The Daily Lard 4-7-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The fallout from the Gregg Williams pre-game speech continues; documentarian Sean Pamphilon says he did not violate his agreement with ex-Saint Steve Gleason by releasing the damning audio clip.

Several current and ex-players chimed in after hearing the speech: Giants legend Carl Banks interpreted it as 90-95% metaphorical coach-speak; Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says that other 10% is a big problem; Cris Carter thinks Williams should be banned for life; Antonio Pierce says he heard the same speech from every defensive coordinator he played for in the NFL.

Mike Lombardi echoes Mike Silver's column from yesterday in stating that Williams's status as a virtual independent contractor with full control over his defenses is what permitted him to operate as he did.

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Champ Bailey and YAC and smoking crack

Earlier in the week, Football Outsiders reported that in 2011, Champ Bailey gave up more yards after the catch (YAC) than any other cornerback in the league.

Was this a sign that Bailey was getting older, losing a step, or declining in skills?

On the surface, it's easy to look at Bailey's YAC stat and smoke the crack (and become immediately paranoid). If you had not watched a Broncos game all year, you'd assume Bailey was either missing a lot of tackles after the receiver caught the ball or he was getting beat deep badly.  Luckily, the gang at FO qualified the numbers:

Now, let's be clear: These YAC allowed numbers generally don't say much about the actual quality of a cornerback. There's generally very little correlation between a cornerback's rank in Success Rate and his rank in YAC allowed. Still, it is very strange to see Champ Bailey giving up the most average YAC of any starting cornerback in 2011 -- and by a wide margin. Isn't he known as an excellent tackler for a cornerback? Yes, and there isn't much evidence that this is an issue of tackling. We only recorded Bailey with two broken tackles on plays where he was in coverage. He just seemed to have a few more plays than usual where guys got behind him on short- and mid-range routes.

As we always preach around these parts, stats are nothing without context.  So let's provide some when it comes to Bailey and his YAC (not to be confused with GOAT, which is purely a term reserved for Norv Turner).

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John Elway 2.0: designer jeans, $100 hair, and ready to kick ass

The rebirth of John Elway
espn.go.com

Wearing designer jeans, a leather jacket and looking like he just walked out of a Beverly Hills hair salon, John Elway smiled winningly, shaking hands and offering quick quips as he breezed through. In the often stodgy world of the NFL, Elway was working the combine his own way. NFL front-office leaders are usually not the leather-jacket-and-$100-dollar-haircut types. Neither are they Super Bowl winning, Hall of Fame quarterbacks…

...“I think people underestimated how hungry John was and his love for the Broncos,” Ellis said. “He’s been waiting to do this. He brings a deep skill set, including a willingness to roll up his sleeves and work hard. … He has a terrific, deep base of football knowledge and he commands strong business skills. He is perfect for the big picture of our organization.”

Elway has been praised by people inside the organization for not having any ego and for his willingness to learn on the job. “He knows what he doesn’t know,” one team employee said. Agents around the league have been impressed with Elway’s professionalism and knowledge of players and contract situations. They have found him easy to deal with.

His first move may have been his most important. Elway and Fox have meshed beautifully, insiders say, and they have similar personalities and approaches.

Never underestimate the power of designer jeans.

Peyton Manning wrote letter to Dolphins explaining his decision

Were Miami Dolphins misled about Peyton Manning?
blogs.sun-sentinel.com

Never mind the fact the Denver Broncos, which eventually landed Manning, had four times the amount of cap space as the Dolphins. Ignore the South Florida condo the Manning family SHARES, which Peyton Manning used as his offseason home while training with Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon this offseason. Overlook the fact Manning personally told certain Dolphins figures he’d love to play for the team before being released by the Colts.

How did the Dolphins miscalculate Manning’s interest level so badly? “I felt like a lot of people,” owner Steve Ross said at the NFL’s owners meeting last week. I’m GUESSING Ross felt played, just like he did with Jeff Fisher?

“He’d been at two teams his whole life and I think he judged it based on the fact where he would feel most comfortable, where he had familiar faces around him because that’s what he was used to,” said Ross, who received a letter from Manning explaining his decision-making process.

My hope is Manning explained to Ross that his camp kept the Dolphins in the conversation purposely to drive up the asking price, which turned into $96 million over five-years.

For the benefit of Dolphins fans everywhere, here is a sample Wonderlic question to give some needed perspective:

Who would you rather play for?

  1. John Elway
  2. Jeff Ireland
  3. Chucky Manson
  4. Foghorn Leghorn

The heat is on Gregg Lard 4-6-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Roger Goodell heard appeals from the Saints, Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt yesterday, and his decision is expected sometime next week. But the big story was the release of the audio recording of Gregg Williams's speech prior to the Saints' playoff game versus the Niners.

Naturally, reaction was strong and swift: Michael Irvin said he almost threw up while listening to it; Warren "QB Killa" Sapp called Dr. Heat's speech the most heinous, egregious thing in NFL history and says he wouldn't have stood for such a thing during his career.

White Sox GM Kenny Williams, father of 49ers WR Kyle Williams (who was a specific target in the speech due to a prior concussion) suggested that the banned coordinator's behavior bordered on criminality; Niners safety Donte Whitner recalls that the Saints were unusually vicious in the teams' preseason matchup last year.

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Don’t expect Gregg Williams to be reinstated anytime soon

Greg Williams Saints Bounty Audio
www.youtube.com

Kill the head, and the body will die. We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head…We want his head sideways. Little 32, we want to knock the f#$% out of him.

We hit f#$%in’ Smith right there (points to chin). Remember me, I’ve got the first one. I’ve got the first one (rubs fingers together indicating cash payment).

Good luck with that appeal today, Saints...

The Daily Lard 4-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chargers continue to collect diminutive receivers/returners (pissants) ala Mouse Davis and Tiger Ellison's run-and-shoot offense of the 1960s.

Having already signed our old friend Eddie Royal, who measures 5-10, San Diego on Tuesday added Roscoe Parrish, who is listed as being an inch shorter than Eddie. Yesterday, the team signed 5-11 wideout/returner Michael Spurlock, formerly of the Bucs. Incumbent returner Richard Goodman, who is also a wide receiver, towers over the rest at 6-0.

Early in free agency, the team replaced the 6-5 Vincent Jackson with the 6-2 Robert Meachem, and while that's a downgrade in height, there aren't that many receivers out there with VJ's stature. The team also let the 6-0 WR Bryan Walters move on to San Diego.

Of course, Davis made mighty-mite wideouts the focus of his offense because he couldn't procure bigger/better talent while coaching high school football in Oregon. So what's San Diego's excuse?

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Chiefs Lilja: everyone wants to crown the Broncos, but Matt Cassel is taking us places

Chiefs' Lilja offers a full-throated defense of quarterback Cassel
www.sunherald.com

“But Matt’s the guy, and Matt’s going to take us places. Matt’s a general in the huddle. People don’t see how hard he works. They don’t see the stuff he plays through, because we don’t talk about it. But take my word for it: There aren’t many guys I’d rather play with.”

“I’m perfectly content with the Denver Broncos and their situation and them bringing him in. They’re already building Lombardi trophies for them, it sounds like to me. I like that. Nobody thinks we can do much. That’s kind of a fun place to be in. Time will tell.”

Part of the fun of being a fan is the ability to gloat when your team wins in the offseason.

Fact: the Chiefs desperately wanted a shot at Peyton Manning.  They didn't even make it past the rope line.

Ryan Lilja can delude himself all he wants (and he probably needs to in order to wear ketchup and mustard every Sunday), but the only place Matt Cassel is taking the Chiefs is to the bottom of the AFC West.

Amobi Okoye mystery continues, but will supposedly sign with someone soon

Bears signal DT Okoye on way out
www.chicagotribune.com

The Bears have hoped to re-sign Amobi Okoye but speaking on a conference call with season-ticket holders, the general manager said the defensive tackle likely is headed elsewhere.

“Right now, Amobi is trying to decide which direction he is going,” Emery said. “We’ve had conversations with him. So far, we have not been able to work out a deal. Amobi is probably going in a different direction.”

Dan Pompei added this tweet today as well:

Chances of Amobi Okoye returning to Bears are fading fast. Could sign with a new team soon.

What is soon?  Okoye was supposed to visit Cincinnati on Tuesday, but that was pushed back so the Bengals' coaching staff could attend Notre Dame's pro day.  Nothing signals a team's desire to sign a free agent more than rescheduling to go watch a pro day.

The Broncos were supposedly one of the five teams interested in Okoye.  The other include the Bengals, Bears, Bucs, and Patriots.

The Bears look to be out.  The Bengals may have botched their opportunity.  And we've not heard whispers of Okoye visiting any other teams.

Do the Broncos suddenly enter the picture--and fast?

Happy Birthday, Tom Jackson!

Happy Birthday to former Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson, who today turns 61.

Although Jackson is now known for his work as a football analyst at ESPN (since 1987), Jackson's legacy as a Denver Bronco and member of the Orange Crush is epic. During his 14-year career, TJ appeared in two Super Bowls and was a three-time Pro Bowler.  Jackson was a classic "tweener" who thrived in Joe Collier's 3-4 defense in the 70s and 80s. It resulted in Jackson being inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame. Did we mention he was a mainstay of the Orange Crush?

Another reason we love Jackson, of course, is that he originally uttered the phrase (and the very name of this website) "It's all over, fat man!" in 1977 to then Raiders coach John Madden in Week 5 as the Broncos crushed the Raiders 30-7. You might say it was disrespectful. We prefer to call it a restating of the facts. When Jackson said what he said to Madden, the game, in fact, was over. And, facts being facts, Madden was (and still is) the original Oakland butterball. Sebastian Janikowski and JaMarcus Russell came way late to the party.

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