The Daily Lard 5-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige thinks the Broncos' players should be gathering en masse to practice and basically points the finger at Kyle Orton to take charge in doing so. Aside from the possibility that Paige is just doing his best to turn more people against Orton and thus run him out of town (anyone wonder what the unassuming guy did to Woodrow?), it's an interesting point to consider. Orton is in a most curious position - he's the team's labor rep, is under contract for just one season (albeit for over $7 million), has been the focus of trade speculation for several months, and has been discussed by the Broncos' front office first as being the starting QB to more recently being just one half of an open competition for the job. Orton is also competing with a guy in Tim Tebow who sells jerseys and tickets and is his polar opposite in both his image as a player and in demeanor, and the only way Orton could ever win in the court of public opinion (for what that's worth) is by winning big.

That's not to say Orton is in an unwinnable position, nor to speculate that he's already assuming his time is up in Denver - he's a professional athlete and has competitive pride; we're not talking about some pushover who just wants to collect a paycheck. But what nobody would ever call Orton (at least from the outsider's view) is a rah-rah guy or an obvious leader of men. So my questions are these: Would it be within Kyle Orton's character to call up his 80 or so teammates and try to gather them up? Does he have the "pull" with his teammates to actually get them to show up? What does Orton have personally to gain by doing so? Is it reasonable to expect of Orton what Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Cassel and others have been up to? Keep in mind, there haven't been (to my knowledge) stories about Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler (just threw that in for a chuckle) rounding up their mates to play. I happen to think Woody is making something of nothing in pursuit of his own agenda, but I'd love to hear what y'all think...

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Talkin’ noise and the NFL Draft

Reality television (and to a lesser extent, Web 2.0) have had some interesting sociological effects.  For one thing, I believe that they’ve fundamentally changed the way people communicate and tell stories.  I don’t mean the medium as much as the delivery style.  How many times in the last 10 years has somebody been telling you a story, and it sounds like they’re telling a camera guy on The Amazing Race?  It’s the soundbite era, because people see edited-down soundbites on TV and internalize a thought that that is how people effectively communicate.  It’s actually the way that people can pass vapid thought fragments back and forth on the way to Idiocracy coming true.

Another effect has been to wrongly convince everybody that their opinion is valid, and that it matters.  We’ve moved well past Curtis Jackson of Action News Live at Five asking some dude named Cletus what the tornado sounded like.  I was flipping through Facebook a couple days ago, in the wake of President Obama’s statement about the demise of Osama Bin Laden.  Everybody is now a Middle East expert, including many who likely couldn’t find it on a map, or name four countries there off the top of their heads. 

Trivia Question:  What continent would you say the Middle East is on?  (I’ll share my thoughts later on.)  You have people who are vastly unqualified to comment saying that it doesn’t matter that Bin Laden is dead, because he had time to train others.  That may be true, but I doubt it; it sounded like he’s been holed up in a compound in Abbottabad for six years or so.  You have others spreading a fake Martin Luther King, Jr. peacenik quote, and still others stuck on the Obama-is-a-Muslim nonsense, and expressing surprise that he’d kill “one of his own.”  Democrats wanted to credit Obama, and Republicans were struggling to find a tone that celebrated the success while de-emphasizing the President’s creditability.  (They largely have failed, because it’s just silly; sometimes, politicians in the party you don’t like do good, and this is one of those times if you’re a Republican.)

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The Daily Lard 5-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Apologies for the late Lard of late; I've been out of town for a few days, and we'll be back on the normal schedule tomorrow. Tim Tebow was the keynote speaker at John Lynch's scholarship/awards luncheon for area middle- and high-school students, and he spoke more about his workout program so far this offseason. Tebow says he's been focusing on play-action passing and has been able to spend time with "most of the guys," whatever that means. Of course, he's now got a new playbook to study courtesy of Mike McCoy. Here are Andrew Mason and Gray Caldwell's stories on the luncheon.

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8th Circuit grants owners request for expedited appeal

Per Adam Schefter:

Circle June 3 on your calendear. 8th circuit has granted owners' request for expedited appeal, and it will be heard that day in St. Louis.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

A Second Helping of Von Miller & the Aaron Curry Myth

Some men are born with great blog entries; others have great blog entries thrust upon them.

The latter is the case today.  One of our staunchest legionaries, Fat Man member NCM42, recently asked:

How much do Von Miller and Aaron Curry compare?

It's a great question.  Expect to hear it often, especially from fans whose team didn't select Miller.  

Implicit in this question is the fear that MIller won't live up to his billing as the #2 overall pick. That's because Aaron Curry, the 4th pick overall two years ago, hasn't become a dominante force in the NFL.

On the surface, the two players seem similar: both were freakishly athletic 3-4 outside linebackers; both were the can't-miss players of their drafts; both were considered low-character risks.  The most important correlation, however, is that they were both drafted by 4-3 teams to play the strong-side linebacker position, something neither had done before.

In short, the fear is that a position change could spell BUST, without using the letters O-A-K-L-A-N-D.  

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The Daily Lard 5-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis lets us in on some of the Broncos' pre-draft thinking/strategies: Denver did indeed hope to trade back from #2 to a team hot after Blaine Gabbert, whether it be the Bills, Bengals, Cards, Niners, Titans and Skins. Unfortunately, those calls never came in earnest; Klis also writes that the Broncos were zeroed in on Von Miller since early February and were indeed willing to trade back a few spots from #2 in hopes of loading up on more picks and still having a chance to go with Nick Fairley. Plus, Denver couldn't turn down the value they perceived in Quinton Carter in the fourth round to pick up a DT there, and the team was in fact also interested in Arkansas TE D.J. Williams when they decided to trade up for Julius Thomas. Finally, Klis writes in response to an apparently incorrect PFT post (go figure, an overblown headline at PFT...) about the Falcons/Broncos that while the two teams discussed the possibility of swapping first-round picks long ago, Atlanta never made an offer.

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Draft perspective: lines eat yardage

Trudging off the field after the Colts' stomach-churning loss to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV (which concluded the 2009 season), Indianapolis Coach Jim Caldwell was being besieged by inner questions. By the time that he’d reached the podium for his obligatory postgame meeting with the media, he still felt the same way that he had during that long, sad walk. Asked about why he thought that the Colts lost, you had the impression that the media expected that he’d talk about Peyton Manning’s late, final interception or the valiant but losing effort of the defense. He did neither.

“We lost the game because of the offensive line,” he said bluntly.

Bill Polian, now entering his 14th season as GM of the Colts, has been at the top of the NFL for a long time. Free agency in 2010 was an odd affair, due to the lack of a CBA - not a lot of offensive linemen were on the market, and of them, scarcity meant that most were overpriced. When the 2010 Draft came around, though, Polian used his first pick (31st overall) on TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes to provide a possible successor to Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis. It was a sensible move - Hughes was highly rated and both of their DEs are getting on in NFL years. Next came Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer with the 63rd-overall pick in the second round. Pick #94 was spent on Southern Cal cornerback Kevin Thomas in the third. You could argue for each guy individually - but the biggest issue during that SB loss went unregarded.

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Corrective Lard 5-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I need to acknowledge a blatant error I made within yesterday's Lard (as pointed out by IAOFM reader SteveUk) in regards to the possibility that Denver could have moved up to draft a falling Nick Fairley. The hypothetical swap to weigh is not a three-for-one deal in reality, but rather a five-for-one deal as Denver only acquired their fourth- and fifth-rounders when they traded down from 36 to 45 later on (the fifth-rounder was dealt to Green Bay as part of the deal to move up and get Julius Thomas at #129 overall). So, the real question is whether you'd prefer to have Nick Fairley or the quintet of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Quinton Carter and Thomas - at this point, considering the holes Denver entered the draft with, it seems clear that Denver did the right thing. Now, about those defensive tackles...

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Choice reads on the Broncos’ 2011 picks

Now that the 2011 Draft is over and done with, I thought it'd be useful to collect some reading material on the newest Broncos. Obviously, this is an exercise which could in theory be neverending, so I restricted it to writers who I tend to greatly respect and/or follow. This includes Doc, TJ and Ted - while including them may be a bit self-serving, I think there's a ton of value in rereading what the three of them wrote about Von Miller over the past several months. As the focus here is on writing, I am not including video or audio here. Perhaps that will be for another day. Anyway, I hope you find some value in this collection, and I'll add to it as necessary.

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The Daily Lard 5-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night put a wrap on the 2011 Draft, and Denver came away with nine picks - three linebackers, two safeties, two tight ends, a tackle and a defensive end. Of course, that list is perhaps most notable for what it didn't have - a defensive tackle (or two), although the position was certainly on the minds of the Broncos' front office - John Fox on Friday night said, "I probably would have felt better if we could have gotten a defensive tackle," and last night told Vic Lombardi there's a chance Denver will bring back Justin Bannan and/or Jamal Williams once free agency begins. Not sure how much weight should be lent to the latter though, because if Lombardi framed it along the lines of "Will you consider bringing back Bannan and Williams?" then why would Fox ever say, "No, we're moving on."? It's unlikely, at best...

Somehow I skimmed over this yesterday morning, but Mike Klis wrote that the Broncos did indeed consider trading back up into the first round to select the falling Nick Fairley, but decided to pass on surrendering both of their second-rounders and their third-rounder for the chance to get the DT who went to Detroit at #13.* If there was in fact a deal to be made, that begs the question: Would you rather have Nick Fairley, a potential game-changing disruptor, or would you prefer the trio of hopeful starters Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin and Nate Irving?quintet of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Qunton Carter and Julius Thomas?** Then again, Klis' more recent entry makes it sound that Fairley would have to have slipped further for Denver to be able to acquire him.

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2014 Offseason

Offseason coverage