the topic at hand, which I found to rarely be the case.

This is a fascinating piece by Mason.  He responds to the hail of criticism he received the other day when he challenged Tim Tebow's assertion that the United States was founded as "One nation under god."

Mason also notes that not one reader responded with thoughts on his mention of Wesley Duke, the former tight end for the Broncos.

Not even Debbie Sandoval. Of course, Debbie Sandoval has never heard of Wesley Duke, we're quite sure.

What we appreciate most about Mason here is that he loaded up his metaphorical shotgun and went a little Zombieland. Keep up the good work, Mason. We're considering giving you the Zombie Kill of the Week.