Zubaz pants still exist Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Players report to camp on Wednesday, with practices beginning the day after that. The team's annual scrimmage at SAF@MH is less than two weeks away (Saturday, August 4), and presumably this time the starting QB won't be booed.

In a preview of training camp, the DP writers label the secondary as Denver's biggest question mark. But with four starter-quality corners in Champ Bailey, Tracy Porter, Drayton Florence, and Chris Harris, and rookie Omar Bolden getting the opportunity to learn from all of them, we'll call the front seven a much greater concern.

After the team got zero sacks from its starting tackles in 2011, will Justin Bannan (only 31 pressures in three seasons according to PFF) and Ty Warren (hasn't played since 2009) provide anything in the pass rush? Is Joe Mays really a starting Mike linebacker (highest stop rate among inside backers, but also the most missed tackles in 2011)? Will Wesley Woodyard hold up well if he's called on to start six games in place of D.J. Williams? What if D.J. is suspended longer after his DUI trial concludes? If he's cut?

It's just about time to start finding out.

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Weekly Limerick Schtick: Elvis Dumervil

Last week's topic was D.J. "That piss ain't human" Williams. This week Elvis Dumervil earned himself the honor:

If Elvis did lift up his shirt
intending some bodily hurt
A ban he will get.
They cannot acquit.
The Broncos and Sacco: inert.

Now give your own Limerick go.  It's not as fun as driving a Land Rover, but it's certainly cheaper.

Bruce Smith sues league, Emmitt says he lied to team docs Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chargers released guard Kris Dielman from their reserve-retired list yesterday, which prompted some puzzling rumors the 31-year-old was considering a return to play.

Instead, the move is more likely a precursor to legal action from Dielman against the Chargers and the NFL for their disastrous handling of his concussion last season.

Dielman had suffered a head injury during the fourth quarter of an October matchup with the Jets, but remained in the game despite showing signs of a concussion. Following the game, team personnel determined him fit to fly cross-country, even though air travel is thought to worsen post-concussive symptoms. Frighteningly, Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure during the flight and was later hospitalized.

Of course, we can talk all we want about personal responsibility, but does anyone want to suggest that Dielman was in any condition to determine whether it was a good idea for him to get on a plane that evening?

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Poll: Biggest concern after Manning’s health and form?

A few bones to pick with PFT's overview of the Broncos: it's a bit much to call old friend Andre' Goodman a "longtime liability" and label Ryan Clady "annually overrated."

Also, if there's one spot where Denver is stronger than most, it's at nickel corner, where either Drayton Florence or Chris Harris will be handling business. Here, it's considered a "major question mark."

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Kerry Byrne is still a statistical hack Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! I don't bother linking to Kerry Byrne anymore because the guy is a statistical hack, and his latest column is no exception. But it also mentions the 1998 Broncos, so I figured why not take a closer peek.

I should have resisted the urge, because it gets ugly, and fast.

As expected, the whole thing is a joke, because Byrne tries to make the case that in 1998, the SB 33-losing Chris Chandler had the best year that any QB had had in 42 seasons. Yeah, better than seasons by Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Steve Young. The guy completed 58.1% of his passes with a very high INT rate of 3.7%, and it's a historically peerless season?

Not quite. As usual, the problem with Byrne is that he picks a stat, declares it to be the best, and then claims it to prove everything thereafter. In this case Yards Per Attempt is his obsession. And yes, it's a good stat - as we always note, rate stats are far better than counting stats. But as we've also discussed plenty of times, there are better QB rate stats than YPA, including AY/A, NY/A and ANY/A, all from PFR. These figures all correlate better to winning than does YPA.

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Philip Rivers again makes it known he wanted Peyton Manning in Denver

Philip Rivers: I wanted Peyton in Denver, Norv in San Diego
content.usatoday.com

Asked Wednesday night on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access about Peyton Manning’s arrival to the Denver Broncos, Rivers responded: “I was probably one of the few people that was crazy enough to say it, but I was hoping he was going to Denver, and I say that with all respect. Certainly (he’ll) make it even tougher. ... We certainly can’t expect that 8-8 will get us in (the playoffs).

“I’ve always believed why wouldn’t you want to play the best? ... To me, any time you’re playing a Peyton Manning-led football team, it’s a challenge. But it’s what you dream about growing up as a kid.”

As for whether he lobbied team brass to retain Head Coach Norv Turner—who is perceived to be in a make-or-break season—after an 8-8 flop in 2011, Rivers offer a non-denial denial.  “I was nothing more than wanting to be a voice for the locker room,” said the four-time Pro Bowler. “I wasn’t trying to persuade or do anything other than say what the guys in the locker room felt and that is a great deal of faith and belief in Coach Norv Turner.

This is the second time Rivers mentioned he wanted Peyton Manning to Denver, but the first time he admitted to being crazy.

We agree, Phil.  You are crazy.  And here's why: they say you should never bring a knife to a gun fight, but the reality is that you should never bring Norv Turner to any fight that involves--well, fighting.

Franchise tag conceived for Elway Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've mentioned here of late that the NFL's franchise tagging system has been bastardized a bit. Intended originally to keep iconic stars with the teams they are identified with, it has instead functioned recently as a way for teams to hang onto their most important free agent each year.

Clearly, this should almost never be the punter or kicker. But as Albert Breer notes, eleven specialists have been among the 55 players tagged in just the past four years.

Of greater interest to us is that Breer says Denver's Pat Bowlen was the owner lobbying hardest for the franchise tag 20 years ago, for the selfish reason of wanting to ensure John Elway would remain a Bronco for eternity.

Which of course is ironic - in that Dan Reeves drafted twenty-year-old UCLA sophomore Tommy Maddox that spring to eventually replace Elway - passing over Carl Pickens at a time when the Duke needed a top WR in the worst of ways. Jimmy Smith was taken a few picks after Pickens, but I have no idea if he was a consideration for Denver in the first round. Can any of our Broncos historians out there recall what the speculation was back then?

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2012 Denver Broncos - There will be balls

Denver Broncos
www.cbssports.com

As John Fox said to me, “We are eager to learn from Peyton.”...Now Peyton is the coach on the field and young wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are about to explode. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two guys who caught 76 passes between them last year combine for 150 receptions this year…

...Manning likes 12 personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) and a no-huddle attack. His former teammate Jacob Tamme told me he takes on the Dallas Clark role which he did for the Colts when Clark got hurt. Joel Dreessen, former Titan and jack-of-all-trades gives the Broncos the flexibility to build a spread set or a two-back set or any other formation in their attack package. There will be a lot of pressure on center J.D. Walton, who will have to learn to check protections constantly as Manning makes multiple changes at the line of scrimmage. Manning is used to Jeff Saturday, who had 13 years of experience in that role. Walton has two years and has never played with the likes of a Peyton Manning.

Don’t think the Broncos will ignore the run game. As Bill Cowher said to me, “Peyton likes the stretch zone run game to set up his play-action pass and he sees so much two high safety coverages he has to take the run.”

You know that ass clown in your fantasy league (it's okay to admit that you play fantasy football, you loser) that, instead of drafting for need or production, drafts all his players from the same team? Well if you've ever thought about playing village idiot yourself and taking all Broncos, this would be the year.  I don't recommend the strategy, but when Jacob Tamme blows up, you can at least take credit for being ahead of the curve.

I threw in Cowher's quote because it's excellent.  If Manning is even close to his form of 2010, teams will often play this high-safety, war-of-attrition defense to simply stay in the game.  If you go into 2012 remembering one thing, you'd do a lot worse than Cowher's quote.  

Dredging the Prater debate back up (sorry but we haz pollz)

PFF's Khaled Elsayed recently went over three years of pass blocking data for guards and centers, with Denver's starting RG Chris Kuper not faring well in terms of total pressure - a point which will not surprise TJ. As you might have imagined, center J.D. Walton ranks worst at his position, and you know who's at the other end of the spectrum?

Why, it's Jeff Saturday, that's who.

He's the guy the Broncos wanted to sign and reunite with Peyton Manning, but they got outbid by the Packers.

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File under: Things you probably didn’t want to know about Denver’s new fullback

Rob Gronkowski Crossed Swords With His Brothers, And Two Other Fantastic Gronk Stories From The ESPYs
www.sportsgrid.com

“Gronkowski is in line for the bathroom. There’s a line, two urinals and a stall. They’re all waiting. Gronkowski is with his two brothers, who just looked awesome. He goes into the stall and he turns around to one of his brothers and says, ‘Crossys?’ The second brother goes in, the third brother goes in, and then there’s some guy who’s waiting — some small guy — and they say, ‘Let’s get him too.’ They grab this guy and pull him in, and they all pee in the bathroom together, in the stall.”

Yikes, the poor fourth man in on that Schwartz-crossing episode is likely scarred for life. And unless he was several beverages into his evening, one would have to think he had a bit of that Public Restroom Performance Anxiety that strikes all of us at some point in our lives.

For those who missed it, Gronk's older brother Chris is Denver's new fullback.

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