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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Studying third-down theory, Part 1

Looking through the library this week, I rediscovered a text by Super Bowl-winning ex-Ravens coach Brian Billick on the theory behind establishing an offense - a detailed discussion of the development of an offensive game plan. First published in 1996, some of the information in Developing an Offensive Game Plan might seem a bit dated, but I found that taking a walk through his wheelhouse is an exercise in learning how extensive the knowledge of the game has to be to coach on his level. As I read through the text, it occurred to me that most of the perspective would be new to the majority of fans. It was to me, as well. Billick laid out a remarkably thorough process for creating an offense, and it was one that I hadn’t seen in quite that way before.

One of the many things that stood out was his perspective on achieving success on third downs. Billick subdivided that down into multiple categories and talked about exactly how many plays he’d allocate to handling the various options of down and distance. Like Bill Walsh and many of his followers, Billick considers establishing your weekly offense to be a matter of pre-scripting plays and creating specific options on each potential possibility that are effective given the team’s personnel. It’s just one aspect of the overall process of charting your needs, but to Billick it’s an essential one.

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#Winning (not #Losing) The Saccomano Way

Broncos Have One of a Kind Sellout Streak
blog.denverbroncos.com

When fans go to a game,they want to see their team win. And they don’t want to see their team lose.

Jim Saccomano: drinking tiger's blood since 1978.

Phil Rivers: It’s a Sproles-type thing

Philip Rivers is Excited about San Diego’s New Faces, Will Work on “Taking Care of the Football”
sportsradiointerviews.com

On what he’s noticed thus far in offseason practices:

“First thing that stands out is we’re fast. I think we’ve gotten faster. Fast maybe not the word but speed. There’s gonna be a lot of quickness and speed, maybe more than we’ve had. We’ve always been a fast team but that’s the first thing that pops out to me.”

On Eddie Royal:

“He jumped out to me these first few OTAs. He’s kind of an added dimension that we hadn’t had here maybe since the Sproles type. … Just that dimension of a guy who’s got some of that jitter bug, but can also take a punt back.”

We think what Rivers meant to say here is that there's a difference between quickness and outright speed; further, that with the addition of Eddie Royal, the Chargers will be a bit quicker.  Instead, Rivers threw a synonym party, which we should point out is much different than a party in your pocket ( and I know you're gonna rock it).

The loss of Eddie Royal has largely been overshadowed by the Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning dramas, and the comparison to Sproles is probably a bit of a stretch.  However, it gives us some insight as to why Royal drew so much free-agent interest prior to the draft.

It's also worth asking the important question: just what the f$%! am I supposed to do with my Eddie Royal jersey now?

Broncos football, practically done forever after today Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's minicamp will conclude today, to be followed by a long spell of inactivity until training camp begins on July 25.

More deep passing from Peyton Manning highlighted yesterday's work, as did the progression of Knowshon Moreno to seven-on-seven snaps from the individual drills he'd been confined to by his rehab from ACL surgery. Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter continue to rotate with the first team, with yesterday bringing up Moore's turn; Rafael Bush practiced ahead of David Bruton.

Oh, and Peyton even spent some time working on his pass-rushing skills. Can anyone say Greatest Modern Player to Play Two Ways?

Ty Warren says he's feeling great but needs to improve his conditioning and absorb more of the new defensive playbook. He's weighing in at 310 pounds now - 30 fewer than he did a year ago - and expects to play at 300-305 come the regular season.

Ben Garland has been working with the third-team defense, considers himself a longshot, and says he'd embrace a trip to the practice squad.

Updated 9:45 am ET

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Fat Camp: Undervalued roles - the Matchup Safety

Happy Wednesday, friends.  There’s some big news in Tedistan, but I’m not able to announce it publicly just yet, so we’re going to return to Undervalued Positions.  Today, we will look at the Matchup Safety, which I think will go nicely against our last edition of this miniseries, where we looked at the Move TE.

When an offense uses 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR), it forces a defense to choose whether to use Base (four DBs) or Nickel (five DBs) personnel.  In most cases, that’s a situation of being damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  An offense in 12 personnel should have success in passing against Base defenses, and should have success running against Nickel defenses.

It gets especially interesting, offensively speaking, when one of the TEs has WR traits, and can be flexed out in a slot or flanked alignment.  We’re talking about players like Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, and Jermichael Finley, who have the ability to release efficiently with a two-way go, and then separate in space (meaning outside the interior traffic that often helps TEs get open).

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