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Archive for the tag “Peyton Manning”

Peyton Manning, Selective Memory And Revisionist History

(photo courtesy of The Big Lead)

(photo courtesy of The Big Lead)

The football season is over, but there is still some buzz going on around the football world. While everyone is wondering what Peyton Manning will do, writer Shaun King dropped an article chronicling Peyton Manning’s sexual assault at the University of Tennessee. The incident happened when Manning was at the University of Tennessee and involved a team doctor, Dr. Jamie Naughright. For the full story, including the 74 pages of court documents, check here. Instantly, the document caused a stir on social media. There were those that took the taking down of Dr. Naughright seriously and had a different view of Peyton Manning. And there were others that seemed to brush this incident off. But it is amazing how folks can view some things when they actually like a player.

Peyton has forever been someone that people have seen as classy, hard-working and a great spokesman for the NFL. There is no doubt that he is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. But what some have to understand is that he essentially tormented Dr. Naughright. The funniest part of the whole thing is that some people did not read the story at all. Peyton Manning did not moon someone and Dr. Naughright did not walk in at the wrong time. He actually scooted down while she was examining a potential stress fracture of Manning and put his “man parts” on Dr. Naughright’s head. And secondly, Manning tried to besmirch Dr. Naughright’s character by saying she spoke vulgar and saying that she hung with Black guys all the time. Naughright may have spoken vulgar (which was refuted by every witness that Manning tried to get), but what does her hanging with Black guys have to do with any of this? Sounds to me that Manning was just trying anything to get out of this one and when the case was settled and Gag order placed, that screamed of guilt of Manning. And when he lied again in a book about the incident, he cost himself some more money because he again had to settle with Dr. Naughtwright. All the while he has done long-term damage to her career while not even offering so much as an apology. It is true that this incident happened in the past, when Manning was young. But that does not excuse the incident and the crap he put that woman through for nothing.

Many have also spoken on the length of time it has been since this incident happened. Some think that it is a convenient attempt to tear down Peyton’s legacy before he leaves the game by bringing up his past. Well, what some may want to realize is that this story is older than some of the fans that Peyton has actually. And I have come across many that were not even aware of the reality of this story. So in essence, it was new to a ton of people in that sense. Another thing that is interesting is how some can say they are trying to tear Peyton down or that this happened in the past when they cannot forget others and their past. For example, Cam Newton had success this season. And many were very happy for him and how well he had led the team. But there were some that continued to bring up his incident at the University of Florida. For those that are not aware, Newton stole a laptop and that got him in hot water. He was eventually out at the University of Florida because of it. And it is definitely interesting that some of the same folks will break that out in a minute while telling us to pipe down on the Manning incident. To those I would like to ask, “Why the change up on both Manning and Newton?” There will be some that will ask why I used Cam as an example and I can assure you that it was the first one I thought of. Not downing or supporting Cam and his press conference in this article and that is not the issue at hand anyway. But what is at hand is how some can selectively bring up the past for some and forget it for others. Another example of folks not letting go of the past is the incident Michael Vick had. The veteran quarterback went to jail for animal abuse, but so many still go at him about that as well. But with Peyton we are supposed to forget something that was an ugly situation because he paid them off? Honestly, that ought to concern more people than anything.

In the end, people are going to have their own opinion about Manning and what happened back then. But one thing cannot be disputed in this scenario: people tend to be more forgiving, forgetful and blind to the facts when it is someone they love. Manning is a great quarterback and no one is taking that away from him at all. But this ugly incident is definitely something that was covered up and hushed. With Vick and Newton, they paid consequences for what they did. But Peyton has seemed to avoid that along with any public backlash essentially. Some that keep blowing this story off would not do so if it was their daughter, wife, or family member that this mess happened to. But let them tell it, nothing even happened to begin with. And those folks are blind in broad daylight. If you’re going to bring up the past for one, you have to do it for all. You cannot pick and choose who you drag through the mud. That wreaks of hypocritical talk.

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The Denver Defense Takes Over The Super Bowl

(photo courtesy Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

(photo courtesy Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

The Super Bowl was a matchup of the old guard and the new school of quarterbacks in the NFL. We had Cam Newton and the high-scoring Carolina Panthers in one corner and veteran Peyton Manning and the gritty Denver Broncos in the other corner. Both teams had fought through different things to make it to the big game. The Panthers lost their top wide receiver and many did not expect much of them to start the year. And for the Broncos, they had their share of quarterback issues and offensive issues as a whole. But there these two stood, battling for the Lombardi Trophy. In the end, the Broncos were able to prevail over the favored Panthers 24-10. And with that, Peyton Manning now has his second Lombardi Trophy to add to his illustrious career. The Panthers fought hard, but they just did not have enough to make it happen. And for the Broncos, their defense definitely won this game.

The Broncos defense had a tall task: stopping the MVP, Cam Newton. He has been terrorizing defenses all year with his feet and his arm. But in this game, the terror was what he faced in the Denver defense. The Panthers offensive line was not very successful in protecting Newton and that led to him being sacked seven times in this game. The main guy who was after Newton all game was pass-rusher supreme Von Miller. The free-agent-to-be and MVP of the game was all over the field and on Cam’s heels all night long. He had a total of 2.5 sacks Sunday night. The pressure on Cam was the most he had seen all season long. And the hits that he took just kept coming all night long. That led to him not having much time to hit any of his wide receivers down field and having to throw away more passes than he had all season long. Because of the disrupting of the passing game by the Denver pressure packages, the Panthers looked disjointed in the passing game and Cam never seemed to get comfortable in the pocket. And when he scrambled, Cam had a few runs of note, but he had the clamps put on him for most of the night.

Coming into this game, the Panthers were the team that was known for forcing turnovers. They had the best turnover ratio in the NFL coming into this game. But in the Super Bowl, the Broncos defense turned the tide. The Broncos forced three turnovers in this game. And the Panthers, they were only able to force three turnovers. Usually the turnovers the Panthers force end up in points. But in this game, they were not able to take those turnovers and convert them at all, as the Denver defense was stingy all night long. The Denver defense, however, forced two big turnovers that led to their two touchdowns. The first big turnover they forced came when the Von Miller sacked Cam Newton. Miller was able to strip Newton on the play and then the Broncos recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchdown. And the other huge turnover was when they were up 16-10 and Carolina had the ball, needing a touchdown and extra point to take the lead. Von Miller again striped Cam Newton of the ball while rushing the passer. That turnover led to the game-clinching touchdown that would seal the game. Those 14 points the Broncos defense helped either score or setup were the difference in the game tonight and helped them hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Another huge key in this game was the running game. Coming in, the Carolina Panthers were the team that was used to having a consistent running game. With Cam Newton being able to run and Jonathan Stewart running the ball very solid coming into the game, it was thought the Broncos could be the team to have the issue running the football. But the Panthers were never really able to get their running game going. Newton ended up with 45 yards on six carries, but Jonathan Stewart was missing in action all night long. The veteran running back out of Oregon had one big run of 12 yards in this game. But other than that, he had only eleven carries for 17 yards and a touchdown. With the running game never getting started, the Panthers had to depend on the passing game. And if anyone has watched the Panthers play this year, they are not a team that typically depends on the passing game to get them going. Besides their veteran tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers had a pedestrian receiving corps. In this game, their dropped passes finally caught up to them. And add to that some errant passes from Cam and the passing game was stuck in neutral as well.

Peyton Manning may be retiring after this game and riding off into the sunset as a two-time title and arguably the greatest of all-time. But the Denver Broncos did not win this championship because of his stellar play. They won this game on the strength of their defense. And from the beginning of the season to now, their defense carried the offense on their collective backs. It’s only fitting that the final game of the season was a defensive masterpiece.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Super Bowl Special

(photo courtesy Associated Press)

(photo courtesy Associated Press)

It all comes down to one game. Two teams, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, have fought hard to make their way to the Super Bowl. One was expected to be a contender from the beginning of the season. The other was not expected to even win six games. But now both are in Santa Clara, California getting ready to try and win the biggest football game in their professional careers. One will achieve that goal while the other will take in the bitter feeling of defeat on the NFL’s biggest stage. Which one will be taking that loss and more in the final installment of the General’s NFL proclamations coming right now!

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Panthers are very heavy run-oriented and the Broncos stop the run very well. One of these strengths are going to have to give. The feather in the cap Carolina has is Cam Newton running the football. And with that being said, the Panthers will have 125 yards total on the ground, with Cam acquiring at least two first downs and 50 yards rushing. And just for good measure, let’s add in a touchdown for him as well.
  2. The Broncos have to get their running game going. And in doing so, they will be trying to run against a stingy defense as well. But unfortunately, the Broncos have not been as successful as the Panthers’ offensive line. In this one, look for the running game of the Broncos to not gain over 80 yards rushing.
  3. Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Aqib Talib have played very well for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos respectively. Talib will have his own issues to deal with, but Norman has two really good receivers he will get some time against in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. He will not be able to guard both, but he can affect both of them. Look for him to hold whoever he checks defensively to 4 receptions for 70 yards at the least.
  4. The Denver pass rushing duo of Von Miller and Demarcus Ware can cause havoc on opposing offenses. And every game they have played in together, they both have had an impact on the game. Well in this one, they will have their chances. Of course it will be hard for them to get Cam down. But they will get there at least once to get Newton.
  5. Peyton Manning versus Cam Newton has been the story for most of the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Many have wondered which one will have the better game. Well, both will have an interesting one in this game. Both will have at least one turnover and there will be one play made by one quarterback that will be the difference in the game.

Prediction: The Panthers come in riding high off their two big wins in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Broncos were able to hang on and win two big game to get to the big stage. Both teams need the running game to be effective and both defenses stop the run very well. Eventually, the playmaking of Cam overcomes the nasty defense of the Panthers. And through the air and on the ground, Cam makes the plays for the Panthers to win the game. And although Peyton will come out and play well for a while, he will not be able to keep up the pace for the entire game. The Panthers win their first ever Super Bowl title and it will be a close one. Carolina 27, Denver 21

The Carolina Panthers are Dabbin’ all the way back to Charlotte with the Lombardi Trophy.

(photo courtesy USA Today)

(photo courtesy USA Today)

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Five Factors For Carolina To Win The Super Bowl

(photo courtesy of Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

(photo courtesy of Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

The Carolina Panthers have been a revelation this year. When the season began for the Panthers, there was trepidation with how they would do. Carolina lost their best wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, to a torn ACL before the season started. But the Panthers passing attack overcame that and ended up being one of the best offenses in the NFL, thanks to soon-to-be NFL MVP Cam Newton. And combined with that stingy defense, the Panthers steamrolled through the regular and the postseason. Now the next challenge awaits them as they take on the Denver Broncos. And while some may think it could be an ugly game for Denver, the Panthers should expect a battle from the veteran Broncos team. Here are five factors that could swing the game in their favor versus Denver.

  1. Turn up the heat on Peyton Manning

The Panthers have been steady in putting pressure on quarterbacks all year long. And the Denver Broncos have not exactly been the best at protecting their quarterback. The Broncos have gotten better over the year, but they are still the same offensive line that had issues to start the year. If Carolina is able to take advantage of that, then they will have Peyton Manning dancing in the pocket more than he would like to. One guy to watch out for up front is defensive tackle Kawaan Short. He seems to be the barometer of their front four and can be a huge force on the game.

  1. Who’s the other corner?

The Carolina Panthers have had cornerback Josh Norman step up all season long. And going into his free agency this offseason, he will be targeted by many teams because of his stellar job. But other than him, who do the Panthers have? The other cornerbacks have done well, but with Charles Tillman out, Cortland Finnegan and Robert McClain have to step up and play well. Based on the Panthers defense, Norman will not be on Broncos’ wide receiver Demaryius Thomas all the time. And with Emmanuel Sanders at the other wide receiver slot for Denver, the Panthers will need someone else to step up and defend him sometimes too. Finnegan and McClain will be key to how the Panthers defend the Broncos’ passing game.

  1. Pound the rock

The Carolina Panthers are a physical team whose mantra is “Keep Pounding”. In this game, they must do so offensively. The Panthers are a run-oriented team with a passing game that works off of it. As far as the Broncos, they are a physical team that limits teams in the running game. The Panthers have to win that battle in the running game versus Denver’s defense. When they run the football with Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart or Mike Tolbert, it sets up everything that they do. And if they don’t have the running game, then it causes the Panthers to struggle a bit. The Panthers offensive line has to be nasty in this one from start to finish.

  1. Cam being the MVP

Cam Newton has been the MVP of the NFL this season. And in this game, the Denver Broncos will try to do all they can to limit him. But it’s real hard to limit a guy that is 6’6” and 250-260 pounds with a cannon for an arm. Cam has to make those special plays that make a player like him unique. The pressure will be after him all game long, so he has to turn those potential sacks into positive plays. And if he is able to do that and neutralize the Broncos’ pass rush, then the Panthers will be a better position to win the game.

  1. The others receivers

The Panthers receivers have been playing well this season. For example, Ted Ginn Jr has had a career year for Carolina. But there have been some times where Ginn Jr has disappeared and dropped sure touchdown passes. And for him and the rest of the Panthers receiving corps, they will have their opportunities to make some things happen. Denver’s defensive secondary is very good but they do allow some plays to happen. The question is will they make the plays when they present themselves like they have all season or not? The big stage can have a great effect on players and it can also have a damaging effect. If they show up and take advantage of their opportunities, they could be in great position to win.

The Panthers are in a spot where they can make history. Carolina can win their first title in team history if they are to defeat the Broncos. It will not be easy. The Broncos will give them everything they have. But if Carolina can make these five things happen, then they could potentially be Dabbin all the way to Charlotte after this one.

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Five Factors For Denver To Win The Super Bowl

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

The Denver Broncos are where not many thought they could be. After their big start to the season, they struggled offensively and Peyton Manning was hurt. At that point, many had lost faith that could get it right. But during the postseason, they have made it happen and will be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. Their opponent in the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers, will present a formidable challenge. If they are to win, they will definitely have to play outstanding in all aspects. But it isn’t impossible for them to win this one. After all, the games aren’t won just off matchups alone. Here are a few things that could swing the game in their favor.

  1. Running game consistency

The Denver Broncos are facing a stingy run defense in the Carolina Panthers. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are two linebackers that can cause any offense problems. The offensive line of the Broncos will be charged with creating holes for their running backs. If they are able to run the football, then they keep the Panthers’ defense on their heels. But just as key as it is that the Denver offensive line open holes, it will also be important that running backs CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman hit those holes. Because against Carolina, any sliver of daylight they get running the football will close quick. If Denver is not able to run the football, then they will be at the mercy of the Panthers’ defense, who will be able to do whatever they want to.

  1. Paging Demaryius Thomas

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas got paid this offseason to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. And in the regular season, he played very well (105 receptions for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns). But in the postseason, Thomas has been less than stellar (six receptions for 52 yards). For the Broncos to win, they have to get something from Thomas when in passing situations. They have been able to win without him so far in the postseason, but on the big stage they need all their weapons to play well. Josh Norman will surely defend him a good percentage of the time, but it does not matter. Thomas has to be big and play big.

  1. Put Greg Olsen on a milk carton

The Panthers passing game was something many questioned at the beginning of the year. And to their credit, they answered the bell and have played well as a unit all year. But make no mistake about it, tight end Greg Olsen is Cam Newton’s must trusted weapon in the passing game. The Broncos have to eliminate him from the equation in this one. One way to do so would be for them to use safety TJ Ward on him and maybe play under Olsen with a linebacker. That will be tough to do since they also have to contain quarterback Cam Newton, but it isn’t something that cannot be done. Another option would be to put cornerback Aqib Talib on him some in this game. If they are able to eliminate Olsen, then it puts the onus on the Panthers’ wide receiving crew to make it happen. And although they have been solid all season long, including Ted Ginn Jr having a career year, they are still not generally looked upon as a strong group. If the onus is placed on them, it will be interesting to see how they react.

  1. Third-down proficiency

The Carolina Panthers have been one of the better teams at converting third downs this season, doing so at a 42% clip. On the opposite side, the Broncos are one of the least efficient teams in the NFL on third downs. For the Broncos, a huge factor will be stopping drives and converting to keep drives alive. If the Broncos are able to bring that percentage down from the Panthers while getting theirs up, then that will definitely increase their chances of winning this game versus Carolina. If they don’t, well we know what could happen. And of course that would not be a pretty sight for the many that want Peyton to win what could be his last game.

  1. Contain Cam

Cam Newton has been special this season. He has passed and ran his way all the way to what will be his first MVP award. But in order to win this game, they must be able to contain him. Of course there will be times that he will break contain and make a play in this game. But as long as they are able to keep him in the pocket for majority of the time, their chances increase to win this game. One thing the Broncos may try to do is Mush Rush. In doing so, they may be able to keep Cam in the pocket while hopefully holding up in coverage. The Denver pass rush will be pivotal in this game. And with Von Miller, Demarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe getting after Cam, there will be an interesting battle going on between them and Cam.

The Broncos made it here and they are now getting a chance to make it happen on the big stage. There is no telling when they will be back and if they will ever get back to the Super Bowl. So they have to take advantage of their opportunity. And if they do these five things, then they increase their chances to potentially send Peyton Manning out on a winning note.

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Denver Outlasts New England To Make The Super Bowl

(photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

(photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Denver was considered the underdog going into the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. People were expecting the Patriots offense to come in and put the Broncos defense on their heels a little bit behind the strength of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And as for the offense of the Broncos, everyone thought that this could be Peyton’s last game. But little did we know the Broncos would have something for the Patriots in Denver today. The Broncos held Tom Brady in check for most of the game and the offense was just effective enough as the Broncos won the game 20-18 and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl. And just like that, Manning plays on. For the Patriots, a season that started so well ends in the bitter taste of defeat. The Brady versus Manning battle actually proved to be much more than these two Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

The big question all week for the Denver defense was how they would cover the Patriots in the passing game. The Patriots have one weapon that many have trouble covering in the NFL: Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end out of Arizona is a matchup nightmare with his size, speed and soft hands. Coming into this one, the Broncos were aware that he would probably get his. And pairing him with shifty wide receiver Julian Edelman could cause big problems for the Broncos because of all the rub routes and things the Patriots run. But the Broncos counteracted all the things the Patriots do in the passing game with their front four. Brady was constantly under pressure all game long and that was enough to force two interceptions and also 3.5 sacks in this game. It seemed like the Patriots offensive line had no answer for Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and the Broncos front line. And because of that, the timing was off in the passing game for the Patriots. Brady was not able to set his feet in the pocket a lot and was often running for his life. And that resulted in some inaccurate passes along with plenty of passes thrown away to the sidelines. The final drive was something that could have come back to get them, as they let up just a little and let the Patriots have a chance. But in the end, they turned it up one more time and forced Brady into a mistake on the two-point conversion, missing the opportunity to tie the game.

Offensively, the Broncos were not exactly the greatest all season. The running game was inconsistent and the passing game was not very dependable either. Despite people wanting to see Brock Osweiler and thinking Peyton Manning was done, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak went with the veteran Manning when it mattered the most. And so far, Manning has not disappointed him or the fans of the Broncos. Last week his wide receiver corps had a ton of drops and that almost cost them the game. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was a disappearing act in this game. And so far for the playoffs, he has only caught six passes for 52 yards and has scored no touchdowns. But when he did not show up, the passing game did not stall. Tight end Owen Daniels may not have put up big numbers, but he was big in the redzone for Manning. He caught two passes all game and both of them were for touchdowns. Manning hit Daniels across the middle off a blown coverage from the Patriots for the first touchdown of the game. And for Daniels second touchdown, Manning hit Daniels in the corner of the endzone, beating Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins. The usage of Daniels was good early in the game and allowed the Broncos to open things up just a little offensively. The Patriots defense would only allow six more points the rest of the gsme. But with how well the Broncos defense was playing along with the running game getting going down the stretch of the game, Denver was able to hold the Patriots off.

The Broncos now go to where some had them at in the beginning of the season: the Super Bowl. And along with that, Peyton has a chance to cap off this season with a championship. If you take a look at the Broncos six weeks ago, no one would have saw this coming. Manning was out injured and Brock Osweiler was starting. And along with that, no one knew what to expect from this team as they tried to hang on and make the playoffs. Amazing how much things can change over a small amount of time. And now the Broncos will move on to the Super Bowl in what could be Manning’s swan song in the NFL. It will be interesting to see what they do on the big stage.

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The Denver Broncos Survive A Scrappy Pittsburgh Steelers Team

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Going into the Divisional Round, it looked like everything was lining up for the Denver Broncos. They were getting to face a Pittsburgh team that would be without starting running back DeAngelo Williams, wide receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was playing with a shoulder injury himself. But when the game was actually played on Sunday, the Broncos actually struggled. The defense had some issues with the plethora of weapons the Steelers had at wide receiver and the offense just could not kick it into another gear. But one big play was enough to sway the momentum Denver’s way. Leading 13-12 with a little under 10 minutes left in the game, the Steelers were driving to add to their lead. Steelers’ running back Fitzgerald Toussaint ran the football around the left side of the offensive line on a 2nd and four from the Broncos’ 34 yard line. He seemingly was going to get the first down for the Steelers and move the chains, but Denver’s Bradley Roby made a fantastic play to turn the tide. Roby fought off a block from Pittsburgh wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey to hit Toussaint and dislodge the football. The result was a fumble recovery by the Broncos. Denver would turn that turnover and drive down the field for a touchdown. The Broncos added a two-point conversion on top of the touchdown as the Broncos took a lead they would never relinquish. The final score was 23-16 and with that, the Broncos are headed to the Conference championship game to play the New England Patriots.

The Broncos were solid defensively in spurts in this game. The one interesting move they made in this one was backing off their cornerbacks to start the game. Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips remembered how Ben Roethlisberger torched them in the second half of their regular season matchup when they played tight man-to-man coverage and wanted to switch it up. The changeup Phillips threw out there was inconsistent in its effectiveness. The Steelers were able to give the Broncos more issues because they had more space to operate in. The Broncos defense eventually mixed up how they were going to line up during the game and that essentially helped them win the football game. The mixup of coverages helped the Broncos get pressure on Big Ben down the stretch. You could notice as the game went on, Big Ben was trying to find people that were breaking open down the field. Part of the sack issue falls on Big Ben because he held the ball waiting on his receivers to get open. But you have to give credit where credit is due. The pressure they are able to create can come from any angle and when the coverages are mixed up, that gives that Denver defensive front more time to get to the quarterback. And with the likes of Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe up front, that can give any quarterback nightmares. They sure gave Big Ben fits when they got to him.

Offensively, it was a grind for the Broncos in this one. They just could not get it going the way they wanted to. Part of the reason they could not do so was the running game. With Gary Kubiak there as head coach, the emphasis on the stretch run game was brought in. And over the season, they have had times where the running game was effective and times where it was non-existent. In this game, the running game was just like it was all season. It showed up at times and at other times, it disappeared. But on the lead-taking drive in the fourth after the turnover, the combination of Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson came through for Denver. They totaled 31 yards together on that drive and Anderson finished the drive with a 1 yard plunge. These two may not be consistent, but they were enough of a threat in the second half that it gave the Denver offense some sort of threat to help the passing game. The other thing that kept the Denver offense sputtering was the drops they had. They had the Pittsburgh defense beat numerous times. And if they would have caught the basketball, then they would have done much more damage with the passing game. But Manning was not getting much help from his receivers and it nearly cost them the game. Usually in the cold-weather games, it falls on Manning and his performance in the eyes of many. But in this one, he still went 21/37 despite the numerous drops that hit wide receivers square in their hands. The Denver receivers would have gotten a lot of unwanted attention for how bad they were if it would not have been for the big catch by wide receiver Bennie Fowler on the lead-taking drive for 31 yards.

The Denver Broncos now move on and welcome the New England Patriots to Denver next season. And once again, we will hear the Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning talk. But for Denver, it’s about much more than stopping Tom Brady. They have to clean up the offense and defense for them to make it where they want to go. It will be interesting to see what adjustments they make to try and keep up with the Patriots.

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Reggie Wayne Calls It A Career

(photo courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

(photo courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Reggie Wayne was a free agent last season after not being signed back to play for the Indianapolis Colts. Many wondered if he would ever play again. And despite flirting with playing again last season, he never made it back onto the playing field. After missing all of last season, Wayne has finally made a decision on what he will do next. Instead of him hanging on and trying to continue to play, he has announced he is going to retire. And honestly, it was time he did so. It would have been painful saying that he wanted to continue to try and play. And what would have been even stranger is if he would have continued to play in a different uniform. Wayne was a career Indianapolis Colt, so the thought of him in another uniform is not only weird but something that would make you scratch your head. He leaves the game with 1,070 receptions, 14, 345 career receiving yards and 82 career touchdowns.

In leaving the game this way, we still remember the lengthy career he had with the Colts. He was a part of turning the franchise around and winning a title for the team. He was also a part of helping bring along Andrew Luck after he replaced Peyton Manning. The one thing that was always there about Reggie Wayne was his route-running. Wayne was never a speed merchant at all. You would very rarely look up and say that Wayne used his speed to beat anyone on a route. But for what he did not have in speed, he more than made up for it in his routes. Wayne always came out of his routes very crisply all the times. That precise route-running enabled quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck to trust he would be where he was supposed to be when they threw the football. The result, more times than not, was a productive play to help the team win games. But along with the precise route-running, Wayne also had a great pair of hands. Over his career, he always caught a solid percentage of the passes thrown his way. Quarterbacks knew that if they threw it in the vicinity of Wayne, he was going to come up with the catch. That kind of ability to catch the football speaks to the great hand-eye coordination that he had. And it also speaks to all the hard work that he put in each and every offseason to hone his craft.

So now that Reggie’s career has come to an end, has it been enough to get him into the Hall Of Fame? Well, looking the numbers, he may be standing outside the Hall Of Fame, never to get in. The receivers he is going up against these days have more receptions, receiving yards and also more touchdowns. The three next receivers that will be potentially going into the Hall Of Fame are Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. Compared to Harrison, Owens and Moss, he has more career receptions than Moss but less career yards (Moss’ 15,292 yards to Wayne’s 14,345 career yards) . He has nearly the same amount of career receiving yards and career receptions as former Colts teammate Marvin Harrison, but he has way less career touchdown receptions (Marvin’s 128 to Wayne’s 82). And when you take Wayne’s numbers and compare them to Terrell Owens, he has way more yards and touchdown receptions. So when you put his numbers up against three guys that will be in the Hall Of Fame, the odds are not good that Reggie will make the Hall Of Fame. Of course in Indianapolis Colts history, he will be one of the greatest receivers all time. And the Colts will eventually have a ceremony for him in his honor. But the celebration in Canton will probably never be coming. The only option he has is if he is the senior representative way down the line.

The career of Reggie Wayne was great to watch. He was a consummate professional in every sense of the word. He was there when the Colts were building towards a title with Peyton Manning. Wayne was there when the Colts won a title and he was also there when the Colts were down after Peyton missed a season due to injuries. And he was even there when the Colts were trying to rebuild with Andrew Luck and a bunch of young pups. He has been there through all points of his career and been an excellent professional. And for that, the game will definitely miss him. Hats off to a great career Reggie. He will not make the Hall Of Fame, but he will be remembered as a very good receiver.

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Potential Solutions For The Houston Texans At Quarterback

(photo courtesy of Eric Christian Smith/AP)

(photo courtesy of Eric Christian Smith/AP)

The Houston Texans have had quarterback issues since the first game of the season. In that game versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Brian Hoyer was yanked in favor of Ryan Mallett due to his poor play. He eventually would get the job back. And during that time, Mallett found himself getting cut after missing a team flight to a game in Miami. But Hoyer would miss some games along the way this season due to concussion issues. And when he did, he was replaced by quarterback TJ Yates and Brandon Weeden (acquired off waivers from Dallas). The Texans were able to get it together enough to win the AFC South and make the playoffs. Despite playing with four quarterbacks this season, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a spectacular season. His 111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns were even more of an amazing feat considering the inconsistent quarterback play and the lack of someone to take the pressure off of him offensively. All the success and hard work to make it to the playoffs was all for naught though, as they faced the Chiefs again and were beaten 30-0. The score was ugly and so was the performance of quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was healthy enough to play in this one. The veteran quarterback from completed only 44% of his passes and threw four interceptions. Needless to say, that performance did not leave the Texans and their fans feeling good about the state of their quarterback position. So going into the offseason, quarterback is one thing that they definitely need to address. There are many ways the many ways the Texans can address that position. But here are a few that may have a chance to happen.

The way the Texans are constructed, they need a quarterback right now in hopes of them getting to the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl next season. With no time to waste, they could go get a veteran quarterback immediately. One guy that could be available is Peyton Manning. The Broncos made it apparent that they are trying to move on from Peyton this year. But Brock Osweiler never cemented himself as the unquestioned starter there after he replaced Manning. So Manning has a shot again right now in the playoffs, but it is not likely that he will be back in Denver. But don’t look for Manning to retire just like that. He could be released if the Broncos commit to going in a different direction. And when or if he is, look for the Texans to give him a call. Even though Manning is not the same guy he once was, he still is better than the quarterbacks they have right now. And even with him and his playoff history, he will give them a better chance to win games when they count. Of course, the Texans would have to work out the financials and knowing Peyton, the money will have to be there for him to make this move. But the good thing is he would have a good defense with him and all the defenses he would be facing in the division would not be that good.

But Manning is not the only option of the veteran variety. Drew Brees is still an option that could be out there. Of course, it all depends on if he and the Saints can work something out. Brees has a $30 million salary cap hit next season and New Orleans has to figure that out. Although it may not look like they will, it could still happen. If it does, that will take him off the market and he will retire as the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. But if they are not able to work something out there, then he could be available to anyone. The Texans do have some cap concerns when it comes to Drew and they would be essentially trading for him on a one-year deal (barring an extension being worked out in Houston before a deal is done). Adding him to what they have offensively would make them even better than they are now. Like Manning, Brees is older. But unlike Manning, he has icewater in his veins when it comes to playoff time. Brees and that defense along with Hopkins would be a good fit and would definitely be something to take the Texans to the next level, especially with those defenses in that division.

Manning and Brees are two options, but there could also be a younger free agent on the market. The Broncos could decide to go the other way and keep Manning in Denver (although highly unlikely). If they do that, then Brock Osweiler will be available. The young quarterback got a chance to play this season and show that he has some skills. But unfortunately for him, he was pulled in favor on Manning in the last game of the year. And there could be some hard feelings there from him towards the organization. If that is the case or not, there will be teams looking for him on the free agent market. And with the Texans needing someone to lead them, he could step in and be that guy. Of course he does not have much experience as a starter. Hoyer has more honestly. But the potential of what he can do is something that could help this team. The other bad thing is that he may not be an instant hit there if he came to Houston. It may take him some time to get used to the new system and that may be time the Texans do not have. If he does not catch on as quick as they would like, then he could be catching the first thing smoking out of town.

Other than players that are currently in the NFL, there is also the draft. Texans head coach Bill O’ Brien was a coach at Penn State before he came to the Texans. And when he was there, he recruited and coached a quarterback named Christian Hackenberg. Well, Hackenberg has decided to make himself eligible for the draft this year. Seeing that he is familiar with the Hackenberg, it could be possible that he drafts his former college quarterback to his team. The acclimation to the NFL would be sped up because of the familiarity with O’Brien’s offense. But the familiarity could only carry Christian but so far. He has the arm strength and the mental capacity to be an NFL quarterback, but is he too shell-shocked to do it? When O’Brien left Penn State, new head coach James Franklin came in and coached the team. And in doing so, the offense there exposes Hackenberg to hit after hit after hit. And because of that, he may be shellshocked. If that is the case, then he will not be very good in the NFL and will be about as good as another quarterback O’Brien drafted, Tom Savage.

The Texans have a situation on their hands and they have to get it rectified. They have not had a quarterback in the whole Bill O’Brien era and it’s time to solve that riddle. But it will be interesting to see which way they go. Will they go with a veteran, a young up-and-comer or a rookie? We shall indeed see what the braintrust of the Texans decides to do.

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16 Bold Predictions For 2016

(photo courtesy of Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

(photo courtesy of Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

A new year is upon us and there will be many great sports events that will happen. Some will be expected like the Super Bowl, college football championship game and the college basketball national championship game. But there are also things that happen that catch us all off guard. It’s easy to predict things that will happen, but it is not as easy to predict the unpredictable events that can happen. But with that being said, let me take my shot at it. Without further ado, here are my 16 predictions for 2016

  1. The Alabama Crimson Tide will win the National title

Clemson is a worthy opponent for Alabama in the National Title game. They are solid in each facet of the game and can make some explosive plays. But versus Alabama, the game will be won or lost in the trenches. Alabama is a physical football team and they have dominated teams up front for majority of the season. Clemson is a physical bunch as well and they will not wilt when facing the Crimson Tide. But eventually the physical play and the explosiveness of the Alabama front seven will get to the Tigers.

  1. The Golden State Warriors will not win the NBA title this season

The Warriors are again having a great season. And of course they will be a factor in the West this year. But let’s not forget that there are some other teams that can get it going and potentially knock them off. Teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs are talented enough to give the Warriors fits. And this season, one of those teams jumps up and gets the job done, ending the Warriors’ season prematurely.

  1. Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke will not make the NCAA Final Four this year

All three teams are very deep and talented. But in this year’s college basketball, each team has some flaws going with them. Of course North Carolina is the most talented of them all and they are shooting the basketball well this year. But eventually the shooting will fall back to earth and they will have to win a game with defense. That will be where they fall. As far as Kentucky, they have been pushed around more in the post than usual. And even though they are talented, that shortcoming will leave them hamstrung in March. And as far as Duke, they may have their tough guy, forward Amile Jefferson, back before the season is over. But they still don’t have enough scoring from inside that will scare someone. And that will be something that eventually catches up to them.

  1. The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series

This past year, the Cubs went further than anyone thought they would. And heading into this season, the expectations are they will go even further. Some may wilt under those type of goals, but this team may just thrive under them. And with the additions they have made this offseason, the Cubs will finally make it back to the World Series and will win one, breaking the supposed curse that was placed upon them.

  1. The Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl

Quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are sitting on top of the football world right now, sporting the best record in the NFL at 14-1. But that is not the ultimate goal for them. The thing that they are striving to get is the Lombardi Trophy. And for the Panthers, plenty keep speaking on all the reasons this team cannot win the Lombardi Trophy. Well, Cam and the boys have been listening and they will use that as extra motivation to go to the first Super Bowl for Carolina since 2003. And instead of coming up short like they did against the Patriots the last time they were there, the Panthers will seize the day and win their first Lombardi Trophy.

  1. Steph Curry will win another MVP

Curry was in another world last year. He averaged 24 points per game and eight assists last season while locking up the MVP trophy. And just when it was thought he could not get any better, he shows up this season and is putting up better shooting, scoring and rebounding numbers across the board. He has gone from another world to another stratosphere and there is no doubting that he is the best player in the NBA right now. And with the record the Warriors are currently sporting, he will be the MVP again. As much as some want to give this award to LeBron, it just will not happen again.

  1. The Philadelphia 76ers will swing and miss in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes

The talk around Philly is they are in tank mode once again. And the object of their affection this year seems to be LSU forward Ben Simmons. The Australian forward can do everything on the floor and that combination of size and skill has every NFL scout hoping Christmas comes in June for them. It would seem the perfect storm would have Philly getting the first overall pick this year in the draft. But unfortunately, it will not be for them this year either. The 76ers will get the second or third pick, not the first. And with that, they can kiss goodbye to Ben Simmons ever wearing a Philadelphia uniform.

  1. The Jacksonville Jaguars will make the playoffs next season

Head coach Gus Bradley is building something in Jacksonville. He has a quarterback in place in Blake Bortles, a reliable tight end in Julius Thomas, two young receivers that are making it happen in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson and running back TJ Yeldon. Defensively, the Jags have taken a step forward this year and will more than likely add a pass rusher next season. That combination of things along with the state of the AFC South could have them either winning the division or making the playoffs as a wildcard.

  1. The Oakland Raiders will make the playoffs next season

The team showed growth this season. Derek Carr showed even more improvement this season. And with the weapons he has offensively, the offense should do nothing but get better next season. And defensively, they have a standout player in Khalil Mack. If they are able to add more defensive backfield help, this team will definitely be ready to make the playoffs next year. The Silver and Black will be back next year.

  1. DeMarcus Cousins will not be a member of the Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus is a very talented player. Unfortunately, he has not been able to wrangle his temper on the court. And with the surroundings in the city of Sacramento, it may not be the place for him to have success and mature as a player. So with that being said, Cousins will be out of Sacramento this offseason. Boston would be one place that has assets to trade for him. But there will be plenty that will be vying for his services. Only time will tell, but he will be playing in another city come next basketball season.

  1. Kevin Durant will re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder

Much has been said of where Durant will land next year. There have been rumors floated out there of him landing in everywhere from Golden State to Washington next year. But in the end, the prevailing thought is he will end up staying in Oklahoma City. The chemistry he and Westbrook have is something that he will not find anywhere else. And if they can get some consistent scoring from a third option, then this team will be able to make that magical run like they did when they met LeBron’s Miami team in the NBA Finals.

  1. Peyton Manning will not retire.

It was looking like he would be done at the end of the season last year. But instead of doing so, he decided to come back this season. Needless to say, this has not been the most memorable of seasons for him as a starter this year. And despite the thoughts that he will be retiring at the end of the season (and by looking at him right now, he should), he will more than likely try to play yet another season in the NFL. The question now is where he will play because it surely won’t be in Denver next year.

  1. Hue Jackson and Teryl Austin will get head coaching jobs this offseason in the NFL

Both have been excellent coordinators and Jackson never really got a shot when he was in Oakland. Jackson has been very solid as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati and Austin has been excellent as the defensive coordinator in Detroit. Both are definitely qualified and you are hearing their names mentioned over and over again in coaching searches. It will only be a matter of time before both become head coaches. And this offseason is the perfect time for both to become head coaches in the NFL.

  1. Luke Walton will be named the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers

Unexpectedly, Luke Walton has been the interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Some may have expected the Warriors to not do so well without their leader, but Walton has led the team very well in his absence. And he has done so well that he will garner some head coaching looks around the NBA. One place that will be looking for a head coach soon will be the Los Angeles Lakers. With his experience with the organization as a player and his familiarity with the team, he would be a perfect fit for them and their young team.

  1. The Kansas City Royals will not make the playoffs this upcoming season

I know this is something that Kansas City fans will not want to hear, but it could definitely happen. The Royals just won the title, so there is always that moment of relaxation knowing you have achieved your goal. And the Royals will be fighting that all season long as they try to repeat as champions. Unfortunately, they will not be able to overcome that as they miss the playoffs this upcoming season.

  1. Fans will continue to show no chill on social media

As time has gone on, keyboard courage has grown more and more amongst fans of sports. You can see on social media all the people that continue to call people out knowing they will never meet them in real life. Unfortunately, this is not going anywhere and there will be more of it to come. A thing I have proposed is that things would change if people had to attach their employer to the things that they say. I bet the fear of losing their job would change the things that people say.

The new year brings some new things and also some new happenings as well. It will be interesting to see if these sixteen things happen or if these thoughts going flying in the wind.

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