The Daily Lard 7-8-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! During a lengthy sitdown with John Fox yesterday, Woodrow picked the new HC's brain on the Denver QB situation. And while Fox says he has an idea who the starter will be, Paige surprisingly admitted to having no clue whether it's Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow whom Fox has in mind. We all were told when Fox was first hired that he's rather coy with his public statements, and that while he loves to talk he prefers not to actualy say anything while doing so - perhaps this is our first, best dose of that. Fox provided fodder for the backers of Tebow: he'd rather a "gamer" and leader who can handle pressure than someone who excels in practice - and for Orton fans: it's crucial the starter has a firm grasp on the offensive system. Surely, we can all interpret that through whatever lenses we're already wearing...

Fox went on to tell Paige that adding a running back is the team's #1 priority come free agency (more than a DT?!?!) and claimed the Broncos would fashion the "most sophisticated" rushing attack in the league, whatever that means. As Ted had alluded to upon the HC's hiring, Fox says he will leave the game-day playcalling to the coordinators and that his involvement will be heavier during the week, especially on defense.

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Tweets of the Week - Flintstones Vitamins, big man pedicures and stank breath

We've heard/read a gajillion times that the Broncos are likely to pursue a veteran free agent RB or two this summer, and just about every speculative column tabs DeAngelo Williams as a prime target for Denver. One name we haven't seen thrown about much is that of the Ravens' Willis McGahee, who is due to make $6 million in salary in 2011 and with whom Baltimore is said to be seeking a cheaper deal. Apparently D.J. Williams, McGahee's teammate from their Miami Hurricanes days would love to reunite with his old pal, or at least adopt some of his workout recovery wisdom...

DJ: @WillisMcGahee you need to be on my team! I'll play some Fullback for u too...@WoodDro59 I figured out why @WillisMcGahee been working out like a beast. My dog still take flinstone vitamins. I'm headed to wallgreens...@WoodDro59 I also seen @willismcgahee make a protien shake wit breast milk. He said it helps with his recovery.

WM: @DjWilliam55 @wooddro59 so that's how u feel...@DjWilliam55 @wooddro59 I'll giVe y'all the secret when I come over.

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The Daily Lard 7-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! A collection of lawyers on both sides met yesterday for almost 11 hours yesterday in New York, apparently continuing to work on the smaller details with the mindset of reducing the expected 10-14 day lag between an agreement and signed document. Sounds a bit like putting the cart before the horse right? Couldn't the players and owners be working on the more crucial facets of a potential agreement concurrently?

Either way, De Smith, the Commish, the players, owners and Judge Boylan are expected to rejoin the talks today, although Boylan is scheduled to go on vacation on Saturday. If an agreement isn't reached before then, it will be interesting to see if the two sides will be able to forge ahead without resorting to their prior games and without allowing NFLPA outside attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn to sabotage the negotiations in holding out for a beneficial verdict in the antitrust suit. Then again, it's thought that both the Eighth Circuit and Judge Doty have completed their rulings and would issue them if the two sides were to stalemate again.

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On developing players

After writing an article on CFAs last week, a subject that’s kind of close to my heart (I love a good underdog story - who doesn’t?) the whole issue of player development has been swirling around in my head. The NFL can be amazingly shortsighted at times, and the area of creating a system to develop players has been one glaring hole in the entire NFL system that the league seems bound and determined to ignore. With the issues of a rookie salary cap on the table currently (and like most folks, I’m in favor of one), the issue of CFAs has also taken on a greater perspective by a lot of people, including agents, the players themselves and the NFL teams. Since this is the first year in memory that CFAs weren’t placed under contract immediately after the draft, it’s also been an opportunity to look at what circumstances might benefit all sides in terms of signing these players.

Back in early May, Jack Bechta wrote a nice piece on CFAs and their role in the NFL and commented on the need for a better policy for the teams to pick the CFAs. Under current rules, immediately after the draft teams take on a ton of CFAs, and few of them are really researched or given an opportunity to show the teams much. They might fit the team’s needs, and they might not - there isn’t the kind of attention to them that draft choices get, for obvious reasons. The CFAs are often dependent on injuries to get any playing time, and more than half of them don’t even make it onto the practice squad.

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The Daily Lard 7-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The legal staffs of the two sides met yesterday for over seven hours in New York, will meet again today, and are expected to be joined by the players, owners, De Smith and Roger Goodell tomorrow. Meanwhile, Albert Breer goes on to write that if the talks were to stretch beyond July 15 and result in canceled preseason games, ownership is likely to worsen their offer and thus increase the likelihood of the labor dispute playing out in court.

Chris Mortensen is hearing a deal is "within reach" yet unlikely to be consummated this week. Finally, Mike Silver writes that a deal is much closer than the two sides are letting on, too close for them to allow the whole thing to regress into a legal battle. Silver believes that ultimately the two sides will both be able to claim victory in the end and come out looking like roses in the eye of the football-watching public, and that all will be forgiven for the lockout and its rhetoric. I'd have to agree with that last sentiment - what, are people going to stop watching football because training camp and OTAs were either shortened or omitted? Please...

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6 Things I’ve Decided Are True

Happy Tuesday, friends.  I hope everybody had a nice holiday weekend and got to spend it with friends and family.  I had an excellent weekend, and today finds me in a good mood.  I’ve been trying to think of something to write about, since we’re at that lull period of the offseason - even if this were a regular year - where nothing is going on, and everything has been analyzed to death.

After careful deliberation, I decided to mock honor our old friend Peter King by listing 6 Things I’ve Decided Are True, because once I think about something, I decide on an answer.  Peter King is somebody who thinks that he thinks things.  I know what I think – maybe that makes me weird.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, and get that same warm fuzzy feeling that Peter gives you each week when he isn’t having randoms write his column while he vacations in Montclair, New Jersey, or whatever.

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The Daily Lard 7-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While the players and owners prepare to resume their negotiations today in New York, more details on their talks from last week are emerging. The reports from Thursday and Friday that the owners had backtracked from the earlier agreed upon split that gave 48% of revenue to the players has been confirmed by John Clayton, who says the owners increased their offer to 46% before the latest talks adjourned.

Meanwhile, Judy Battista writes that the retired players whose suit was combined with that of the current players filed a class-action complaint yesterday against both the players and owners, accusing the two sides of conspiring to lessen the retirees' benefits for their own gains. The goal of the complaint, which was filed in Federal District Court in Minneapolis, is to allow the retired players to represent their own interests at the negotiating table rather than letting the NFLPA do so.

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A taste of freedom

Today, football fans and non-fans alike celebrate the heart of the Independence Day weekend, a celebration that has long feted the signing of the Declaration of Independence:  the cornerstone event in the founding of our nation. I consider the Declaration to be one of the most important documents in recorded history, as important to human rights and freedom as the Code of Hammurabi and the Magna Carta. While I strongly support certain causes which I consider to be aspects of the rights of human freedom, I’m not particularly political by nature. I am, however, a fairly devoted student of history and to me, the Declaration was a huge step in our evolution as human beings. The recent massive movements to protests against repression and even regime changes that recently swept parts of North Africa and the Near and Middle East can legitimately be argued to have some of their roots in the signing and implementation of that document. It’s affected global policies adopted by the US and been a beacon to people around the globe.

What does this have to do with football? Very little, I suppose. But, I’ll tell you a story that does.

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The Daily Lard 7-4-11

Happy Fourth of July, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman has penned an open letter to De Smith asking the NFLPA leader to get lawyers Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn away from the labor negotiations. Freeman hears that the two attorneys have been "picking stupid fights" which have "delayed the negotiating process." As Jason Cole wrote the other day, the thinking is that Kessler and Quinn are pursuing an agenda that holds out until a verdict is reached in the Brady antitrust suit, one the players would be expected to win in a big way.

Meanwhile, Florio points out that the players will also lose out financially if preseason games are lost.

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The Daily Lard 7-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Bradenton Herald caught up with Von Miller while he was at the NFLPA's rookie symposium last week, and the #2 pick spoke about his inclusion in the Brady suit and his lockout living arrangements. Miller admits it will be tough to top the season last year's second-overall choice Ndamukong Suh had, and he has a great perspective on the fact that he'll likely make a lot less money on his rookie contract than will Suh as a result of the expected new rookie wage scale. Miller told writer Alan Dell that he can't fear losing something he never had, and that

I am living with my parents, and they love me being there so everything is fine. To me, it’s never been about the money. I’ve played all my life for free, and if you take something here you’ve got to give something there. The great players will get their money in the long run.

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2014 Offseason

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