Vegas sports book sets over/under for Broncos wins at 9.5

2012 NFL season over/under win totals released: AFC analysis
www.cbssports.com

Denver Broncos, 9.5 wins
Over (-110) / Under (-120): Perhaps the most interesting over/under of any team in the NFL, the Broncos are getting much more attention this offseason than last. It’s easy to assume that new quarterback Peyton Manning will automatically get this team 10 wins; that’s about what he was good for with the Colts. Cantor Sportsbook director Mike Colbert told Covers.com he doesn’t think the Broncos will nine games. Will Manning be healthy? Will his weapons be ready? Can the defense hold up? If all those answers are “yes,” the over is a nice bet. Verdict: OVER

Two weeks ago, Cantor released lines for the first 16 weeks of the regular season, with Denver favored in seven games and three games listed as a pick'em. (h/t to reader Orange_and_Blue for nailing the over/under)

The Daily Lard 5-24-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Following the third and final day of Denver's first OTA of the year, Elvis Dumervil, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Von Miller (videos) spoke with the press.

As will be the overarching theme for months (years?) to come, expectations have been raised with the addition of Peyton Manning. The other main commonality of the four players' comments was a discussion of their body weight, with Elvis (250, down 10) and Demaryius (228, down from 232, aiming for 222) shedding the pounds to increase endurance and maintain health. Thomas took on yoga during the offseason to help.

Doom says he's looking to cut down on processed foods, a societal problem one might not expect to find among professional athletes. Yet, a quick glance at players' Twitter feeds shows otherwise, and even in a post-Shannon Sharpe NFL, the guys who cook for themselves and/or employ nutritionists and/or personal chefs appear to be the exceptions more than the rule.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 5-24-12"

Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Defensive tackles

Although John Elway said prior to the draft that Denver's roster had more strength at defensive tackle than people were aware, the team still used its first draft pick (early in the second round) to take Derek Wolfe, a penetrating, one-gap defensive under tackle. As usual, actions speak louder than words, and the Broncos weren’t quite in the shape at DT they wanted other people to believe them to be. That’s especially normal in the leadup to the draft - you never show your hand. As with most politicians, you can tell if the front office is lying by whether or not their lips are moving.

But the issues facing the Broncos defense go far beyond just the line. Within the draft, the Broncos addressed both defensive end (via the addition of Malik Jackson) and off tackle, via Wolfe. They also added a potential weakside linebacker who has a history of getting to the quarterback in tackling monster Danny Trevathan. With veteran linebacker D.J. Williams facing a six-game suspension for allegedly violating the league's PED policy (plus a DUI trial), there will be a competition to see who can obtain the downs that Williams will be missing. Adding another linebacker with penetrating skills should improve the overall quality of the front seven, and that’s who Denver chose with their last pick, in Trevathan. As a sixth-round pick he will have to show that he can handle the rigors of the NFL, but he has a history of getting to the QB, too.

Continue reading "Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Defensive tackles"

Broncos trade for another Gronkowski (no, not that one)

John Elway has announced that the Broncos have acquired fullback Chris Gronkowski from the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for cornerback Cassius Vaughn.

According to Mike Klis, director of personnel Matt Russell was responsible for the deal, meaning the former CU Buff has essentially assumed the job of recently fired GM Brian Xanders, in addition to his own duties running the scouting department.

Chris is the middle of the NFL's three Gronkowski brothers; older brother Dan, currently a TE for the Cleveland Browns, was acquired by Denver in a trade for notorious Josh McDaniels draftee Alphonso Smith. Rob, the youngest and best of the trio, announced his presence as the NFL's preeminent TE in 2011 before going on to dominate the offseason as well.

Updated 3:04 pm ET

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In today’s NFL, is being gay okay?

Report: Most NFL players would have no problem with an openly gay teammate
sports.yahoo.com

If football isn’t the ultimate masculine/gladiator sport, it’s certainly right up there. As a result of that factor, not to mention the perceived group-think of the locker room, meeting room, and huddle, and supposed “caveman” mentality some believe it takes to play the game, there are some who would tell you that no openly gay player would be able to survive (literally or figuratively) in the NFL. But in a recent series of interviews with current and former NFL players, OutSports.com found that the perception is not reality. If the small group interviewed represent the majority, attitudes have definitely come around about any NFL player who would choose to come out…

...That tolerance goes back further than you think. Vince Lombardi, seen as the ultimate authority figure, and championed as a pillar of supposed “clean-cut” values for generations of football fans, had an openly gay brother, and often told his players that anyone who had a problem with the concept of homosexuality could not play for him. It was the same as any other kind of bias to the coach—and in an era where he had to wait far longer than he should have for a head coaching job because of his Italian heritage, Lombardi despised prejudice of any kind…

...Perhaps the most encouraging part of the interview was the take of those players just coming into the league—OutSports spoke with rookies Trent Richardson, Robert Griffin III, Doug Martin, Coby Fleener, Nick Foles, LaMichael James, and T.J. Graham. To a man, the players who will comprise the future of the league didn’t have a problem with the concept—and many wondered why it was a big deal at all.

File this under: Things I didn't know about Vince Lombardi.  

The real test, of course, for all of this stated tolerance will come out (pun totally intended) when a current NFL player says he's openly gay.  It's likely the issue will divide the locker room internally--even if only a little.  There are simply too many players like David Tyree out there.  Publicly, the team and the league will support openly gay players.  Legally, they'll have little choice.  And the public backlash they'd receive for not doing so would be more intense than Tebowmania x 10.

Never forget that sports is often simply a reflection of the culture upon which it was built.  As American culture and attitudes change (or don't), so do its sports, arts, and entertainment.  Art often sets the pace, while sports, like a set of economic indicators, often tags behind.

It's obvious, no matter your personal views, where the trend is going, however.  In another decade, it won't even be an issue.

The Daily Lard 5-23-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After Denver's second day of OTAs, veteran defensive additions Tracy Porter, Justin Bannan, Mike Adams, and Drayton Florence (videos) all spoke with the media.

Naturally, everyone is happy to be on the same team as Peyton Manning and smitten with the idea of playing with leads. Regarding the league's decision to require thigh and knee pads in 2013, Porter already wears them and is fine with the mandate, while Bannan is skeptical about the benefits and is more concerned with the "integrity of the game," whatever that means. Florence isn't thrilled with the pads requirement and is adjusting to the new standard helmets, which are larger for concussion prevention.

Porter says he's already received plenty of welcome advice from Champ Bailey and admits he worried about a possible suspension in connection with the Saints' bounty system.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 5-23-12"

Please, Oakland

Raiders add Ivy League QB
www.ibabuzz.com

The Raiders have signed free-agent quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballer Tuesday. Newhall-Caballero was a two-time All-Ivy League selection during his collegiate career at Brown.

There ought to be a rule against donning the Silver and Black if you've attended an Ivy League institution, you've scored at least a 22 on your ACT, or simply graduated in the top half of your high-school class.

Broncos sign sixth-round pick Trevathan

The Broncos announced the signing of sixth-round choice Danny Trevathan today. Denver selected the former Kentucky linebacker 188th overall in the 2012 Draft, and he is the third draftee to sign with the team, joining Omar Bolden and Malik Jackson. Derek Wolfe agreed to terms but has not yet signed his contract.

Three players have yet to agree to terms: Brock Osweiler, Ronnie Hillman, and Philip Blake. Today marks the second day of Denver's initial 2012 OTA.

Updated 1:32pm ET

The Daily Lard 5-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman dropped something of a bombshell yesterday regarding the league's handling of the Saints' bounty system.

As told to Freeman by several Saints players, the NFL's suspension letters to Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, Joe Vitt, and Mickey Loomis essentially offers them a way back into the league in exchange for their silence.

These players believe the NFL has little or no evidence of a bounty system in New Orleans, and that much of the punishment was levied in response to the recording of Williams's notorious pregame speech from last season.

They also maintain that the league has overblown the supposed admissions of Williams and Anthony Hargrove, claiming the NFL wrote Williams's confession and that Hargrove did not acknowledge the existence of a bounty system, as the NFL has alleged.

Obviously this is just one side of the story, and it could be a coordinated PR stunt by a still-defiant team. Or, there could be some truth to it and the NFL is handling this all like a bunch of dirty cops trying to show they care about player safety. Hopefully we'll learn the truth one of these days.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 5-22-12"

The next battle?  Knee pads

Report: NFLPA would fight against pad proposal
www.nfl.com

A source told Marvez that the league has not provided proof to the NFLPA that the pads would have any effect on player safety, though the union has asked for it.

Marvez reported that another possible issue…is that players will resist being forced to wear leg padding out of vanity or concern that the padding will negatively affect their ability to perform—even if the intended goal of requiring pads is to keep the player on the football field.

“Guys want to feel as sleek as possible,” NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth told FOXSports.com last year. “Anything that inhibits that makes them feel it’s slowing them down or getting in their way. Some guys have never played with those pads. It’s difficult for them to wrap their heads around it mentally.”

It's not clear how wearing knee pads will help with player safety, although one assumes they won't hurt.

Let's be honest, though.  The NFL has a lot of legal reasons to demonstrate they really care about player safety at the moment.  If this includes forcing players to wear more padding, they are going to do it.  

The biggest holdouts, of course, will be the corners and wide receivers.  Like a group of hot chicks going out on the town, if they don't feel just right in their clothes, they may not come to the party.

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