Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe turns 44 today, which also happens to be the retired number of fellow Broncos HOFer Floyd Little. Happy Birthday, Shay!
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team released its official training camp schedule yesterday; as expected, it will kick off a month from today at Dove Valley.
This means we're facing the dead zone for NFL news, which in turn means the Lard is going to have a whole lot of obscure stories, with plenty of them focused on old/former friends.
Now, we have some readers who are dead tired of reading about Timmy Tebow and my opinion of the punt protector. Others wonder why we're still bothering with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and some never tire of discussing Kyle Orton and his 12-21 record in Denver. Some have such disdain for NFL players that we can't help but wonder why they bother to watch at all.
To this end, and thanks to a suggestion from reader @wyoeng, we're going to devote a new section of the Lard to ex-Broncos, and as per reader @schmendrick12, it will be dubbed Offal. For those unfamiliar with the term, offal (pronounced like awful) refers to the delicious organs of an animal which most Americans probably think are disgusting, and you do know what goes into your hot dogs, right? Offal includes all sorts of tasty stuff including brains, hearts, livers, kidneys, tripe, and of course, testicles.
With OTAs behind them, the Broncos are off until the two-a-days of training camp start on July 25. Plenty of what emerged from OTAs is worth noting:
Peyton Manning isn’t at full strength yet, which is somewhat terrifying if you’re on the defense. He certainly didn’t have much trouble finding his rhythm or accuracy. Second-round pick Brock Osweiler got high marks from onlookers such as Cecil Lammey in terms of his improvement since the winter, and quarterbacks coach Adam Gase commented on his innate leadership, grasp of the playbook, and even-minded approach to the situation.
Sixth-rounder Danny Trevathan scored some immediate points by absorbing the playbook like a human sponge - the coaches looked at that coupled with his ability to move, and quickly put him with the first team nickel package at Will linebacker. With D.J. Williams’s still challenging his six-game suspension for ‘non-human urine’ in his urinalysis, plus a DUI trial yet to be dealt with, Danny will be fighting against Nate Irving and Wesley Woodyard for game reps at weakside linebacker.
Marshallisms: Bears WR on Cutler, anger, Twitter, fans and more
On receivers coaches:
“To be honest (when I arrived in Miami) I was like, ‘You know, I need some coaching. Right now I’m coming off my natural ability. I want a coach who’s played the position or played the game before, who knows and understands the receivers position. So they can take me and my world to a whole other level.’ I haven’t had a good coach as far as that receiving position since I’ve been in the NFL .... As far as technique and someone who understands the game, the last time I had a good receiving coach was DJ McCarthy in college.”
He's already dumped on every QB he's played with save Cutler, so might as well move on to WR coaches, right? Marshall's position coaches in Denver were Adam Gase (2009), Jedd Fisch (08), and Steve Watson (06-07), who of course played nine seasons with the Broncos, despite BMarsh's suggestion that none of his coaches possessed firsthand knowledge of the position.
Brandon also provides some insight to the supposed genius of Jeremy Bates, who apparently had Cutler and Marshall play sandlot football in Denver.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Naturally, Doug Farrar is among those celebrating the forthcoming availability of All-22 film, and he details its immense value with an example from the most recent Super Bowl.
Unlike the handwringing provincialism of folks like Charley Casserly, Farrar acknowledges that simply having access to All-22 film will not be the same as understanding what is actually going on, but he makes the astute point that there will be people who take the time to study, and those who won't.
This cannot be stressed enough. There's all this talk of more misinformation being out there, and that just doesn't make sense. Bad info tends to come from the same sources. What, so Adam Schein will tell us some guy blew a coverage assignment and everyone will take his word for it? The people who already get their misinformation from Schein will still be getting their misinformation from Schein. Those who choose to get their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted, will still be getting their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted.
Farrar also calls for players and coaches to supplement the visual gold mine by speaking openly about what they are/were trying to accomplish on the field, thus helping us confirm or upend what we'll have seen on film.
Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! From Chicago Tribune writer Jared Hopkins comes a lengthy, detailed profile of old friend Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Bears and reunited with his pal Jay Cutler earlier this offseason.
It's a unique story, in that Hopkins began his research by speaking with relatives and friends of Brandon's in his hometown Pittsburgh, prompting a call from Marshall himself, along with an invitation into his current home in Florida. Hopkins then spends a few days at Marshall's mansion, observing Brandon's relationship with his wife and hearing about their newfound devotion to Christianity.
Most interesting, if not a surprise, is that Marshall is apparently a lot like his father, a highly successful former high school quarterback whose life has been marked by frequent violence against women. And, despite Marshall and Hopkins spending several days together in close company, Brandon never quite opens up to the reporter, eventually turning on Hopkins after another meeting. In other words, it's a lot of what we've already come to know of Marshall - hard to tell when he's being sincere, if ever, and hard to believe he's actually changed.
Tomlinson considered continuing career in -- gasp! -- Denver
“The only team I really gave a thought to was the Broncos, because of Peyton,” Tomlinson said Saturday, referring, of course, to Denver’s signing of quarterback Peyton Manning. “We talked. Tom (Condon, Tomlinson’s agent) talked with them ... It made me pause a little (and think), ‘Was this what I really want to do?’ … I said, ‘They got Peyton, they have a good defense already; they went deep in the playoffs with Tim Tebow, what are they going to do with Peyton?’ I seriously thought about it.”
“That was the only reason I considered Denver,” he said. “At the same time, I thought, ‘How much is a Super Bowl ring really going to do for you at this point?’ Because it’s not with the team I really wanted to do it with.”
It's impossible to discern from Kevin Acee's story whether it was the Broncos or Tomlinson's agent, Tom Condon, who initiated contact between the two sides. Also unclear is whether discussions went any further than a preliminary feeler; Condon, of course, also represents Peyton Manning. But however much Tomlinson might have left in the tank, one thirtysomething running back would seem enough for Denver's roster, so it's hard to imagine the Broncos would have been willing to offer any guaranteed money to add the NFL's fifth all-time leading rusher.
Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to the Ginger Hammer requesting that the league reopen its investigation of the bounty allegations against the Saints.
In speaking to PFT about the issue, Smith cited "all of the recantations and all of the contradictions" within the league's evidence as reasons to revisit the investigation.
Meanwhile, in an interview on SiriusXM, former Saints LB Scott Fujita said of greeting Goodell at Monday's appeal hearing:
I saw him in the [appeal] hearings and he offered to shake all of our hands. Some of the other players didn't, but I went ahead and shook his hand, and I just said to him, 'What the hell are you doing, Roger?' He had nothing to say. His face sure turned red, though.
Oddly, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash tells Mike Florio the league never issues discipline based upon the intent of players. Yet, isn't that the whole point of the bounty suspensions?
Happy Friday, friends. I am taking a break from packing for my upcoming move to bring you Part 2 of my series about the Bartlett Defense, which I am inventing as I go. Here is Part 1.
As you see, I set the stage for laying out the strategy and tactics of a defense by beginning with a personnel grouping, one which doesn’t really fit the standard 4-3 or 3-4 convention. You could call it a 4-2-5, or a 3-3-5, or a 3.5-3.5-4, with the two inside DBs being half-LBs, but the thing is, it doesn’t matter how you identify the positions that each player plays. It may confuse Pro Bowl voters and idiot reporters, but you can’t really worry about that when you’re trying to design a winning defense.
Today, we’re going to holistically begin to take stock of where an every-down big nickel grouping leaves us in terms of defending the whole football field. As compares to a more traditional defense, strictly by considering personnel, the Bartlett defense is going to be more effective in covering the downfield passing game, and less effective in stopping the power run game.
On if he and Shockey have worked things out:
“I saw Jeremy about a week after it all went down at a Heat game … and I told him, I said, ‘I apologize for putting it on the street level and making it derogatory towards you.’ The information that was passed to me, I stand by my source, but I hate that I put it on a level, that wasn’t the way it should be. … That’s what I apologized for, because I put it on a way lower level than it should’ve been. It was something serious that never shoulda went on and stuff like that. So that’s the problem I have with myself and what I said to him.”
On if Shockey is OK with him:
“The two times I’ve seen him I haven’t had a problem with him, but if he does we can go out in the grass and get it over with. … I don’t have a problem with getting my knuckles a little scarred up.”