So, Peyton…what are your tastes in Halloween candy?

A First For Peyton Manning
www.850koa.com

Even after 13 years in the NFL, Manning said Denver reporters asked him a question after Monday’s workout he had never gotten before.

“People are passionate about their football,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, I had an all-time first today. I was being asked about some incompletions that we threw in practice. That’s just never happened to me before. That’s kind of like asking Todd why he didn’t hit more home runs in batting practice.”

Manning also tells Dave Krieger he's enjoying being reunited with ex-Volunteers teammate Todd Helton, that he and Demaryius Thomas kept working after practice yesterday, and that he's of course unhappy with the more stringent practice rules that accompanied the latest CBA.

BTW, Peyton - go with Reese's peanut butter cups. They worked out fine 29 years ago, and their greatness endures.

Sirius XM NFL Radio and its associated scams

As the kind of person who constantly experiences mental stimulus in day-to-day life, I often get interested in something based on that stimulus and seek out information on it.  I'd bet I use the Wikipedia app on my iPhone 10 times a day when some random thing gets mentioned, and I want to know more about it.  I’m an intellectually curious person, and the downside of that is that it’s sometimes easy to get distracted by stuff, and pulled strongly in a strange direction, if only temporarily.

I don’t say this to sneer at those who are less intellectually curious than I am, but rather to help you understand where I’m coming from.  A longtime reader claimed last week that all I like to do is talk about which stupid people annoy me on a given day, and I suppose I can see where that comes from.  I think it’s an overly simplistic take, and there’s always a larger point to what I am writing about than simply to criticize somebody, but I sometimes do write more candidly and less collegially than is the norm.

This part of the offseason is kind of a tough time, because nothing very interesting is going on.  I get my information from my eyes, and my eyes can’t see anything right now, you know?  For that reason, I get a bit distracted by other shiny things going on, and rather than write vacuous tripe about nothing going on, like a newspaper columnist has to, I often feel like writing about other stuff.

The way I see it, I’ve got an audience, and I want to benefit and serve that audience the best way I can every time I write - even if they don’t necessarily know what the topic will be on a given day.  Plus, it’s fun to piss off the ninnies and the trolls who flame us via email.  Then, we say, oh yeah, that guy’s an idiot, and we all have a big group laugh at his expense.  (That was my obligatory idiot-calling of the column.)

Continue reading "Sirius XM NFL Radio and its associated scams"

Stokley and Manning: Bromance, rekindled

Brandon Stokley on Reuniting with Peyton Manning: “It doesn’t take us long to get back on the same page. It’s been a blast from the past.”
sportsradiointerviews.com

Well we have been doing it a lot longer than other guys. It doesn’t take us long to get back on the same page. I know what he likes. I know what he wants. For me it’s been a blast from the past. I am having fun and like you said in those two plays it was kind of like six years ago. It’s definitely helped that I’ve had a relationship with him in Indy for four years and I practiced with him a lot. I am trying to continue to build off that.

Wow, this makes the J-Cutty/BMarsh love affair sound more like a pen pal relationship.

Seriously though, the Slot Machine's role in bringing Peyton to Denver cannot be overemphasized, and it's hard to say if PMFM would be a Bronco were it not for Stokley. But, he is.

Thank You, Stokes.

The Daily Lard 6-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Fox and Peyton Manning (videos) spoke after yesterday's OTA practice; Chris Hall reported from Dove Valley for BTV, plus practice photos via Andrew Mason.

Much of the talk circled around Manning showing off the progress of his arm by throwing a handful of deep passes, one of which resulted in a sprawling catch in triple coverage by Brandon Stokley, with an earlier pass coming back on a Champ Bailey pick-six. Stokley's catch came during a two-minute drill and was followed by a fake spike and 10-yard TD pass to Eric Decker.

Manning says he's not yet all the way back in his rehab, but the team is beyond happy with his arm strength at this point.

Several players practiced returning kicks, including Matt Willis, Andre Caldwell, and rookies Ronnie Hillman, Coryell Judie, and Eric Page.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 6-5-12"

NFL Players: I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me

Trust me: Player DUI arrests are about more than poor judgment
www.cbssports.com

The safe rides program was never extremely popular, but when the league ran it, it was still used…Now, the service is all but dead. Its lack of use, players say, is about lack of trust…The reasons some players provided why they won’t use the service are, well, quite interesting and relate back to trust issue…Some players believe the NFL puts hidden microphones and cameras into the vehicles. Others believe the drivers are spies for the league or, if they aren’t, the drivers would sell any potential embarrassing information to tabloid newspapers. One player believed the limo drivers might plant embarrassing information on the player and then blackmail him.

Crazy, yes. Extreme paranoia? Definitely yes. But one reason given was actually sensible. One player source says teams will use the number of times a player activates the service when contract time arrives and then use that information against the player. It’s allegedly happened on several occasions.

There's never an excuse to drive while intoxicated, so let's get that out of the way immediately.  Yet the players are playing the Rockwell card, my friends, and in this case, I believe they have a legit point. You think the grifter class of NFL owners wouldn't stoop to these levels to get an advantage at contract time? There's an easy solution, though: the NFLPA. In the meantime, you've got to feel this classic:

Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Linebackers

The Broncos defense made great strides last season beyond their 2010 performance, improving in points allowed, from 32nd to 24th, and in yards against, from 32nd to 20th.

Better players, including the return from injury by Elvis Dumervil and the addition of second-overall pick and eventual DROY Von Miller, were significant factors. The coaching of John Fox and Dennis Allen also loomed large, but with Allen having departed for the darker pastures of Oakland, the defense is now in the hands of former Pro Bowl linebacker and ex-longtime Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.

Like Del Rio, linebackers coach Richard Smith has been a successful coordinator in the past and also coached under Fox with the Panthers.

So far we've examined the team's options at tackle and end; let's look today at the linebackers Fox, Del Rio, and Smith will have at their disposal:

Continue reading "Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Linebackers"

The Daily Lard 6-4-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon, the fifth-overall pick in the draft out of Oklahoma State, was arrested for aggravated DUI in Stillwater yesterday morning.

The blood alcohol content limit in Oklahoma is .08 percent, and the threshold for aggravated DUI is .15 percent. Blackmon reportedly blew a .24 percent BAC. Yikes.

Blackmon had a prior drunk driving incident in 2010, when he was arrested while driving to a Dallas Cowboys game without permission to leave his own team to do so. According to the NFL, Blackmon is subject to the league's personal-conduct policies despite not yet having signed a contract and will likely face a suspension in his rookie season.

If you're wondering, a .24 percent BAC only moves Blackmon into a tie for the 20th-highest BAC recorded in the sports world.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 6-4-12"

Another reason to deploy two tight ends?  It gives away the coverage

Two tight end formations will hit NFL by storm in 2012
www.nfl.com

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks added talented veteran tight ends to their rosters to provide their offensive coordinators with the flexibility to use more double tight end formations in the fall…

...One of the benefits of utilizing “12” personnel is the ability for the offense to utilize a variety of base and spread formations without shuttling different personnel into the game. The H-back plays the role of a fullback, wide receiver or second tight end in the package, aligning in various spots within the formation to create problems for the defense. Offensive coordinators are tapping into that versatility by featuring a variety of open formations with the tight end deployed as quasi-receivers. By opening the formation, the offensive coordinator makes it easy for his quarterback to diagnose the coverage and creates potential mismatches in space…

...By displacing both tight ends away from the line, the Patriots are able to quickly identify the coverage based on the alignments of the linebackers and defensive backs. If the corners are matched up with the wide receivers, Tom Brady knows [it’s] man coverage and he can audible to an effective route combination to exploit the scheme.

This read by Brooks is a good one; it makes an often overlooked point when promoting the use of multiple tight ends--namely, the farther the tight ends are away from the line of scrimmage (horizontally), the easier it is for the quarterback to read whether the defense is playing man or zone coverage.

Brooks also talks about evolution of the H-back:

If the defense remains in base personnel, the H-back enjoys a significant advantage over a linebacker lacking the agility to stay close in coverage. If the defensive coordinator uses nickel personnel, the H-back uses his superior size to post up smaller defenders in space.

Look for the Broncos, like everyone else in the league, to begin to copy what the Patriots did last year. Brooks is correct. The two-tight end set will sweep the league by storm in 2012, but the truth of the matter is that the storm was brewing in 2011, when the Broncos drafted Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. The additions of Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen just make it all the more likely.

The Daily Lard 6-3-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mark Kiszla suggests the Broncos move on from Ty Warren, adopting Mike Klis's populist tact of highlighting the salaries Warren has been paid over the past two seasons in New England and Denver.

Why should the Broncos, or us fans, care what New England paid Warren in 2010? We shouldn't, because it's irrelevant. All that does is paint Warren as an overpaid underperformer; he has been anything but that during his career. Some DP readers are likely substituting for his name some iteration of fat cat and lazy bum. Indeed, the first commenter had the incredible nerve to compare Warren to perennial malcontent Albert Haynesworth.

What does Warren's 2010 salary have to do with what he should be paid in 2012? Honestly, nothing.

Does Warren owe the Broncos? Not really. They knew when they signed him that his health was/is a great risk, and that veteran players do not lose their salaries when injury strikes is one of the more just NFL compensation rules.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 6-3-12"

Is AP the next TD?

Former Broncos star walked in Peterson's shoes
www.startribune.com

Star running back. In his prime. Tears his ACL in his fifth NFL season. At the age of 26.  It’s no wonder Adrian Peterson’s knee injury hits home with former Denver Broncos star Terrell Davis, who experienced a similar setback in 1999. Like Peterson, Davis attacked rehab. Yet he was never the same, playing just 13 games while rushing for 983 yards and two touchdowns after the injury.

So Davis cautions those who see Peterson’s progress and expect him to be a Pro Bowl player again soon, offering two areas to monitor when Peterson returns. For starters, Davis believed his knee injury made him think too much.

“Rather than being instinctive, you start to choreograph your moves,” Davis said in a recent ESPN interview. “As a running back, you just can’t choreograph your moves. You have to work off instincts.”

As a fan of the What If comics series, I'd like to submit the following:

  1. Mike Shanahan doesn't insert Brian Griese over Bubby Brister in 1999;
  2. Griese doesn't throw an interception in Week 4.  Terrell Davis is spared an ACL/MCL tear;
  3. Mike Silver doesn't write this story (even then he enjoyed blowin' up the Broncos) in which an unnamed Bronco says, "we're done;"
  4. Bubby Brister regresses to the average quarterback he is and the Broncos end the 1999-2000 season with an 8-8 record;
  5. Terrell Davis goes on to play another five or six seasons;
  6. Terrell Davis enters the Hall of Fame.

Check back next week when we ask the question, What if...Al Davis had traded for John Elway?

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