Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/3/11

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Q&A: Denver won't be focusing on offensive linemen in this year's draft - The Denver Post
With six picks in the April 28-30 draft, there are only so many needs the Broncos can address on their draft board. Expect four offensive line starters to be the same in 2011, the only new starter being at right tackle, unless the Broncos' new coaching staff thinks differently after evaluating the roster.

Elway says Orton not out of Broncos' QB starting picture - The Denver Post
Asked Wednesday if Fox, a coach with an extended pedigree on defense, had to sell him on his plan for the Broncos' offense during the interview process Elway said: "Yeah, we talked about it quite a bit. It really doesn't come down to the system, but rather the attitude on offense. That's what we're talking about, the aggressive type offense, what we want to do on offense to win football games, not to just sit back and try to win them on defense.

A Season of Changes
Hunter inhabited the trenches before the coaches converted him to a stand-up pass rusher in the 3-4, and the newly-minted linebacker adapted to the transition by finishing the year ranked third on the team in sacks and sixth in tackles. His 75-yard fumble return against Kansas City counted as the defense's only touchdown of the season.

Five Reasons Why Elway’s Statements on the Quarterbacks Aren’t a Surprise " MaxDenver
Also remember that John Fox, in his second offseason with the Panthers, added Jake Delhomme as an unrestricted free agent — with two career starts at that time, one less than Tebow right now — but opened the season with incumbent Rodney Peete as the starter. That lasted one half; Peete struggled and Delhomme supplanted him in the second half of a season-opening comeback win over Jacksonville that helped launch the Panthers to a 5-0 start and an NFC championship.

NFL NEWS

A politician's son who rose from intern - 02.07.11 - SI Vault
"There was a coldness and a 'that's it' tone in Roger's voice that was chilling," says Ebersol. "At his heart Roger can be a cold son of a bitch. I think the people on the other side of the negotiating table are going to hear that in the coming months. He's going to show mettle, and he's going to do what he thinks is best for the National Football League. It's what he's always done."

Rooney Family Builds Steelers Through Draft and Patience - NYTimes.com
"Panic doesn’t seem to work; let’s put it that way," Rooney said. "Enough people seem to have gone through that. Our philosophy is you pick good people and try to stick with them. "There’s no guarantees. There are ups and downs in any sport. But if you have the people in place, you always have a chance to be successful. That goes back to my grandfather and down to my father."

Legwold: Packers coach Perry played for one of greatest Steelers staffs - The Denver Post
Eighteen years ago Perry, a defensive backs coach for the Green Bay Packers, was a 23-year-old rookie safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers’ Legursky Is Thrust Into Super Bowl’s Glare - NYTimes.com
Now, mere days before the biggest football game of the season, the 24-year-old Legursky finds himself at the center of suspense surrounding Pittsburgh’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers. On media day, one coach pointed to Legursky and called him the most important player on the field in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday.

Draft-day snub didn't deter Packers' Zombo - The Denver Post
Zombo is one of four undrafted rookies on the Packers' 53-man roster. Zombo, who played collegiately at Central Michigan, will see action at outside linebacker for the Packers in the Super Bowl.

Ted Thompson, Packers’ Modest G.M., Has Plenty to Brag About - NYTimes.com
The roster Thompson assembled is filled with late-round draft picks, undrafted free agents and players released by other teams. In a season fraught with injury, Thompson cobbled together an unlikely contender, finding gem after hidden gem.

Packers' Alonzo Highsmith Named NFL Scout of the Year -- NFL FanHouse
I'd always thought of Alonzo Highsmith as something of a sad story: He was a star running back at the University of Miami and the third overall pick in the 1987 NFL draft, but a series of knee injuries cut his career, short, and I never heard much about him after he tried to make a career as a pro boxer, fighting a bunch of bums before quitting shortly after he lost to a guy whose career record was 8-26-2.

Packers' Jones Completes Journey From Homeless to Super Bowl - NYTimes.com
The Super Bowl is a celebration of corporate sponsors and a game played by millionaires, but James Jones's rise from a homeless shelter to the NFL's title game is a reminder that the sport offers a way out of poverty.

Chad Clifton Thriving Years After Warren Sapp Nearly Ended His Career -- NFL FanHouse
In the middle of the field -- about 20 yards from the play -- Clifton was giving chase in Kelly's direction, but with no chance of being a factor in the play. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Sapp, whose seven-time Pro Bowl career also included 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, had the perfect blocking angle on the fourth-year lineman and delivered a blindside blow for the ages just beneath Clifton's facemask.

Don't Buy Those NFL Season Tickets in LA Just Yet - NYTimes.com
Suddenly, though, the buzz in La La Land is that the NFL is coming back. They held a press conference Tuesday with Magic Johnson and others all but waving pompoms to announce that a naming rights deal has been made for a stadium that hasn't been built to host a team that hasn't committed to come there.

Roger Goodell says he felt "deceived" by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick in the wake of the Spygate scandal - ESPN Boston
After he issued fines of $500,000 to Belichick and $250,000 to the team, and docked the Patriots a first-round draft pick, Goodell said he told team owner Robert Kraft that, as another part of the penalty, Belichick would have to make a verbal apology in front of reporters. Belichick issued only a printed statement apologizing for his actions and refused to answer questions in a subsequent news conference.

Packers, Steelers Fans Among NFL's Most Rabid - NYTimes.com
A Pittsburgh hospital swaddles its newborns in "Terrible Towels." A Wisconsin man dresses up like a bishop and calls himself "St. Vince," as in Lombardi.

Hype Central: Tackling Roethlisberger, Minimalism and Warm Boots - NYTimes.com
NFL Network, 2:10 Eastern Time: John Elway is Rich Eisen’s guest. Elway wears a magenta-colored dress shirt with blue stripes, unbuttoned daringly low. Elway coughs a few times during the interview; he needs to get him some down, get him some boots.

Response to the weather, not the weather, is the problem in Dallas | ProFootballTalk
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones undoubtedly hopes that Dallas will enter the Super Bowl rotation. Given the manner in which the region has responded to the sleet that fused into a glare of frozen water, we can’t and won’t support a return of the league’s championship game to any point north of Houston.

NFL Alumni Hoping for Better Benefits This Year - NYTimes.com
Martin made no reference to that insurance during his news conference, but touted a new medical alliance under the NFL Alumni banner to provide pro bono services for former players unable to afford medical treatment, particularly from head trauma that has led to problems such as early dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.

John Semcken of the Majestic Realty Group says City of Industry plan has more substance for NFL in Los Angeles - ESPN Los Angeles
"We have designed the building, we have shown how we're going to finance the building. We have 100 percent of all the public approvals, we have 100 percent of all environmental approvals. ... We know how we're going to do the naming rights deal."

Super Bowl XLV: James Harrison of Pittsburgh Steelers rips NFL again, says safety concern 'just a show' - ESPN
In a deadpan delivery, Harrison said: "I don't want to hurt nobody. I don't want to step on nobody's foot or hurt their toe. I don't want to have no dirt or none of this rubber on this field fly into their eye and make their eye hurt. "I just want to tackle them softly on the ground and, if y'all can, we'll lay a pillow down where I'm going to tackle them, so they don't hit the ground too hard, Mr. Goodell."

Big Ben's just a pawn for Goodell - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Peter King’s reputation is just unfortunate collateral damage in Goodell’s public-relations war. I can’t fathom another reasonable explanation for the commish battering Big Ben in January for "crimes" the Pittsburgh QB committed nearly a year ago and was punished for at the beginning of the regular season.

Fan auctioning bad luck on eBay - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Now, in an effort to put his powers to good use, Wilno promises to buy the opposing team's hat, become an avid fan "up to and including" the Super Bowl, and engage in plenty of "smack talk" that will "virtually guarantee" a loss.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Pick VI: Top football families "
2. The Matthews family Hard to believe that a guy whose father played in the NFL and uncle was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman had to walk on at USC. But that motivation has made Clay Matthews one of the top up-and-coming linebackers in the game. And don’t forget about Casey Matthews, Clay’s brother, who will get drafted in April. A long NFL career for the younger Matthews could have them challenging for the title.

NFL.com news: Report: Cutler took painkiller shot at halftime of NFC title game
But a source close to the situation told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday that Cutler received a painkiller shot at halftime in an effort to finish the Jan. 23 contest.

First Super Bowl Without Cheerleaders Has Some S-A-D, Others G-L-A-D - FoxNews.com
The Packers and the Steelers are two of the six NFL teams that do not have pom-pom squads, and they haven’t had them in years. The Packers did away with their cheerleaders in 1988 after market research indicated fans didn’t really care, and in 1970 it was an "organizational decision" to dissolve the Steelerettes.

Ted Thompson's choice to part with Brett Favre led to Super Bowl - Peter King - SI.com
Rodgers has thrown for 4,000 yards three years in a row. The passing totals of his first three years, in fact, are comparable with Favre's totals in his three-year MVP run in 1995 through 1997. Thompson doesn't gloat. He doesn't even comment. He doesn't need to. We all see it.

Ice storm affects power at some Super Bowl facilities - Super Bowl XLV - SI.com
One of the state's largest utility providers said rolling statewide electrical outages that started Wednesday in response to high demand from a rare ice storm will not affect Cowboys Stadium in suburban Arlington. But Oncor spokeswoman Jeamy Molina said other Super Bowl facilities, such as team hotels, were not exempt.

Steelers are Mike Tomlin's team this time around - Don Banks - SI.com
"Largely the core of this unit has been together here for a number of years, so we find ourselves in this game for the second time in four years. We're excited about it. It's not going to paralyze us. We're not going to dwell on it or over-analyze it. We are simply going to prepare and ultimately play. Maybe later in life, when we're all old, maybe we'll sit around and reflect a little bit.''

Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder files defamation suit vs. paper - Super Bowl XLV - SI.com
The cover story entitled "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," has an altered photo of the owner with horns and a beard drawn in pen. The suit claims the weekly newspaper used "lies, half-truths, innuendo and anti-Semitic imagery to smear, malign, defame and slander" Snyder.

The League Panelists: Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers are so evenly matched in Super Bowl XLV you might as well flip a coin - Michael Kun
And the key to the game is likely going to be something that no one could predict right now. A poorly thrown pass. A critical penalty. A long kick return. An injury. A fumble. That's how closely matched these two teams are that it could end up being decided by a single play.

Hue Jackson says Jason Campbell is his starter | National Football Post
"No question," Jackson told a Fresno radio station per the Oakland Tribune. "I mean, there’s no question he is. The guy won some very important games. The guy played hurt. The guy got to know his teammates, rallied his team, and finished very strong. He helped us win, obviously, every game in our division, there’s no question he is definitely the unquestioned starter on this football team at this point.

Jerry Jones: Still looking for right sponsor for Cowboys Stadium | Dallasnews.com - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News
Jones' comments were made on the day it was announced that Farmers Insurance had paid an estimated $700 million for naming rights to a proposed football stadium in Los Angeles. In the future, Jones said he wouldn't rule out striking a similar deal with a corporation that wanted its name plastered on the Cowboys' home.

Old pals LeBeau, Capers match wits in Super Bowl - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
Every so often, Dom Capers pulls out the humongous, handwritten playbook from his first year as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. He likes showing it to younger coaches to emphasize how much more labor went into designing plays before such things became computerized. Dick LeBeau remembers that exact playbook quite well, too. "I was the guy that had to draw it," he said, chuckling.

Eagles pull surprise, name Juan Castillo defensive coordinator | National Football Post
The team ended the search today, announcing that offensive line coach Juan Castillo will become the defensive coordinator. It’s an unusual move for a veteran line coach, but Castillo is highly regarded.

Bill Belichick named AP Coach of the Year | National Football Post
The 2010 team also set a franchise record by finishing the season with a turnover differential of +28, forcing 38 turnovers while allowing just 10 turnovers. The turnover differential of +28 is the second-best since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, trailing only the +43 posted by the 1983 Washington Redskins.

NFLStatAnalysis: New Metric: Offensive Production vs. Needed Yards
Needed yards are based on starting field position and represents the number of yards a team needs to reach the end zone. E.g., If a team starts on their own 20, the needed yards = 80. The actual metric is the team's total offensive yardage divided by the starting position. So, if a team starts in their 20 and gets 42 yards, the calculation for that drive would be 42/80 = 52.5%.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | FO Mailbag: Packers Rushing Three
As for Green Bay, our numbers suggest that those complaints about rushing three are a bit misplaced. The Packers rushed three on 18 percent of plays, tied for third in the NFL. On those plays, they allowed 5.8 yards per pass with a spectacular 72 percent success rate. On third-and-long (7+ yards to go) they allowed 7.4 yards per pass but had a 75 percent success rate because so many of those passes were short dumpoffs. (For the record, we have 51 charted passes with Green Bay rushing three on third-and-long.)

Cold, Hard Football Facts.com: Pigskin Detention: great moments in media day history
The NFL on Tuesday presented the annual spectacle that is Super Bowl Media Day. It’s an outstanding event that gives media members access to players, since athletes never get interviewed, especially by the "pundits." Or not.

Advanced NFL Stats: Want to Work for an NFL Team?
NFL team looking for statistical analyst. The successful candidate will have a Computer Science or Econ background and be proficient with basic computer code / Stata. Football specific experience not required. Entry level position. Terms/salary TBD. If interested, submit resume and cover letter to NFLstatjob@gmail.com.

Feds seize sports websites before Super Bowl - Jennifer Martinez - POLITICO.com
The websites, which include channelsurfing.net and Spain-based rojadirecta.org, were said to illegally provide access to content from the major professional sports organizations, namely the National Football League, National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. The sites do not host the pirated sporting content themselves, but instead provide links to other websites where people can access it illegally.

NFL DRAFT

Patrick Peterson and Carolina Panthers: A Perfect Match -- NFL FanHouse
There were two plays at Alabama in 2009 that told me the kid was special. An Alabama receiver got loose down the sideline and was running for the end zone. Peterson came from the middle of the field, he didn't give up on the play, and tracked down the ball carrier for a tackle. He was a streak and you could see his pure speed.

NFL Scouting Combine snub isn't the end of the line - Mocking The Draft
Among those notables not invited were Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes, Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell, Missouri center Tim Barnes and South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders. However, a combine snub isn't always doom for a prospect.

NFL releases official Combine list - CBSSports.com
The full list can be seen here. The list includes underclassmen, as well as several seniors who were given late invitiations based on strong performances during senior all-star games.

NFLPA Game practice notes: Day 2 | National Football Post
I honestly have not been real impressed with Ole Miss DT Jerrell Powe this week as he’s simply just a limited big body run defender inside. He isn’t real sudden laterally as a pass rusher, does have a compact club when trying to shed initially, but allows his pad level to get upright when trying to make his way up the field and struggles to fight his way through contact.

ROCKOUT WITH YOUR MOCKOUT LOCKOUT

Owners surprised union isn’t railing on revenue sharing | ProFootballTalk
Some believe that the owners hope to solve the revenue-sharing problem by getting more money back from the players. Until the players begin to make that an issue, the owners will keep pursuing the path of least resistance, especially since it allows the owners to continue to project unity.

Looming Labor War A Sobering Thought At Super Bowl Party - NYTimes.com
At risk is the NFL's $9 billion of annual revenue, which research firm IBISWorld estimated could grow to $9.8 billion next year if a work stoppage can be avoided. The league is coming off perhaps its strongest year ever. Regular season games reached almost 208 million unique U.S. viewers, the highest total ever, and were also the most-watched program each week during the season.

NFL owners don't have to pay players' health insurance after CBA expires - ESPN
The union filed the grievance in December, saying clubs should have to continue to pay for benefits through Aug. 31, when the insurance plan year ends. The NFL argued that if there is no new collective bargaining agreement reached by the deadline, insurance would need to paid by the players or union.

NFL Labor pains, Part Seven | National Football Post
The NFL has calculated that it would lose $120 million if there were no deal in place by March 4. If we assume the players will make 50% of revenue – after all the setoffs are calculated in – then that is a $60 million reduction from whatever the players would make in 2011.

NFLPA makes ‘Let It Air' ad after ‘Let Us Play' is refused - Shutdown Corner - NFL  - Yahoo! Sports
So now, the NFLPA, in conjunction with New Media Strategies, put together a follow-up ad, which simply asks CBS to ‘Let it Air'. Atallah told me that he intends to submit the new ad to CBS today, effectively asking CBS to air an ad asking them to air an ad that they won't air.

NFL Lockout: Athletes risk not worth result | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University
It’s the owners that want the new agreement, because supposedly the NFL’s economic model isn’t working. Apparently having 65 of the top 100 viewed sporting events in 2010 isn’t working, and it’s the players that are supposed to take a pay cut. This is the same league that has no guaranteed contracts, high risk of injury and now a proposal for two extra games.

NFL labor lawyer says owners unified vs. players - Forbes.com
An outside labor lawyer for the NFL says the league's owners are as unified right now as NHL owners were when that sport lost an entire season to a lockout. Bob Batterman said Wednesday that the owners of the NFL's 32 teams "know what's wrong with the business today, and know how it needs to be changed."

What to Expect From Madden If a Lockout Cancels the NFL Season
"In terms of a planning assumption ... we've baked in the most conservative assumption, meaning no season," John Schappert, the Electronic Arts chief operating officer, said during a conference call with investors today. "We're optimistic it can be better than that, so there's an upside."

Tips for NASCAR to capitalize on a potential NFL lockout. - Tom Bowles - SI.com
Privately, I've heard rumblings Daytona officials are crossing their fingers for it, ready to ramp up advertising dollars and go all out to win fans back through an opportunity they might not get again for decades. The sanctioning body had already moved its Chase races back to a 2 p.m. start in 2011, recognizing the disaster of competing with the NFL for the 1 p.m. start times and trying to establish its own window for people to tune in.

AFP: Owners want bigger piece of NFL revenue pie
One of the more contentious points in the talks is the salary cap. "How we structure the cap going forward is a big issue," Pash said. "The cap has worked very well. It has allowed us to experience growth. "We are not asking anyone to write us a check. We are asking to restructure how the cap is structured and how revenue is shared."

N.F.L. Lockout Not Inevitable, Negotiator Jeff Pash Says - NYTimes.com
Perhaps the biggest roadblock is the league’s insistence that it get $1 billion in extra spending credits that would be subtracted from the pool of money that is shared with the players. This would motivate owners to invest more in their stadiums and the league, Pash said. The union views this proposal as amounting to a pay cut for the players.

NFL, union scrimmage over new pact, threat of lockout
"It was an effective ploy in that it got a settlement," Mr. Griffith said. "But remember, to get a settlement they have to recertify. The thinking now, the much advanced thinking now, is that decertification by a union where the union leadership continues to manage affairs is really a sham, [that is, it's] not a real decertification."

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