Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Denver Post can’t make up its mind on Broncos, Manning

Broncos likely to stick with Tim Tebow, pass on Peyton Manning
www.denverpost.com

But the primary reason the Broncos won’t pursue Manning is they need to find out more about their young quarterback Tim Tebow. By wobble or by will, Tebow took the worst team in football — and that’s exactly what their 7-24 record dating back to Nov. 1, 2009 made the Broncos, the NFL’s worst team in that span — and led them to the playoffs and a first-round upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.

Tebow led the Broncos’ to the NFL’s Elite Eight even though he ranked 34th out of 34 passing qualifiers in completion percentage.

Imagine how much the Broncos could win, and how special a quarterback Tebow could become, if he developed into, say, the 28th best passer?

Imagine if Tebow was the 28th best passer?  That's supposed to get Broncos fans jacked up?

The Denver Post's original title was: Broncos likely to stick with Tim Tebow, pass on Peyton Manning.  A few minutes later it was changed to: Broncos likely to stick with Tebow, but may pursue Peyton Manning. Shortly after that, it changed again to read: Broncos will inquire about Peyton Manning, source says, but likely to stick with Tebow.

On a slightly related note, Scott Hastings of 104.3 The Fan believes Manning would love Denver due to his close relationship with the Rockies' Todd Helton.  Apparently, Manning visits Denver more often than we know.

Barnwell: Houston, don’t make the same mistake with Arian Foster the Broncos did with Terrell Davis

All Dollars and No Sense in the NFL
www.grantland.com

Denver’s teams under Mike Shanahan played under Gibbs’s zone-blocking system and famously had a history of producing 1,000-yard backs out of thin air. After Gibbs spent three seasons during the mid-aughts in Atlanta with Warrick Dunn as the inherited featured back, he went to Houston and implemented a system that’s worked wonders with Foster and Steve Slaton. In both stops, the zone-blocking system worked with backs who were rookies with limited pedigrees.

Terrell Davis stands out as the obvious comp for Foster — unheralded back out of the SEC steps into the starting lineup and puts up numbers like he’s the best running back in football — but he’s also the cautionary tale. Just like Foster, Broncos fans would have rightly made the case that Davis deserved his big money after years of production. After the 1998 season, when Davis went over 2,000 yards and scored 21 touchdowns, the Broncos locked him up with a seven-year contract extension worth $56 million. Davis lasted four games before tearing his ACL and would average just 3.8 yards on his 312 carries before injuries forced his retirement. The Broncos paid Davis as a reward for his past performance and got very little future performance afterward. We’re not suggesting that Foster is about to tear his ACL, but it’s important to note that the Broncos got roughly similar production from Mike Anderson and then Clinton Portis for not much more than the league minimum.

It's hard to argue with Barnwell here, even though I love me some Terrell Davis.  When you can make Reuben Droughns, Olandis Gary, and Mike Anderson go beast mode, it says something about the zone-running scheme.  Steve Slaton and Arian Foster are simply the next in line, along with Redskins running back Roy Helu.

Redskins, Seahawks reportedly to make big push for Manning

Peyton Manning: Redskins poised for a hard sell to superstar QB
www.washingtonpost.com

The Washington Redskins are poised to make an aggressive effort in coming days to sign quarterback Peyton Manning, who is set to become perhaps the highest-profile free agent in NFL history after he is released by the Indianapolis Colts as early as Wednesday.

Several people familiar with the Redskins’ plans said the team is comfortable with the risks associated with signing Manning, who missed all of last season with the Colts after undergoing a series of neck surgeries. The team will pursue him intently, they said. Redskins officials declined to comment.

Regarding Seattle:

One team, the Seahawks, plan to come out "checkbook blazing" for Manning, ESPN New York reported Tuesday, citing a league source.

Klis: Broncos will not make play for Manning

Shanny’s Redskins leader in Peyton Manning sweepstakes
blogs.denverpost.com

I have talked to people close to the Peyton Manning situation and the expectation as of today is the bidding war will come down to Mike Shanahan’s Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins.

The New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks will also make a run, as well up to three or four others.

The Broncos will not be in the bidding, although where Manning lands will create a domino affect that could affect which free-agent quarterback Denver does sign to back up Tim Tebow.

Klis has spoken: no Manning for you!

Peyton Manning as good as gone

Colts plan to announce Peyton Manning’s departure Wednesday
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

The Colts will officially do what has been widely expected for months and formally announce that they’re releasing Manning on Wednesday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports. Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are expected to attend a joint announcement.

Tebow haters, start your Manning-to-Broncos rumors at midnight tonight.  

Or, if you hate Tebow that much, begin...now.

Pork Chop’s weasel-word meter gets pegged

Free agent QBs for Broncos, Chiefs
espn.go.com

Chad Henne: There has been talk Denver will be interested and he could push Tim Tebow. Kansas City could also be interested. He played for new Kansas City offensive coordinator Brian Daboll last season.

Shaun Hill: I could see him being on Denver’s list as a backup.

Josh Johnson: Denver could look at him as a backup to Tebow.

Vince Young: Giving Tebow a similar backup would be compelling and you never know, maybe the light would finally come on for Young in Denver.

How many weasel words (otherwise known as modal auxiliary verbs) can one guy cram into a 338-word blog entry?

I lost count after the 10th "could" and the third "may."

Will Aaron Rodgers decide Tebowmania is too much to bear and try and force his way out of Green Bay so he can come and compete with Tebow?  He could, you know.  Of course, anything could happen.

PK: Expect suspensions galore for Saints

As bounty fallout continues, Goodell to make example of Saints
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

[Williams is] in the biggest trouble and will likely get a significant suspension, at least half the season. Coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis will be banned for a time too, for not exercising the kind of institutional control they should have.

Vilma is going down, and I suspect other player leaders could be banned for games too. Not that they’re all still Saints, but I have to wonder how the league will manage the suspension if, say, six Saints are banned for a game or more. Will Goodell stagger them? Or will the Saints be missing half their defense for Week 1?

Also worth noting is that Brett Favre was surprised by the severity and timing of the hits the Saints delivered in defeating Favre's Vikings in the 2009 NFC title game, and King expects New Orleans OC Pete Carmichael would likely stand in for Payton if the coach is suspended.

Plus, the Texans have re-signed Arian Foster to a five-year deal.

If you want the Broncos to move on RG3, you’ll like this news

For now, market for STL No. 2 pick is soft
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

But even before free agency begins, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, the Rams haven’t found a huge seller’s market.

According to the paper, the Browns, who already hold the No. 4 overall pick and obviously would have to give that up to move up to No. 2, aren’t willing to part with their second first-round pick this year (at No. 22). The idea of St. Louis not getting—at the absolute bare minimum—two first-round picks to give up their No. 2 selection is ridiculous, and if Cleveland sticks to that plan, perhaps the organization feels better about current quarterback Colt McCoy than many people might have guessed.

Adding to the Rams woes, the Redskins apparently are willing to part with their No. 6 pick this year and their first-round pick in 2013 but don’t want to give up their second-round pick this year. As the paper writes, that simply isn’t acceptable to the Rams.

The Post Dispatch also writes that trades won’t be worked out with eiter (sic) the Dolphins (the No. 8 pick) because Miami doesn’t want to deal with the coach in Jeff Fisher who spurned them for a job or the Seahawks (No. 12) because St. Louis doesn’t want to have to face RG3 twice a year for the foreseeable future.

I'm still not in the camp that believes the Broncos can move up to land Robert Griffin III, but if I was, I'd view this bit of news in a positive light.

Unwelcome in Indy, Brandon Brooks makes his case

Miami (Ohio) OG Brooks make statement at Pro day
rob-rang.blogs.cbssports.com

Last week, The Sports Xchange documented the regimen of Miami (Ohio) guard Brandon Brooks, arguably the mostly highly regarded prospect—almost certainly the best offensive line candidate—not invited to the Indianapolis combine.

At his pro day on campus Thursday, Brooks may have cemented his status, and perhaps worked his way to as high as the third round, with a very solid audition for NFL scouts.

At 6-feet-5 and 346 pounds, Brooks ran a sub-5.0 time (scouts to whom The Sports Xchange spoke pegged it in the 4.98 range) and performed 36 “reps” in the bench press.

“A lot of people told me they couldn’t believe I wasn’t in Indy,” Brooks told The Sports Xchange, “but who’s fault was it (that) I wasn’t there? Maybe it’s all worked out for the best, though. Like I said before, it just made the chip that much bigger for me. Maybe I worked that much harder.”

Brooks may be drafted yet, but if not he’ll be one of the top valued UDFAs shortly after. Congratulations to a class guy who’s handling this disappointment by channeling it into his craft. It’s a great lesson.

Bowen: the NFL isn’t little league football

Bounties part of game across the NFL
articles.chicagotribune.com

That’s the truth. I can’t sugarcoat this. It was a system we all bought into.

I ate it up.

It’s hard not to, not when you’re playing for a coach like Gregg Williams, my defensive coordinator while I was with the Washington Redskins…

...I’m not saying it’s right. Or ethical. But the NFL isn’t little league football with neighborhood dads playing head coach. This is the business of winning. If that means stepping over some line, you do it.

Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don’t peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.

Win or else. That’s the drill.

Bowen provides some needed perspective in this suddenly-raging debate. It doesn't make Gregg Williams right. It simply provides some context.

What Bowen is saying is that when you have a multi-billion dollar business like the NFL, in which the very brand has been built on a little of the 'ol ultra violence, and further, in which the average NFL career is just a tiny window, you shouldn't be surprised or shocked when you wake up one day to find out gladiators will look for any edge they can get.