Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Broncos and Ryan Clady talking extension

Broncos, Ryan Clady begin to address contract extension
www.denverpost.com

The Broncos have opened contract-extension talks with Ryan Clady, according to several NFL sources.

The left tackle is in the final year of his deal that will pay him $3.5 million in 2012. The franchise tag for left tackles this season was $9.4 million.

While the Broncos and Clady’s agent are talking, it may be a while before the two sides are close to an agreement.

This move by the Broncos is a prudent one.  While Clady isn't the Hall of Famer he appeared in his first season, he's probably among the top ten left tackles in the league today.  And, as Klis notes, Clady entered the league as a dominant pass blocker.  He's much more adept at run blocking now. 

Like shutdown cornerbacks, left tackles don't grow on trees.   If Clady can stay off the basketball court, this move is a no brainer.

Who’s gonna smoke some weed tonight? Your favorite NFL player, that’s who

Brown: At least 50 percent of NFL players smoke pot
www.nfl.com

Lomas Brown, now an ESPN analyst, claims at least 50 percent of NFL players likely smoke marijuana, according to a report in the Detroit News. “I just don’t think you’ll be able to curb this,” Brown told the newspaper. In Brown’s eyes, this is actually an improvement. Brown claims up to 90 percent of players league-wide smoked marijuana when he began his career with the Lions in 1985.  It falls in line with some recent findings:

• Four out of 10 draft-eligible prospects from the 2012 class failed at least one school-administered drug test for marijuana; two in 10 failed multiple times, per a CBS Sports report from April.

• “About 70 percent” of prospects at the combine admitted to using marijuana, per an ESPN report.

• A 2009 report by the NCAA stated 26.7 percent of all football players admitted using marijuana over the past 12 months, the highest number of any athlete group they surveyed.

You'd think the boys down at the league office would realize the opportunity that sits in front of them.  If they can shift attention away from concussions and to purging of the deadly evil that is The Chronic out of our national pastime, they might just buy themselves a few years from public scorn over players' pensions, too.

Check yourself, Roger Goodell, before you wreck yourself.  Or better yet, get out your bong and groove to one of the better pot-smoking songs you'll ever find right here and now:

Del Rio: Top 10 or bust

New Broncos Coordinator Jack Del Rio says Denver Expects to have a Top-10 Defense
sportsradiointerviews.com

“...We’ve established high expectations, we expect to be a top-10, if not better, defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there but that’s what our goals are…”

“...the areas we were good at last year we want to build on. Getting off on third down was a strength of this defense for sure. But at the end of the day, it was 24th in points allowed, 20th in yards allowed, and those aren’t numbers that we’re looking for. So we gotta do some work up front, making sure that we can keep people from running it down our throats a little bit. We gave up too many explosive plays in the run and the pass game…”

It's good to have goals.  All the great ones do.  Kobayashi didn't eat 337 hot wings at Wing Bowl 20 without concrete and measurable objectives (he was shooting for 300; he messed around and got a triple double).

Jack Del Rio doesn't know jack about eating hot wings. But he does know great defense.  The top 10 sounds like a good place to start to us.

Scott Pioli doesn’t like it when you question his draft

Pioli says Chiefs have three good QBs, didn’t need to draft one
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Pioli and Kevin Kietzman of WHB got a little testy with each other as Kietzman pressed Pioli about why the Chiefs couldn’t have traded up in the draft, with Pioli at one point asking, “Are you going to let me answer?” when he felt Kietzman was interrupting him, and Pioli zinging Kietzman with, “I hope you become general manager of the Denver Broncos” when Kietzman told Pioli that he would have traded the Chiefs’ entire draft to move up and take Andrew Luck first overall. Pioli doesn’t seem to like the relentless questions from some in Kansas City about whether the Chiefs can win with Cassel.

Scott Pioli isn't used to being questioned. In fact, it's pretty clear he's the one doing most of the listening, especially if you work for the Kansas City Chiefs.  When he does answer questions, it's best just to nod your head, lest you become a candidate for the Broncos' GM job.

How funny will it be when Pioli gets fired and replaced by Brian Xanders?  Yes, that funny.

Broncos sign fourth-round pick Omar Bolden

Bolden First Draft Pick to Sign
blog.denverbroncos.com

The first of the Broncos’ 2012 NFL Draft picks has signed with the team.

Cornerback Omar Bolden, drafted in the fourth round, put pen to paper on Thursday.

Selected at pick No. 101 overall, Bolden amassed 138 total tackles, five tackles for loss, 21 pass breakups and seven interceptions in his career at Arizona State.

One down, six to go.

Tebow confirms he’s a megalomaniac who thinks he’s Jesus Christ

Report: Tebow sends cease and desist letter to maker of Jesus-y Jets T-shirts
sports.yahoo.com

Tebow’s attorneys put it this way: “The Merchandise makes it appear as if Mr. Tebow actually endorses Cubby Tees and its products.” Where that actually happens is a bit of a mystery. The shirt…remixes the Jets logo to a more Jesus-friendly theme. The “NY” is replaced with “MY” and the “JETS” is replaced with “JESUS.” In addition, what’s normally a football at the bottom of the logo is the “Ichthys,” or “sign of the fish,” often used to express faith.

And yes, when you think of Jesus and the Jets together, you probably think of Tebow, but the shirt itself contains absolutely no Tebow references. I am neither a theologian nor a lawyer, but I don’t think Tebow is the only one allowed to claim Jesus as “My Jesus.” But again, I’m not sure exactly how close Tebow and Jesus are. I could be wrong about that.

We found it odd last year when then-Broncos quarterback was comfortable with people wearing a #15 jersey with the name "Jesus" emblazoned on the back.  But what the hell did we know?  After all, we didn't know what was in Tebow's heart (except a lot of passion), right?

But Tebow's full-on God complex (the Trinity at work, y'all) just went national--just in time for Mark Sanchez.  If Tebow's attorney is right, then the names Jesus Christ and Tim Tebow are one and the same, because the merchandise never mentions Tebow's name (or even his number).

The best part of this story, however, isn't even that Tebow thinks he's Jesus in spikes; it's the hubris of his lawyers (and Robby Tebow, who is cc'ed on the letter) Check out this paragraph from his lawyers directed at the tee-shirt company:

As I'm sure you're aware, Mr. Tebow's name, voice, likeness, and identity have a substantial economic value when used for the purposes of advertising, marketing, promoting or endorsing products or services, and/or when he serves as a spokesman.

Translation: our client is in fact Jesus Christ Superstar.

I knew the Sanchize liked drama and rock opera.  Now he's getting some.

PS: Thank you, John Elway

Prater still unsigned, skipping offseason workouts

Matt Prater absent from Broncos workouts
blogs.denverpost.com

Broncos kicker Matt Prater, a free agent until he was slapped with a $2.6 million franchise tender for the 2012 season, has not been participating in the team’s offseason workout program.

“”There’s no message, it’s voluntary,” said Frank Bauer, Prater’s agent.

Prater made some huge kicks last year, and he was a bigger part of Denver's winning streak than a kicker would typically be. But he's still a kicker, and one who's made just 80.4% of his attempts with the Broncos, including an atrocious 20 of 33 from 40-49 yards (60.6%).

If you're wondering, Ryan Longwell is available and has made 83.2% of his career kicks, including 73.5% from 40-49 yards.

Steven Hauschka, who stepped in for an injured Prater in 2010 and became Seattle's kicker last season after Denver cut him in the preseason, was good 83.3% of the time in 2011, including 7 of 8 (87.5%) from 40-49. He's also a free agent - perhaps Denver should consider bringing him back.

Besides, PMFM doesn't appreciate drunk/idiot kickers.

Statistics corrected 11am ET July 3, 2012

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.