The Daily Lard 3-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman is hearing that Roger Goodell will penalize the Saints for their bounty system with an even heavier hand than he used with the Patriots over Spygate. Freeman suspects that New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton are likely to face suspensions and hefty fines, and for the team to lose at least a first-round draft choice.

Why such severe punishment when players Freeman spoke to estimated that 30-40% of the league's players (does this mean almost every team, since only defensive players appear to have employed bounties?) were party to a bounty system last season? After all, it's a bit too late to simply make an example of the Saints and pretend the problem doesn't span the league.

However, a current player told Freeman that bounties have been rendered less effective by the rules meant to protect offensive players (Anyone still dismissing the need for those? Didn't think so), and the Saints appear to stand out for having institutionalized the system, as Freeman puts it. That the head coach and general manager were aware of the system and even condoned it is another strike against them.

But the guess here is this scandal will grow bigger and take down more names before the Commish metes out his punishment.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-5-12"

If you want the Broncos to move on RG3, you’ll like this news

For now, market for STL No. 2 pick is soft
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

But even before free agency begins, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, the Rams haven’t found a huge seller’s market.

According to the paper, the Browns, who already hold the No. 4 overall pick and obviously would have to give that up to move up to No. 2, aren’t willing to part with their second first-round pick this year (at No. 22). The idea of St. Louis not getting—at the absolute bare minimum—two first-round picks to give up their No. 2 selection is ridiculous, and if Cleveland sticks to that plan, perhaps the organization feels better about current quarterback Colt McCoy than many people might have guessed.

Adding to the Rams woes, the Redskins apparently are willing to part with their No. 6 pick this year and their first-round pick in 2013 but don’t want to give up their second-round pick this year. As the paper writes, that simply isn’t acceptable to the Rams.

The Post Dispatch also writes that trades won’t be worked out with eiter (sic) the Dolphins (the No. 8 pick) because Miami doesn’t want to deal with the coach in Jeff Fisher who spurned them for a job or the Seahawks (No. 12) because St. Louis doesn’t want to have to face RG3 twice a year for the foreseeable future.

I'm still not in the camp that believes the Broncos can move up to land Robert Griffin III, but if I was, I'd view this bit of news in a positive light.

The Daily Lard 3-4-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we'd figured, Willis McGahee's firing of agent Drew Rosenhaus served as an indication that the RB is unhappy with his 2012 salary. According to Mike Klis, the Broncos told Rosenhaus they would not renegotiate McGahee's deal, a four-year $9.5M contract signed just last summer. The 30-year-old running back was a bargain by any measure in 2011, racking up 1,250 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns for just a $1M salary and $2M signing bonus. McGahee is due a $2M salary in 2012 and will count for $2.5M against the cap; Klis says Willis has no plans to hold out, but it's also only March. Then again, how much leverage does a 30-year-old back have? Not much.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have until tomorrow to lock up kicker Matt Prater to a new long-term deal or use their franchise tag on him, which would result in a $2.6M salary for 2012. Here's guessing the two sides would still pursue a lengthier contract if Denver ends up tagging the 27-year-old kicker.

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Unwelcome in Indy, Brandon Brooks makes his case

Miami (Ohio) OG Brooks make statement at Pro day
rob-rang.blogs.cbssports.com

Last week, The Sports Xchange documented the regimen of Miami (Ohio) guard Brandon Brooks, arguably the mostly highly regarded prospect—almost certainly the best offensive line candidate—not invited to the Indianapolis combine.

At his pro day on campus Thursday, Brooks may have cemented his status, and perhaps worked his way to as high as the third round, with a very solid audition for NFL scouts.

At 6-feet-5 and 346 pounds, Brooks ran a sub-5.0 time (scouts to whom The Sports Xchange spoke pegged it in the 4.98 range) and performed 36 “reps” in the bench press.

“A lot of people told me they couldn’t believe I wasn’t in Indy,” Brooks told The Sports Xchange, “but who’s fault was it (that) I wasn’t there? Maybe it’s all worked out for the best, though. Like I said before, it just made the chip that much bigger for me. Maybe I worked that much harder.”

Brooks may be drafted yet, but if not he’ll be one of the top valued UDFAs shortly after. Congratulations to a class guy who’s handling this disappointment by channeling it into his craft. It’s a great lesson.

Bowen: the NFL isn’t little league football

Bounties part of game across the NFL
articles.chicagotribune.com

That’s the truth. I can’t sugarcoat this. It was a system we all bought into.

I ate it up.

It’s hard not to, not when you’re playing for a coach like Gregg Williams, my defensive coordinator while I was with the Washington Redskins…

...I’m not saying it’s right. Or ethical. But the NFL isn’t little league football with neighborhood dads playing head coach. This is the business of winning. If that means stepping over some line, you do it.

Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don’t peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.

Win or else. That’s the drill.

Bowen provides some needed perspective in this suddenly-raging debate. It doesn't make Gregg Williams right. It simply provides some context.

What Bowen is saying is that when you have a multi-billion dollar business like the NFL, in which the very brand has been built on a little of the 'ol ultra violence, and further, in which the average NFL career is just a tiny window, you shouldn't be surprised or shocked when you wake up one day to find out gladiators will look for any edge they can get.

Bruni: brutality is not what draws us to football

Enough Football Violence
bruni.blogs.nytimes.com

I watch because there’s intricate strategy in every play called, and there’s extraordinary athleticism in every play that goes better than expected.

I watch for the 54-yard field goal with five seconds to go.

I watch for Tim Tebow, who doesn’t administer any crushing hits at all, but makes you wonder about the power of positive thinking and the corkscrew turns of fortune.

I stop watching–I even turn away–when an outstretched, utterly vulnerable wide receiver is about to take a helmet in his side and hit the ground with the kind of impact that could cause a concussion if he’s lucky, worse if he’s not. And I find myself conflicted about my enthusiasm for the sport, given its grim toll.

The Daily Lard 3-3-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! The biggest NFL news in quite some time hit yesterday - that the Saints defense under the direction of former DC and momentary Denver head-coaching candidate Gregg Williams (and mentor to recent Broncos DC and new Oakland head man Dennis Allen) employed a bounty system funded mainly by players to reward each other for knocking out opposing players and forcing them to be carted off the field, along with less-nefarious goals like creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns.

Who else put cash into this system? A felon not employed by the team, but with a direct line of communication to Saints coach Sean Payton.

Williams, who rejoined his old boss Jeff Fisher (when both were with the Titans) in St. Louis to run the Rams defense, issued a statement yesterday acknowledging the program and taking full responsibility for it. The league's investigation found the bounty system existed throughout Williams' three-year tenure in New Orleans; as could be expected, the Redskins defense employed a similar system while the well-traveled Williams was coordinating their defense. Joe Gibbs, his boss in Washington, is claiming ignorance.

It's worth noting that between Williams's stints in Washington and New Orleans, he spent the 2008 season running the Jaguars defense for new Denver DC Jack Del Rio, then Jacksonville's head coach. As for Williams' first stint with Fisher in Tennessee, ex-Titans safety Blaine Bishop claims there was no bounty system.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-3-12"

Saints confirm what we suspected all along

NFL: Saints defense had 'bounty' fund
espn.go.com

Between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, maintained a “bounty” program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the NFL announced Friday.

The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off,” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.

“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”

While I'm sure Roger Goodell is going to feign the requisite amount of shock and disgust at this news, it doesn't come as a surprise to the rest of us.  The idea of taking out an opposing player is as old as the league itself.  What makes this story even more peculiar, however, is that Saints owner, Tom Benson, ordered Mickey Loomis, Saints GM, to stop the bounties.  Yet, they continued. Loomis can probably kiss his job (and his proverbial ass) goodbye.  

Here's some additional food for thought: Dennis Allen, former Broncos defensive coordinator, was defensive backs coach for the Saints in 2009 and 2010.  So he knew all about his mentor's "bounty" program.

What are the chances that he brought a little of this sugar to Denver?  Not high, would be my guess.  

What are the chances he brings it to Oakland as their head coach?  Zero, now that Goodell is making the rounds.

Banks: Broncos make sense as mystery RG3 team

Don't try to read the future in unpredictable NFL; more Snaps
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

To repeat, I think Philadelphia and Denver make the most sense as a mystery team in the RGIII sweepstakes, because the Eagles can get out of their Michael Vick contract after 2012, and John Elway is said to be impressed with Griffin and his pass-first, run-later skill set. The No. 15 Eagles and No. 25 Broncos could be motivated enough to join the likely suitors of No. 4 Cleveland, No. 6 Washington and No. 8 Miami.

Peter King had written in his latest MMQB that he thinks Denver picks a quarterback in the first two rounds, and he mentioned in the current SI that the Rams already had several feelers—including one from a team "you would never expect". That last part apparently prompted something of a Twitter kerfuffle.

As noted in today's Lard, Rams GM Les Snead echoed King's MMQB point by stating that some of the teams expressing interest in the #2 pick are not so obvious.

Cox found not guilty on both counts in rape case

Former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox not guilty in sex-assault case
www.denverpost.com

Former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox has been found not-guilty on two counts of sexual assault of a victim unable to assess her condition.

The jury deliberated for four hours on Thursday and just over two hours today. The verdict was just read in Douglas County District Court.

Someone's going to sign him. Anyone willing to bet it's not the Bengals?

As Florio notes, Cox would be unable to avoid testifying in a potential civil suit.

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