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?

The Daily Lard 6-2-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday brought a pair of major developments in the Saints bounty scandal.

In a lengthy post on his website, filmmaker Sean Pamphilon offers his own recollection from watching (along with then ex-Saint Scott Fujita) the notorious speech given by Gregg Williams on the eve of the Saints' playoff loss at San Francisco. Pamphilon says Williams handed out envelopes of cash as bonuses, with at least one of them as payment for a "whack hit," with players apparently encouraging each other to "give it back" or reinvest the winnings in the bounty pool.

The filmmaker notes a discomfort in Fujita with the speech, and an apparent sense of regret for having participated in the same during his time with the team. Pamphilon says Fujita and QB Drew Brees both encouraged him to release the audio recording of the speech, with the goal being to shove the bulk of blame onto Williams.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 6-2-12"

Another player wins ADHD suspension appeal; what about Virgil Green?

Giants RB Andre Brown won his appeal and will not have to serve the four-game suspension he had been hit with in March. He had originally been found to have violated the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

But Brown, who spent part of the 2010 season with the Broncos, says the suspension had resulted from a clerical error regarding his prescription for the ADHD medication Adderall.

Texans punter Brett Hartmann had also been suspended four games for ADHD meds and won his appeal last week. Unlike Brown, Hartmann must serve a reduced three-game suspension instead.

Updated 4:29 pm ET

Continue reading "Another player wins ADHD suspension appeal; what about Virgil Green?"

Mike Shanahan stands up for “Tan Mom” and uses OTAs to bring attention to tanorexic bullying

via Sports PickleAshburn, Va - Mike Shanahan may have landed his dream quarterback when he drafted Robert Griffin III in the first round of this year's draft, but there's another dream the Super Bowl-winning coach still seeks: a world in which the bullying of tanorexics is a thing of the past.

Tanorexia, also known as tanning addiction, is a syndrome in which a person has a physical, emotional, or psychological addiction to outdoor tanning or tanning beds.  The bullying of tanorexics is thought to affect as many as one to two people a year in the United States.

"It's a problem," said Shanahan, coach of the Washington Redskins, after yesterday's offseason team activities (OTAs).  "Bullying in general, usually affects kids and teenagers.  Tanorexic bullying, on the other hand, is different.  It's largely an adult problem.  And the ugliness has got to stop.  It ends now."

(photo via Sports Pickle)

Continue reading "Mike Shanahan stands up for “Tan Mom” and uses OTAs to bring attention to tanorexic bullying"

Recent Game Coverage

All Game Coverage