Good Morning, MHR Friends! Try not to lose much sleep over Darius Walker - I know a lot of folks liked what they saw from him in the preseason, but he gained his yards in garbage time against second- and third-teamers and still managed only 3.8 YPA. He's merely this year's version of Anthony Alridge, sans blazing speed. On an editing note, I feel like I've got to tighten up Tracks a bit; a return to quality over quantity (and more blurbs to help you decide which columns you want to read before you click on them). So I'm going to run some polls over the next few days - I need your help (because obviously what you want is what really matters, here). Don't worry, this doesn't mean I'll decrease the amount of Broncos-centric news. It's more a matter of the other stuff... Please be honest, as your input will help me improve Tracks and determine its direction. Thanks!
LTC - Orton thrives with Broncos, rookie coach - Brian Howell
"I’ve learned a lot," he said. "I think I’m a better player. The coaching has been great, and they’re making me a better player. I think this is the system that fits me." Sounds to me like a player who knows where his bread is buttered (hometown discount at contract time?). Then again, we don't really know how McD will value Kyle at a much higher price (versus his current $995,000 salary). Maybe he'll like Brandstater's value better...
DPP - Broncos rookie Moreno learning on job - Mike Klis
Although he's on pace for over 1,100 yards from scrimmage (very good for a rookie, especially as part of a backfield tandem), Knowshon is yet to break a run of 20+ yards. However, as Moreno himself says, "I didn't really have too many big runs at Georgia, either. It's all about those hard yards."
DPP - Defense ready for no-huddle from Steelers - Jeff Legwold
"Quarterback Kyle Orton may show up on the Broncos' injury report this week because of a twisted left ankle he suffered in Sunday's loss in Baltimore. Orton was hit by Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs in the second quarter and played the rest of the way with the ankle wrapped. Orton received treatment on the ankle Monday and Tuesday"
NFLN - Playbook: Broncos vs. Ravens recap - Video
Billick & Mayock look at how B-more beat the Broncos. It's just as Orton said - two safeties sitting deep, tons of pressure - can't go deep, don't have time to make good throws underneath.
AFC West News
NFP - Diner morning news: Kokinis never had a chance - Mike Lombardi
"Every time Mangini was given more responsibility in New England, he was not successful. Conversely, every time Josh McDaniels’ role was increased, he kept getting more and more successful." This is one of Lombardi's best columns - not for the McDaniels praise, but for the insight into how Eric Mangini has gone wrong already in Cleveland.
Y! - Packers looking far from prime-time worthy - Mike Silver
"If Brian Dawkins and Ray Lewis had engaged in a pregame staredown Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, would it still be going on right now?"
SI - Alex Smith has San Francisco 49ers headed in right direction - Jerome Bettis
"There's an unwritten rule, Jay Cutler: You can talk crap to players on the field, but you don't direct that at coaches. I don't know how the chatter between the Bears QB and Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan started this week, but it's just not the way Jay should carry himself. Play the game. Rob Ryan can't make a play; he can't kick your butt on the field. So it shows a complete lack of class to bring him into the fray."
FH - Studs and Duds, Week 8: The Ginn Mill - Shane Bacon
You know, the guy probably took a lot of heat as a kid. But once past that, how awesome is it to have the name "Bacon"?
Power Rankings, Etc.
FOX - NFL Power Rankings - Adrian Hasenmayer
"It was bound to happen. The skeptics were waiting patiently the past few weeks for the Broncos to come back to reality. But don't kick too much dirt on 'em, it's never a good idea to overreact to one game — win or loss."