Rang: Teams seeking exodus from top 10

NFL Exec: 'Half of the teams in the top 10 are trying to trade out'
www.cbssports.com

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made waves a few days ago when he commented that he’d be willing to make a trade out of the No. 3 overall pick while his team was on the clock. While last moment deals are common over the course of the NFL draft, don’t fool yourself into thinking that these deals aren’t being discussed long before the curtains are raised at Radio City Music Hall. In fact, one NFL executive told me to anticipate plenty of fireworks as “half of the teams in the top 10 are trying to trade out.”

FWIW, Cincy has two picks in the bottom half of the first round, while Philly has two second-rounders. New England has two picks in each of the first and second rounds, but only two picks beyond that.

Parcells turns down Saints, who will look inward for interim coach

Parcells tells Saints he won't unretire to coach team in 2012
www.nfl.com

Bill Parcells has informed the New Orleans Saints the he will not replace suspended coach Sean Payton and is staying retired, according to a league source.

The Saints will now look to hire from within the organization. By promoting an assistant on the team, the Saints will not have to interview a minority candidate in accordance with the league’s Rooney Rule.

Who wants Parcells without Bill Belichick running the defense, anyway?

Christmas Ape is bummed that neither Tuna nor the Dunge will be taking over in N'awlins.

The Daily Lard 4-10-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis says Denver would like to draft a back who will at some point this year become the primary runner, to be spelled by Willis McGahee, with Knowshon Moreno as the third-down guy.

Klis also points out that Caleb Hanie received no guarantees as part of his two-year deal, and he expects the Broncos to draft a QB somewhere between the second and fifth rounds, and to perhaps sign another veteran too.

Adding to what Jeff Legwold had written yesterday, Klis says Denver's offer to Jeff Saturday was around $2.5M per year, a pittance compared to the $4M that Green Bay will pay the veteran center this year.

Meanwhile, Klis is making a push to sell his Tebow books to the New Jersey fans - he says that although Mark Sanchez is a swell guy whom he's more fond of than are most people, Timmy is just a better quarterback. Really. And as Klis sees it, Tebow is completely innocent as far as the circus that follows him around.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-10-12"

Peyton Manning furious if he doesn’t hit you in the chest

Peyton Manning working with WRs
espn.go.com

“The guy’s still throwing the ball a long time, throwing it great, hitting you in the right spot,” Decker told Cowherd. “He’s such a perfectionist. If he hits you in the belly button, he gets mad at himself for not hitting you in the chest. It’s unbelievable to be around a guy who has those standards for himself.”

“He’s so precise with everything he does and there’s a reason for everything he does do,” Decker told Cowherd. “In workouts, in the weight room—I mean the guy’s jogging from station to station. He’s working like he’s a 23-year-old free agent coming out of college. The way he talks about football, the way he runs drill work, routes, everything’s gotta be perfect and there’s no gray area. I think that, as a receiver, (is) the best thing about it. You got a leader that demands the best out of you because he gives the best he’s got.”

“Obviously that’s the goal for every team starting the season but I know that we’re willing to put in the work and put in the extra time in the offseason to make that happen,” Decker told said. “I think we really understand that it’s all about reading defenses, being smart, finding the open zone and just hitting the passes on third down and converting because that’s what keeps drives going, that’s what keeps you in ballgames.”

Memo to Broncos wide receivers: dropped passes will not be tolerated.

Don’t be shocked if the Broncos go WR with their first pick

A.F.C. West Team Needs
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

Hidden need: wide receiver

True, Peyton Manning can turn copper receivers into gold. But he would much rather polish a receiver who is golden in the first place. He does not have one in Denver. Demaryius Thomas made some big plays last season down the stretch, but he does not run with the over-the-top burst of a true playmaker (even if Ike Taylor begs to differ). Thomas is just a very good possession/stretched-intermediary target. Eric Decker is something of a watered-down Thomas. Andre Caldwell and Matt Willis show flashes as rotational slot guys but aren’t go-to weapons.

I agree with Benoit.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Broncos decided to take someone like Kendall Wright (Baylor), Rueben Randle (LSU), and perhaps, just perhaps, Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech at pick #25.

The goal?  Give Peyton Manning more ammunition.

It sounds crazy, given the needs at DT (and to be clear, I'm not advocating they do anything other than draft a DT with both their first and second picks).  But who needs a defensive tackle when you're up by two touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, and the other team is forced to abandon the running game?

Commish upholds Saints punishments

Saints 'bounty' scandal discipline upheld by NFL Commissioner
www.nfl.com

The New Orleans Saints, along with coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt, were notified Monday that after careful consideration of their appeals, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the discipline that was imposed for continuing violations of the league’s anti-bounty rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.

Not that we're surprised or anything.

Payton's suspension will begin on April 16, and from then on he cannot have any contact with the team until at least after the Super Bowl, when he can apply for reinstatement to the league.

Scouting the Draft: 2012 Defensive tackles

It's Lying Season for the NFL (moreso than usual), but it's no great secret the Broncos have a significant need at defensive tackle, again. Last month I profiled Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, who is expected to be long gone when Denver makes its first pick at #25, provided they remain there. If that scenario indeed plays out, what will be the Broncos' options?

Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy has been talked about quite a bit. Certainly, cornerback is a point of need: perhaps of greatest need other than under tackle. Other folks will have other perspectives, but I think that in general, while interior OL, MLB (unless they like Nate Irving), RB, and possibly safety are all areas of need in degree, press-man coverage CBs and one-gap penetrating DTs might be the hardest to find as the draft moves on.

There are always the players who work out later in the draft, but my feeling is that the lines and the CBs are essential to Denver’s success this year. So is the Mike, but since we don’t know what Denver’s plans for Irving are, and we do on these two positions, I’m going to take the step of looking at the most desirable of the available DTs in Denver’s theoretical scope of scheme - the penetrating under tackle. Sadly, letting Brodrick Bunkley get away has also played hob with the nose tackle position, and some of these players make sense at either slot.

Continue reading "Scouting the Draft: 2012 Defensive tackles"

The Daily Lard 4-9-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The struggles continue for 2011 fourth-rounder Julius Thomas, whose high-ankle sprain last year allowed him just four games played and one catch. According to his father, Thomas underwent surgery last week to repair ligament damage in that ankle, and his availability for training camp is in doubt.

Thomas's lingering injury calls to Andrew Mason's mind the Denver failure of basketball convert Wesley Duke, who dressed for three games and caught just a pair of passes after being hailed as the next Antonio Gates by Shanny & Company. Meanwhile, Mason is glad Tim Tebow was never as creative in retelling history during his time with the Broncos as he was yesterday, when he happened to squeeze an Easter Sunday sermon into his busy football schedule.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-9-12"

Ben Watson scored 12X Morris Claiborne’s Wonderlic, gives needed perspective

Ex-Patriot Benjamin Watson, who scored one of the highest scores ever, talks Wonderlic
www.bostonherald.com

How much do teams actually factor in the standardized 50-question test? The Pats have had some pretty good Wonderlic guys, most notably tight end Benjamin Watson. He scored a 48.

”Does a higher Wonderlic mean you’ll perform better on the football field? It might, or it might not,” said Watson, who was signed by Cleveland as a free agent in 2010. ”A person’s football ability might be totally different than their ability to score high on an aptitude test. I mean, I understand why the test is there. They want to have some type of standardized benchmark. They want to compare, and keep everyone on the same level. But when you look at it, a Wonderlic score doesn’t have as much to do with football as your film does in college and your body of work.”

Clearly, it doesn't take a Wonderlic wonder to play NFL football.  In fact, I'd say the only time the Wonderlic has real significance is when one debates (over a beer) John Elway and Dan Marino.

It's worth repeating (especially to Marino himself, who is very annoyed by the fact): Marino scored a 15 on his Wonderlic, and although he won a lot of passing titles, he could never figure out the zone blitz.  Here's a paragraph describing Marino from the book Blood, Sweat, and Chalk:

"The newness of the scheme was what really made it fun in those years, with Pittsburgh and Carolina," says [Dom] Capers. "Teams weren't ready for it.  There were very good teams that had a lot of trouble with it.  Miami had real problems, because Dan Marino had become so accustomed to making man-to-man reads that the fire zones really seemed to confuse him." [Dick] LeBeau recalls talking to Marino after a game and asking him what reads he was making: "He said, 'I had no idea what I was reading.'"

The zone blitz is another reason why Marino (and Jim Kelly, who also scored a 15) liked to run the no huddle.  The defense didn't have time to call a zone blitz. It left Marino (and his feeble mind) with man-to-man coverage; further, it allowed him to use his real talent: his cannon arm.

(Note & disclaimer: Author is biased to John Elway, the Denver Broncos; he hates anyone who suggests that Dan Marino or Jim Kelly is a better quarterback than the Broncos' current executive).

The Daily Lard 4-8-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Dan Pompei says the Broncos' acquisition of Peyton Manning, their trade of Tim Tebow to New Jersey, the signings of Alex Smith in San Francisco and Matt Flynn with Seattle, and Shanny's trade up to the #2 pick have created a sense of desperation for the teams that failed to land a big QB fish this offseason.

And the potential outcome of this urgency is A&M passer Ryan Tannehill flying up draft boards, perhaps even into the top five or ten picks to the Browns at four, Dolphins at eight, or the Chiefs at #11. Why? Because it's all about quarterbacks in this league, as the last nine Super Bowls have been won by the Manning brothers (three combined), Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger (two each), Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees (one each).

Adam Teicher says that after having passed up on Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Freeman in recent years, Tannehill could be the guy that makes KC pounce. As Teicher sees it, the Chiefs roster has few holes, with QB being perhaps the most glaring one.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-8-12"

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