Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/4/11

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Krieger: Elway quickly shows maturity in dealing with Broncos' QBs - The Denver Post
Fox, the new coach, has said essentially the same thing. It might be time to consider the possibility they mean what they're saying. It's quite possible they think that Tebow is not ready to be the starting quarterback of a successful NFL team, as many scouts do.

Elway talks about life as a rookie once again | ProFootballTalk
Thankfully, Elway still agreed to to come on Thursday to talk with Florio on PFT Live. In the clip below, Elway talks about why he has the credentials necessary for the job. After the jump, Elway gives his thoughts on the lockout and 18-game season now that he’s an executive rather than a player.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Broncos' new staff begins evaluation process
One daily team observer expects there to be a major overhaul on the defensive side of the ball. DT Marcus Thomas and OLB-DE Robert Ayers are players that figure to have a role on the defense moving forward because of their versatility, and CB Syd'Quan Thompson seems to fit the bill because of his athleticism.

Tebow discusses his transition to Fox - CBSSports.com
"That's going to make it easier as far as the transition, because I don't have to learn a whole new offense," Tebow said. "Pretty much the core of it's going to be the same so that's going to be really nice." Again, that's the Tebow the optimist talking. But maybe it makes sense to expect a smooth transition. After all, while people have pointed to the possibility of Kyle Orton starting next season, Tebow talents might actually make more sense in the type of system that Fox feels more comfortable running.

Helmets Off: Eric Decker
I think I grew every week. I think special-teams-wise it was tough for me right away, but I learned how to play it and have success with it. Offensively, my role grew as my season progressed. I was happy with the progression I made. Hopefully, it's the start to many things in the future

Q&A: Bailey probably won't be back with Broncos - The Denver Post
So, put all of that together, and franchise tag or no franchise tag, the chances of Bailey being back in Denver, without a significant change of heart on both sides, are slim at this point.

Defense and continuity key to the Broncos' future - The Denver Post
The Broncos, who have had six defensive coordinators in six years, are in a position where some kind of continuity has to be the goal. As the team continues to evaluate its current personnel, executive vice president of football operations John Elway said that is one of the first steps to determining how the Broncos move forward.

Team Reports | NFL at CBSSports.com
Letting Bailey leave isn't addition by subtraction. He is inarguably the team's best defensive player even at this late stage of his career. But the fear is his skills will begin to diminish as he ages to justify another big contract. That contention is dulled somewhat by the fact Bailey is willing in the future to move to safety should that occur.

Elway gets comfortable as media-savvy guy - The Denver Post
They had to carve out some additional office space on the second floor of the team's Dove Valley complex. They had to reorganize the team's corporate structure and, oh, they had get Elway a Twitter account.

Ayers? Aye. Clay? No. - The Denver Post
"I was in and out of there," Matthews said. "I was there for maybe 10 minutes. I guess I was only there to meet Josh. Apparently he was more impressed with Robert Ayers, which is fine."

NFL NEWS: SUPER BOWL

Goodell, Jones defend Dallas’s response to winter weather | ProFootballTalk
It’s important to stress that this is not a complaint about the weather. I live in Chicago. I can deal with cold weather. But if you’re a city that gets cold weather and you want to host the Super Bowl, you need to make sure you’re keeping the thousands of visitors safe when they’re on the streets. Dallas hasn’t done that.

To the N.F.L., Babies Were (Full-Priced) People Too - NYTimes.com
After the New York Times inquired about the ticketing practice, Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the league said the N.F.L. was modifying its practice. "We have alerted our security that if a fan is carrying an infant, the infant doesn’t need a ticket," McCarthy said.

Steady Steelers Stay on the Four-Decade Plan - NYTimes.com
Instead of focusing on the eight Super Bowl trips and six Lombardi trophies, Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell likes to talk about these numbers: four and nine. That's four players he's coached on the Pittsburgh roster for nine or more seasons.

Super Bowl Contenders Happy With "World Champions" Title - NYTimes.com
"My wife is, 'How can you guys be world champs when other countries don't play football?' She gives me trouble about that," Steelers tight end Heath Miller, whose wife Katie played soccer at youth international level for the United States, told Reuters.

Packers and Steelers Take Sides in Concussion Debate - NYTimes.com
"We want people to say the right things whether they believe it or not, because kids are listening," Fink said. "The Packers have handled this wonderfully. Meanwhile, Hines Ward makes fun of the people trying to protect him."

Keeping Score: Which Stats Can Predict a Super Bowl Winner? - NYTimes.com
With an eye towards key concepts of sport psychology, as well as statistical analysis that attempts to identify factors that are as independent from one another as possible, five key statistical factors were identified. These statistics are related to principles of sport psychology like experience, leadership, error control and consistency. So important are these concepts to winning championships that they have proven to be common themes across all major sports. Last year these factors accurately predicted a Saints’ victory over the Colts.

Injury Fill-Ins Keep Super Bowl Teams Patched Up - NYTimes.com
Here's how difficult it was: Placed on injured reserve were starters at running back, tight end, right tackle, a safety and a pair of linebackers. A total of 16 players were on injured reserve. What had been a promising season turned shaky. Green Bay made the playoffs as a sixth seed, but now they are the oddsmakers' pick to win the Super Bowl.

Green Bay's Colledge Found Out How Unique Town Is - NYTimes.com
Neighbors would knock on his door after he arrived in 2006. The second-round pick out of Boise State found that didn't necessarily mean they wanted his signature.

Super Bowl matchup to watch: Rodgers vs. Polamalu | National Football Post
Understand that a major part of NFL football is played before the snap of the ball. Alignments, formation recognition, WR splits, pressure looks, defensive leverage, personnel and so on. It all tells a story. And the good pros—the productive pros—are looking for an advantage before they even get into their backpedal, run a route or drop back to pass.

Super Bowl XLV broadcast guide; Fox eyes viewership record - Richard Deitsch - SI.com
Of all the numbers floating around town this week, from $3 million (estimated price of a 30-second commercial for Super Bowl XLV) to $15,946 (the cost for a seventh-row seat on the 50-yard line at Cowboys Stadium, according to the NFL Ticket Exchange by Ticketmaster) to nine (the low in degrees on Wednesday, the coldest temperature in Jerry Jones country since 1989), here is the one that Fox Sports executives have their eyes on: 106.5 million.

Green Bay's Matthews makes his own way as NFL star - The Denver Post
Here was the son of Clay Matthews Jr., who was great enough to play 19 years in the NFL, and the nephew of Bruce Matthews, who was considered even greater. His 19-year NFL career was deemed worthy of the Hall of Fame. And yet, Clay Matthews III couldn't even crack the starting lineup in high school.

Super Bowl teams monitor players' tweets - The Denver Post
"I wouldn't even let my daughter have a Facebook account, so that lets you know what I think about Twitter," McCarthy said. "I don't even know how to access a Twitter account right now. I understand it's an important part of the network, but that's something personally I have no interest in."

Super Bowl XLV ads will engage users online - ESPN
Marketers are using every trick in the playbook to dominate the buzz before the game and long afterward, too. The gimmicks include online contests, a car "race" powered by Twitter mentions, and a secret new level of a hit iPhone game.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Super Bowl XLV Preview
Anyone can tell you that it's going to be a close game. We're going to do that at the end of this preview. Between now and then, though, we'll take a look at how each side will attack the other, identify trends that should affect how the two teams execute on Sunday, and poke a couple holes in conventional wisdom along the way.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Super Bowl Big Men
I'm not saying that Pittsburgh will dominate the line of scrimmage; the Packers front seven is still the better unit. What I'm saying is that if Pittsburgh had to choose a top five defensive front to play against, they may choose the Packers because of the style. The great equalizer for Green Bay should be their outside linebackers, particularly Clay Matthews.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Walkthrough: Sex and Death Skepticism
In other words, we are basing a national story on 30-year-old data from the mainframe era of data management, pertaining to one two-week period in one urban area. The 1983 Raiders data didn't stray much from the non-Super Bowl control group, according to abstracts, so all of the dramatic percentages reported are based on two weeks in Los Angeles in January of 1980.

The Super Bowl Prostitute Myth: 100,000 Hookers Won't Be Showing Up in Dallas - Page 1 - News - Dallas - Dallas Observer
The routine is the same in every Super Bowl city. The media beats the drum of impending invasion, warning that anywhere from 15,000 to 100,000 hookers will soon arrive. Politicians lather on their special sauce of manufactured outrage. Cops and prosecutors vow stings and beefed up manpower.

Jones, NFL Selling 'Stairwell Standing' Tickets to the Super Bowl
After selling standing-room only tickets and tickets outside the stadium to watch the Super Bowl on large screens, Jones and the NFL have now put on sale "stairwell standing" tickets. About 300 of these tickets are available. A pair currently sells for $350 to stand in the stairwell.

Denver Ad expert previews Super Bowl commericals - KDVR
St. Amant estimates it will cost advertisers $3 million for 30 seconds of air time.

Super Bowl Probability: A True 50-50 Game - NYTimes.com
People intuitively generate probabilities of future events based on how easily they can recall similar examples of the events, and people most easily recall more recent events than more distant ones. This is a cognitive bias known as the recency effect. Of course, recency has merit in sports analysis. Teams improve and decline, players are injured (or return from suspension). But my hunch is that both fans and experts alike are susceptible to emphasizing recent games more than is warranted.

Cold, Hard Football Facts.com: The Packers-Steelers All-Dynasty team
Green Bay and Pittsburgh produced two of the great dynasties in football history. The Packers offered the last dynasty of the old NFL, and the only team to win five championships in a single decade.

Advanced NFL Stats Game Matchup
Want to compare the Packers' and Steelers' offensive run success rates? How much WPA per game have Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger contributed this season? EPA per play? Which team has really has the better pass defense? Who are the top defensive playmakers?

NFL.com news: Super Bowl officiating crew includes Anderson as referee
The other members of the Super Bowl XLV officiating crew are Chad Brown (umpire), Kent Payne (head linesman), John Hussey (line judge), Doug Rosenbaum (field judge), Mike Weatherford (side judge) and Scott Helverson (back judge). The crew collectively has 77 years of NFL officiating experience and 53 combined playoff-game assignments.

Steelers' Continued Success Based on Family Values -- NFL FanHouse
I think just the family aspect of the whole thing, it makes you not want to leave. They treat people fairly. It is not a situation where they go out and make the big offseason move and you see the big No. 1 free agent coming to Pittsburgh. What you do see is guys staying. You do see them taking care of home first and I think that is a big reason that guys want to be around this organization."

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Never missed a Super Bowl? It’s true "
Crisman admits that he was worried about the Super Bowl catching on, until Joe Namath and Len Dawson led the Jets and Chiefs to wins to even up the count between the AFL and NFL. And after that, the streak nearly ended at Super Bowl IX, but Crisman persevered and even coined the name "The Never Miss a Super Bowl Club" after Super Bowl XII.

Woodson a model Packer after rough intro - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
That day in 2006 made quite an impression on Woodson’s new teammates as well. "It was rough," one Packers starter from that season remembers. "There was this one coach in particular who was all over him, and Charles did not take it well. The coaches were treating him like a guy with a bad attitude who they wanted to break, and he played right into it. There was a whole lot of yelling."

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

AP-KN Poll - 18 NFL Games Fails to Excite Fans - NYTimes.com
Of everyone surveyed, 27 percent strongly favor or somewhat favor adding two regular-season games and dropping two preseason games. When the group is narrowed to those identifying themselves as NFL fans, support for the change rises to a total of 45 percent — yet only 18 percent who strongly favor it.

How the Poll on the NFL Was Conducted - NYTimes.com
The national survey was conducted online by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Calif., under the direction and supervision of AP's polling unit.

Injured Steeler Is Overlooked for Rookie of Year - NYTimes.com
Are plus-size rookies invisible in the N.F.L.? The Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting center, Maurkice Pouncey, was described by his coach, Mike Tomlin, as the best first-year player he has ever been around. "His contributions to this football team have been nothing short of miraculous," Tomlin said Thursday.

Falcons sign coach Mike Smith to three-year extension | National Football Post
"When we hired Mike Smith in 2008, we believed we had found the total package: a head coach with strong leadership skills and experience and the track record to back it up, and a man of high character and integrity," owner Arthur Blank said in a statement released by the tea,. "In his three seasons with us, Coach Smith has demonstrated all of these characteristics, and then some.

Mondale making stadium push in Minnesota today | National Football Post
According to the report, Mondale wants lawmakers to begin debating a stadium solution early in the session. Dayton is calling for a multi-use stadium that has a roof or rectractable roof so it can be used year-round. The Vikings do not want to pay for a roof because they believe they can play in an open-air stadium, and putting a roof on any building is more expensive. The team believes it should not have to foot the bill for a roof.

Players poll: Heinz Field the worst, Phoenix best - NFL - SI.com
Heinz Field also was selected as the worst grass field in 2008, the last time the survey was conducted. Oakland, Chicago and Miami were next in the 2010 poll.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Chiefs name OL coach Muir offensive coordinator
Muir was last an offensive coordinator with the Buccaneers in 2008, where he spent seven seasons. He also has a long history with Haley and Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, working with both of them on the Jets' staff in the late 1990s.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Pick a host city where fans can get their money's worth
I have been on the field, surveyed all the seating and sight lines and, of course, the mega-video board, and my bottom line is it's nice. But when you realize it is the building of these monuments to the team owners — monuments that, in the end, don't really benefit anyone but them — that has brought the game we all love so much so close to the brink of Armageddon — the CBA impasse at its essence comes down to the owners wanting the players to pay for a bigger chunk of their palaces — I expected a lot more than nice

Raheem Morris Gets Stamp of Approval in Coach of the Year Voting -- NFL FanHouse
Just remember, this was a team that finished 10-6 and started more than 10 rookies. The Bucs were the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to have a winning record when starting 10 or more rookies, according to the Associated Press.

Cincinnati Bengals hire Jay Gruden to run offense - ESPN
The Cincinnati Bengals are turning to Jay Gruden to guide their offense, the team announced Thursday. Longtime offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was fired on Monday.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Woodson: Stop judging QBs by Super Bowl rings "
"Well, it’s not about winning," Woodson said. "He’s won two Super Bowls. The first Super Bowl, they won in spite of Ben. So he needs to play well. Super Bowl rings don’t make you the best quarterback. Because the best quarterback I believe is Dan Marino and he has no Super Bowl rings."

NFL.com - Rookie of the Year
Suh led the Lions, NFL rookies and all defensive tackles with 10 sacks. He also recorded 66 tackles, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, one interception and one fumble returned for a touchdown. Suh became the second rookie defensive tackle in NFL history to record 10 sacks. He also was the only rookie in the NFL to record a sack, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown this season. He was selected to the 2011 NFC Pro Bowl team as a starter. Suh, who attended the University of Nebraska, was nominated for four Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week awards, winning once.


NFL DRAFT

NFLPA Game practice risers and fallers | National Football Post
DT Kenrick Ellis: Hampton The guy was downright dominant at times on Tuesday, using his explosive first step and natural leverage to knife his way into the backfield and close on the ball. Yesterday, he wasn’t nearly as impressive and seemed a bit disinterested in practice — one of the big concerns I have with a character concern guy like Ellis. However, he’s a talented kid with a great frame and if the light ever goes on, the guy could be a very good starting pro in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Wise to exercise caution on "Signing Day" grades - CBSSports.com
There is no denying that recruiting and signing the best players are the lifeblood of college athletics. Those fortunate to have boast the best talent often win -- in college football, sports and in most situations in life. Last year offered as great of proof of this as any. Auburn received as a dominant a performance as we've ever seen from a first-year signee with JUCO addition Cam Newton. South Carolina, which met Auburn in the SEC Championship game, did so largely due to the play of their true freshman running back Marcus Lattimore.


ROCKOUT WITH YOUR MOCKOUT LOCKOUT

Sides claim fair stake in the franchise - The Boston Globe
"The collective bargaining agreement clearly says that they get one franchise player for every season covered by this agreement. They already had it for 2010; 2011 isn’t covered by this agreement, so that means the right to have it ends. "We don’t have a deal for 2011; that means they don’t have a right to do it for 2011. It’s as simple as that. But if they want to get together and say we’re going to do it anyhow, we can’t stop them from doing that. But the agreement doesn’t allow it.’’

Franchise tag presents latest snag in NFL labor talks | Houston Texans Football | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
The league sent a letter to teams informing them the franchise tag can be applied beginning Feb. 10, but the NFLPA countered with a letter to agents telling them the union would go to court to challenge any franchise tag being used in the absence of a new labor agreement.

Klis: "Lockout" Batterman puts fear in NFL players - The Denver Post
Kyle Orton is the Broncos' player rep and a staunch union leader. Ironically, an offseason shutdown may be his best chance of holding off Tim Tebow to keep his job as the Broncos' starting quarterback. Let's say there's a lockout through the offseason, and a CBA settlement isn't reached until Sept. 1. The teams would have to hurry the players back for 10 days of training camp, one or two preseason games and, ready or not, new head coach John Fox and the Broncos would start the 2011 season.

NFL, union need to work furiously to avoid going over cliff - Don Banks - SI.com
That sounds logical, but I don't get the sense the players union has the same perception when it comes to the urgency of the early March expiration of the CBA. And I think the league is making a concerted effort to change the players' perception that the real financial pain would only begin once regular-season games [and paychecks] are jeopardized by a work stoppage.

Could Super Bowl be last NFL action before lockout emerges? - USATODAY.com
Despite Goodell's stand that public relations isn't the answer, rising anxiety over a lockout — and over whom fans might blame if there is one — has led to a behind-the-scenes public-relations spat between owners and players here during Super Bowl week.

NFL labor: Players have more to lose than owners in labor squabble - chicagotribune.com
nstead, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and his power suit took the podium. The more the skilled former trial lawyer talked, the more I wondered if Smith wanted to find a compromise position as badly as he wanted to be right. If Smith sought to turn down the heat on the rhetoric with the March 4 expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement looming, then he should have left his matches at home.

With NFL labor dispute, Arlington could mean goodbye - KansasCity.com
Smith will oppose an 18-game schedule, citing an increase in injuries and shorter careers. He also disagrees with the league that the franchise tag can be placed on players this month with a new agreement. The NFLPA has informed agents that it will challenge the tag in court.

Sides claim fair stake in the franchise - The Boston Globe
What’s more relevant and timely is the fight over the franchise and transition tags, which could directly affect some of the best players, including Patriots All-Pro guard Logan Mankins. The tags allowed teams to keep players from jumping teams when free agency became part of the NFL in 1993.

DeMaurice Smith, players’ union state their case - BostonHerald.com
Smith said 40 discussions have taken place with league management and another is set for tomorrow. To date, according to Kessler, the owners have not made a major concession while insisting on a salary rollback that would reduce the players percentage to what it was when former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw was seeking "55 percent of the gross’’ in the mid-1970s.

Owners, union not focused on bottom line - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
Behind the scenes, the talk is even more problematic. Or as one union source put it last week: "It seems like every proposal the owners give us is a ‘[expletive] you’ offer, like they don’t want to settle. They want us to take whatever they want to give. If that’s how they want to handle it, maybe we should just let the courts handle it." Admittedly, one league source put it two weeks ago, his tone dripping with aggression: "We’re not in a concessionary mode."

NFL News Feed: Players' side considers possible decertification of union - Mark Maske
Experts have said that decertification of the union by the players potentially could lead the owners to abandon plans for a lockout because if they proceed without a lockout under those circumstances, it could be cited in any antitrust litigation by the players. It's not certain, however, how the owners would react to decertification.

NFL Lockout Leaves Fans in Dark, According to AP - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com
According to the AP Poll, which was originally used to gauge fan interest in an 18-game schedule, there appears to be a disconnect between the NFL and those who were surveyed. It might seem odd to die-hard football fans that there are people who aren't aware that there is about to be a work stoppage in the most popular American sport. That number could actually work to the benefit of the owners if fans don't figure out they are the ones making the money grab.

Sam Bradford: 'This next month is big' - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
"If there is a lockout, I would imagine me and our wide receivers will have to get together somewhere, whether it be in Oklahoma or somewhere warmer where we can throw outside," Bradford said from ESPN's Super Bowl headquarters Thursday. "This offseason, it is too important for us not to get together and work out."

The Canadian Press: NFL to agents: Players should know rules about how to continue insurance if there's a lockout
Dennis Curran, NFL senior vice-president of labour litigation and policy, wrote to agents Thursday, saying that under the federal law known as COBRA, players can continue existing medical coverage for themselves and their families for up to 18 months.

NFL.com news: NFL will pay long-term care insurance premiums for alumni
"I'm excited that after years of neglect, the NFL has responded by instituting a well-deserved benefit for retired players," NFL Alumni executive director and president George Martin said. "However, this is only a small fraction of the solutions needed to address retired player issues. I am grateful the NFL made this gesture, yet disappointed the NFLPA was not a part of this agreement."

NFLLabor.com NFL’s Jeff Pash: "Forward-looking bargaining about the future of the game" crucial for new CBA "
Following is the complete transcript of Pash’s Super Bowl press conference.

Networks hope NFL settles labor dispute - Wire - Lifestyle - bellinghamherald.com
If a lockout occurs next season, few would suffer as much as the major television networks that have come to rely on NFL games as a powerful tool to cross-promote their programming and as a bountiful source of revenue. Fox and CBS would have huge holes to fill in their schedules, and for struggling NBC, which has only one show, "Sunday Night Football," that consistently lands in the Top 20, a lockout could be especially damaging.

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