HGH testing? Lard 3-25-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Alex Marvez is reporting that the owners are demanding HGH testing be part of the next CBA. That word of this insistence is just slipping out now makes it seem more like a negotiating tactic than anything else, as there is still not yet a urine test for the growth hormone. While it's a wide (and safe) assumption that plenty of NFL players use the substance to illegally enhance their own performance, it's hard to imagine this bargaining chip providing much in the way of leverage until HGH testing graduates to something more reliable that does not require blood samples. Of course, it will be interesting to see if/how the players respond to this news, nonetheless...

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The Dude’s Mail Revue: Mocks, quarterbacks and kickoffs

Dude's Mail Revue 400x145Fat Man writer TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Denver Broncos.

You wanna tie the room together?  Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism?

Drop TJ a question: tjthedudejohnson@gmail.com.

(NOTE: Marmots were harmed in the writing of this Revue)

TJ, last week I read your piece on the lockout in which you very much sided with the players.  I see your points about the players having very short careers and that most of them aren't millionaires.  I even get that most of them are going to have health problems.  I'm even willing to cede that the owners are old, rich white guys who throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way.  But aren't you missing the whole point here?  Your socialist rant didn't address the fundamental issue of the negotiation itself. 

--Ayne Rowdy Rand, Boulder, Colorado

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The Daily Lard 3-24-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I was going to discuss here how absurd it is that Denver has worked out or planned to work out six QB prospects, while they've only lined up 12 non-quarterbacks (according to PFT's list). But it's only March 24, and the first round of the draft is still five weeks away from today. Perhaps that list will balance out by the time the draft arrives and Denver will have worked out 30 players who don't play QB; especially a lot more defensive players? I'll see about putting together a comprehensive list of Denver's scheduled/planned workouts with links...

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Talegating: Stephen Paea

Much of what has been written regarding the Broncos' draft outlook has focused heavily on the issue of which player the team takes at number two, or whether they trade down and try to pick up an extra choice or two. That’s an important decision, no question. Denver’s offensive and defensive lines need help, and free agency may not happen in anything like its usual manner, so deciding whether there’s a player at #2 that’s worth the pick or whether going for more picks is a better option ranks right up there with the call on 4th and goal with 3 seconds left on the clock - you can’t afford to get this one wrong. On that issue, I found myself recalling a poster that was common when I was in college, and it probably stayed around. It only said,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil: for I am the meanest SOB in the valley

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Touchbacks galore! Lard 3-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The NFL's Competition Committee passed some changes to kickoff procedures yesterday, although not in as drastic a form as originally proposed. The ball will indeed be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35, reversing a change the league had made (to make kickoffs more exciting, naturally) prior to the 1994 season. But unlike the first proposal, touchbacks will still place the ball at the 20-yard line, and the two-man wedge remains legal. Meanwhile, the coverage team will only be allowed a 5-yard running start rather than one of 10 or 15 yards. What do these changes mean for the Broncos? Firstly, Matt Prater becomes even more valuable - unless he's facing strong winds, he should be able to get a touchback on every kick at the Big IF and reach the end zone on the road consistently. The downside is that Denver has a more dynamic crew of kick returners than they've had in decades (Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Cassius Vaughn), yet their positive contributions will more often be turned into touchbacks.

Another significant change was to the play review system - all scoring plays will now be reviewable by the replay official. This is a good move for everyone, as coaches no longer have to weigh the risk of losing challenges and/or timeouts when considering whether to protest a questionable (and potentially game-changing) play. More importantly, a missed call by the on-field officials will still be correctable even if a team is out of challenges or timeouts; this was the most unfair facet of the replay system, bringing a game-show quality to the NFL. Good riddance.

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You Got Served: IAOFM in-house mockery!

Check the picture, friends.  It's 9 PM on Monday night, and I just got out of class.  I had a busy day in the office, with another one starting preternaturally early (for me, anyway) tomorrow.  I also need to devote some time to my impending housing situation tonight.  I've decided that I have three hours to contribute tonight, and I thought that I'd reprise something I experimented with last year, which I called the Rational Actor Mock Draft.  Last year, I did it as a PowerPoint slide deck and voiceover, but I'm going to write it this time.

This is conceptually different than other mockery for a few reasons:

  1. Every team has a rational actor for a decision maker.  Essentially, I'm saying what I would do as the GM for each team, not what their actual GM will do.
  2. I'm factoring in two key hypothetical trades:  Kevin Kolb was traded to Seattle for the #25 pick, and Kyle Orton was traded to San Francisco for their third-round pick in 2011 (#76), and a conditional 2012 pick that could be as high as another third.  Cincinnati refuses to trade Carson Palmer, and he retires.  This clears up the key part of the veteran QB market.
  3. One part of my mind can trade with the other, where it makes rational sense for both sides.  I'm only bothering to do this in the first round.

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QB Wonderlic Lard 3-22-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Luis DeLoureiro took an interesting look back at some of the more notable Wonderlic scores both high and low among quarterbacks. While there have certainly been some QBs who did poorly on the Wonderlic but excelled in the pros, it seems that guys with better scores have generally turned out to be better NFL signalcallers. For the record, Tim Tebow scored a below-average 22, Kyle Orton notched an above-average 26, while Brady Quinn posted an impressive 29. Depending upon who you ask, John Elway scored either a 30 or a 29.

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Talegating: History of the NFL Draft - 1959

This is the fourth in a multi-part series on the history of the NFL Draft. Part 1 covered the 1920s and 30s, Part 2 chronicled the 1940s, while Part 3 spanned most of the 1950s.

Aside from the change to its modern name in 1922, the biggest change in the NFL's history to this point in our story was created out of a foundering attempt to buy a baseball or a football franchise. A quiet, genteel progeny of a Texas-sized family fortune listened to a man named Branch Rickey - the same Branch Rickey who invented baseball’s farm system, became president of and managed the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, and who would in 1967 be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rickey was trying to put together a third baseball associations to compete with the National and American Leagues, and his concept was the Continental Baseball League. He wanted backers, men who could buy franchises but who had been shut out of the first two leagues.

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The Daily Lard 3-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Via Mike Florio, Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post tweeted yesterday evening the following regarding Broncos owner Pat Bowlen:

Wow, does Pat Bowlen look frail and out of it. His right-hand man just had to show him how to get in a car. Sad.

As Florio reminds us, there has been a good deal of hushed speculation surrounding Bowlen's health in recent years while Joe Ellis has emerged from the shadows to execute the bulk of the Broncos' major decisions. I'm not about to play the guessing game regarding Bowlen's health, but there has certainly been some erratic behavior recently out of Dove Valley - none more so than Bowlen's public assertion that Josh McDaniels would be back as the Broncos' coach in 2011, followed only days later by the young coach's ouster. And, we may never know if Jay Cutler and Mr. B ever spoke on the phone when the QB was on his way out of town. Aside from wishing that Bowlen can somehow recover from whatever is ailing him, we can only hope that John Elway knows what he's gotten himself into, not to mention what he's doing...

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Hoarding picks Lard 3-20-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei focuses in on the Patriots' brilliant yearly stockpiling of draft picks. This year, New England has two picks in each of the first three rounds, giving them the flexibility to do basically anything they want, moving up to nab an elite talent inclusive. But before you start wishing the Broncos would do the same thing, know that they have already done so in recent seasons; the trades of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall (and their brilliant maneuvering down and up the board in 2010) have enabled Denver to select four first-rounders and four second-rounders over the past two years, with two second-rounders in hand for the 2011 Draft. Of course, the jury is still out on how well they actually fared in utilizing those choices.

And while Brain Xanders has attempted to disavow himself of every move made during Josh McDaniels' time in Denver, we can only hope that he was the integral part of these draft-related deals that we assume he was, and that at least this facet of the so-called Patriot Way has stuck with him. For as important as the upcoming draft is for the Broncos' future, the 2012 one will be no less crucial - whether it's via more trades downward in April or a potential deal of Kyle Orton for a future pick, one of the best things Xanders can do for Denver and his own legacy is to keep extending Denver's draft flexibility. Hopefully he's already been working the phones in pursuit of such a stratagem...

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