Replacement refs like lamp Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held another padless practice (BTVphotos) yesterday before heading to Arizona for tomorrow morning's tonight's game against the Cardinals.

Chris Kuper and Tony Hills were again the only nonparticipants; Jim Leonhard practiced and could play tonight, while Keith Brooking was limited yesterday and thus unlikely to play.

Brock Osweiler (video) spoke after practice; looking back to rookie minicamp, BO says he was essentially drowning in the playbook at the time, and is now "fairly comfortable" with its contents. The former Sun Devil expects to have plenty of acquaintances in attendance tonight in Glendale.

More importantly, tonight will mark the final chance for several players to make an impression on the Broncos' coaches, and perhaps put something good on tape to prompt another team to pick them up if they're one of tomorrow's 20 cuts. Of course, there's also the chance that the last men to make the final 53 will later be jettisonned in favor of other squads' cuts.

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A Second Helping of Manny Ramirez vs the 49ers

I really didn’t know much about Manny Ramirez until recently. That’s no shock - he was out of football entirely for much of 2010 before Denver signed him to a  future contract in January of 2011. He played in two games for Denver last year and was inactive for the other sixteen games, including playoffs.

But because Manny’s stepping in for Chris Kuper until Kupe’s forearm heals, I took a long look at his performance against San Francisco on Sunday.

Backstory: Manny was chosen by Detroit in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2007 Draft. He appeared in one game as a rookie on special teams, then moved up to playing in four games the next year, three of them starts - two at right guard, one at left guard. He didn’t have a penalty, but gave up two sacks. The following year, things changed.

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UGH

NFL to use replacement refs
espn.go.com

The NFL will open the regular season with replacement officials.

Replacements will be on the field beginning next Wednesday night when the Cowboys visit the Giants to open the season, league executive Ray Anderson told the 32 teams.

FWIW, Andrew Brandt thinks this impasse will end within a week. Let's hope he's right.

Marcus Thomas unleashes Twitter hell on ‘Madden 13’

Giants DT Marcus Thomas pleads with 'Madden 13' to fix his profile photo
www.cbssports.com

Giants defensive tackle Marcus Thomas—not to be confused with running back Marcus Thomas who had a cup of coffee with the Lions in 2008 and waived by the Broncos in 2009—is fed up. The six-year vet thinks it’s been long enough for the folks at Madden to put a face with a name. Specifically: Thomas’ face with his Madden bio. After exhausting all options (we’re speculating here; for all we know, before Tuesday the extent of Thomas’ gripes may have consisted of cursing EA every time he fired up a game), the New York defender took to Twitter to publicly lodge a complaint…But thanks to the power of the internet, word got back to Donny Moore, whose Twitter bio reads “Madden NFL Live Content Producer & Ratings Czar.” Moore was apologetic and promised to fix the mistake…This prompted a change of heart from Thomas, who tweeted “Thanks, Mr. Madden. I love you.” We’re still not clear if Thomas knows that John Madden isn’t actually a programmer, just the face of a game that’s been around for nearly 20 years. Either way, mystery solved, all is right in the world. Now if Madden could just find a way to help the Jets score a touchdown…

Because how you look on Madden 13 echoes throughout eternity.

Gracias, John Elway

Poetry in demotion:

Chargers fielding team of undrafted rookies Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Caleb Hanie is likely to be the team's starting QB tomorrow night in Arizona, with ASU alum Brock Osweiler following him into the game for an early homecoming.

Of course, with 20 roster cuts looming the next day, those on the bubble will likely need to plead their cases via special teams play.

Whether this is the case for Knowshon Moreno - who is the most discussed bubble player, and for good reason - remains to be seen. According to Jeff Legwold, Knowshon has not take a single ST snap this summer, so it wouldn't make sense for him to pop that cherry tomorrow night in live action.

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Raiders finally understand who their fans are Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! Denver is edging its way to better health, as veteran defenders Keith Brooking and Jim Leonhard were full participants in the team's (unpadded) practice on Tuesday (photos).

Brooking says he feels great, but isn't sure whether he'll play on Thursday night at Arizona.

Omar Bolden (knee) and Lance Ball (ribs) both practiced after suffering minor injuries on Sunday, while Tony Hills (neck) was sidelined along with Chris Kuper, who is still recovering from his broken forearm.

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Jason Garrett loses mind, compares Romo to Elway

Cowboys' Romo already in mental battle against Giants' D; mail
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Romo was better last year than our memories of him: 66 percent accuracy (and one memorable overthrow of Miles Austin in the close December loss to New York), 4,184 yards passing, plus-21 TD-INT ratio, a 102.5 rating. “He’s more than capable of winning a Super Bowl in this league,’’ Jason Garrett told me earlier in the day. “Look at John Elway. He went 14, 15 years without winning one, and all of a sudden Denver runs it better and plays better defense, and he wins two, and now people think of him as a top three quarterback of all time. With Tony, we’ve just got to be better around him, and I think we will be.’‘

Garrett was going to bat for his boy Romo--we get that.  But whipping out the John Elway comp is simply not the way to go about it.  John Elway was a Hall-of-Fame quarterback whether he won a Super Bowl or not.  He carried several mediocre Broncos teams (if we're being honest, my orange-and-blue bleeding friends) to the Super Bowl.  

What has Tony Romo done with superior talent?  Nada, amigo.

PMFM makes Tracy Porter an offer he can’t refuse

Help me help you: Peyton Manning's pursuit of perfection influences his new teammates
espn.go.com

When practice started this spring, Porter quickly picked off Manning again. A few plays later, Manning burned Porter deep.

As he walked off the field, the defensive back felt a hand on his shoulder. It was the quarterback, who said: “You tell me what I did wrong on that first play and I’ll tell you what you did wrong on that next play. That’s the only way we’re going to get better. Deal?”

Months later, Porter still shakes his head while telling the story. “Dang right, that was a deal,” he says. “He wants me to be better so he can be better. And he wants to be better to help me get better. I’ll follow a man like that into any game, anywhere, any way.”

Gotta admit that ESPN Mag has improved over the past year or so, even if we'd never subscribe to it by choice (it's a necessary evil of the necessary evil that is ESPN Insider). Anyway, this is an excellent article about the influence Peyton Manning has had at Dove Valley.

There are plenty of other great quotes to take away from the piece, but here's hoping that Greg Orton makes it through to Denver's practice squad, because he sounds like one sharp individual.

Thank Goodness Pat Bowlen is nothing like Jerry Jones Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Make sure you're sitting down for this one. It's a real shocker:

An appeals court has ruled that D.J. Williams's six-game suspension for having submitted a non-human urine sample should not be overturned. However, the three-judge panel did say the league and players union need to improve the collection process, and it's hard not to agree with that.

After all, D.J. wouldn't have had the chance to futz around with his bottle of liquid if the collector were allowed into the locker room. What a strange job, right?

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