Football may begin (Peter King wills it)

Has there ever been a more Peter Kingsian line than the following?

GATE 1, LAGUARDIA AIRPORT, NEW YORK -- Let the season begin.

Mind you, Peter King does not fly out of LGA's Gate C14 or worse, D10.

This is, after all, Mr. Starcock Elite Voyager we're talking about here. Mr. Starcock Elite Voyager only uses Gate 1, he'll have you know it, and don't bother trying to tell him the flight he's on usually departs from Gate B7 in a different terminal.

But aside from that obnxiousness, you should know that the NFL season begins right now.

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Broncos agree to terms with Osweiler, Hillman

A day before players are due to report for training camp at Dove Valley, John Elway announced via Twitter that the Broncos have agreed to terms with rookies Brock Osweiler and Ronnie Hillman.

Denver drafted Osweiler 57th overall out of Arizona State to be groomed as the QB-in-waiting behind Peyton Manning. Hillman was selected ten picks later out of San Diego State, and it is hoped he will challenge Willis McGahee for playing time, and he may help usher Knowshon Moreno out of town after three disappointing seasons.

Once Osweiler and Hillman's deals are finalized, the Broncos will have all of their players under contract, and they are reportedly negotiating with left tackle Ryan Clady on a long-term deal.

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Debunking the strength of schedule myth yet again

SDUT UTSD columnist Don Norcross thinks Denver's schedule will be too much for the Broncos to handle, even with Peyton Manning at the helm:

But at 36, Manning hasn’t played in more than a year. He’s adjusting to a new coaching staff, new teammates. Word from the Rockies is that’s he’s still not throwing with full velocity. Gotta be a rust factor there. And check out the Broncos’ schedule. It’s brutal. Road games include Falcons, Patriots and Ravens. Me, I think the Chargers’ toughest rival in the AFC West will be the Kansas City Chiefs. With RB Jamaal Charles, S Eric Berry and TE Tony Moeaki back after missing virtually all of 2011 with injuries, the Chiefs essentially get three first additional round draft picks this season. KC will be a tough out. Tougher than Denver.

Norcross might be right.  On paper, Kansas City can make the case they're the toughest team in the AFC West.

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Chad Johnson changes name to Chad Johnson Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With teams set to enter camp this week and sort out their depth charts, the Panthers swung a pair of trades yesterday which amounted in essence to a three-way deal.

They first acquired WR Louis Murphy from Oakland for an undisclosed conditional draft choice - it's expected to be a seventh-rounder. This was the second trade of the offseason between the two teams; back in March, the Raiders had sent lineman Bruce Campbell to the Panthers in return for RB Mike Goodson. Oakland drafted Murphy in the fourth round of the 2009 Draft; he posted 90 receptions for 1,371 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons with the team.

Later in the day, Carolina got a conditional seventh-rounder back from the Jets in exchange for the injury-prone tackle Jeff Otah. Otah had been a first-round pick in 2008 by Carolina, who moved up to take him just seven spots after Denver drafted Ryan Clady. A strong rookie season had plenty of folks saying he would join top overall pick Jake Long and Clady as elite ten-year tackles, but Otah would finish each of the next three seasons on IR, playing just 29 games in four NFL seasons.

The Jets are expecting Otah to compete with incumbent right tackle Wayne Hunter; Khaled Elsayed sees the deal as a positive for both teams.

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Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Deeps and drops

From CBS writer Pat Kirwan:

No team in 2012 had a more radical makeover on offense than the Denver Broncos. Gone is the Tebow wildcat offense and in is the pure NFL no-huddle passing attack led by Peyton Manning. As John Fox said to me, "We are eager to learn from Peyton." The Broncos haven't had a winning record in five years and they are on their third head coach in that same period. Now Peyton is the coach on the field and young wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are about to explode. I wouldn't be surprised to see the two guys who caught 76 passes between them last year combine for 150 receptions this year.”

After a recent reader comment, I was drawn to looking at the drop rates of Denver receivers. Eric Decker, for example, had nine drops over the course of the regular season, and one in the WC game against Pittsburgh. It struck me that this was a high number for him. I didn’t know the background of Demaryius Thomas in terms of this stat, but I knew Decker had a very low drop rate in college. Since Peyton Manning doesn’t suffer mistakes kindly, drop rates would be one area that would matter over the 2012 season. Manning has also been consistent about his criteria over the years - if you get open, you get the ball. If you drop it, you might not be as open as you thought next time around. I decided to look.

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Broncos offer Clady $28M in guarantees Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Now that the team has reached an impasse in their negotiations on a long-term contract with the representatives for left tackle Ryan Clady, they're taking things public.

Mike Klis reports that Denver's latest offer to the 25-year-old tackle is a five-year deal with $28M in guarantees and a total value of $50M. The fifth-year player is set to make $3.5M in the final year of his rookie contract - a pittance relative to the position he plays. To wit, Klis says that salary would rank Clady 31st among the league's offensive tackles this season.

However, Clady's reps are reportedly using the contract of Browns LT Joe Thomas as a benchmark, and there's quite a gap between the two. Last summer, Thomas signed an eight-year deal with $44M in guarantees and a total value of $92M (most reports call it a seven-year deal, but Rotowire tends to have the most up-to-date figures).

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For one Wyoming town, Zubaz and the Broncos have always been stylish

Bare River, Wyoming – For the 777 residents of Bare River, a dry and dusty coal town in the central part of Wyoming, Zubaz is more than a fashion statement — it's a way of life.  Some say, Zubaz is the very reason the town still exists today.

Zubaz pants, designed in the late 1980s for working out by the wrestling tag team The Road Warriors, feature a tiger-striped print, an elastic waistband, and greater freedom of movement.  It's this freedom that saved Bare River on June 23rd, 1990.

Mike Von Haig, who has been the mayor of Bare River since 1986, recalls the day with precision.

"They'd been warning of floods all week," he said.  "The damn river was surging over its banks.  We thought we might get wiped clean off of the face of the earth. And so we had all of these sand bags the national guard delivered.  But there just wasn't enough bodies to put the sandbags where they needed to go.  This was before the days of Tim Tebow, so we didn't think to kneel down or nothing.  We needed a miracle, and John Elway wasn't on city council."

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Zubaz pants still exist Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Players report to camp on Wednesday, with practices beginning the day after that. The team's annual scrimmage at SAF@MH is less than two weeks away (Saturday, August 4), and presumably this time the starting QB won't be booed.

In a preview of training camp, the DP writers label the secondary as Denver's biggest question mark. But with four starter-quality corners in Champ Bailey, Tracy Porter, Drayton Florence, and Chris Harris, and rookie Omar Bolden getting the opportunity to learn from all of them, we'll call the front seven a much greater concern.

After the team got zero sacks from its starting tackles in 2011, will Justin Bannan (only 31 pressures in three seasons according to PFF) and Ty Warren (hasn't played since 2009) provide anything in the pass rush? Is Joe Mays really a starting Mike linebacker (highest stop rate among inside backers, but also the most missed tackles in 2011)? Will Wesley Woodyard hold up well if he's called on to start six games in place of D.J. Williams? What if D.J. is suspended longer after his DUI trial concludes? If he's cut?

It's just about time to start finding out.

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Weekly Limerick Schtick: Elvis Dumervil

Last week's topic was D.J. "That piss ain't human" Williams. This week Elvis Dumervil earned himself the honor:

If Elvis did lift up his shirt
intending some bodily hurt
A ban he will get.
They cannot acquit.
The Broncos and Sacco: inert.

Now give your own Limerick go.  It's not as fun as driving a Land Rover, but it's certainly cheaper.

Bruce Smith sues league, Emmitt says he lied to team docs Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chargers released guard Kris Dielman from their reserve-retired list yesterday, which prompted some puzzling rumors the 31-year-old was considering a return to play.

Instead, the move is more likely a precursor to legal action from Dielman against the Chargers and the NFL for their disastrous handling of his concussion last season.

Dielman had suffered a head injury during the fourth quarter of an October matchup with the Jets, but remained in the game despite showing signs of a concussion. Following the game, team personnel determined him fit to fly cross-country, even though air travel is thought to worsen post-concussive symptoms. Frighteningly, Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure during the flight and was later hospitalized.

Of course, we can talk all we want about personal responsibility, but does anyone want to suggest that Dielman was in any condition to determine whether it was a good idea for him to get on a plane that evening?

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