Another reason to appreciate the Oakland Raiders

Deep thoughts, cheap shots & bon mots ...
www.sfgate.com

The Raiders’ new regime gets its first test with linebacker Rolando McClain, recently sentenced to 180 days in jail. If Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are serious about building with character, they’ll ease McClain out of the Raiders’ mix, making an eloquent statement: “That’s not how we roll.”

Hey kids, remember that time when the Broncos were thinking about drafting Rolando McClain at #11 in the 2010 Draft?

Me, too. Thankfully, the Oakland Raiders took that decision out of Josh McDaniels's hands and took McClain at #8.

The debate at the time was whether McClain's Crohn's Disease (did he have it or didn't he?) would affect him on the field.  As it turns out, there were bigger concerns, like McClain's penchant for discharging firearms.

Don't count on Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen purging McClain from the Raiders just yet, however.  McClain is only 23, and although he's been pretty average so far in his career, they're not about to divest themselves of the only decent linebacker they've got, unless you count Aaron Turmeric Curry as a viable option.

No matter how the Raiders play this one, you can bet on one thing: it's good for the Denver Broncos.

The Daily Lard 5-20-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mark Kiszla thinks Rod Smith falls a bit short of HOF worthiness (agreed), but he also believes the Broncos should retire his #80.

Yet, with offseason rosters expanded to 90 players these days, retiring numbers gets to be a matter of (im)practicality. Eventually, you start running out of numbers to use, even though you can always unretire a number whenever you bring in a GOAT like PMFM.

Were Smith's number to be retired, what about that of Shannon Sharpe? Smith's practice squad teammate Tom Nalen? They both meant as much to Denver's successes, and as seventh-round picks, the unlikelihood of their personal achievements is almost as impressive as what Smith overcame. And had Mike Shanahan kept his own hubris in check and not allowed Shannon to walk in 2000, all three would be exclusively Denver Broncos.

Denver's Ring of Fame is an exclusive enough club, with Smith set to become the team's 23rd inductee. Let's worry about honoring every deserving Bronco before we consider elevating them to John Elway's level.

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Broncos and Ryan Clady talking extension

Broncos, Ryan Clady begin to address contract extension
www.denverpost.com

The Broncos have opened contract-extension talks with Ryan Clady, according to several NFL sources.

The left tackle is in the final year of his deal that will pay him $3.5 million in 2012. The franchise tag for left tackles this season was $9.4 million.

While the Broncos and Clady’s agent are talking, it may be a while before the two sides are close to an agreement.

This move by the Broncos is a prudent one.  While Clady isn't the Hall of Famer he appeared in his first season, he's probably among the top ten left tackles in the league today.  And, as Klis notes, Clady entered the league as a dominant pass blocker.  He's much more adept at run blocking now. 

Like shutdown cornerbacks, left tackles don't grow on trees.   If Clady can stay off the basketball court, this move is a no brainer.

Put Simon Fletcher in the Ring of Fame before Broncos fans puke

The Broncos added one of the all-time greats to their Ring of Fame earlier in the week in the form of wide receiver (and Eddie Kennison's tormentor) Rod Smith.

I should have enjoyed the announcement more than I did: Smith is my personal all-time favorite Denver Bronco. Unfortunately, all the announcement did was remind me that Simon Fletcher, the Broncos' all-time sack leader, is not in Mr. Smith's company; further, it makes me wonder if the Broncos' organization thinks we're all that stupid.

It makes me want to puke--even more than Jim Saccomano's twitter feed.

Can you think of one good reason Fletcher should be excluded from the Ring of Fame?  I can't, and it appears as if John Elway can't either.  As Mike Klis wrote last month, there was a press conference in which the current Broncos exec, and former teammate of Fletcher, actually believed for a few minutes that Fletcher had been elected.  Elway said at the time:

“Perfect. He’s a guy that was a great player and a guy I really enjoyed having as a teammate. He was a great football, a guy with a great sense of humor and a great teammate but a good man, too. I’m thrilled for Simon, it’s a well-deserved honor because he did have so many great years for the Broncos back in the late 80s early 90s. He was a guy, second round draft pick? Really did a great job. I’m really happy for Simon. An honor well deserved.”

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The Daily Lard 5-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former CU Buffs and Patriots LB Ted Johnson, who retired in 2005 due to the after effects of the head injuries he suffered in his 10 years in the league, spoke at a conference on pediatric concussions at Boston Children's Hospital yesterday.

During his 30-minute speech, Johnson said he suffered 100-150 concussions during his career, and he told the conference he's certain that head injuries played a role in the suicide of Junior Seau:

It's corrode or explode. And it all exploded by killing (himself). You can't tell me the head trauma he had over his career didn't affect him. That was the tip of the tipping point for me. ... It makes you take inventory on your own mortality. If that can happen to him, I've got to be more diligent in how I live my life. 'Cause it's a road I don't want to go down.

The ex-LB hopes players will be more forthcoming about their own head injuries, admitting that he "felt compelled to play against doctors' orders" by coach Bill Belichick in 2002.

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Who’s gonna smoke some weed tonight? Your favorite NFL player, that’s who

Brown: At least 50 percent of NFL players smoke pot
www.nfl.com

Lomas Brown, now an ESPN analyst, claims at least 50 percent of NFL players likely smoke marijuana, according to a report in the Detroit News. “I just don’t think you’ll be able to curb this,” Brown told the newspaper. In Brown’s eyes, this is actually an improvement. Brown claims up to 90 percent of players league-wide smoked marijuana when he began his career with the Lions in 1985.  It falls in line with some recent findings:

• Four out of 10 draft-eligible prospects from the 2012 class failed at least one school-administered drug test for marijuana; two in 10 failed multiple times, per a CBS Sports report from April.

• “About 70 percent” of prospects at the combine admitted to using marijuana, per an ESPN report.

• A 2009 report by the NCAA stated 26.7 percent of all football players admitted using marijuana over the past 12 months, the highest number of any athlete group they surveyed.

You'd think the boys down at the league office would realize the opportunity that sits in front of them.  If they can shift attention away from concussions and to purging of the deadly evil that is The Chronic out of our national pastime, they might just buy themselves a few years from public scorn over players' pensions, too.

Check yourself, Roger Goodell, before you wreck yourself.  Or better yet, get out your bong and groove to one of the better pot-smoking songs you'll ever find right here and now:

Broncos sign 5th rounder Malik Jackson

Per the official Twitter page of the Denver Broncos:

The Broncos have signed DE Malik Jackson, the second 2012 draft pick to sign with the team.

So that's two down and five to go. A day before, the Broncos took care of Omar Bolden--not in a Sopranos way, mind you, but in a hey, rookie, you can carry these sweaty jockstraps to the laundry room now way.

Del Rio: Top 10 or bust

New Broncos Coordinator Jack Del Rio says Denver Expects to have a Top-10 Defense
sportsradiointerviews.com

“...We’ve established high expectations, we expect to be a top-10, if not better, defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there but that’s what our goals are…”

“...the areas we were good at last year we want to build on. Getting off on third down was a strength of this defense for sure. But at the end of the day, it was 24th in points allowed, 20th in yards allowed, and those aren’t numbers that we’re looking for. So we gotta do some work up front, making sure that we can keep people from running it down our throats a little bit. We gave up too many explosive plays in the run and the pass game…”

It's good to have goals.  All the great ones do.  Kobayashi didn't eat 337 hot wings at Wing Bowl 20 without concrete and measurable objectives (he was shooting for 300; he messed around and got a triple double).

Jack Del Rio doesn't know jack about eating hot wings. But he does know great defense.  The top 10 sounds like a good place to start to us.

Stop your sucker bitching

This article is not going to be about football, so if you’re the type of ninny who thinks you should try to keep us in a “football only” box, you can drop off the call right now.  This is an article about IAOFM, and you, and the world we share.  Broncos fans who meet three criteria tend to read this website, over all the others that are available:

  1. They have at least half a brain, and would like to think about non-obvious football topics
  2. They have a sense of humor (mostly)
  3. They’ve heard of us

Whether you realize it or not, this website intentionally occupies the educated/intelligent fan space in Broncos Country.  That was a marketing decision made way back when, and it’s the reason you don’t see us adding writers to the staff.  The same parts that get put into a Chevy Cobalt don’t get used in a Mercedes S Class.

We don’t write for dumb people, because we figure they have plenty of other choices out there where the writing is congruous with their reading levels.  IAOFM will never dumb anything down, you can be assured of that.  I know that a lot of our long-time readers are happy about that, and don’t want that to change, and personally, those are the people I write for.

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The Daily Lard 5-18-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Perhaps Matt Prater hasn't signed his franchise tag because he's been waiting for someone else to set the market.

Well, consider it set.

Tampa Bay inked their kicker Connor Barth to a four-year deal worth a total of $13.2M, including $4M in guarantees, which is a modest increase over the $2.6M franchise tag tendered to Barth (same amount as Prater).

Of the five kickers to be tagged this offseason, Barth is the only one with a long-term deal; Cincy's Mike Nugent and Cleveland's Phil Dawson ($3.81M) signed their one-year tenders, while Prater and Jacksonville's Josh Scobee have not. As for unrestricted free agent kickers, none of them got a whole lot of cash this offseason; John Kasay got an undisclosed one-year deal in New Orleans, Arizona gave Jay Feely $2.5M over two seasons, Washington signed Neil Rackers for $990K, and the Jets gave Nick Folk and Josh Brown one-year deals worth $765K and $855K, respectively.

Kicking statistics corrected 11am ET July 3, 2012

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