Why pursuing MJD would make no sense for the Broncos

There is only one scenario under which the Broncos should consider a trade for Maurice Jones-Drew:

He'd have to drop his demands for a new contract.

Anyone see that happening?

Right.

The Twittersphere is, um, atwitter (sorry) with speculation that Denver might be interested in trading for the disgruntled Jaguars back. Let's examine why that's not only highly unlikely to be true, but a terrible idea.

Consider the background:

When Jacksonville drafted MJD in the second round of the 2006 Draft, they did so planning for a future without Jaguars icon Fred Taylor. Three years later, Taylor had moved on to the Patriots, and Jones-Drew had shown himself worthy of the primary back role, but was entering the final year of his rookie contract.

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Happy trails, CP Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Old friend Clinton Portis is set to announce his retirement tomorrow.

I've already shared my feelings on the personable CP, and TJ did an analysis of the trade that sent Portis to Washington for Champ Bailey a few years ago. Of course, that trade has only continued to pay dividends to the Broncos, as Champ is still going, and strongly at that. Thanks for the memories, CP, and best of luck in retirement.

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The value of preseason games

We have all, at some point or another, probably bemoaned the four (or five, in the case of HOF game participants) preseason games as excessive and pointless. Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union Tribune writes,

They charge real money to watch these phony exhibition games, and Saturday night they couldn’t find enough free-spending Cowboys fans to sell out the joint. So the game was blacked out locally. The nerve of the NFL, the cheek, blacking out this glorified practice. Big deal. It was shown on tape delay as soon as it ended. Did you really need to know the score (Hint: 28-20, Chargers)?

Who can blame him? It’s a refrain that’s heard time and again. It immediately comes up when the league tries to talk about expanding the schedule to 18 regular season games. The usual suggestion is that two of the preseason contests would be changed to regular season affairs.

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Broncos activate Leonhard from PUP list

The Broncos have taken safety Jim Leonhard off the active PUP list, and he is practicing today.

Denver signed the eighth-year veteran on August 4, but his recovery from a torn patellar tendon had prevented him from taking part in practice or individual drills until today.

Updated 2:07pm ET

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You Got Served: Are the Broncos using the right defensive scheme?

The question of the day is whether Mark Kiszla knows what he’s talking about, when it comes to football.

Are you done laughing yet?

I’ll wait. 

Okay then, welcome back.  Since we know the answer is that he doesn’t know anything beyond the most basic level, we can pat him on the head like a good little dullard, and at least explore whether the basic point he was making is valid.

Kiszla thinks the Broncos have better personnel to play a 3-4 than they do a 4-3.  If you’ve read this site for long, you know that there’s no monolithic 3-4 that half the NFL uses, and there’s similarly no monolithic 4-3 in use by the other half.  There are 3-4’s that play like traditional 4-3’s (such as Houston and Dallas), 4-3’s that play like traditional 3-4’s (like Seattle and Miami), and then there are teams that play both fronts, most notably New England and Baltimore.

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Lights out, Merriman Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! A hamstring injury has prevented third-round pick Ronnie Hillman from playing this preseason, but he returned to practice yesterday and is hoping to play during Sunday afternoon's home game against the 49ers.

Hillman admits he's not quite back to full speed yet; Quinton Carter practiced after missing almost all of training camp, although his work was restricted to individual drills.

Another youngster, Danny Trevathan, returned after missing last week with an ankle injury, and Tracy Porter was back from illness.

However, veterans Jim Leonhard and Keith Brooking are still not practicing; Leonhard remains on the active PUP list, while Brooking suffered a hamstring injury shortly after joining the team. Both players worked with strength coach Luke Richesson yesterday and are unlikely to play in either of Denver's remaining preseason games. The guess here is Leonhard ends up on the regular PUP list, while Brooking doesn't make the final 53 (it's unlikely either of them received any guarantees in their contracts).

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Bite-size nuggets: Pontificatin’ on officiatin’

Happy Monday, friends.  As I did my morning commute today, I was thinking about bad officiating and the lockout of the real NFL officials.  Since I got so much practice analyzing labor actions last year, and since I’m trying to serve up some bite-size hors d’ oeuvres (pronounced “whores divorce” in my best Andrew Dice Clay voice) I decided to scribble some thoughts in purple crayon for y’all.

First things first – the officiating has been atrocious in every preseason NFL game I’ve seen.  They’ve been getting a lot of stuff wrong, from spotting the ball, to speaking into a microphone, to being able to see the game at the speed at which it’s played.

It’s a mess, and it’s not these underqualified officials’ fault, really.  Mark my words: If they’re still officiating games come the regular season, they’re going to negatively affect playoff positioning.

The question is whether the evident suckitude of the officiating gives the locked out refs any leverage.  I initially thought it might, but it seems like it isn’t having that effect.  The dynamics in play are clearly pretty different than they were with the players.

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Broncos get four players back from injury/illness

After several weeks chock full of disappointing injury news, the Broncos finally got some players back for practice today.

Safety Quinton Carter, who had missed almost all of training camp, was back in action today; cornerback Tracy Porter, linebacker Danny Trevathan, and running back Ronnie Hillman also returned to practice.

Updated 3:51pm ET

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Six Broncos among Scouts Inc.‘s Top 200

ESPN's Scouts Inc. group has released its NFL evaluations for 2012, with six Broncos ranking among its top 200 graded players (Insider).

Peyton Manning (16), Von Miller (32), Ryan Clady (64), Champ Bailey (90), Elvis Dumervil (115), and D.J. Williams (185) all made the cut, while Chris Kuper appears to have just missed out (the last four players in the top 200 had grades of 79, which is what Kuper scored).

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A Second Helping of David Bruton vs the Seahawks

For the past three seasons, David Bruton has toiled in relative obscurity for the Denver Broncos. Despite being arguably their best special teamer, the fact that he doesn’t start at safety has led to his game sometimes being dissed and other times being ignored outright.

Early in training camp some people were already counting him off the final roster. During the Seattle game on Saturday night, Bruton showed what a mistake that view has been.

When Denver selected David 114th overall in 2009, they did so partly on the basis of his 4.46 speed, and also for his leadership; Bruton had been a captain during his senior season. He was commonly described as ‘raw’ back then, and the draftniks’ book on him was that he could be an excellent special teams player immediately and might develop the chops to start at safety over time. He’s become a force on special teams since then, working as the personal escort of the returner on some plays and as a gunner on others.

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