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.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-15-12"

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.    

Rang: Broncos should take DT Worthy, RB Polk, WR Matthews, and QB Wilson with first four picks

Projecting the draft: Denver Broncos

DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State ( ranking: 27)
The Broncos’ biggest need - literally and figuratively - is clearly at defensive tackle…As such, should Worthy still be on the board when the Broncos pick at No. 25, the powerful and explosive defender certainly would make a great deal of sense.

RB Chris Polk, Washington ( ranking: 61)
Despite leading the NFL in rushing last season, the Broncos need help at the position…Polk has as good of tape as any running back in the country not named Trent Richardson. He’s the type of determined, physical runner that Fox has preferred over his career and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield capable of earning Manning’s trust quickly. If Denver is comfortable with the heavy workload Polk had with the Huskies, he’d be a quality schematic fit in the second round (No. 57 overall).

WR Rishard Matthews, Nevada ( ranking: 89)
...[The Broncos]could make a versatile playmaker like Matthews a surprise target in the middle rounds (like third round pick, No. 87 overall)...Matthews, who stepped up his game for the Wolfpack in 2011 after Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, is not only a talented receiver but returned punts for touchdowns in each of his two seasons at Nevada, as well.

QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin ( ranking: 115)
..adding a player with Wilson’s starting experience and composure makes sense as well. If still available when the Broncos are up with their first of two picks in the fourth round, the underrated Wilson might simply provide too much value to pass up at No. 108 overall.

CB Leonard Johnson, Iowa State ( ranking: 136)
Johnson may slip a bit on draft day after a disappointing showing at the Combine, but he plays with the physicality and competitiveness necessary to enjoy success behind the Broncos’ extraordinary pass-rushing duo of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. He’d make sense with the Broncos’ second fourth round pick, No. 120 overall.

While we wouldn't call this a mock draft, it's a scenario that's realistic; it fits all of the Broncos perceived needs. If the Broncos sign Marcus Thomas before the draft, they probably draft one defensive lineman.  If they don't, expect them to snag two.

The surprise here is Wilson, given the Broncos' recent obsession with tall quarterbacks.  However, remember something Mel Kiper, Jr. said about Wilson recently: if he was two inches taller, he'd be a first-round draft pick.  For a leprechaun, he's got a rocket. 

Local Denver radio guys honest about Tebow and Tebowmania

If you haven't noticed, more and more people seem to be finding the courage to wake up from the aw-shucks nightmare that was (and still is) Tebowmania. Perhaps not having Tebow around frees the mind--like trascendental meditation or a long hit from a sweet bong.

We've affectionately called this nightmare Zombieland. Here, all of the infected wear a #15 jersey and screech the word "intangibles" outside your boarded-up window (as film guru Greg Cosell has said, when intangibles are the first things someone brings up when talking about a quarterback, it's code for: he can't throw).  It's like a page from the novel I Am Legend--except these Tebow vampires don't always want your flesh.  They want to force you to attend Bob Tebow High School (where degrees are awarded sans biology, anthropology, and philosophy courses) and elect his son as class president--without an actual election.

Those who disagree--well, there's always your flesh or Twitter.

The latest to dissent are Darren McKee (D-Mac) and ex-Bronco Alfred Williams (Big Al) of Denver's Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. Williams, we should note, has never been a fan of Tebow the football player.  McKee, on the other hand, has been a strident Tebow supporter.  Thursday, however, Big Al and D-Mac took things to another level. Not only did they openly describe Zombieland, they spoke the words that could not be spoken while Tebow was quarterback of the Broncos: you can't seperate Tebow the player from Tebow the religion.

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The Daily Lard 4-14-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold says the Broncos have struggled to find defensive line talent in the draft, and his proof is that they've only gotten two future Pro Bowlers in the past 30 years. Pretty compelling stuff, huh?

Well, Legwold holds up the Ravens as a model for success that Denver should strive for.

Anyone care to guess how many Pro Bowl defensive linemen they've drafted in their 16 years of existence? One.

Maybe we should check in on the Steelers. How many Pro Bowl defensive linemen do you think they've drafted in 30 years? Three.

How about the Giants? After all, they are routinely loaded on the line. They must have drafted a ton of Pro Bowl linemen, right? How about four in 30 years?

Today's lesson? Finding talent in the draft is really hard. This does not only apply to the Broncos. The lesson that Pro Bowl selections are a horrible measure for this sort of stuff? That's for another day...

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Broncos release Andre’ Goodman

The Broncos announced today that they have released cornerback Andre' Goodman after three seasons with the team.

Goodie had been one of the first free-agent acquisitions made by Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders in 2009, when he signed a five-year deal with $9.8M in guarantees. The 11th-year player was due to make $3.42M in 2012 and $3.96M in 2013, the final year of his contract; his original $6M signing bonus should mean he will count for $2.4M against the team's 2012 cap, which would translate to a cap savings of about $2.2M this season and $5.16M in 2013.

We had suggested two days ago that Goodman was a prime candidate for a contract restructuring, and the timing of his release (deep into free agency) tells us he likely turned down a request from the team to rework his contract. That's our pure speculation educated guess, at least.

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