The Daily Lard 2-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei examines the trend around the league of teams blocking assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator positions elsewhere. Not that long ago, coaches were allowed to speak with other teams as long as they were being considered for promotions.

But prior to the 2000 season, the NFL did away with a rule that had allowed teams to protect only one defensive coach and one offensive assistant from departing. As Pompei tells it, thinking was that too many coaches were changing jobs, and that teams would not stand in the way of their assistants landing big promotions and  the chance to double or quadruple their salaries.

Unfortunately it hasn't worked out that way, as new Bucs coach Greg Schiano was denied the chance to interview at least six assistants, including former Denver secondary coach Ed Donatell, who was blocked from pursuing multiple gigs.

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The Daily Lard 2-18-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're just days away from the 2012 Cattle Call Combine, which means we're in for a deluge of meaningless quotes from EFX™ courtesy of NFLN. Well, meaningless except for the unintentional comedy they will surely provide. Chris Farley Brian Xanders is already obliging us:

We plan to be aggressive and smart at the same time and try to get some good signings in here, some valued signings that help contribute to wins. We also have to address signing our own unrestricted free agents, and we also have the free agency market. So we will have a plan for that. We have a long term vision, too.

Of course, as long as he keeps drafting guys like Von Miller and uncovering gems like Chris Harris, we'll happily take the X-Man's malapropisms.

* EFX is the intellectual property of Woody Paige, who also happens to have been a co-inventor of the internet along with Al Gore

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The Daily Lard 2-17-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Clinton Portis has been cleared to resume his career after playing in just five games in 2010 and missing all of 2011; according to his agent, multiple teams have expressed interest. For this Portis fan, every mention of his name evokes memories of this beatdown of the first-place Chiefs - one of the best individual games we'll ever see by a Bronco. Of course, it's the one where his friend Pastor Troy gave him a championship belt after his five-TD performance. Good luck finding a new NFL home, CP - you were a superstar for us. Oh, and thanks for bringing us Champ.

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Atlas shrugging off NFL players?

Late hits: Why do so many former NFL players go broke?
www.cbssports.com

And there is definitely something to say about personal responsibility. Terrell Owens made enough money during his NFL career for several lifetimes, yet he’s broke due to poor investments and child-support payments. That’s on Owens, and it’s possible some of the above stories happened because of irresponsible choices as well.

Yet many of these situations feel like men who simply slipped through the cracks through no fault of their own, and in a league that has so much money, how is it that any former player can be on the verge of eviction or having their car repossessed?

Some of this again is about personal responsibility. Not all of those men are victims. Some of the pain is self-inflicted, but it remains an amazing thing to see, nonetheless. It’s also a reminder of why players fight for every penny when they play.

And the money continues to roll in…

Lloyd and Pats trying to overcome “Condon Thing”

Brandon Lloyd’s agent puts Pats on call
bostonherald.com

If the Patriots want to do business, in this case in pursuit of soon-to-become free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, that’s all that’s necessary. No need for rapprochement, a political term that springs from the French word rapprocher, meaning to “bring together.” No need for a lovefest and no need trying to undercut him through backdoor whispering campaigns designed to convince his client of the need to fire his agent for a deal to get done in Foxboro.

“As I told him [Lloyd] last night,” Condon said, “if he wants to go to the team that pays him the most money, wonderful. If he wants to go to a team that pays him less but where he feels there’s better opportunity for success, wonderful. He’ll make that decision.”

Condon famously once said of his testy relationship with Patriots management: “We pretend there are 31 franchises in the NFL now and they pretend we don’t exist, even though we represent 140 (now over 160) of the best players in the NFL. That’s fine.”

Try to say the word "Condon" five times fast and see what happens.  Yeah, it happened to me, too.  And when the Patriots and Condon are negotiating, you probably ought to wrap up that Jimmy.  It looks like things get really naughty.

Walking the road less traveled on the homeschooling debate

Tim Tebow Debate: Should Homeschoolers Be Allowed on Public-School Sports Teams?
ideas.time.com

Despite — or perhaps because of — Tebow’s success, the prospect of lots of homeschoolers joining high school sports teams has the education establishment up in arms. Many opponents to Tebow laws repeat the mantra, “High school sports are a privilege, not a right.” Others fret that the logistics will be too daunting; for starters, how can you ensure homeschoolers are academically eligible to play? And after years of deriding public schools, homeschooling advocates seem shocked they’re not being greeted with open arms. The controversy surrounding Tebow laws is at once a reminder that homeschooling is too lightly regulated and a cautionary tale for those who want to broaden support for public schools.

In a diverse society like ours, there is value in commonness. Opponents of Tebow laws have it backwards: integrating homeschoolers into our public education system advances the goal of commonality. Besides, given all the problems our public schools face, it makes sense to build bridges to different communities, not exclude them. It’s how you build support and political coalitions. Letting homeschoolers play sports is one way to do that — if the homeschooling community can get past its reflexive opposition to regulation and meet the public schools halfway.

I wrote a few weeks ago that this debate is one in which both sides have legit points; it's difficult to make it a black-and-white issue.  This piece does a decent job of trying to present a third alternative: compromise.  

The Daily Lard 2-16-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In addition to guard C.J. Davis, Denver signed former Jaguars and Niners WR Jason Hill to a one-year deal yesterday. The 6-foot, 202-lb receiver (he's apparently shrunk an inch since cattle call combine, or got a haircut?) has 76 catches for 1,028 yards and eight TDs in 50 career games; he has virtually no experience as a return man, with just one kick return as a pro and two punt returns in college.

Last year for Jacksonville he caught 25 of the 53 passes thrown his way for 367 yards (14.7 YPR) and three scores, along with four drops. Hill will turn 27 next Monday and was originally drafted by the Niners in the third round of the 2007 Draft (76th overall) out of WSU after running the second-fastest combine time that year among receivers with a blistering 4.32-second forty.

Hill's speed will be a much-needed addition to an offense that had hardly any in 2011, whether at running back or wideout. Andrew Mason seems to think the signing of Hill makes it even less likely that Denver would bring back free agent Eddie Royal, despite Woody Paige's claims to the contrary. Eddie will surely present a hopeful outlook on Facebook and Twitter about sticking around, but he's a sunny guy. We can take his pro-Tebow comments at face value, or we can note that Tim targeted Eddie just 48 times in 12 games -  28 times in Denver's last nine games. Anyone really think he wants to be third or fourth banana again and relegated to return duty? Don't count on it.

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Elway says Broncos to spend at least $3M more than last year

Elway says Broncos to spend more than NFL salary cap in 2012
www.denverpost.com

In 2011, the Broncos spent $117.5 million in cash on salaries, or 98 percent of the $120.375 million salary cap. The cap is expected to again come in at $120.375 million for the 2012 season.

“That $3 million difference, we’ll roll that over to this year,” Elway said. “And that really came from the savings of Orton, so we’ll have that money to spend this year.”

Certainly not worthy of the "Denver Post Breaking News" spam special email, but whatever. So the cash savings from the Orton release could turn into a player - don't laugh, that guy could be the 2012 version of Chris Harris.*

As for actual news, the Broncos signed 25-year-old 6'2" 308 guard C.J. Davis, formerly of the Panthers. Davis dressed for seven games in 2010 but none in 2011.

* The undrafted free agent who kicked ass this year, not the Panther/Bear who Mason mentioned as a possible FA target. Man, that would be SO annoying.

Scouting the Broncos: A first look at free agency

It’s that time again - almost spring - when a young man’s fancies turn lightly to free agency and the draft. Equally, it’s much like love in that there’s often more wishful thinking than reason to the players that are mentioned. That being the case, I thought I’d jot some things down regarding important areas of the Broncos' rebuilding project.

John Elway has confirmed exactly what a lot of our readers have expressed hope for - that the Broncos intend to build through the draft and fill gaps in free agency. The thing is, just as it is with Denver’s own, that most free agents would just as soon not move and have to rebuild relationships without a lot of good reasons, most of them green. The Carl Nickses of the league aren't likely shots, to put it mildly, although you never really know who will become available or have a tiff with their team. However - there are a lot of good players available who can help Denver immediately via either free agency or the draft. I’ll be covering this by position, post-Combine, to add some draft options, but here are some rarely stressed basics to think seriously about.

First on the list? Remember to check for unrestricted free agents (UFA) vs. restricted free agents (RFA). Folks should keep in mind that taking on an RFA would cost the Broncos a draft pick as compensation to the former team, in addition to the monetary value of whatever contract they give the player. It could happen with the right deal, but it's highly unlikely. Those valuable picks are going to be the basis for the rebuilding process - I can seen trading out of the 25th-overall pick for a couple of second-rounders, for example. Denver needs more picks, not less.

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Krieger: public deserves its cut, too

Is Denver's Skyline For Sale?
www.850koa.com

Is Denver’s skyline for sale? And, if so, what’s it worth?

The first of these questions has gotten a lot of attention in the debate leading up to today’s hearing before the city planning board on The Sports Authority’s proposal to install three 178-foot, lighted signs along the metal band that undulates around the top of the stadium where the Broncos play in northwest Denver. The second question has gotten almost none.

...So perhaps the most surprising aspect of the debate is that at no time has the city or the stadium district asked The Sports Authority to pay an additional fee for the right to vastly augment the signage that went with the original naming rights deal. The money from the naming rights deal—approximately $6 million a year—is divided between the Broncos and the stadium district, which uses its share for upkeep of the facility. If there is excess, it is supposed to go back to the counties that provided the public funding that got the place built.

If the free market allows The Sports Authority to put its brand on the Denver skyline, then the free market should also require it to pay a market rate for the privilege. And that doesn’t mean just picking up the existing naming rights fee, which included much more modest signage rights.

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