Interesting hire for Denver and weekend picks
Curious. Very curious.
The Broncos hired Miami Dolphins defensive-coordinator Vance Joseph as their head coach on Wednesday.
Given his track record, Elway seems to know what he’s doing. He brought in Peyton Manning — remember, that was a gamble at the time. He has presided over the drafting/acquisition of a tremendous defense. I thought he was wrong to can John Fox and bring in Gary Kubiak. The latter ended up winning Super Bowl 50, so that worked.
Elway also knew that the offensive line was a disaster area before the 2016 season, and made moves to address it. It didn’t work, but you don’t hit on free-agent signings every time. (Seriously, there are organizations in the NFL that have no clue — say, like my 49ers.)
But hiring a defensive coordinator as head coach?
How does a defensive coordinator help what ails the Broncos — the offensive line, a running game and the development of quarterbacks Trevor Siemian/Paxton Lynch? (Really, let’s not do the Tony Romo thing.)
Also, does this mean current Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is out? The Broncos have rightly called this offseason a retool and not a rebuild, but, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Phillips should stay.
In the meantime, whither the offense?
OK, espn.com is reporting that Broncos are looking at Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave for offensive coordinator. McCoy is a logical fit for the job as he held it before going off to coach the Chargers.
But still, what does Joseph bring that the Broncos don’t already have?
As much as the wild–card games show us something, it is important to remember that the first round of the NFL Playoffs is the undercard. With the top-two seed in each conference getting a bye, one should not jump to conclusions like, say, the Steelers and Packers are going all the way.
OK, actually, both teams do look good, but that’s not just because of how they played last weekend. Both teams have been playing well for a good stretch now.
By the way, perhaps opposing teams might anticipate a Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers? And, now the Giants wide receiving corps has plenty of time to spend in Miami. (No, it wasn’t the cause of the loss, but if you party in Miami and take a lot of pictures for social media, you better win the darn game.)
Seattle at Atlanta
Two teams I totally do not trust. The Seahawks can win this game. Again, don’t look at last week’s game against Detroit. The Lions were done like dinner before that game began.
Seattle can run the ball, has a quarterback who can make plays and plays defense. However, the Seahawks and, more particularly, Wilson showing up consistently haven’t been in evidence this season.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ history in the postseason isn’t confidence inspiring. Yes, they’ve played better defense down the stretch, but they’re the Falcons.
With less than a full heart, go with Atlanta.
Houston at New England
Not a hard call. The Patriots opened as 16-points favorites and the number is somewhere around there. Whether the Pats cover or not is one question. There’s no question that Broncos fans should enjoy Brock Osweiler’s demise.
(Of course, we do not advocate illegal gambling, but your trivia for the week is that the biggest spread, according to ESPN, in the NFL playoffs was Super Bowl XXIX when the Niners covered 18 points against the Chargers. Sigh, remembers the sports editor.)
Pittsburgh at Kansas City
First off, it’s very considerate of the NFL to schedule the two best Divisional Round games on the sports editor’s day off. Thank you.
With nasty weather in the forecast — all the stuff coming through here is headed to Missouri — you have to like the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell. A rushing game like that travels well.
Second, do you trust Alex Smith in a playoff game?
Of course, not.
Green Bay at Dallas
I don’t like going against Rodgers the way he’s been playing. As a San Francisco sports fan, the Cowboys are evil.
Yes, we keep waiting for Dallas to turn into a pumpkin, particularly with regard to rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys, grrr, are legit.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.