Brads NFL Picks The Championship Games 2016 – 2017

 

 

Brads NFL Picks   The Championship Games   2016-2017
 
Brads Picks was 4 – 0 last week and is 164 – 98 – 2   on the season. Here’s what happened last week:
 
the good:
 
Atlanta 36, Seahawks 20  –  Squacks took the opening kick off and reeled off 89 yards and a TD on 10 runs for 49 yards and Russell Wilson going 4 – 4 for 40 yards and the TD.  But Atlanta came  back and went 75 yards on 13 plays and tied the score at 7.  Score was Atlanta 19, Quacks 10 at the half.
Matt Ryan was 26-37-338 and 3 TDs against a pretty good Quack defense.
One fun note – Ben Garland, former Air Force Academy DL and former Bronco DL and OL, who is now the Falcons backup Center, was in as a DT on at least one play. Quacks had the ball at their own 4.  Garland shot through and fell on Russell Wilson in the end zone for a safety.
New England 34, Texans 16  –  New England 17, Texans 13 at the half.  Cheaters unleashed a secret weapon, diminutive RB Dion Lewis.  Lewis, who’s been bouncing around the league for 6 years, became the first player in the post season to score a TD by a reception, a handoff, and a kick return.  Outside of those three plays, he was pretty pedestrian but 21 points is 21 points – more than the Texans could manage.
Packers 34, Dallas 31  –  Helluva game.  Packers total yards – 413; Dallas had 429.  Each team had one turnover (both on INTs).  Time of possession – Packers 29:46, Dallas 30:14.  But with time running out,  Aaron Rodgers, while on the run, made a fantastic throw and Jared Cook made a fantastic catch on the sideline.  That 36 yard completion allowed the Packers to attempt a 51 yard field goal, and Mason Crosby put it through as time expired.
Steelers 18, Kansas City 16  –  The Steelers couldn’t buy a TD, but Chris Boswell set a playoff record with six field goals.  KC scored a late TD to make it 18-16.  The two point attempt was good, but called back on a holding penalty.  The next attempt failed.  Steelers got the kickoff and managed to run out the clock.

Continue reading Brads NFL Picks The Championship Games 2016 – 2017

Offseason Primers: Broncos Priorities And Suggested Salary Limits

Nick has already gone over a couple of times about the Broncos’ offseason needs and I wanted to update where I believe the Broncos’ priorities need to be when it comes to free agency, given that’s the first stop on the offseason path.

My purpose is to give people a general idea about who is available at what position and how much the Broncos should expect to commit to each position. People do need to bear in mind that certain positions will take a higher priority than others and that cap dollars need to be committed to those positions first, before you explore positions that are a lower priority.

I’ll start with where the Broncos are going to be with their cap space, assuming certain moves are made, though in one case, I will account for an alternative scenario. From there, we’ll talk about each position, in order of priority (again, with one exception based on a key decision the Broncos must make).
Continue reading Offseason Primers: Broncos Priorities And Suggested Salary Limits

Thank You, Rick Dennison

Rick Dennison has always been a brainy guy, making Second Team Academic All America @ Colorado State as a linebacker/tight end, where he also earned a master’s degree in civil engineering. His senior year, he received the Merrill-Gheen Award as the university’s outstanding male scholar-athlete. I’ve heard Kubiak and Elway both say he’s one of the smartest people they’ve ever met. That’s the type of player he was, too. Dennison was quick to diagnose plays from his LILB spot, but @ 6’3″, 220 pounds in an era when inside backers typically carried more ballast, Dennison was weak at the point of attack. He was still so heady he earned a starting job.

Unfortunately, he was blocking Bowlen’s Folly, clubhouse lawyer Ricky Hunley on the depth chart. In a major mismatch, Bowlen prevailed over Joe Collier in a battle of wills and Dennison was benched so Ricky Hunley could misread keys and overrun plays and bite on the Hog’s counter trey 22 times one afternoon in San Diego. While it’s true Hunley never played another game for the Broncos after helping make Timmy Smith the answer to bar trivia, he was actually dumped because he ran afoul of Dan Reeves during the bitter lockout that took NFL players off the field for four games of the 1987 season. So did Meck and some other guys, but Dan needed them to win ballgames.

While Hunley was washing out of the league in AZ and with the Raiders, Dennison moved back into the starting lineup, this time @ RILB and he started for two more years. Give Dennison better physical tools and he probably would have started here for a decade. In total, Rick Dennison spent 26 years as a Bronco. Nine seasons as a player and 17 as a coach. He was with the team for all three world championships and six of eight AFC championships.

How Should The New Coaching Staff Alter The Broncos’ 2017 Offseason Road Map?

When I wrote my offseason road map for the Broncos this year, I did so under the presumption that Gary Kubiak was not going anywhere.  That, of course, was incorrect, and the Broncos have already got a head start on achieving goal #1, a cleanout of the offensive coaching staff.

Now that we know that John Elway has hired Vance Joseph as head coach and Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, I think it would be prudent to revisit some points on my roadmap–specifically the goals that refer to the quarterback and offensive line positions. Continue reading How Should The New Coaching Staff Alter The Broncos’ 2017 Offseason Road Map?

Brads NFL Picks The Division Games 2016 – 2017

 

Brads NFL Picks   The Division Games   2016  –  2017
 
Brads Picks was 2-2  last week and is 160 – 98 – 2  on the season.  Here’s the good and ugly from last week:
 
the good:
 
Pittsburgh 30, Dolphins 12  –  It was 30-6 at the end of the third.  Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown each had two TDs.
 

Continue reading Brads NFL Picks The Division Games 2016 – 2017

BREAKING: Vance Joseph Named New Broncos Head Coach

UPDATE: 12:50 P.M. MST: John Elway makes it official.

And Mike Klis has more details.

Vance Joseph served as the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins this past season. Previously, he was the defensive backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014 and 2015. He had interviewed for the HC position in 2014 when Elway opted to hire Gary Kubiak. After the Broncos requested an interview with Joseph to be the defensive coordinator, the Bengals denied permission for an interview.

Joseph will be the Broncos’ first black head coach holding the position on a full-time basis. Eric Studesville was an interim head coach for four games in 2010.

Joseph played for the University of Colorado as a quarterback and running back, finishing his career with 454 yards passing and four touchdowns and rushing for 237 yards. He signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 1995 and switched to defensive back, playing two seasons for the Jets and Indianapolis Colts.

His first coaching job was as the secondary coach for the University of Wyoming in 2002. He also coached the secondary at the University of Colorado and Bowling Green University. He joined the San Francisco 49ers as a secondary assistant in 2005, then was promoted to defensive backs coach, a position he shared with Johnnie Lynn until 2010. He then joined the Houston Texans as defensive backs coach from 2011 to 2013.

Andrew Mason shared this statement from Miami Dolphins head coach, and former Broncos offensive coordinator, Adam Gase about Joseph.

UPDATE: 12:57 P.M. MST: Joseph has two candidates in mind for offensive coordinator.

And it sounds like Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods will move up to defensive coordinator.

Would Week 17 Be More Or Less Interesting By Seeding Without Regard To Divisions?

It seems to happen at least once every year: a team who is superior in whatever metric you want to measure–win-loss record, head to head, DVOA, etc.–is sitting on their couches in January while an inferior team is on to the postseason. Perhaps the largest aggravating factor is the requirement that a division champion must not only make the playoffs, but also host a playoff game.  Such a champion gets this privilege even if the division was a complete dumpster fire, as the AFC South has been for the past few seasons.

At the very least, I’ve advocated that division champions should not be entitled to a home playoff game, and seeding should first be determined by win-loss record.  I’ve also toyed with the idea that teams with a losing record should not make the playoffs at all. (Yes, I’m aware that such teams are 2-0 so far–my responses are “any given Sunday” and “small sample size”.)

Pushback against these ideas takes a few forms.  Among the most simplistic are, “Shoulda won your division if you wanna get in”, or “Winning your division is something you should be proud of”. My response to that is, “Shouldn’t playing in a more difficult division give you more credit?” and “Let’s ask teams like the 1999 Jaguars or 2010 Bears how meaningful their pretty division banners really are”. Some will also say that there would be no point in having divisions at all, but I see no reason why you can’t still schedule division rivals twice a year, and also hold claim to division titles, even if every now and then that title doesn’t come with a playoff berth and/or home game.

The more sophisticated argument is that giving division champions playoff privileges helps to create more meaningful games in the playoff race–and in turn, better TV ratings for the infamous Week 17.  Surely, the 6-9 2010 Seahawks or the 6-8-1 Panthers would have nothing to play for if it wasn’t for hopes of a playoff ticket via winning their division, right?  The NFL has doubled down on this notion by making Week 17 games exclusively division matchups since 2010.

This article will scrutinize this final idea.  It will take a look at the playoff picture entering Week 17 since 2002, the year the NFL went to eight divisions and thus creating more of these automatic playoff tickets, and see if there would have been more or fewer games in which teams would have something to play for if divisions were completely ignored for seeding purposes. Continue reading Would Week 17 Be More Or Less Interesting By Seeding Without Regard To Divisions?

Pondering The 2017 Geography Of The AFC West

Now that the Raiders are thankfully where they belong in January–watching football instead of playing it–I think it’s only appropriate to point out that they, along with the Chargers, could have new addresses in 2017.  Since major news on this could come as soon as this week, I’d like to spend a little time thinking about where two of the Broncos’ road trips could be in the future. Continue reading Pondering The 2017 Geography Of The AFC West