We’re off to a great start ahead of Sunday’s AFC championship game, thanks to a handful of Broncos defenders who wasted no time in providing bulletin board material. That Denver defense is the league’s best, and its trash talk focused on the Patriots’ offense’s best, including Tom Brady, who the Broncos expressed great respect for even as they declared him a diaper baby who soiled his diaper and is crying about it, the little wiener baby.

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It began with DE Antonio Smith, who was asked at the Broncos’ training facility yesterday if it would be fair to label Brady a “crybaby.” Smith said, sure, that’s fair.

“That would be an accurate statement. I’ve never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady,” Antonio Smith said with a smile. “Every time he gets sacked he looks at the ref like, ‘You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.’

Smith tempered that with plenty of praise for Brady’s talent and toughness, but couldn’t resist going back to the well one more time. “He’s a great competitor,” Smith said. “He’s going to cry about getting hit, but he’s going to take the hit and keep going.” Thanks...?

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Then it was DE Malik Jackson’s turn, and he backed up his teammate’s evaluation of Brady. Speaking on PFT Live, Jackson also praised Brady, and also said he leaves the field stained with his tears.

“When we played him he definitely threw some temper tantrums,” Jackson said. “It’s one of those things that you know. He definitely [says], ‘What’s going on? Why?’ Definitely one of those whiners that whines but it’s a competitive game. I know I wouldn’t be whining like that, but some people do.”

Does Brady complain to the refs? Sure. Does he do it more than other quarterbacks? Shrug. Does it work? Almost undoubtedly. If you implant into an official’s brain that he needs to be on the lookout for dirty play, he’s going to be more likely to see it. It’s gamesmanship.

Gaming the refs was undoubtedly also the aim of Broncos LB Brandon Marshall, who appeared on PFT Live and said Rob Gronkowski regularly gets away with offensive pass interference. When asked why it’s so hard to cover Gronkowski, Marshall said,

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“I say ’cause he pushes off. I mean, he pushes off and he gets away with it about 98 percent of the time.”

This was an issue earlier in the season, when Gronk was getting flagged for OPI more than anyone else. (Which doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing it.) Gronkowski agreed that officials were targeting him, and he wasn’t called for it again after that. Marshall would like to put officials back on the lookout for Gronkowski pushing off.

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The day’s last bit of trash talk belonged to Gronk, and it was very, very Gronk. On SportsCenter, Denver CB Chris Harris Jr. was asked how to tackle Gronkowski, who is bigger and stronger than just about anyone in the NFL who regularly handles a football. Harris’s response? “You gotta hit him low—hit him in his knees.”

Gronkowski caught wind of that:

Good one, Rob.