Scouting the Broncos: Tight ends

As we covered last week, the Broncos are well-stocked at wide receiver; meanwhile, the tight end position is somewhat more of a cipher. This is the position that many fans consider the least important on the field. On the other hand, the legendary Sid Gillman said that with two good TEs you could control the entire middle of the field. The comment may be a little dated, but it’s still fair to note that you can use TEs mainly as blockers, send them underneath when you need three or so yards, throw them up the seam against Cover 2, or employ them primarily as receivers with a wide spectrum of routes - and, you can still use them as blockers. You can set them out in a three-TE set that’s sometimes called a ‘Magic 3’, with a good blocking/receiving WR and a RB/FB who can block, run or receive to drive the other defense nuts and who can run or receive a pass in multiple ways out of that formation. However - that’s not how new Broncos coach John Fox tends to like to use them, and whatever happens will take that into account. The point here is, though, the TE position has long been underestimated and has a world of approaches and uses.

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The Daily Lard 4-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his MMQB today, Peter King focuses in on the quarterback class, which Mel Kiper is calling the wackiest he's seen. There are quite a few notable circumstances, with guys staying in school a year later than expected and affecting the draft in a major way - Jake Locker and Andrew Luck, for instance. PK finds out a bit more about Ryan Mallett, although none of it firsthand (the QB wouldn't talk to him) and, like everyone else, thinks Warren Moon was just a bit off base in his comments last week. Plus, he claims Locker will go earlier than everyone thinks (didn't everyone just raise his "stock" after his pro day workout?).

King goes on to write that Da'Quan Bowers' knee issues could drop him into the lower half of the first round and reminds us that recent newsmakers Dez Bryant and Aqib Talib had those classic pre-draft "character concerns" that perhaps aren't as overblown as we'd all like to think (Perrish *cough* Cox *cough*).

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The Daily Lard 4-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Not that we've ever come out and branded ourselves as Fair & Balanced™ but perhaps some levity is due after yesterday's somber Lard. Thankfully, Wesley Woodyard has come through with some comic Broncos gold; he announced via Twitter last night that he'd posted on YouTube his own spoof of teammate Brian Dawkins. As Woodyard explains, the video was created during training camp last year, and it involves multiple costumes for him and clearly a good deal of production help. It's quite brilliant, especially the Wolverine-clawed butt scratching...

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The really, really blind side: 18-game schedule

An 18-game schedule may be off the table in the current battle between the owners and the players.  Until we get the official word, however, I'll just assume that Roger Goodell is profoundly concerned with the safety of the players...

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RIP Shane Dronett Lard 4-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The family of the late Shane Dronett, a former Broncos 2nd-round draft pick, has finally received some closure regarding the behavioral deterioration that led to his suicide two years ago. Researchers at Boston University have determined that Dronett was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the same brain disease that had previously felled former NFL players Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk, Tom McHale, Terry Long, John Grimsley, possibly Dave Duerson and countless unknown others.

Meanwhile, another disturbing and eye-opening story from Jeanne Marie Laskas was published in the March issue of GQ; this one details the day-to-day struggles of former Vikings star LB Fred McNeill, an accomplished attorney in his post-playing days who is now a shell of his old self. Laskas' first article on the subject chronicled the discovery of CTE by Dr. Bennet Omalu (a forensic pathologist) and his subsequent blackballing by the NFL and its concussion committee, which was (darkly comically) headed by a rheumatologist, Dr. Elliot Pellman. We (not the royal) strongly encourage you to read all three of these articles, on Omalu, McNeill and Dronett; I've linked to Laskas' first piece before, and I will surely do so again.

Writers and readers alike, we are all here thanks to our love for the sport of football, but some things are bigger than the orange and blue uniforms we root for; the men who wear them are losing their minds and their lives in the name of playing a game, enduring countless head injuries for an eight-second appearance on SportsCenter or our patron saint's old Jacked Up! segment. Something has to change, and if that means watching an NFL that is far different in nature than the one we have all become quite familiar, then so be it. These players and their families are paying a price far greater than whatever glory and compensation playing in the NFL has provided them with.

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You Got Served - More rosterbation

Happy Friday, friends, and welcome to part two of Ted’s Grand Rosterbation Exercise.  I haven’t gone blind yet, so maybe it’s just a myth.  Whatevs… I’ll risk it.  Armed with a starting point of 20/15 eyesight (thanks to the fine people at LASIKPlus), the comfort of having completed two midterms this week, and the home state pride of seeing both UConn’s men’s and women’s basketball teams in the Final Four (again), I’m getting this thing underway.  Ready….. BEGIN!!!

I came with some serious mockery last week, and I decided that I’d close the circle today and create and discuss my conception of a Rational Actor roster for the Broncos.  First, let’s revisit where we are vis-à-vis the Draft:

  • We traded Kyle Orton to San Francisco for a 3rd-round pick, and a conditional 2012 pick that could be as high as another 3rd-rounder.
  • When Carolina took Cam Newton first overall, we sold off the #2 pick to the team that wanted Blaine Gabbert the most, the Arizona Cardinals.  To move down to #5, we acquired #38 and #69, as well as a 3rd-rounder in 2012.  (Yes, that’s a reasonable deal.  Think of the Giants/Chargers Manning/Rivers deal in 2004, and you’ll see it’s comparable.)
  • We drafted the following players:

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The Daily Lard 4-1-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Yesterday was apparently another big PR day for the Broncos' brass; here are podcasts of John FoxBrain Xanders and John Elway all speaking on local Denver radio, plus a partial transcription of Elway's comments. Regarding Demaryius Thomas and his recovery from surgery on his torn Achilles' tendon, Fox danced around the question and Elway said the Broncos hope that the young WR will be ready by the middle of the season. If that's the case, then we're likely looking at Thomas beginning the season on the PUP list, meaning he'd be out for at least the first six games and would have to play by Week 12 at the very latest or be placed on IR for the year. Meanwhile, Xanders didn't have the warmest of words for RT Ryan Harris but said his status is up in the air thanks to the labor dispute. He also said the Broncos would like to have Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams back, for what that's worth.

PS. Don't let anyone make you a Fool today...

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Gut Reaction - Opening Day

When your weekly column coincides with the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, you might as well be writing the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner for all it's worth:

Baseball, baseball, everywhere, and Roger Goodell did shrink.

Baseball, baseball, everywhere, nor a CBA to drink.

If you skipped your last two years of eligibility in order to declare for the NFL Draft (or you wear a silver and black thong), you may not get these two lines.  I don't blame you; you've bigger fish to fry.  In the case of the thong, I'm talking dirty laundry, holmes.

We'll leave the laundry for another day.  It's a day to focus on baseball.

So let me get right to the point: baseball is for total weenies.

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Garland may be eligible for Broncos in ‘12

According to the Gazette's former Broncos reporter and current Air Force beat guy Frank Schwab, defensive lineman Ben Garland has passed on the opportunity to enroll in the Air Force's pilot training school in order to eventually pursue an NFL career. According to Schwab, in a year's time Garland can submit request that his military commitment be converted to a longer reserve assignment, and which if granted would allow him to join the Broncos in 2012 ala former LB Steve Russ (also an Air Force alum and special-teams stalwart on both of Denver's SB-winning teams and now the LB coach for Wake Forest). Garland is a native of Grand Junction, CO and was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent on April 26 of last year.

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Memories of Milburn Lard 3-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today, Legwold ponders the effect of the recent kickoff rule changes, slipping in one of his "I know everyone lines" - apparently he talks to enough ST coaches "regularly" to gather a consensus. At least he doesn't use any ridiculous stats, although of course I'd rather see the average kick return for the entire league, rather than just that of the Broncos (who had a terrible year returning kicks in '93, 1.8 yards/per worse than the '92 squad). In fact, Glyn Milburn, the Broncos' diminutive 2nd-round pick in 1993, who was touted by some as "the next Eric Metcalf" - had a paltry 15.7-yard average on 12 returns that year. As we've talked Broncos draft disappointments of late, Milburn fits the discussion (although he was far from a bust) - he was fast, had some nice open-field moves and was supposed to be a jack of all trades for Denver.

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