The Daily Lard 1-27-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! There's apparently quite the rift between Peyton Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay, who is rather unhappy about Manning's comments to the Indy Star regarding the sudden and vast changes within the organization earlier in the week. Manning had said,

It's not a real good environment down there right now, to say the least. Everybody's walking around on eggshells. I don't recognize our building right now. There's such complete and total change...I mean, it's 20 degrees, it's snowing, the building is absolutely empty except when you see coaches cleaning out their offices...It's unfortunate because so many of them have been such a big part of so many big wins here, and this is so ... sudden. Their keys didn't work the next day. There's no other way to do it?

Irsay's response yesterday:

He’s a politician...I don’t think it’s in a good interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t. He’s such a big part of that and everything else, but the horseshoe always comes first....I think one thing that he’s always known, because he’s been around it so long, is you keep it in the family.

Sounds like it's the end of the Manning Era in Indy, as Phillip Wilson is ready to accept; Bob Kravitz thinks the two men should bury the hatchet before moving on; Dan Wetzel says this all started with Rob Lowe's tweet.

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Shanny on what to look for in a QB

2012 Senior Bowl Blog
www.draftcountdown.com

I asked Washington Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan what qualities he looks for in a quarterback and this was his answer:

“I’m asked that all the time and it is really hard to pinpoint it. Cause there is so many things you look for. A guy’s gotta be competitive, very competitive. A guy’s gotta be bright, extremely bright. You’d like a guy that is an athlete that can make plays on his own sometimes. Usually if he doesn’t have that athletic ability he’s got to be a little bit taller because he can see and be able to dump the ball off instead of using his feet. But at the end of the day there is so many things you look for and it’s always hard to find the prototype guy and a lot of times you have to adjust your offense to the type of quarterback you do have.”

Honoring the Broncos’ 2012 Pro Bowlers

Denver found itself on the receiving end of a lot of awards this season:  from all-rookie teams to the Pro Bowl, it’s something that the team hasn’t found itself getting a lot of over the past few years. Chris Harris and Von Miller made the Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team; Orlando Franklin joined them on Mike Tanier's squad. Franklin was also only the second rookie in Broncos history to start at RT over the season and led the team in rushes through his slot for the season. Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey, Ryan Clady, Willis McGahee and Brian Dawkins all made the Pro Bowl.

Tim Tebow, Matt Prater and Britton Colquitt were all named as alternates. Those three won't play, and Dawkins may not either, due to his neck injury, but each deserves congratulations for the recognition that they’re getting. This is a very different Denver squad from last year, even if many of the names are the same.

Both offensive players who are in, Clady and McGahee, also got in due to injuries to Jake Long and Arian Foster, respectively. Let’s look at each:

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Tebow and homeschooling hit the stage yet again

‘Tim Tebow homeschool law’ gains momentum in Virginia
www.washingtonpost.com

There are three bills in the Virginia legislature that are modeled after a Florida law informally known as the “Tim Tebow law,” which was passed in 1996 and gave the homeschooled Tebow a chance to play for local private and public schools on his way to an NFL career. Similar legislation has failed in Virginia in previous years. But now Republicans control the governorship and the General Assembly; the recent change in control in the Senate makes it more likely that some form of this law could pass in the state. McDonnell said earlier this month that he would support it. He expressed the view of those who support it by saying on a radio show: “Home-school parents pay taxes like everybody else. It’s just fair.”

But opponents don’t see it that way…The Virginia Association of School Superintendents is opposed, as is the Virginia Education Association, which represents more than 60,000 public school teachers. Another foe is the chairman of the House Education Committee, a Republican from Virginia Beach named Robert Tata, who was a successful high school coach and a University of Virginia athlete who played briefly for the NFL’s Detroit Lions, the Associated Press reported. Tata opposes allowing homeschooled students to play on local sports teams in part because he worries that coaches will game the system by recruiting top players. Other opponents say that allowing homeschoolers to play for local teams would devastate eligibility and participation requirements and would be unfair to full-time students and teachers.

Homeschooling and sports is one of those gray and nuanced areas in which, depending on your standing, you can make a case either way.  So, have at it.

The Daily Lard 1-26-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The self-appointed Grand Poobah of Denver sports has proclaimed:

  1. Denver should go with Richard Smith at DC, because Woody likes the job he did with the linebackers this year.
  2. For some reason, Woody thinks Chuck Pagano (who took the Colts job) was a possibility, even though he was already a DC in Baltimore. Really, this is just some mental masturbation so that after Pagano has success in Indy, Woodrow can say he wanted Denver to hire him.
  3. He says Eddie Royal "really wants to return" and even posits that he "probably will." Yeah, right.
  4. Who else but Woody would have the chutzpah to apply the "bust" label to a seventh-round pick who played in 15 games (three starts) like he did with Virgil Green? Paige even says Green and fellow rookie Julius Thomas need to "get a clue."
  5. He expects the Broncos to trade out of the first round. This is called throwing $#!t against the wall in hopes of it sticking.
  6. Woody doesn't expect the Broncos to draft a QB, and of course he doesn't think they should.
  7. He actually extends an olive branch out to Mike McCoy and praises the stellar work he did this year. Let's see if his minions do the same...
  8. And, to top it all off, Woody says John Elway got too much credit for his comeback wins just as Tim Tebow does. And, wait for it...wait for it...John Elway was never a pure pocket passer. Only the greatest QB prospect in perhaps the history of the sport, but he was just an earlier version of Tebow. They're basically the same guy!

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Fox: I’ll get to it eventually

John Fox in no rush to find Broncos defensive coordinator
www.denverpost.com

“I don’t really have a direction set, not yet,” Fox said. “We’ll sit down as a staff as we get away from the Senior Bowl and put a plan together.”

“I guess I’d like to have someone in place some time before next season, that’s the deadline,” Fox said, laughing. “More than likely, we’ll feel good about it when we make a move. But we’ll do what think would be the best fit and we’ll keep trying to make the kind of progress we want on that side of the ball.”

That's what I like about The Marlboro Man: he's so cool, he's not on anyone's timeline but his own.

Tebow out of Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Tim Tebow backing out of AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am due to injury: report
www.nydailynews.com

It looks like America will have to wait to see if Tim Tebow’s drives off the tee are as erratic as his throws on the football field.

The Denver Broncos quarterback has reportedly backed out of next month’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am due to injuries he suffered in the Broncos’ AFC Divisional playoff loss to the New England Patriots a little over two weeks ago.

Ten thoughts from the AFC championship game

1. The Pats are driving deep, early on, and Ravens DE Paul Kruger sacks NE QB Tom Brady off the right tackle edge. The announcer said that he got RT Nate Solder leaning forward, but that wasn’t it - I went back several times to watch it because I love trench fighting. Kruger used fast stutter-steps, ala basketball, to get Solder flat-footed for a quick moment, and when that happened he punched hard with his right hand (legally) as he brought his left arm over and in front of himself in a swim move: he just flew past Nate. If you want to see a great pass rushing move, this one works fine. I know that Von Miller has struggled a times with Solder, who’s a fine young RT. He may want to work this move in.

2.  Patriots NT Vince Wilfork was unstoppable against Denver, but I think that he was even meaner against the Ravens. It takes Denver center J.D. Walton off the hook a little - not a lot, but a little. Wilfork seems to be playing at his highest level in a long time - congratulations to the big fella.

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The Daily Lard 1-25-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold says Denver LB coach Richard Smith and former Jags HC Jack Del Rio are the most likely replacements for Dennis Allen, who left to take the head job in Oakland. Meanwhile, Andrew Mason adds ex-Rams DC Ken Flajole, Packers DL coach Mike Trgovac and Cowboys DL coach Brian Baker as possible candidates; all had coached on John Fox's defensive staff with the Panthers.

Although the glitziest name (by far) among these options, it's worth noting that Del Rio would presumably only take an assistant position as a precursor to lining himself up for another head gig elsewhere. So even if he were to take the job that Mason suggests could be "his to turn down," were Del Rio to be successful in Denver, he'd likely be out the door shortly thereafter. What's the priority for Fox? Get the best man for the job, period? Or, the best man for the job who is also likely to stick around beyond one year? Of course, it could be that Fox believes he can always refill the position with a qualified coach, and one can never know when a coach will get called upon for a promotion - after all, the presumption in this space had been that Allen's youth and relative inexperience would keep him in Denver for at least another year. So much for that.

Thanks, Dennis Allen, for returning the Broncos defense to respectability - it was no minor task. May you have many a second-place finish in your future.

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Raiders to hire Dennis Allen as head coach

The Broncos have lost defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to Oakland, where he will take over as their new head coach. Denver will again be searching for someone new to run their defense and will start the 2012 season with their seventh DC in  as many seasons. Allen had been an assistant for the Saints under DC Gregg Williams before John Fox made him a coordinator for the first time, and like Williams he showed himself a confident and aggressive coach unafraid to dictate terms to opposing offenses.

There's been some speculation that ex-Jags coach Jack Del Rio is a possibility, and Dave Krieger says current Denver LB coach Richard Smith is another option. Del Rio was the Carolina DC for one season under Fox in 2002 before taking the head job in Jacksonville, while Smith has been a DC in Miami (2005) and Houston (2006-08).

2014 Offseason

Offseason coverage