Scouting the Broncos: The battle at Mike LB

Joe Mays is making news.

Mays was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, beating the draft pundits and oddsmakers who had ranked him as an undrafted free agent. Denver traded twice-signed running back J.J. Arrington - or a conditional sixth-round pick if Arrington didn’t make the team - to the Eagles for Mays. Arrington didn’t stick in Philly, and Denver cheerfully gave up a sixth-round pick in 2012 to obtain Joe’s services.

Born in Chicago, where he attended Hyde Park High, Mays was the 2007 Great West Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He played in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge after his senior season at North Dakota State University, a school made special in the hearts of Denver fans by the Broncos' 1987 12th-rounder - Tyrone "Chicken" Braxton. Mays was named to the 2007 Walter Camp Football Foundation FCS All-America team and The Sports Network FCS All-America third team. Mays was also a candidate for the Sports Network 's Buchanan Award. 

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The Daily Lard 5-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! You know, just the other day I was both wondering if Dennis Allen was trying to keep some super-low profile and wanting to hear more out of our new defensive coordinator. Happily, Krieger caught up with Allen on Friday and helps us get to know him just a bit better. While Allen is frustrated by the inability to coach up his new players due to the lockout, he's keeping busy by studying film of the Broncos' AFC West rivals. Plus, he expects the players to be familiar with the terminology of his defense the next time they meet, as they all got their new playbooks during the brief window of Judge Nelson's lockout injunction.

Like John Elway and Fox and Brain Xanders have been stressing all offseason, Allen made it clear he plans to employ a defense characterized by pressure, aggression and athleticism. Granted, we've heard this from each of Allen's many recent predecessors, but the rookie DC plans to get after the quarterback, turn the ball over, prevent big plays and be stout in the scoring area. Also echoing his bosses, Allen admitted that the Broncos may be interested in bringing back Justin Bannan (and perhaps Jamal Williams), the cutting of whom to avoid a $500,000 bonus looms as the biggest personnel blunder of 2011 (so far) for Denver.

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The Dude’s Mail Revue, weekend edition: Paige, white boys, and tasers

Dude's Mail Revue 400x145Fat Man writer TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays whenever the hell he gets around to it.  He takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Broncos and the NFL. You wanna tie the room together?  Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism? Drop TJ a question:

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

TJ, I read your stupid column last week blasting Woody Paige for suggesting that Kyle Orton never offered encouragement to Tim Tebow.   Let me jump completely into bed with Woody here.  You are guilty of cherry picking.  You took one shot of Orton on the sideline and used it to suggest that Tebow and Orton were fast friends during Weeks 16 and 17.   That's ridiculous.  Paige is onto something here.  I can feel it.  Orton is a sulker.  You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself "The Dude?" I don't like your name and I don't like your blog.  

-- Roy Hardman Oliver, San Paulo, Brazil

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The Daily Lard 5-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Johns Elway and Fox apparently told Chris Mortensen yesterday that Brady Quinn is truly in the running for the starting gig, as hard as that is to believe. Of course, Mort probably just asked about Quinn's status - and what else could the Johns have said? "Yeah, he's on a one-year, $800K deal to be our backup, and if he's comfortable in that role we'll re-sign him next year. Tebow's our starter and we'd like a second-rounder for Kyle but will be glad to end up with a third-rounder for a guy who's going to make over $7 million this season with no team control beyond 2011." That may be what they're thinking, but of course they can't say it...

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A case for pursuing Reggie Bush

Happy Friday, friends.  I’ve been moving over the last three days and have had really minimal time to write lately.  So you don’t forget about me, I decided to balance my ongoing time constraints with writing briefly today about something that I’ve been thinking about.  I think that when free agency starts, the Broncos should consider proactively trying to sign Reggie Bush.  He’s technically still under contract with the Saints, but it’s pretty clear that New Orleans isn’t going to pay $11.8 million for a part-time player, so everybody expects Bush will be free before long.

I know Reggie isn’t everybody’s glass of vodka, and I think there are some things about him that are troubling.  His stupid tweet last week about how great the lockout is showed an obliviousness to his world and how he fits in it, and the whole dating-a-Kardashian business is a red flag.  I’d hate to see the guy as a regular on a stupid reality show like Lamar Odom.  He also pretty clearly took some improper benefits in college, and embarrassingly had to vacate the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Then there will be the stat people, who’ll say, well, Reggie’s career high in rushing yards is 581 in his second season, and he hasn’t even been over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in any season except for his rookie one.  These are good points.  That 2006 rookie season was also the only one where Bush ever played in all 16 games.  It’s reasonable at this point to question the guy’s durability.  I’m almost starting to talk myself out of this before I even make the case, because of all these “red flags."

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Not quite as Big Vick Lard 5-13-11

Happy Friday the 13th, Broncos fans! Kevin Vickerson stunned his teammates by showing up in Denver this week down over 30 pounds from when they last saw him. LJ writes that Vickerson weighed in at a relatively svelt 285 pounds as opposed to the 321 he played at in 2010, armed with a two-year deal that will guarantee him $1 million this summer even if there's a lockout. Vickerson, who will be moving inside for John Fox and Dennis Allen's new defense, says he expects that Denver will sign another defensive tackle or two in free agency. Finally, he hopes to be a three-down player and says the FO wants him to be both a starter and a leader in 2011.

Vickerson also spoke with (starts at around 18m40s) Mike & Scott on The Fan yesterday about the players' workouts, his role in the new defense and his weight loss, which he says will help him become that three-down player. BTW, try not to walk under any ladders today...

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Broncography: Jeremy Beal

If you talk about an undersized Broncos defensive end who uses his size and leverage as a tool to defeat blockers, a guy who has played both standing up and with his hand on the ground, who comes to mind? Elvis Dumervil is the obvious choice. Von Miller has many of those qualities - he played the ‘Joker’ position (which is also a pun on his attitude in the locker room) during his senior year at Texas A&M, and played LB/DE, standing and with his hand down. Miller’s speed around the corner and his ability to cut with his body low to the ground make his pass-rushing skills unique. But to complete the list you’d have to add one player, a DE that Denver added at the very end of the 2011 Draft. Jeremy Beal has a lot of similarities to Doom and some to Robert Ayers, and the Broncos are counting on that to ensure the 247th-overall pick some success in the NFL. Some are concerned with his height and weight - 6’2”, 262 lb. I tend to look at his production. 

Beal had a total of 29 sacks over his college career in the Big 12 while playing for Oklahoma. He racked up a few awards, too -

  • Three-Time 1st-team All-Big 12
  • Hendricks Award finalist, junior year
  • AP second-team All-American
  • Four tackles and a sack in the Senior Bowl
  • Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2010

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Real, actual analysis from the (sort of) MSM Lard 5-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andy Benoit's latest film review is of the Broncos, and it sure is nice to see some meme-free analysis of our team from a newspaper, eh? Granted, he's not a beat reporter or a newspaper scribe at all, but still - Benoit writes that Kyle Orton was decisive and exhibited sound fundamentals, while Brandon Lloyd's breakout season is almost surely no fluke. He also points to Knowshon Moreno's shortcomings while acknowledging that he could still become a star someday, if not likely a workhorse.

And although Benoit doesn't focus on the offensive line's early struggles, he does mention notable improvement over the year by Ryan Clady and Zane Beadles. Benoit also points out that Marcus Thomas may have turned it up last year because it was a contract year and that the defense's undoing was a result of poor tackling, the lack of a pass rush, and poor linebacker play inside. Now, Benoit probably just skimmed through the season's game tapes - why can't the DP's writers come up with this sort of analysis - which focuses in on real game action rather than harping on trades gone by and eye-catching "bust" labels - when they actually sit through every game live?

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Tweets of the Week - Inaugural make it rain edition

Now that the dust has settled from the draft (not that anyone is done overanalyzing it, including us) and we're amidst a lockout, real actual NFL news is nonexistent becoming harder and harder to come across. And at IAOFM, it's rather important to the four of us that we not waste your time with writing that's complected solely of mental masturbation, at least not our own. We also place a high premium on humor here, because there are too many sites out there that take football (and themselves) a little too seriously.

With that in mind, you'll probably most likely not within the next week never see from us a fifteen-installment list of the Bestest Broncos Born in the Year 1981 or Most Awesomest Bronco Gamez That TJ Ever Saw. What to do...what to do...well, it just so happens that we have the wonders of social media to bail us out. We're interested here in all things Broncos and NFL, and even though Doc, Ted, TJ and I are all busy holding down the couch springs in our parents' basements (in our Underoos), we do have real access to the players. As Rashard Mendenhall proved last week, anyone with a Twitter account and a pair of thumbs can speak their mind to the world - and when Broncos tweet, we are listening.

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The Daily Lard 5-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Brandt has some interesting thoughts on the recent news that the owners are thinking of tweaking the 2010 work rules should the lockout injunction be affirmed by the Eighth Circuit. Brandt points out that if the NFL goes another season without a salary floor or cap, the owners who don't spend as much as others could put themselves into hot water with the courts, as they could appear to be colluding to keep salaries and payrolls down. All of these players stuck in the murkiness of "am I an RFA or a UFA" like Denver's own Marcus Thomas and Ryan Harris would seemingly have a legitimate beef, right?

Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports writes that players and assistant coaches are skirting the lockout rules by staying in touch via text, phone, email and Skype. And as Doug Farrar points out, while this reality may damage the players' case in the labor battle, it's not something the NFL would likely try to make a big deal of.

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