The Daily Lard 4-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Via Williamson, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Shanny and the Skins are desperate to trade up from the #10 spot for a quarterback, and McClain is guessing that it's Blaine Gabbert. Williamson points out that if Washington were to move all the way to #2 in a deal with the Broncos, they'd need to use some future picks (or maybe a player?) to do so, at least as far as the Jimmy Johnson draft chart goes. Big Bill also says that #10 may be a bit farther than Denver is interested in sliding back, but who knows - maybe they could move back to ten and then orchestrate another deal to move back up a few notches...

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You Got Served - Capital One Girls edition

Happy Friday, friends, and welcome to another edition of You Got Served.  There’s been a semi-interesting development in the labor front, and I owe you a Vegas debrief too, whether you want one or not.  In between, we’ll talk some football in advance of the approaching Draft.  Armed with a lighter checking account, iTunes on shuffle rocking some Aimee Mann, (One is the loneliest number) and the Will to Dominate, we proceed.  Ready…. BEGIN!!!

1.  I’m not a lawyer, thank Baptist god, and I’ve never played one on television.  Mostly in my TV experiences, I’ve competed in spelling bees, glared menacingly at a camera guy while carrying trash off the Spruance following a hurricane sortie, or given a politically incorrect opinion or six.  All the sort of stuff you’d expect from a guy like me.  As a non-lawyer, I’m often left to speculate on legal matters which pertain to football, because there aren’t a lot of football writers who are admitted to the bar.  I had a pretty high Wonderlic score when I applied for a job at Progressive a few years ago, so I just kind of trust that, and wing it.

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The Daily Lard 4-15-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Klis checked in on a few Broncos linemen who are working out together, including Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris. Meanwhile, WR Eric Decker is apparently working out with Cardinals superstar Larry Fitzgerald (good choice!) and Elvis Dumervil is sweating with his pop.

According to Klis, the players are getting regular updates on the labor situation from team union reps Kyle Orton, Brian Dawkins and Russ Hochstein.

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Talegating: Mark Herzlich

It’s one of the most inspiring stories in this year’s draft: He was born Sandon Mark Herzlich, Jr., on September 1, 1987, to Sandon and Barbara Herzlich, and became known as Mark. He also has a younger brother, Bradley. They’re a close-knit family, a factor that played a role in his recovery from being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2009, a cancer that attacks bones, and which took away part of his left femur, the bone in the thigh, which has been replaced by a 12-inch titanium rod. Mark moved back to be nearer to them in that time.

Herzlich has won a multitude of awards for the way that he handled his disease, and the way that he created outreach opportunities to convince other sufferers that they could beat their cancers, recover and have any life that appealed to them. He won the Rudy Award in 2010 - an honor that’s given to a college football player each year who shows exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment. It was presented to Herzlich's father at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Dallas. It was only one of many. He was also given the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award for the most courageous player during his senior year. 

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The Daily Lard 4-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Alabama DT Marcell Dareus and LSU CB Patrick Peterson visited Dove Valley yesterday, while next Monday will bring Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure to town. On Tuesday the Broncos will host Auburb QB Cam Newton, Abilene Christian WR Edmond Gates and Baylor RB Jay Finley, and on Wednesday Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, Villanova OT Ben Ijalana and K-State RB Daniel Thomas will visit.

John Elway described Dareus as "big, strong, he comes from a good background. Reliable. His traits are all good," while describing Peterson as a "big guy who can run. Athletic. All he did in college was play bump, man coverage. So he has that experience. Plus, he's explosive in the return game."

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Broncography: LB Braxton Kelley

As the silly season of mock drafts and GM-speak ratchets up to full gear, it's easy to lose sight of the second and third columns of the depth charts. There's been plenty of chatter about the Broncos potentially drafting Von Miller out of Texas A&M to upgrade their linebacker corps. But for today, let's hop off the rumor/speculation carousel and focus on what Denver actually has in terms of young linebacking talent: Braxton Kelley.

Kelley was introduced to the Broncos as an undersized 6’0”, 226 lb. college free agent in 2009, a player many of us had hoped would turn out to be another Wesley Woodyard. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and under strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten’s constant tutelage (along with Tuten’s assistants, Greg Saporta and Justin Lovett). Kelley suffered an injury in June of 2010 and was placed on IR, but he's stayed with his training while recovering from his injury and has emerged from the experience as a 242-lb middle linebacker on a team that is in dire need of faster linebackers and talented depth. Kelley’s 40 time leading up to the 2009 Draft was 4.74, with a peak time of 4.65 - he was hardly a burner, but his speed was more than functional since he has an explosive first step and takes great angles to the ball. He was in a classic situation:  a player who played much faster on the field than he timed in a straight line 40.

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Bradshaw applause Lard 4-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legendary QB and now FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw played 14 seasons for the Steelers, winning four Super Bowls, one league MVP award and two SB MVPs; he was inducted into the Pro Football HOF in 1989. But leading the greatest NFL dynasty of modern times has come with a heavy price, as Bradshaw watched the deterioration of his own late teammate Mike Webster, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 50 and in whose brain CTE was first discovered.

More recently, Bradshaw has been experiencing his own concussion-related troubles, including short-term memory loss, anxiety and depression. Thankfully, Bradshaw has decided to come forward and share the details of his problems while encouraging more of his fellow NFL retirees to do the same. There may be no former player more nationally visible than the affable Bradshaw, so let's all hope he is not only able to defeat his own condition, but to remain vocal about concussion and player safety issues, because he can make a real difference. Way to go, Terry.

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Broncos’ 2011 preseason schedule released

The Broncos announced their preseason opponents today:

Wk. 1 at Dallas (Aug. 11-15)
Wk. 2 vs. Buffalo (Aug. 18-22)
Wk. 3 vs. Seattle (Aug. 25-29)
Wk. 4 at Arizona (Sept. 1-2)

As previously announced, the Broncos' regular season slate will feature home games versus Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, New England and the NJ Jets, with road games at Buffalo, Green Bay, Miami, Minnesota and Tennessee, along with the customary home and away games versus division rivals Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego. Times and dates for both the exhibition and regular seasons will be announced later in the month.

Mindfreak: Jake Locker on the Grassy Knoll

Something happened to Jake Locker on his way to becoming the next John Elway.

His senior season.

Does John Elway care?

At this time last year, Locker was both victim and beneficiary of the hype machine (the same machine that now has its sights set on Andrew Luck).  Had Locker declared for the NFL draft as a junior, it's very possible that he, not Sam Bradford, would be the QB for the St. Louis Rams.   

Consider what Mel Kiper Jr. said about Locker last April:

If you had to ask me right now who is going to be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, I would say it's etched in stone it's going to be Jake Locker. You can mark that down. Jake Locker, if he's not the No. 1 pick, it's an upset.

That's certainly high praise from the high priest of draft geeks (otherwise known as guys I could shove into a locker with one arm)

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Professorial Lard 4-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Just when everyone was getting all riled up by our favorite egghead, a few John Clayton smackdowns have been delivered, the most effective one shockingly coming from Bill Williamson, of all people. The ESPN writers took the two sides of the draft-a-QB / start-Tim-Tebow debate, and Williamson comes off as a well-informed logician next to Clayton in stating that Tebow deserves the chance to run with the starting gig.

Then, there was Clayton's column from last week which posited that teams are suddenly adopting a general strategy of not drafting running backs in the first round because they just don't need to do so. Thankfully, Pat Kirwan and then Bucky Brooks are both here to explain that perhaps there's just nobody in this year's draft worthy of a first-rounder, save perhaps Mark Ingram of Bama. What do you suppose it's like going through life thinking there's a massive sea change involved in everything that happens and that you are the one person who knows it?

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