Freud: Peyton in, Payton out, and so is Tim | VailDaily.com
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Freud: Peyton in, Payton out, and so is Tim

Hey, we remember you …

Let’s start with congratulations to some hockey alumni of this column. Third-classman (sophomore) Casey Kleisinger and the Air Force Falcons made the NCAA Division I Tournament again by winning the Atlantic Hockey Association for the second-straight. Kleisinger had an assist in Air Force’s 4-0 win over RIT in the conference title game.

The Falcons face No. 1-seeded Boston University Saturday in Worcester, Mass., in the first round. Before one says the Falcons are one-and-done, please remember that Air Force took top-ranked Yale to overtime before falling, 2-1, last year. Go Falcons.

Go Steelheads, too. Connor Tedstrom is another Battle Mountain alum making some noise on the ice. A defenseman, Tedstrom and the Idaho Jr. Steelheads, who went 42-2-2 – that’s not a typo, in the Western States Hockey League – have advanced to their league’s Frozen Four. Way to go, Connor-saurus.

And the brilliant Randy Wyrick did a story earlier this week on the mighty Vail/Eagle Pee Wee A’s, your 2012 state champions. Congratulations to all. We also give a shoutout to Huskies hockey alum P.J. Bevan (Vail Christian ’03), who not-so-surprisingly helped coach that team’s blueliners.

Welcome to Denver

OK, Peyton Manning is a Bronco. Interesting on many levels. I know I’m biased, but San Francisco was the better choice as far as being a complete team and having an easier road to the Super Bowl, but Manning thinks otherwise, so his and my loss.

With the increasing parity, the NFL stands for the Now Football League. The Broncos are going all in. Agree or disagree – and I agree because I wanted No. 18 for Niners – at least Broncos fans know that Pat Bowlen, John Elway and company are doing pretty much everything they can do to make the Broncos a player in the NFL discussion.

That said, don’t book tickets for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans – nor should the Saints – quite yet. Priority No. 1 is keeping Manning upright and in one piece. As much as Tim Tebow, and Kyle Orton in his short tenure in Denver, sometimes hung on to the ball too long last year, there were times neither had a chance. By draft or by free agency (Jeff Saturday?), the Broncos need to beef the offensive line.

To that end, running-back Willis McGahee was a nice surprise in a pinch after Knowshon Moreno went down midseason. Looking at the situation, you’d like to see Moreno return to 2009 form and have McGahee back there, too, at assorted times. But Moreno is a big “if.” So is McGahee. Do the Broncos pluck a running back in the draft? Food for thought.

Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker look to be receivers on the rise, and while official offseason training is more limited than in past years under the new collective bargaining agreement, if Mr. Manning invites them over to dinner to talk some football, they better be there. Bring whatever side dish Mr. Manning wants.

But if you want to tinker with receivers, we go to Oliver Ristow’s Bleacherreport.com article “Mike Wallace and What’s Next for Elway, Manning and the Denver Broncos,” published Tuesday. (You may remember Oliver Ristow from such episodes of Vail Christian, Class of 2006, and I gotta say that it was awesome to see his byline bantered about on Facebook.)

Mr. Ristow writes in his column that, “Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers was tendered for a first round pick, meaning that if any team makes an offer for Wallace, the Steelers have a chance to match it. If they fail to match the offer, Pittsburgh will receive the first round pick of the team who made the offer.”

Wallace has averaged more than 1,000 yards in receiving and has 18 touchdowns grabs the last two years. That might be a nice addition. More food for thought.

Or do you use the draft to bolster the defense, particularly the secondary a bit? The delicate balance the Broncos have to tread is assimilating Manning, addressing other needs on the team and doing this without becoming the Philadelphia Eagles, a great assortment of individuals, instead of a team.

Oh yeah, and the Broncos have a brutal schedule with seven playoff teams, and didn’t exactly run away with the AFC West last year. Very cautious optimism – and a backup quarterback – are required here.

Break out the sticks

Gypsum Creek Golf Course (970-524-6200) is open. Eagle Ranch (970-328-2882) opens Saturday. Time to play golf, people.

Break out the sticks, part II

New Orleans coach Sean Payton has some time to work on his game after being suspended for the year for his involvement/cover-up in the Saints’ bounty scandal.

The NFL’s popularity is based in large part on the game’s violence. Google “NFL’s Greatest Hits” and you get YouTube video after video of bone-crunchers. (And a lot of them are the illegal drilling-the-QB-in-the-head hits and/or the wide-receiver-is-defenseless type.) The league used to make highlight films called, ironically enough, “NFL’s Greatest Hits.”

And the hit video game Madden puts an emphasis on the “hit stick” which gives the person the ability to jack up his opponent at will. This is very much like Major League Baseball turning a blind eye toward steroids and then turning around and saying, “For shame,” when big records fall.

Bounties go back to the days of George Halas and his Monsters of the Midway to former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis saying correctly, “The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard” to the Saints and like-minded defenses like the Ravens and the Steelers. (By the way, this is the best rivalry in the NFL right now because they beat the tar out of each other.)

The NFL has very legitimate legal concerns with the way it handled concussions in the past, and must appear to be concerned about player safety. Thus, coach Payton and the Saints got the kitchen sink.

See ya, Tim

Tebow has been traded again to the New York Jets. Clearly, Elway, despite his previous talk, didn’t think that Tim Tebow has the goods to be an NFL quarterback, and seized on the Manning opportunity.

I enjoyed Tebow. There was something about the Broncos turning back the clock on their offense to accommodate Tebow that ended up befuddling opposing defenses with running the college option in the pros. And then Tebow hits D.T. with a laser for overtime touchdown in OT in the playoff game against the Steelers.

There is no doubting that he needs work – and I really don’t think New York is going to be the place for him to get that work – but he wins. Let’s face it, people, the Broncos wouldn’t have been in the position to be a division champion with a chance to land Manning if it weren’t for Tebow. (I’ve also seen a left-handed, run-first guy under center who turned into a pretty good pocket passer in the 90s in San Francisco.)

Irony can be pretty ironic.

Parting shots

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been relatively uneventful, right, and that shows us that a playoff for college football wouldn’t be a good idea or anything? … Never thought I’d say this, but the Avs deserve to make the playoffs and the San Jose Sharks don’t. … So that you don’t think I’ve lost it completely, the Giants will win the NL West and baseball can’t get here soon enough.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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