NFL’s kangaroo court on full display Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There was plenty of drama yesterday in NYC, where the NFL held the appeal hearing for the Saints bounty case.

Saints LB Jonathan Vilma left the hearing early, claiming the league refused to present evidence of the alleged bounty system. Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, called the day's events "shocking and shameful" while saying that former DC Gregg Williams and former assistant Michael Cerullo had retracted their admissions that players had participated in such a system. Ginsberg accused the Ginger Hammer of distorting facts, misrepresenting the words attributed to Williams, and manipulating the media via information leaks.

Following the hearing, the league gathered a group of reporters, including Mike Freeman and Peter King, to present some of the evidence, which can be seen here. A $35K bounty was allegedly placed on Vikings QB Brett Favre during the 2009 NFC title game, but this is according to a typed transcription of handwritten notes which were not shown. The league even accused Saints interim coach Joe Vitt of contributing to the bounty fund for the first time yesterday.

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Studying third-down theory, Part 2

When we started talking about third downs last week, I put up a set of numbers on how many third downs Brian Billick said that you could expect per game. Some readers found it light on total first downs, and they were right. Part of the reason the number seems low was that I left a set out deliberately - the number of third downs that you should expect in the red zone. It’s an entire area of study on its own, and I’m going to talk about it separately next time.

For today, we’re going to take on the offensive coordinator’s headache - third and long, both third and 7-10 yards and third and eleven or more. They are handled in much the same way, but the odds of success are understandably different.

There’s nothing surprising about it. The toughest third downs are the longer ones, just as you’d expect. When you’re dealing with a third down and more than ten yards, your odds of success are down between 12% and 18% for getting a first down. It’s a little better at 7-10 yards - about 20-25%. You can’t overestimate the importance of gaining your average of four or more yards on first and second down - how well you convert your third downs depends on it.

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John Elway just told us everything we need to know about Knowshon Moreno

KOA Q&A – Elway, Part Two
blog.denverbroncos.com

850 KOA: What do you think this offense will look like this season? Will it look like what Broncos fans saw when they watched the Colts? Will it be a combination of different personnel groups?

JE: I think there’s a misconception out there a little about Peyton in that they (the Colts) didn’t run the football in Indianapolis. When they were successful in Indianapolis, they ran the football. What we’re looking for is balance. When we won the championships back in the 90’s, we had balance. Willis McGahee had a great year last year. (Mario) Fannin, the young kid we signed as a free agent last year out of Auburn, is coming back off a knee injury in camp. (He) looks good. And then (Ronnie) Hillman, who we drafted in the third round, is a guy that has big-play ability. I think you’re still going to see good balance. I think the misconception is that Peyton throws the ball all the time but when they were winning and doing well, they were top 12 in the league in rushing.

If you had any doubt about the Broncos' plans for Knowshon Moreno, you've got clarity now.

Perhaps the mention of Knowshon Moreno slipped John Elway's mind.  What's more likely, though, is Moreno will compete with Jeremiah Johnson and Lance Ball for a spot on the roster.  Unfortunately, with each passing season, the expectations for the former first-rounder continue to plummet.  He's now--in John Elway's mind--less valuable than two guys who have yet to see the field.

What also sticks out from this interview is the Broncos' plan to use more two-back sets than Manning is used to in short-yardage situations--precisely the reason they acquired Chris Gronkowski.

Peter King does not make for a good football historian Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In today's MMQB column, Peter King pronounces the Sproles type to be one of the five most versatile running backs of the past 30 years.

Now, PK writes a lot of stupid stuff, but this is really high on the list of Stupid Stuff PK Thinks He Thought to Think. Sproles is a versatile player for sure, and a dangerous one at that, but he's also more of a receiver and return man than he is a running back, and do we really want to go around ranking him on a list with Marshall Faulk, LDT, Thurman Thomas, and Marcus Allen?

As for which players should be sitting on this list instead of the Sproles type, that's easy. How about rushing/receiving threats Roger Craig, Curtis Martin, Tiki Barber, Edgerrin James, Warrick Dunn, and Ricky Watters, to name a few?

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Former Bronco joins Cromartie to create nonprofit for über dads

New York--Former Broncos running back Travis Henry today announced he is joining current Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie in creating a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the cause of super fathers.

"It's like MENSA," said Henry via telephone from an undisclosed location.  "Except for dudes with exceedingly high sperm counts."

The nonprofit, called KHAN (Keep Her Away Now) is named for the legendary warrior Genghis Khan, who it's thought is the ancestor to over 16 million people living today.  It's estimated the Mongolian warlord fathered thousands of children with hundreds of women during his lifetime.

"Genghis is my boy," said Cromartie.  "He really tapped that ass. The cat was the straight up pimp of 1206."

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Tomlinson to retire, not be missed by Denver fans Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! An old, great Denver nemesis has decided to call it a day: LaDainian Tomlinson will sign what will presumably be a one-day contract with the Chargers this week so he can retire with the franchise he spent his first nine of eleven NFL seasons.

Tomlinson was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in 2001 after the team traded down from the #1 pick (Michael Vick). Incidentally, that trade also netted them WR Tim Dwight, whose career highlight was a 94-yard kick return TD against the Broncos in SB 33. With their own second-rounder that year, San Diego drafted Drew Brees.

But, back to LDT: although Tomlinson's career against the Broncos amounted to just a 10-9 record in 19 games (including one as a Jet in 2010; he didn't play in last year's meeting), Denver's success against his teams mostly came early. To wit, LDT's Chargers went 3-7 against Denver before winning six of the next eight matchups following the ascension of Philip Rivers to replace Brees as the starting QB in 2006, with one of the two exceptions being the notorious Hochuli Game.

Updated 12:20 pm ET

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NFL to extract extra $10 out of fawning football viewing public Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ah, the NFL is so sly. After getting the football and sports blogosphere in a gigantic tizzy over the forthcoming availability of All-22 film to the general public, they've already pulled a fast one on us all by increasing the price by $10 overnight.

Those bastards.

Obviously, it's still a great deal, and All-22 access will mean better football writing across the board. Charley Casserly and Mike Freeman think this will open coaches and players up to unreasonable criticism, but really this makes no sense at all. More information and knowledge is always a good thing, unless you're coming from the parochial viewpoint of someone like Casserly who probably figures lowly fans won't know what to do with the added info. Or, perhaps you're one of those fools who thinks that either film or stats alone is all you need, or you know...you played/coached the game in junior high school, so you have a feel for which guys have "it" and which don't.

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Friday article, Take 2

Hello, readers.  For the first time ever, I've taken down an article that I wrote.  I got a rude email from a reader complaining about the one I wrote earlier, and my first instinct was to want to put a clown suit on the guy, but after thinking about it, I decided that the article was a little more self-referencing than I had meant it to be.  Just because the guy was rude doesn't mean I didn't maybe go a few inches too far.  I'm still going to write about what I want to write about, but I'll remember this experience, all the same.

So, here goes second take.  For my longtime readers who didn't read the article from earlier, and who know me as a guy who lives in Cleveland, I've accepted a new job in the Tallahassee, Florida area, and I'll be moving in a couple weeks.  It's a much better opportunity than the one I am leaving, and I'm glad to move on to a more motivating professional environment, in a place with better weather.  Now, when I reference living in Florida, you won't be confused, and I feel like it's important to let those who know me know what's going on with me.

Big football news came out on Frday, and I decided to write about it until my girlfriend and I go out to dinner.  The NFL announced that they'll be offering enhanced online game video, including all-22 coaches film, with a couple of different angles.  The price is $59.99 per year, and it's available here.  I'll definitely be buying it, and if you want to see the game in its most detailed form, I recommend you do the same.

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NFL Rewind just made its crack more addictive

The NFL Will Make Its All-22 Film Available To Everyone Next Year, And Football Writing Will Never Be The Same Again
deadspin.com

Rejoice, football dorks! The NFL evidently rolled out its Game Rewind 2012 today and announced that there’ll be real full-game-length All-22 film in there. This is big…

...Now, we’ll know for sure which defensive back got beat on a given play, and we’ll know for sure which lineman on the left side gave up the pressure. We’ll have a much better sense of the coverages and blocking schemes teams run, because writers will distill all of this for us and publish it. (You won’t have to watch the game tape, and lucky you, because it’s captured in 4:3—not HD-friendly—and without sound.)

It took a few years, but the NFL listened. Giving anyone--even addicts like me--access to the coaches film is like putting a Taco John's next to a hash bar. It's good for business.  Really good.

What does it mean for Woody Paige? Let's just say that while Woody is picking out his next jacket, we'll be watching film.

Let the thumb twiddling commence Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The team wrapped up its mandatory minicamp yesterday (BTV, photos, more photos) with a demand from John Fox (video) that each player return to training camp on July 25 in the best shape of his life (ITBSOHL).

Former Colts OC Tom Moore was again in attendance, and had the following to say about his star pupil Peyton Manning:

Watching these three days, he looked excellent to me. There's lots of things that enter into it, obviously, accuracy, anticipation, touch, arm strength, you know, it's an all-involved thing. He looks good. He looks excellent.

Practice was highlighted by a couple of tipped interceptions of Manning, improving mechanics from Brock Osweiler, and more first-team reps for Rahim Moore and Sealver Siliga.

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