Ten Worst Moves of 2011: #7 - Tight end letdown

(Note: This is the fourth part in an Epic a mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; we'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011.  If you want to see #10: Trading Jabar Gaffney, click here; #9: The Duke Takes on Twitter, click here; #8: Fox "screws" Tebow, click here.)

It's hard to fault the Broncos for the way they handled their tight ends in 2011. In theory, the plan they had was sound enough. First, they avoided paying a $1 million roster bonus by letting hometown favorite Daniel Graham go before the season began.  Then they signed serviceable veterans Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario to one-year deals. This would allow the Broncos a year to bring along and develop the raw but deadly pass-catching talents of Julius Thomas and Virgil Green.

It's this context in which the Broncos should be judged. Obviously, the Broncos made the playoffs.  So the natural instinct is to say "scoreboard" and be done with it. When you're conducting a year-end review, however, you've got to apply a different standard--a standard that draws heavily from the reality of what actually happened.  Call it hindsight bias (which it is); call it unfair (certainly); call it impatient (yeah, I want my sugar now).  Just recognize that the Broncos didn't get what they wanted from the tight end position last year.

That makes it our seventh-worst move of 2011.

Continue reading "Ten Worst Moves of 2011: #7 - Tight end letdown"

Chiefs land ex-Raiders CB Routt

Report: Stanford Routt signs with Chiefs
eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com

According to those same multiple reports, Routt’s deal is for three years and worth $19.6 million.

Oakland’s not off the hook, though. Multiple reports indicate that Routt’s new deal will not offset the $5 million Routt was scheduled to receive from the Raiders in 2012, so the cornerback will be getting two paychecks.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the addition of Routt to the Chiefs is what it means for would-be free-agent cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr was a strong possibility to get the franchise tag, but the Chiefs signing Routt means that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is a much more likely target now.

The Daily Lard 2-20-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! As we learn more about the effects of head injuries on football players during and after their playing careers, the future of the sport itself continues to come into question.

First there was Malcolm Gladwell's article in the New Yorker which likened football to dogfighting, Jeanne Marie Laskas's GQ piece focusing on the NFL's blackballing of CTE researchers, and her subsequent story on former Vikings star Fred McNeill. More recently we heard from Tony Dorsett about the ghastly treatment of his head injuries by the Cowboys medical staff, and a pair of economists writing for Grantland laid out their vision of how football will someday lose its standing as America's favorite sport.

Fans and even ex-players have begun to question whether they'd allow their own children to play the sport they spend so many hours watching on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays, not to mention reading and writing about it on blogs like this one. Countless NFL retirees have filed suit against the league for having turned a blind eye to their concussions and resultant health and cognitive problems.

Now add to the mix a Hall of Famer and three-time SB champion who is one of the faces of the league - FOX's current lead football analyst Troy Aikman, whose own playing career was shortened by the effects of the head injuries he suffered.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-20-12"

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.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-19-12"

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

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-18-12"

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.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-17-12"

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.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-16-12"

Recent Game Coverage

All Game Coverage