Horse Tracks - 9/8/10

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Work pays off for Broncos wide receiver Matt Willis - The Denver Post
Even for a guy known for his speed, this was a little ridiculous. When the time came for Matt Willis to make his pitch to play football, all he got was 30 seconds.

Paige: Here's the forecast — call Broncos unpredictable - The Denver Post
Of these predictions we can be certain: The Broncos start the 2010 season on Sunday and end it in 2011.

Veterans want no part of 18 games - The Denver Post
If only this were about nothing more than solving a second-grade math problem.

Thomas returns to practice, but status uncertain - The Denver Post
The first of the Broncos' two first-round draft picks (some guy named Tim was the other), Thomas has missed most of the offseason and all of the preseason with a left foot injury.

AFC West open for the taking - The Denver Post
And with the NFL opening its 2010 season this week, the AFC West is a feel-good spot, with four teams dreaming the dream, believing in what they have and what they can be.

An NFL trio — the Gronkowskis - The Denver Post
Although they won't exactly threaten the Mannings as the NFL's most famous brothers, the Gronkowskis now have Peyton and Eli beat in quantity.

Analysis: Hunter's rise on Denver's defense coincides with Moss' fall - The Denver Post
When the Broncos' starting defense lined up for practice Tuesday, newcomer Jason Hunter was at the weakside outside linebacker position — the position star pass rusher Elvis Dumervil usually plays.

Garrard, Not Jones-Drew, the key to Sunday | All Things Broncos
But in the real football world that is played between the lines, Garrard is the guy the Broncos have to stop if they are to win the opener Sunday at Jacksonville.

LenDale White has surgery | All Things Broncos
Broncos running back LenDale White had surgery Tuesday to repair the Achilles tendon he injured last Thursday.

Tebow draws fans like no other in NFL - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
They arrived like pilgrims this summer, each looking for something different and yet ultimately searching for the same thing: a hero, an inspiration, somebody to believe. It was, as the woman, a nurse and mother of six said, they were tired of "the garbage" of "the gunfights and murders and dogfights." She wanted someone her children could admire.

NFL Power Rankings Week 1 - National Football League - ESPN
The 2010 NFL regular season kicks off with some titanic tilts that should shake up our Week 1 ESPN.com Power Rankings.

Donovan McNabb says ankle won't keep him out Week 1 - ESPN
Donovan McNabb said Tuesday his sprained ankle isn't 100 percent, but it won't keep him from starting the Washington Redskins' opener Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

Sources: Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans discuss Albert Haynesworth - ESPN
Exhausted by the distraction and lack of effort from Albert Haynesworth, the Washington Redskins have once again gauged trade interest in the defensive tackle from his former team, the Tennessee Titans, according to team sources.

Source: Talks between Tom Brady, New England Patriots heat up - ESPN Boston
Contract discussions between the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady escalated Tuesday to the point where a deal could be completed before New England opens its regular season, according to a source close to the situation.

Mike Tomlin won't guarantee Ben Roethlisberger's starting job - ESPN
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday there's no guarantee that Ben Roethlisberger will be the starting quarterback when he returns from his four-game suspension.

Jeff Ireland assumes reins as Miami Dolphins' football czar - ESPN
The Miami Dolphins' football czar has given control of the team to general manager Jeff Ireland but will retain a role as a daily consultant. The Dolphins announced the move in a three-sentence statement Tuesday, five days before the start of the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman back at practice following injury - ESPN
Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman practiced for the first time since breaking the thumb on his throwing hand and expects to play in the Buccaneers' season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh: Move to Baltimore Ravens 'refreshing' - ESPN
T.J. Houshmandzadeh is embracing his change of scenery with the Baltimore Ravens after officially signing his one-year, $855,000 contract Tuesday.

NFL again tweaks where umpires will line up - ESPN
Peyton Manning complained, the NFL listened and now the league is making additional tweaks to the umpire rule.

Kudos to Bill Walsh and putting away the preseason | National Football Post
I played for Bill Walsh for all 10 of his years in San Francisco and I'm often asked about his legacy. Is it his offensive innovation? Was it his organizational skills in building a company that would win 5 Super Bowls? Was it his deft skill at play calling and anticipation that kept opponents off balance? All of these could make compelling arguments as his top achievement, but I was reminded late last week by a release from the NFL on August 30 of one that also stands the test of time equally.

Inside the playbook: blitzing Favre | National Football Post
Let’s talk Vikings-Saints today. We know that New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is going to dial up pressure against Brett Favre and the Vikings — especially in third-down situations — but how? What Williams wants to do on Thursday night is pressure, but with coverage principles in the secondary. Cause confusion in the Minnesota protection schemes and then bait Favre into making a mistake with free runners in his face.

Revis resolution: bridge to future | National Football Post
Revis resolution happened a week before my predicted date of September 14. I thought Revis would try to force the issue for one game, banking that the Ravens' performance against the Jets sans Revis would provide more leverage.

Houshmandzadeh's impact in Baltimore | National Football Post
Let’s take some time this morning to talk about a couple of moves made yesterday in the NFL that upgraded some rosters, and also hit some quick notes from around the league.

Jaguars sign Nwaneri to $24 million deal | National Football Post
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed offenisve guard Uche Nwaneri to a five-year, $24 million contract, according to FOX Sports.

Chiefs sign Quentin Lawrence to practice squad | National Football Post
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed wide receiver Quinten Lawrence to the practice squad.

Chargers cut Brandon Hughes | National Football Post
The San Diego Chargers cut cornerback Brandon Hughes, a former fifth-round draft pick.

Source: Ravens worked out Chevis Jackson | National Football Post
Former Atlanta Falcons third-round cornerback Chevis Jackson visited the Baltimore Ravens today, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Saints issue counterfeit ticket warning | National Football Post
The New Orleans Saints have issued a warning to fans that counterfeit tickets are being circulated for Thursday’s kickoff game with the Minnesota Vikings at the Superdome.

Sergio Kindle: 'I'm confident that I'll be cleared, but I don't have the final say' | National Football Post
Baltimore Ravens injured rookie outside linebacker Sergio Kindle has completed a series of neurological exams, and he’s now awaiting Baltimore doctors' medical opinion on when he can resume playing football again.

Jerryworld to host LSU-Oregon | National Football Post
Jerry Jones continues to come up with events to fill the cash registers at Cowboys Stadium and the latest marquee event will be a kickoff weekend game in 2011 between LSU and Oregon.

Jets cut Patrick Turner, Donovan Warren and Ricky Foley | National Football Post
The New York Jets placed wide receiver Patrick Turner on waivers after claiming him Sunday off waivers from the Miami Dolphins.

Just like that, Seahawks bring back Jordan Babineaux | National Football Post
ust released safety Jordan Babineaux is back in the fold, a transaction made possible after he agreed to a new contract, according to Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times. Babineaux was due to earn $2.45 million this season, and the new figure is somewhere south of there.

Browns cut David Veikune, sign Derrick Roberson | National Football Post
The Cleveland Browns dumped former second-round linebacker David Veikune today, and signed defensive back Derrick Roberson.

Houshmandzadeh on being cut by Seattle: 'Me not being there had nothing to do with football' | National Football Post
Newly-acquired Baltimore Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh implied that he wasn't given a fair shake by the new Seattle Seahawks regime of Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

NFL.com news: Saints DL Hargrove misses practice because of knee injury
New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove sat out practice Tuesday with an undisclosed knee injury.

NFL.com news: Favre brings interest, but will drama overshadow 20th season?
The 2010 season is loaded with intriguing storylines, beginning with the fact that this could very well be the final NFL schedule played without interruption.

NFL.com news: In terms of predicting success, 11 seems to be magic number
Whether your favorite team is an extension of the West Coast offense or some variation of the East Coast offense -- if there is such a thing -- the truth is that teams use multiple personnel groups throughout each and every game.

NFL.com news: Gimme 5: New contenders for the next decade
1. New York Jets Looking into a crystal ball is not advised given all the volatility and worst-to-first scenarios that seem to pop up every year in the NFL. Still, it's interesting to take a calculated look at the 32 teams and try to predict which could become the Patriots, Steelers, Colts and Eagles in this new decade.

NFL.com news: Gimme 5: 2009 non-playoff teams primed for 2010 postseason
1. San Francisco 49ers The Niners were one of the most impressive teams I visited with this summer. The quarterback situation looks resolved, as Alex smith appears ready for the next step in his development. The 49ers were 5-1 in the division last year, finished 3-2 in their last five games and have looked strong all preseason.

Ten issues of '10: Money matters unresolved - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
Some day when the history of the NFL is updated, the 2010 season may become known as the Year of the Contract Squabble. Not only are we sitting on the edge of possible labor strife, but the trickle-down effect is that three prominent players are entering this season not under contract. Their absence could go a long way toward impacting the season, but that’s far from the only issue to consider on the eve of the campaign:

NFL umpire rules continue to be tweaked - NFL News - FOX Sports on MSN
The NFL has tweaked its new umpire positioning rule with a few changes, and for the most part they make sense.

Peter King's predictions for the 2010 NFL season - Peter King - SI.com
It's time for the 91st NFL season to begin, but it wouldn't be a real NFL season without some really bad predictions from me. I'm the one who picked the Browns to make the Super Bowl in 1995 (they had fans throwing dog bones at them by the end of the year, as they tucked their tails between their legs and slinked off to Baltimore), told you to take Danny Wuerffel as your fantasy quarterback in 2002 (he lasted all of 92 passes), and, well, the last time I picked the Super Bowl winner was, I think, when Lombardi prowled the Tundra.

Joe Theismann Tapped for Thursday Night NFL Broadcasts -- NFL FanHouse
Joe Theismann will be back in the broadcast booth as part of NFL Network's Thursday night telecasts, the league announced on Monday.



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