Stokley to re-team with Manning, Broncos

The long, slow dance to reunite Brandon Stokley and Peyton Manning in Denver ended today with the Slot Machine agreeing to a one-year deal with the Broncos.

Stokley, who hosted Peyton when he visited the Broncos at Dove Valley to kick off his free agency tour, played with Manning for the Colts from 2003 to 2006 before spending three seasons in Denver and making a home in Colorado.

During an afternoon presser following the start of Denver's offseason workout program, Manning was asked about the possibility of Stokley joining him with the Broncos, to which he responded, "Anytime management wants to add good football players to this team, I'm in favor of it."

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Justin Bannan and life on the line

“I feel like I belong in Colorado,” said Justin Bannan recently. A lot of us feel the same way - and felt that last year as well.

Justin Bannan went to UC Boulder for college, played very well for the Broncos in the ugliness that was the 2010 season, and has been a consistently solid locker room presence wherever he goes. Now he’s back in Dove Valley, with a chance to play in the 4-3 front that he has said that he prefers.

“Home is the warrior, home to the hill, and the airman we shall soon see.”

Although badly misquoted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Requiem, it does describe both the return of warrior Justin Bannan, who Denver let go to avoid paying him a roster bonus, as well as the upcoming first time that Broncos fans will get to see another possible defensive lineman in former Air Force Falcon Ben Garland.

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If you had one shot to seize everything you ever wanted, would you take it or let it slip away?

Sacha Heppell tries out to be Denver Bronco cheerleader

“When I dance, I lose myself.”

They said I couldn't be a male cheerleader. They said I couldn't wear these stretchy pants. 'ppreciate it.

After watching this, I got so pumped up, I had to listen to Eminem's Lose Yourself.  

Never give up the dream, Sacha Heppell.  Never.

Broncos will release suspended McBean

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos will release defensive tackle Ryan McBean today. Denver had given McBean an original-round tender (fourth-round) worth $1.26M last month, but the fifth-year player is facing a six-game suspension, which he is fighting, for having allegedly violated the league's PED policy.

PFF had graded McBean at minus-21.6 overall last season (-3.5 run, -14.9 pass rush, +1.0 pass coverage, -4.2 penalty). The most notable moment of his three seasons with the Broncos came during the 2010 season opener, when McBean's two facemask penalties helped the Jaguars along to their game-winning touchdown.

Denver brought back veteran tackle Justin Bannan last week, and speculation continues again this year that the team will draft a DT or two.

The Daily Lard 4-16-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's offseason program kicks of with "voluntary" workouts today, and according to Mike Klis, the Broncos will be spending two hours each morning working with new strength coach Luke Richesson, followed by two hours meeting with their position coaches and coordinators.

As per Mike Florio, here's the offseason schedule as set out by the new CBA:

  1. Two weeks of strength and conditioning, no helmets, balls can only be used by QBs throwing to uncovered receivers
  2. Three weeks of drills for individual players and units, still without helmets
  3. 10 days' worth of OTAS in a four-week period, helmets but no pads, and no "live contact"

Teams will face steep penalties for going outside this framework.

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Broncos continue to bring in more quarterbacks before the draft

Broncos bringing in QB prospects for NFL draft, including Cousins, Lindley

The Broncos are bringing in quarterback draft prospects Kirk Cousins of Michigan State and San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley for visits this week. A Broncos contingent also flew down to Arizona State last week to give a private workout of Brock Osweiler.

Osweiler and Cousins are projected to be drafted in the second or third rounds. Lindley is expected to go in the fourth round, where the Broncos have two selections — the first acquired from the New York Jets in exchange for Tim Tebow.

Visiting the Broncos’ facility last week was Connecticut defensive tackle Kendall Reyes. Utah State running back Robert Turbin will visit today and Tuesday. Reyes is a projected late-first or second-round pick. Turbin could go anywhere from the second to fourth round.

So, do you think Woody Paige did a lot of homework on his Reyes pick this morning? 

Lindley is an interesting prospect, and Greg Cosell considers him a sleeper:

The San Diego State quarterback was a compelling study. He ran a pro offense, with the focus on five- and seven-step drops, and play action. No quarterback I evaluated attempted, and made, more big-time intermediate to deeper NFL-type throws. He was very decisive as a pocket passer. The ball came out without hesitation. If you spliced together his 25 best throws from the 2011 season — and did the same for all the passers in this draft — Lindley would have the biggest “wow” factor, without question.

Having seen Lindley play numerous times, I can vouch for the "wow" in the strength of his throws.  His accuracy, though, was at times a little suspect.  For his career, he was under 60%.  For those that subscribe to the view that the Football Outsiders have pimped over the last six or seven years--that a quarterback's college accuracy needs to be over 60% if he's going to be a good pro--this might give pause.

A Zombie’s Guide to Feasting on Demaryius Thomas

Yesterday, I wrote something that had been perceived by some as negative towards Tim Tebow and Tebowmania.

I called the Tebowmaniacs names like zombies and vampires; I took a shot at Bob Tebow; I even implied that perhaps--just perhaps--Team Tebow was more concerned with building and promoting Tim Tebow as religious icon than it was about football.    

Then it hit me: I was trolling the trolls. I was sucking on vampires. I was eating the flesh of zombies.      

As tasty as it was--and you better believe flesh from the undead brings a killer buzz, dude--I realized I needed to balance the scales. As someone pointed out, it's simply not American of us here at IAOFM to create a website (and pay the associated hosting costs) that promotes our views of a zombie-filled football world and let the market decide our fate. Instead, we should fulfill our civic duty: turn our message boards into Zombieland itself.

While I'm not sure we're prepared for that just yet, I thought the least I could do was help the zombies along. An instruction manual was in order.    

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The Daily Lard 4-15-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold revisits the team's frequent draft-day trades while Josh McDaniels was around, and he says the team too often reached for prospects they liked.

But it should again be noted that the problem with McDaniels's drafts is who the team selected, not that they traded up to get them. The reality is that both years, the team came out of the draft with a greater number of players and at higher spots than when the selection processes started. They moved up and down the board masterfully.

Players like Richard Quinn and Alphonso Smith did not work out, but why does it matter that they were second-rounders? They simply didn't work out, and it wouldn't have made a difference had Denver taken them later. They're still the same flawed players. If Quinn and Smith were third-rounders, we'd still be having the same conversation today about how much they suck, right?

Just remember what TJ wrote last year - it's all about improving the team's odds at finding starters. Brian Xanders (with and without Josh McDaniels) has been doing a great job of adding picks to Denver's arsenal. This year he's starting with seven, so perhaps he doesn't need to do so, but my guess is he will again be making some moves.

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Foley, Horan, and other Broncos named in concussion lawsuit against NFL

More and more recognizable names joining concussion lawsuits

First, some context.  I’ve been following the NFL closely since 1973, and I bought hundreds of Topps football cards from ’73 through ’78 or so.  Thus, the names that ring a bell for me may not ring a bell for everyone else.  But if I type all 1,200 names:  (1) I’ll have carpal tunnel syndrome; and (2) the recognizable names will get lost in the shuffle.

Of Florio's 184 names, here are the former Broncos I recognized:

  1. Steve Foley (1976-1986)
  2. Mike Horan (1986-1992)
  3. Roc Alexander (2004-2005)
  4. Shane Dronett (1992-1995)
  5. Lionel Dalton (2002)
  6. Randy Gradishar (1974-1983)
  7. Dale Carter (1999-2000)
  8. Tony Dorsett (1988)

Expect the list to grow as more names come out.  If I missed someone from the list (and I'll keep looking), let me know in the comment section and the name will be added.

The most tragic (if one has to pick) is Shane Dronett, who took his own life at the age of 38 after several years of symptoms including paranoia,episodes of violent rage, and dementia  associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

Quarterbacks bust, but not because of this flawed logic

If history holds true, either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III will be a bust in the NFL

Luck and Griffin will be just the seventh set of quarterbacks to go 1-2 since the NFL started the draft in 1936. It will be just the fifth time it’s happened since the 1970 merger and it hasn’t happened at all since 1999. Luck and Griffin are expected to be franchise quarterbacks and resurrect their teams.  If the history of quarterbacks going 1-2 is a way to predict the future, then Luck or Griffin will become a star — but not both…

1998: Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf . There was actually doubt which quarterback the Colts would select right up until the day before the draft. San Diego general manager Bobby Beathard , who was picking third, traded two No. 1s, a No. 2 and running back Eric Metcalf to the Cardinals to move up just one spot to guarantee getting Manning or Leaf. He made that trade in the middle of March, more than a month before the draft. He said he would be happy to get either one. “It doesn’t make any difference to us,” Beathard said. “The Colts are the only ones that have to make a decision. Not us. We get whoever’s left.” Oops. Manning became one of the all-time greats. Leaf is the No. 1 flop in NFL draft history.

I'm not sure I follow Myers' logic here--just because we've seen Rick Mirer and Drew Bledsoe or Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf or even Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb doesn't mean we're in for a bust from either Luck or Griffin.

The real reason Luck or Griffin could bust isn't because they will be taken 1-2.  It's because the NFL draft has a high bust rate in general.

It's also easy to criticize Bobby Beathard now with all of our hindsight bias, but at the time, there were few teams that wouldn't have drafted Leaf if they were in a similar.  It's probably fair, though, to criticize the trade up to #2, which is often ignored in the Manning-Leaf discussion.  Yet even that is probably unfair.  Imagine if the Colts had drafted Leaf.  Beathard's trade would have seemed rather clever at this point.    

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