The sky isn’t always blue Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former nemesis Priest Holmes is among the latest ex-NFL stars to speak up about the lingering physical effects of his playing career:

As much as I loved it (football), that same love now has put me in situations that I have to live with. The frontal headaches, the migraines. Laying in bed, it’s tough to get out mornings just because of the pain that is setting in with an arthritic condition, it’s things like that that you never would have really thought about.

Holmes also describes the on-field symptoms he experienced after concussions in frightening fashion:

For a moment, as bodies are peeled off a woozy ballcarrier by officials and teammates, the sky can change color or become a heavenly light.

“This color obviously isn’t going to be blue. It can be a color that can be orange. It can be red. The sky could turn green,” Holmes told The Daily. “There’s even an episode where you see a clear light, like light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Bubby Brister among latest NFLers to sue over concussions Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chase Stuart's next look at franchise record holders covers receiving stats. Of course, almost all of Denver's marks are held by newest Ring of Famer Rod Smith, who will gain induction during a Week 3 ceremony when Kubes and the Texans are in town.

But there is one big record that Rod doesn't own, and it's the Broncos standard for touchdown catches in a single season.

Like Stuart has done with his trivia questions, I'll offer a few hints. But since I haven't figured out how to hide them just yet, I'll slip them throughout the Lard.

Gold star to anyone who can guess the player without a hint.

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Chargers would rather fill Qualcomm with Chiefs fans than lower blackout threshold

Chargers Now Actively Trying To Sell Tickets To Chiefs Fans
deadspin.com

To head off embarrassment, yesterday the Chargers sent out an email blast to a number of Chiefs blogs, including Arrowhead Addict.

The good news is, that Chiefs game will be on NFL Network, so with any cable game, it’ll be shown on local TV no matter the attendance, so Chargers fans will be able to watch the game. With the Chargers seemingly on the downswing, that might also be bad news.

This is quite the pathetic aftermath to the story we noted on Tuesday regarding the Chargers' understandable reluctance to lower their blackout threshold. You stay classy, San Diego.

ESPN: It helps to have great young players

Young and (better be) ready in the NFL
espn.go.com

The 32 players picked in the first round of the 2011 draft played an average of 13 games in the 2011 NFL season. And that counts those who missed time because of injury, such as Prince Amukamara, and project quarterback Jake Locker, who played sparingly in only five games. Half of those 32 players started at least 14 games as rookies and 10 started all 16.

What this tells you is that now, when you evaluate a player you’re considering taking in the first round, you’re asking yourself all of the normal questions about whether he can play, learn, behave and lead, and you’re also asking whether he can do it right away.

We were originally sharing this for the sake of the quotes at the end from Foxy regarding Von Miller. But upon further review, we have to file this column under Everything We Write Must Unearth a Trend, Even if We Make It Up from the John Clayton School of Football Journalism.

Yeah, amazing that so many first-rounders played last year - and that Cam Newton and Von Miller were so incredible must mean that the times, they are a-changin'. To see how well that holds up, let's randomly go back 20 years to the 1991 Draft and see how much those first-rounders were coddled, because surely that was a different era of pro football.

Hmm, those 27 players averaged 13.1 games played as rookies, despite Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich being among the worst first-round QBs in NFL history (each of them played in just one game that year). This is totally different from 2011 in that...well, it isn't. We'll grant that last year's rookies did start more games than did the 1991 rookies (only five guys started 14 or more games). But we'd need snaps data to truly know how much everyone played.

Just wait until Andrew Luck and RGIII are struggling come Week 4 of this season, and Clayton & Co. pronounce that the trend of playing rookie QBs is a foolish one.

Matt Prater: Livin’ it up at the Hotel Ca-La Quinta

Broncos Kicker Matt Prater Inks Four-Year Deal, Preps to Move Out of Hotel
sportsradiointerviews.com

What are you going to do to celebrate your new deal?: “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I’m looking forward to, I’m actually in the process of looking for a condo or townhouse, because I’ve actually lived in a hotel for the last five years. So I’m excited about moving out of the hotel.”

Why were you living in a hotel for five years?: “Because I bought a house in Florida a couple years ago and just out here, it was real convenient for me. I was going two years in a row on a one-year deal so I didn’t want to buy a place and have to move.”

I think it's safe to say Matt Prater likes hotels a lot more than the average bear:

The incident started just before 3 a.m. on Aug. 2. Police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident at 9280 E. Costilla Ave., just outside the Hyatt Summerfield Suites...The witnesses said the driver fled into the hotel's lobby...After the accident, she and the man went into the hotel to get a room, but the hotel was full...Police ultimately found Prater at the nearby La Quinta hotel.

Although it's not clear if Prater has made La Quinta his hotel of choice during the last five years, I think we can all sleep better knowing their corporate slogan: "La Quinta takes care of everything, so you can take care of business kickoffs and extra points."

We can only imagine Prater's vigor were he to stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before a game.

Shanny’s control freakishness is rubbing off on his pal Fisher Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The bounty scandal took its latest expected steps yesterday, as the NFLPA filed suit against the league on behalf of suspended players Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith, alleging that the Ginger Hammer showed bias in his handling of the punishments and appeals.

Within the suit, the players stick to their claim they never participated in an organized bounty system meant to harm opponents, while the NFL responded by calling it an improper suit. In another court action, Roger Goodell filed a motion to dismiss Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against him.

And interestingly, in Goodell's letter to the suspended players turning down their appeal, he backs off the league's claim that it was Anthony Hargrove who uttered the infamous "give me my money" line.

But ultimately, Andrew Brandt thinks the players are swimming upstream and should have addressed the NFL's disciplinary system during the last CBA negotiations instead of fight it now.

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Weekly Limerick Schtick: Roger Goodell

Last week's topic was Demaryius Thomas.  This week's topic is Roger Goodell.

With Roger Goodell at the head
there's always a reason to dread
the fine and appeal
that seems so surreal
since he fellates himself instead.

Now, take your own shot.  Just remember to wear your jockstrap--tight.  We don't want to see you hurt yourself playing with meter.  

Raiders are just bad people Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There remains no real news to discuss, so we're going to keep hammering away at this Matt Prater discussion we've been having.

Much has been made in recent days about Prater's perceived clutchness, specifically in the fourth quarter and overtime. As a quick exercise, let's examine all of his 4Q and OT attempts from last season:

Week Opponent Quarter Distance Score Before Kick
7 @MIA OT 52 15-15
10 @KC 4 41 (Miss) 17-7
12 @SD 4 24 10-13
    OT 37 13-13
13 @MIN 4 46 29-32
    4 23 32-32
14 CHI 4 59 7-10
    OT 51 10-10

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Coaches film and the offensive line

Happy Fourth of July to all! Let’s keep in mind the kind of strength of character and belief in liberty that led to the historic adoption of the Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest statements of the right to personal freedom in all of history, and the sacrifices that have been made to keep it free.

Let’s also keep this one safe, folks, especially if you’re in Colorado. My heart goes out to all of the folks who have been evacuated or have lost their homes. I went through it once, and it’s an incredibly hard experience to overcome. Let’s leave fireworks to the professionals this year.

A surprising amount has been written of late regarding the availability of what’s being called ‘All-22’ or simply, ‘coaches film’. I’m prejudiced, I grant you, but I’m also strongly in favor of its availability. Refusing to let fans see it has always struck me as either a technological glitch or just foolishness on a large scale. There was a minor fuss before NFL Rewind became wildly popular, and I didn’t understand that one at the time, either.

The concern that some have expressed with All-22 film is the identical concern that the same writers who are worried about releasing coaches film should have with broadcast film. A lot of sites, including our own, use film to illustrate various concepts, to show our readers what the team either is doing or could doing, and to try to educate them on the game that all of us love without boring them to tears. Game screenshots and play diagrams certainly help. All-22 film will permit those more easily, as the medium is more accessible to creating illustrations.

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Goodell upholds bounty suspensions levied by Goodell Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans, and Happy Fourth! According to Mike Florio, Matt Prater got $4.25M in guarantees as part of his new deal - not $3M as had been reported by the DP.

If this is true, count me back on the side of disliking this contract. Prater will be making more this season than Ryan Clady and Von Miller (I know, rookie contracts, but still), and somewhere in the neighborhood of Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Tracy Porter, Chris Kuper, and Joe Mays.

This, for a 78.4% career kicker (76% last year, tied for 26th-best among kickers with 24 or more attempts).

Out of 34 active kickers, Prater ranks 29th in overall accuracy over his career. These are not figures that suggest Prater should be one of the league's highest-paid kickers.

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