RIP, Marvin Miller Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! American professional sports lost a great, influential man on Tuesday, with the passing of Marvin Miller at the age of 95.

Miller, the legendary former head of the MLB players union, helped athletes across America find their individual and collective power.

Under his watch, MLB players won free agency, the right to have their grievances arbitrated, more substantial pensions, and the ability to hire their own agents. Eventually, these improvements reached the NFL and other major sports, and we all have reason to be thankful in that regard.

The power of the individual athlete manifested in John Elway forcing his way out of Baltimore and into Denver, and that move is obviously having positive repercussions on the Broncos franchise to this day. Free agency has, of course, brought many important players to Denver, most recently Peyton Manning.

So, thank you, Marvin Miller, and RIP.

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Jay Cutler is a doting father figure Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With Peyton Manning having been sacked twice and administered a concussion test on Sunday, Jeff Legwold thinks it's suddenly time for Denver to bring out some heavier personnel groupings.

We're not buying it, for even a second.

Obviously, Denver's chances go down the tubes if Peyton gets hurt - but that has been the case since Day 1, and is also true for most NFL teams - especially those with great quarterbacks.

As Ted has been telling us since March, the Manning offense puts 11 personnel (one back, one end, three wideouts) on the field and likes to keep them out there, preferably in a slow no-huddle fashion. It is Manning and Denver's most effective grouping, and a couple of sacks is not a reason to change course there.

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Open Thread: If nobody watches Eagles/Panthers, does the game actually happen?

Andy Benoit, Sam Monson, Doug Farrar, and Benjamin Hoffman preview the matchup; here are the inactives. Enjoy the game, if you're among the five people watching it.

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Fat Camp: Using nickel against a team that can’t throw the ball

Happy Monday, friends.  I wanted to talk a little bit about something that both Doug and TJ made mention of in passing, and that was the strange decision by the Broncos to use a lot of nickel personnel in yesterday’s game against the Chiefs. 

I haven’t seen any snap counts published yet, but when we do, we’re going to see that both Chris Harris and Tony Carter played a lot of snaps, and that the Chiefs didn’t play very much in three-WR personnel.  Usually, a defense will match the offensive personnel grouping, with a third CB coming on the field to match a third WR.  The fact that the Broncos chose to use Champ Bailey, Harris, and Carter as much as they did, and irrespective of the offensive personnel grouping, seems to tell us something interesting.

The best reason to use offensive sub packages is that it usually forces a defense to remove a LB from the game who is a better football player than the DB who replaces him.  Since it’s easier to find effective WRs than it is to find CBs, the general assumption that third WRs are better than third CBs is typically a sound one.

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Broncos sign Jacob Hester; Ayers takes leave

As expected, the Broncos announced the signing today of  running back Jacob Hester, formerly of the Chargers. They also brought Jeremiah Johnson back to the practice squad, as had been reported over the weekend.

Hester (5-11, 235) is a fifth-year player out of LSU who was taken by San Diego with the 69th-overall pick in the 2008 Draft. He started 23 of the 62 games he played for the Chargers, accumulating 319 yards and one touchdown on 94 rushes, plus 308 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 55 catches.

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Welcome home, Jake

Jake Plummer Rekindles His Love for the Game He Left
www.nytimes.com

Plummer said fans did double-takes when they saw him. But as the game continued, he reminisced with longtime security guards, talked with a young fan whose parents had told him not to bother Plummer, high-fived a mascot and was treated to a few beers by fans who said they remembered him fondly.

Plummer later slipped down to the sideline to watch Manning and Roethlisberger, who had each ruined his postseason hopes. But Plummer did not dwell on that. He cheered on the Broncos’ defense, the way he used to as a player, when he wanted to get back out onto the field as quickly as possible.

After the Broncos won, 31-19, Plummer sat on a patch of grass outside and watched jubilant fans exit the stadium.

“I used to play a big part of that,” Plummer said. “Sending people out of the stadium ecstatic and full of energy.”

Nothing was ever right about how the Snake left the Broncos, or Denver - it's a pleasure to learn he's back in town, and again a part of the Broncos family.

Thank You, Romeo Crennel Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've spent the past eight months and six days thanking John Elway, for having turned our Broncos - by virtue of one pair of deft transactions - from self-promoting circus to legit contender characterized by intense professionalism.

Today, our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, who gift-wrapped yesterday's 17-9 game (GamebookANS box score) in a roll of Foxball-like (and then some) paper.

Not only did KC have Peyton Hillis attempt a pass to Brady Quinn on third-and-three of their game-opening, Bronco-mauling opening drive, but Romeo doubled down on the stupidity by going for the field goal when the ill-conceived throw failed. It was early four-down territory for the Chiefs, but in a game where Crennel and his players were never, ever thinking ahead, Denver escaped what seemed sure to be a 7-0 deficit.

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Gut Reaction: Week 12 - Broncos @ Chiefs

Kansas City ain't what it used to be.

Arrowhead Stadium used to rival the Circus Maximus.  Now it simply reeks.

The smell?  The stench of Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel.

Sure, the Broncos struggled throughout most of the game.  And earlier in the week, Peyton Manning put on a straight face and said the Chiefs were a tough out.  At one point, he even said, "They've got a lot of good players."

As it turns out, Manning was right, but not correct enough for the Broncos to actually lose to a bad team.

You see, good means very little when you're 1-10, without a solution at quarterback, and you're coaching not to lose.

In fact, 1-10 just stinks.  Here in Denver, we don't mind.  We'll just plug our noses.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 12

Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos!

Poll question added: So, Broncos fans - with Denver at 8-3 and the AFCW almost locked up, who are you rooting for in today's Ravens/Chargers game? The magic number for a Denver AFCW title (combination of Broncos wins, Chargers losses) is just two, while the Broncos are battling the Ravens for playoff seeding in the AFC.

We're thinking that Broncos Country should be rooting for San Diego, as difficult as that may be. What say you?

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Crennel has had Peyton’s number Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've all read countless chronicles of Peyton Manning's comeback from injury, and his rehabilitation at Duke with David Cutcliffe.

But each time, there are some new nuggets to keep our attention.

The latest such column is from Sam Farmer of the LA Times, who speaks with all of the usual characters, plus the original Fat Man, in doing his research.

Manning finally comes out and tells Farmer that he simply cannot throw the ball as far as he used to, even calling his new style of play as the normally dreaded "dinking and dunking." John Fox says he appreciates that Peyton takes copious notes from Fox's meetings with the team, and that his own leadership talking points are repeated by the QB later on each week.

It's a lot of the same old stuff, but there's enough new information to make it a worthwhile read. (via Dan Pompei)

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