The Daily Lard 4-24-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway met with the press (video, partial transcript) yesterday to talk about the draft, which begins only 60 hours from the time of this writing. Elway spoke about the retirement of Brian Dawkins (it was the player's decision), the team's needs at defensive tackle (he claims it's overstated) and at cornerback (you can never have too many), and even the Ring of Fame-worthiness of Simon Fletcher (still not in, despite Elway being tricked into thinking he was just added by a reporter's question).

As for trading picks, Elway says the team is more likely to move down from #25 than up, so we should all prepare for the possibility that Thursday night will come and go without Denver adding a player. He also says the team will again draft with the intent of receiving significant contributions from their early picks as rookies.

More on Elway's comments from Lindsay JonesArnie Stapleton, and Stuart Zaas.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-24-12"

The next great NFL scandal also stars the Saints

Saints' Loomis could eavesdrop
espn.go.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons…Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season, his first as general manager of the Saints, and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

A few thoughts:

  1. If Loomis was indeed listening in during the 2004 season, it didn't help his Saints in Week 11 of that year, when they got thrashed by the visiting Broncos 34-13.
  2. The statute of limitations may preclude Loomis from facing criminal prosecution, but does anyone want to bet against the long arm of Roger Goodell extracting another pound of flesh from the still smarting Loomis for this one?
  3. Although this should be filed under the Of Course This Happens in the NFL category, the Saints are the ones who appear to have been caught, and that's all that really counts.
  4. Aints fans truly cannot catch a break.
  5. Perhaps Al Davis wasn't so far out there, at least in terms of his legendary paranoia.

You Got Served: It’s getting Drafty in here

Happy Monday, friends.  I was hoping to get Part 7 of my Manning Offense series done while I was in Dallas, but alas, we ended up working three long days, and I didn’t have time.  It’s going to have to wait until after the Draft, because I need to shift to that situation.

How is it possible that the best Broncos site in the world hasn’t done a single bit of mockery?  Have you considered that?  I would say that it’s mostly because we think that it’s a waste of time, and that there’s no shortage of people spending their time doing and updating them.  When it comes down to it, we don’t know what the teams are going to do, and when a good mockery performance is getting six or seven picks out of 32 right, what’s the point?

I do one annual piece of mockery, called the Rational Actor Mock Draft (RAMD), and I’ll be doing that tomorrow.  Expect that to be IAOFM’s only foray into mockery, once again.  The way we see it, it’s better to cover what actually happens on Draft weekend than it is to do 74 mocks between January and April.  As in the past, you’ll want to be here for the best coverage between Thursday and Saturday.

For today, I’m going to give you some thoughts about football, the Draft, and what I think the Broncos should do this week.  Fun times, right?  Ready… BEGIN!!

Continue reading "You Got Served: It’s getting Drafty in here"

Archie: Peyton isn’t thinking beyond 2012

Archie Manning: 'I think (Peyton) is going year to year'
content.usatoday.com

But now, the elder Manning says, “I think (Peyton’s neck injury) makes you a little more realistic’’ about a retirement date.

“I think he’s always done a good job of not taking his health for granted; I think he learned that early on because of (brother) Cooper’s injury,’’ that ended his football career, says Archie Manning. “But after missing a season, I think he is going year to year.’‘

“Denver is not Buffalo,’’ says his father. “I saw a number where the average home temperature (in Denver) is 60 degrees. You play just half your games at home anyway. We’ll see. I think he has more things on his mind than the weather. I really think he has one focus: Make this transition to a new team. You miss a whole year and now you change (teams)—it will be different.’‘

Of course, during Peyton's introductory presser, he said he's "planning on playing for a long time," while the structure of his five-year contract gives Denver and Manning outs after the 2012, 2014, and 2015 seasons if the issues with his neck again become a hindrance. (via PFT)

Brian Dawkins to retire as Philadelphia Eagle

As noted by Lindsay Jones, Denver safety Brian Dawkins is retiring. Via Twitter, Dawkins writes:

The Lord has blessed me to play in the NFL for 16 years. I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing In me. I would like 2 thank all my teammates & Coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that i have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL. #BBTB

Dawkins spent three seasons with the Broncos after 13 in Philadelphia, and he was named to eight Pro Bowls and was a four-time first-team All-Pro. He started 39 of the 41 games he played for Denver, but a neck injury forced the future HOFer to miss the team's regular season finale and two playoff games.

According to LJ and Andrew Mason, Dawkins will officially retire on Saturday as a Philadelphia Eagle.

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MMQB: Ross wants Tannehill, who should go in top 12

Tannehill not a lock for Dolphins or top 10; more recent draft buzz
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Over the weekend, I was told the same thing that Mike Florio reported on ProFootballTalk.com: that owner Stephen Ross wanted the Dolphins to pick Tannehill. I was also told Miami’s offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, likes his former A&M quarterback but isn’t standing on the table for him…And this morning, I got a call from someone saying Florio was right on; Ross wants the quarterback. If Miami passes on him at eight, I expect him to go either to a trade-up team with Kansas City at 11 or to Seattle at 12.

Elsewhere, PK says the Jaguars are anxious to move back from the #7 pick, the Colts would like to get Coby Fleener in Round 2, and Minnesota must come up with a new stadium deal in the next two or three months if they're to keep the Vikings.

NFL playbooks? There’s an app for that Lard 4-23-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday we read that Denver would be moving fully into the future of the NFL game on the field, borrowing from the Packers, Saints, and Colts to develop the passing section of their playbook. We already know they've adopted a forward-looking approach to conditioning with their hiring of Luke Richesson and his subsequent overhaul of the team's workout facilities.

Today, via Andy Vuong, we learn that the Broncos are following the innovative and intuitive leads of the Ravens and Bucs by eschewing the printed playbooks of old for digital ones distributed on iPads. Players will apparently be able to access game plans, film, and scouting reports on their new tablets, with newly added plays pushed to them instantly.

As for security concerns, the team will be able to remotely erase any iPads that potentially go missing, whereas once a printed playbook was lost, there was no recourse.

Nonsensically, the NFL is not yet allowing tablets to be used on the sideline during games, but they at least have relaxed a silly rule that said such devices had to be shut off 90 minutes before kickoff. Instead, players will have access to them in the locker room right until gametime.

Continue reading "NFL playbooks? There’s an app for that Lard 4-23-12"

Broncos’ pursuit of Asante Samuel leaves clues to scheme and draft

The Broncos' pursuit of Asante Samuel is more than an admission they want to upgrade their secondary.

It might be the very clue we needed to put this whole question of their defensive scheme (and perhaps their draft strategy) together.

How so?  It starts with the overlooked fact that Asante Samuel's skillset is not tight, man-to-man coverage. It's playing off man in a Cover 2.  In fact, Samuel is world class at this style of cornerback play.  Coincidentally (not so much), it's also Champ Bailey's strength, although Bailey is certainly adept at playing tight man coverage when the situation calls for it.  But Bailey's preference is off man, where he can play five to seven yards off the line of scrimmage, aligned straight legged, and heads up or slightly outside of the receiver, peering into the backfield at the quarterback.  

You'll recall that when Bailey finished runner-up to Jason Taylor as Defensive POY in 2006, he played a majority of his coverages out of this scheme.  It allowed him to utilize his experience with offensive play and route recognition, along with his catlike reflexes.

Samuel, although not in Bailey's league when it comes to man-to-man coverage, has a similar ability to react to the quarterback and read routes out of off-man coverage. Of course, this is exactly why the Broncos wanted to trade for him.  Their intention was for their base defense to feature off-man coverage from the corners.  It's no coincidence the Broncos have also signed Tracy Porter, another cornerback, who, although younger than Samuel, also has a preference for off-man coverage.

Continue reading "Broncos’ pursuit of Asante Samuel leaves clues to scheme and draft"

The Daily Lard 4-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Woody Paige, the new Denver offense will be complected of:

  • Plays straight out of Indy's playbook, of course
  • Plays that John Fox and Mike McCoy grew fond of during their seven seasons together in Carolina
  • "Pass plays the Broncos had before Tebow," which really means concepts and plays inherited from Josh McDaniels
  • Willis McGahee-friendly rushing plays from last year
  • Plays copied from Green Bay and New Orleans, the preeminent passing offenses of the day
  • Pass plays which suited the skills of new Broncos Joel Dreessen and Andre Caldwell in their prior homes (Houston and Cincy, respectively)

Peyton Manning also tells Woody he's been spending some quality time with Johns Elway and Fox, and that he's found a house in the area.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-22-12"

Manning’s motion was a mess last fall; several ex-teammates aided his recovery

Quarterback sneak: How Peyton Manning regained his confidence and throwing motion
insider.espn.go.com

The result was a spaghetti pile of a throwing motion, the mechanics of a man in a hurry…Manning’s body was way out in front of his arm, forcing his throws to catch up to his chest and legs instead of pushing through with them. For reference, Cutcliffe dug through the mountain of film he’s kept on Manning over the years…

During visits to Durham and back in Indianapolis, Manning started an autumn-long ramping-up process. First were tosses to no one. When his arm began catching up to his chest, he began throwing routes to receivers, starting with one, then expanding into multiples.

(Todd Helton) declared he could keep up with Cutcliffe’s football workouts, then quickly demanded a TV timeout when it got too intense—“because that’s what you football guys do.” He played every position on the field during Manning’s simulations.

Manning and Helton would work out in the morning while Cutcliffe ran Duke’s spring practice and watched film at lunch with his coaching staff. Come late afternoon, the three would meet on the field to run their own drills….Helton never openly campaigned for Denver, because at that point no one believed the Broncos would even be suitors.

McGee's story also tells of Brandon Stokley, Austin Collie, and Jeff Saturday joining Peyton to simulate the 2009 AFC championship game on the Duke campus while the Blue Devils hosted Maryland's Terps at Cameron Indoor. (Insider or ESPN Mag required)

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