The Daily Lard 7-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Punter Britton Colquitt and his brother Dustin who punts for the Chiefs, were both on with Vic & Gary on Tuesday, and Dustin had some interesting insight into Handshake Haley's finger wag last season at the Big IF. According to Dustin, Haley believed McDaniels and the Broncos had cheated their way to their emphatic 49-29 Week 10 victory; it would be McDaniels' final win as Denver's head coach. The elder Colquitt told Vic & Gary,

Todd was just kind of saying, ‘Look, with the game plan we had and what you guys already knew we were gonna do, this is,’ basically saying it was ‘bush, bush, league.’

Hmm. Haley may have apologized for the handshake snub, but obviously these new details should make for some nice media drama fodder should the two meet again. Here is the podcast from the Colquitt brothers' radio appearance; the McDaniels/Haley talk begins around the 7m09s mark.

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Broncography: Mike Mohamed

Denver draftee Mike Mohamed understands the role of a linebacker acquired as a sixth-round pick (189 overall) in the modern NFL. He’s going to have to start out on special teams and show that he can be a core player for that squad. Special teams are 80% about desire and inner fire. It’s how a player gets noticed by the coaches.

“Yeah, definitely,” Mohamed said. “I already know that’s kind of my ticket. I’ve done them all throughout my college career. Like I said (earlier), I’ll go in wherever they need me.”

Born on March 11, 1988, Mohamed grew up in Brawley, CA and attended Brawley High School, where he played linebacker and tight end for head coach John Bishop. Mohamed was a natural leader from an early age and he led his Wildcats squad to the CIF section championship game and semifinals during his junior and senior seasons. For his efforts, he was named the Imperial Valley Defensive Player of the Year and was the team MVP as a senior, registering 62 tackles, five sacks, 14 tackles for loss and six blocked punts. He was a First-Team All-Imperial Valley League selection and a second-team medium schools All-State choice by CalHiSports, and was also made a member of the San Diego Hall of Champions defensive team. Mike was offered scholarships from both San Diego State and California. A natural athlete, Mohamed had also played forward on the basketball team as a junior. Always a top scholar, Mike was also chosen for the San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic team as a high school senior.

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The Daily Lard 7-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige shares more of his conversation with John Fox from last week, discussing the coach's outlook on free agency. As Paige explains, Fox was hamstrung in Carolina by owner Jerry Richardson's two-year austerity plan to prepare for the lockout, which included a lack of significant free-agent signings. Fox told Woody he'd like to build his team primarily through the draft and fill holes via free agency, explaining that the Broncos may not necessarily acquire any of the more expensive veterans available, adding that such players "usually have some baggage."

After Fox reiterates the team's need for another running back, Paige goes on to write that the Broncos should add some defensive tackles, an offensive tackle and a fullback. He also suggests the team should acquire another defensive back and tight end, but Denver already has an abundance of players at those positions, with essentially four TEs likely fighting for three spots (excluding Daniel Coats) and 13 corners and safeties for 9 or 10 spots (not counting Nick Polk and Chevis Jackson). It's hard to picture any veterans wanting to throw themselves into those jam-packed sections of the depth chart, and the lack of OTAs and mini-camps means the coaching staff will have less time to evaluate players.

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The Daily Lard 7-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis reiterates his belief that Tim Tebow will be the starting QB in Denver this season while Kyle Orton will be dealt away. Klis also admits a couple of times that he basically doesn't ever watch film, although granted he's a beat reporter and not an analyst as his passionate colleague Legwold is supposed to be. In doing so, he bizarrely dismisses the assessment of a reader who took the time to study some college play of Von Miller and Nate Irving with the old "let's see them play in the NFL before criticizing them."

Yet, Klis does feel knowledgeable enough to proclaim that Josh McDaniels doesn't scheme the running game well, and Klis doesn't know why Steve Spagnuolo hired him to coach the Rams' offense. Nevermind the Broncos improvement there in the second half of 2010 or the Pats' 2,278 rushing yards and 21 TDs in 2008 (McDaniels' last year there). It's fair to say the ex-coach of the Broncos perhaps didn't run the ball enough at times; but the suggestion that he doesn't know how to and that will be the difference under John Fox and Mike McCoy is ludicrous. Good to see the DP is rounding into form as a labor agreement and training camp hopefully near...

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Rookie production in a strange year

It's pretty much an inevitability that the lockout will create issues for all players new to their teams, whether traded players, veteran free agents, draftees or undrafted rookies. Even if a new agreement were reached tomorrow (an unlikely scenario), countless players will already be so far behind the curve, having missed out on playbooks, mini-camps, OTAs and coaching that they won’t be able to contribute right away. For some rookies, their first year could end up a lost one, as coaches will tend to use veterans when possible - they know the game better, and in the Broncos' case the offensive players will be working out of a simpler version of Josh McDaniels' playbook that they’ve already had to master, so they face a stronger likelihood of playing well.

But many of the draft picks are looking at an uphill climb. I think that LB Von Miller has a good shot at contributing right away - he’s played within both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses in college, he was moved around quite a bit as a senior in his Joker role and he’s played in coverage as well as setting the edge and attacking the quarterback. He’s likely to be on Robert Ayers’ left for a lot of his plays, and that won’t hurt either - Ayers has two years under his belt, although he was hurt for part of last season, and he’s shown that he’s a steady player who sets the edge, collapses the pocket and who will clear the way for Miller quite frequently. The strong side of the Broncos' defense could be tough to gain yardage against. For those reasons, Von’s likely to pick up quickly on the Broncos' defensive scheme, whatever it may be, because he’s already bounced from scheme to scheme and excelled in each.

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The Daily Lard 7-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter are reporting that an agreement on a new CBA is expected to be reached within the next 7 to 10 days and be ratified at the July 21 league meetings. If that is the case, teams would be provided a three-day window during which they can negotiate exclusively with their own free agents and sign undrafted rookies. Unrestricted veteran free agency would likely begin on July 28 and the preseason would be preserved in full, save possibly the HOF game scheduled for August 7.

Only a few days after free agency begins, teams would be required to set their rosters at 90 players and RFAs would have until August 3 to sign offer sheets, with clubs having four days to match those offers. According to the report, the revenue split is back to the players getting 48 percent and a minimum of 46.5 percent as had been previously agreed to weeks ago.

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The Daily Lard 7-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former Broncos defensive lineman Pete Duranko passed away on Friday following an 11-year battle with ALS, the disease which would inspire him to become a national spokesman and fundraiser in search of a cure and to raise awareness. Duranko was drafted by the Cleveland Browns out of Notre Dame in 1966 but spent his entire NFL career from 1967 to 1974 with the Broncos, playing in 98 games and starting 76 of them. Regarding his own battle with ALS and his wife's fear of the day when Pete would be unable to care for himself, he told Patrick Saunders in 2003,

“She says, ‘I don’t know if I can handle it.' And I told her, ‘You never know what you can handle.”‘

Duranko was 67 years old and passed in his hometown of Johnstown, PA. Our thoughts go out to the Duranko family.

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Bumper stickers you may have missed

As I was navigating traffic between downtown Denver and the Tech Center the other day, I found myself with some time to kill.

That is to say I was stuck in traffic. 

Rather than complain--or worse, tune in to 104.3 The Fan--I decided to do what any Broncos fan would do when faced with a similar crisis.

I started reading bumper stickers.

Here are five that I saw.  

I'm quite sure I'll have more for you in the future.

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The Daily Lard 7-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The players and owners met for 10 hours yesterday but apparently accomplished little, will remain in touch over the weekend and reconvene for more negotiations on Monday. Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora writes that the loophole left by the Eighth Circuit's ruling likely allows the NFLPA to pursue an expedited injunction to protect the rights of unsigned players, and that if an agreement isn't reached in short order they may do just that. Plus, if Judge Nelson were to grant such an injunction then the NFL would be unable to appeal the decision.

Puzzlingly, Mike Freeman thinks the Eighth Circuit's decision only helps the owners. However, he still thinks reason will prevail in the end. Finally, Andrew Brandt says the two sides are hoping to come up with an agreement that will result in perhaps a decade of labor peace.

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Fat Camp: DB alignment concepts

Happy On The Road Friday, friends.  If you’re reading this in the morning or early afternoon, I’m on my way back to the Motherland for the weekend.  I haven’t been there since Thanksgiving of 2009, so I’m overdue for a visit during which I’ll surely remember why I skipped town 17 years ago - just in time to head back west.

Today, I’m going to talk about some defensive back alignment concepts and how they relate to the pre-snap reads that QBs and WRs have to make on offense.  I’ve been planning to write about this for a while - and it’s pretty straightforward, but after Tuesday’s July 5th fireworks I almost wish I had something good and non-football related on my mind with which to tweak my critics.  I don’t at the moment, but we’ll see how it plays.

I could care less about the Casey Anthony trial, and I constantly lamented the lack of a Does Ted Give A Crap? Predictor in the MSNBC iPhone App, as I was repeatedly hit with breaking news alerts about the trial.  I guess that’s the main news of the last couple days, right?  I could go down the path of why the media should be much more measured about these kinds of things, and that Nancy Grace should be selling ugly knitted mittens at a flea market somewhere that has a high population of crazy people, but I’ll skip it for today.

Anyway, I’m planning on covering three concepts today: Landmarks, Leverage, and Posture.  Couldn’t you just see a Ted Bartlett CBA article about a Landmark court decision giving one side Leverage, and forcing the other to Posture?  I sure could, but this isn’t it.

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