The Daily Lard 4-2-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peter King thinks he thinks that he thinks it's interesting the Eagles and Chiefs are running A&M QB Ryan Tannehill through private workouts this week, but he believes the Dolphins (whose OC Mike Sherman was the QB's college head coach) and Browns are the likely landing spots for the prospect. Other MMQB factoidy thoughts:

  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross now claims he didn't offer Jim Harbaugh the Miami gig, and that he didn't really want Peyton Manning. Guess Ross is learning from his counterpart in New Jersey...
  • PK finally got around to linking the Elway and Luck families, and he says Chris Mortensen had so many Manning scoops because of his close relationship with the QB, not because they share representation.
  • King wonders if Greg Schiano could someday be Bill Belichick's successor in New England, or has he forgotten about McHoodie? BTW, does Geraldo Rivera think Belichick and McDaniels are putting themselves in physical danger by wearing their thuggish apparel at practice and on the sideline during games? Hmm. Geraldo should have been an NFL reporter - he would have sniffed out Spygate and McDaniels's iffy personnel moves before anyone else, given their suspicious attire.
  • PK laudibly calls out the NFL for making an example of the Saints while their cash cow TV network glorifies vicious hits from days gone by, and he's hearing that Gregg Williams won't be appealing his suspension.

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The Daily Lard 4-1-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We learned last summer that former Denver lineman and Pro Bowler Larry Kaminski plans to donate his brain to the Boston University group studying CTE and its occurence in football players. Kaminski now lives out in Washington, and spoke with his local paper about the physical toll of the game as he's experienced it:

At the end of the game ... I couldn't even bite down. It felt like somebody stuck a pencil in there or a knife or something because your jaw was so (out of) whack from getting hit so much.

I would wake up the next day and it was like I just left the battlefield and everybody had their heads off and I was carrying a sword with blood on it, and I said, 'What happened?' It was like I got into this darkness.

It looks to me like we were the prototype model to go out and find out how badly you can get beat up and then changed the design of the model or how it's used.

The league is trying to abandon a lot of us old-timers because they know there's a big liability.

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Fat Camp: Understanding the Manning offense - Part 3

Hello, friends, and welcome to Part 3 of our series about the Manning offense that we can expect to see in Denver.  Today, we’ll focus on the running game, which I think will schematically have a lot of similarity to the base running game we’ve seen in Denver the past three seasons.  The philosophy will be very different, though, and it’s on that aspect which I will dedicate most of my focus.

If you missed Parts 1 or 2, and want to catch up, please see these links:

Part 1 – Basics – Formations, Personnel Groupings, and Fit of Existing Personnel

Part 2 – Presnap Recognition Concepts

Let’s begin by asking a simple question – why do football teams run the ball?  The main answer that I would give is that it’s tradition.  American football was invented in 1869, and the forward pass wasn’t introduced to the game until 1906.  It actually was introduced as a safety measure, because a bunch of people got killed or seriously hurt playing the game in 1905, and President Teddy Roosevelt demanded rules changes.  (The horror of government overreach!)  The rules committee that was formed was the precursor of today’s NCAA.

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Broncos have plenty of cap room Lard 3-31-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! There's been a lot of mystery surround Denver's cap space this offseason, with wide assumptions that the team was running low on cap space after having added Peyton Manning, Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Andre Caldwell, Tracy Porter, Mike Adams, and Caleb Hanie, plus having re-signed Wesley Woodyard, Joe Mays, Jason Hunter, and Manny Ramirez.

But thanks to the team's whopping $26M cap carryover from 2011 - second only to Jacksonville's $31M - Denver still has a very comfortable $13.8M in current available cap room. Only nine teams - Cincinnati, Cleveland, Jacksonville, KC, Minnesota, Philly, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee - have more space left.

There will be draft picks to sign, the team reportedly still has interest in bringing back Marcus Thomas, and there remain some viable free agency options - including tackles Derek Landri and Amobi Okoye. So while there's no way for us to know whether the team plans to make any more splashes in free agency, it's great to know they have the flexibility to do so.

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Marcus Thomas’ twitter feed indicates he wants to sign with Broncos like yesterday

Check out Marcus Thomas' twitter feed lately?  

If not, you should consider it.  

Not only is Thomas openly tweeting about his desire to re-sign with the Broncos, he's re-tweeting fan tweets about him re-signing with Denver. 

So far, nothing has been inked, but (it appears) not for a lack of desire from Thomas.

Here are a few of his recent re-tweets:

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The Daily Lard 3-30-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold spoke with Jeff Fisher, Leslie Frazier and Mike Shanahan about the problems Peyton Manning creates for defenses. The best quotes come via Fisher, whose Titans played Manning twice yearly for nine years, plus once in the 1999 playoffs (a Tennessee victory that included a !15-yard! rushing TD by Peyton). Said Fisher:

He'll raise the offense to a level where they are consistent week after week after week. He eliminates a lot of mistakes, and they'll score a lot of points week after week after week. He kind of changes the defensive philosophy (the Broncos) will face because all of a sudden (defenses) aren't rushing the passer against Denver or protecting a lead.

We've always said it's like preparing for one of those quarterbacks in a video game. You just can't fool him. He'll move fast and get the ball to the right people.

He's going to get up under center, scan the field and he knows what you're doing," Fisher said. "It may look like you're doing something else, but he knows what you're doing. It goes beyond staring into the eyes of the safeties. He understands presnap looks, the signals, the communication. He just knows all that.

Sound good to you?

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Some quick thoughts on how defensive tackle could play out

Right now the Broncos are trying to re-sign Marcus Thomas and have an interest in Amobi Okoye.

What's the common trait between the two?

Both play the 3-technique (often known as an under tackle).  Most teams expect the 3-tech to be a penetrator and a disruptive force, and further, to create at least a little bit of havoc in the pass rush.  For a quick refresher on gaps and techniques, you can always click here.  Suffice to say, your 3-tech needs to be active.

Thomas played well last year (25 stops ain't too shabby), but wasn't a huge factor in the pass rush.  He ended up with zero sacks, one QB hit, three QB pressures, and one batted pass.

Okoye by contrast had four sacks, six QB hits, 21 QB pressures, and a batted pass.   He was less of a factor in the running game, however.  He ended up with 15 stops.

Who should Denver sign?  Right now, either will do.  The free agents left on the market at defensive tackle are growing thin.  So they don't have a ton of wiggle room.  Should Denver sign either one, it will bring a sigh of relief--the Broncos will have at least plugged one of their gaps at defensive tackle.

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The Peyton Manning Billboards

We started a little fire with our original Tebow billboards

Then, we added some kindling in part 2.

Finally, we poured on the gasoline and gave Kyle Orton his own set of billboards.

Now that Peyton Manning is coming to Denver, we decided to simply burn the house down.

It's billboard time.  

Keep your eyes open as you're driving the Denver-metro area for these.

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The Daily Lard 3-29-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway provided some insight into how the Denver and Manning offenses will be melded, and what he said wasn't much of a surprise: Peyton will get to use the verbiage he's familiar with when making calls at the line.

Obviously, this will require all of his new teammates to adjust to him rather than vice versa, but it makes sense. Since the players cannot work out at Dove Valley or under coaches' supervision, they can get to learning right away, and since Manning is already organizing workouts, there's a good chance they've already started the process.

Besides, they probably all forgot what it's like to change a play at the line anyway...so what's the difference?

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Scouting the Draft: 2012 Defensive backs

I recently rewatched the Combine film from Indy to study the DB tests and drills again. Combine can be overrated, but there’s an aspect to the live views of players that’s very helpful to a guy like me who makes part of his living doing and teaching postural analysis. It comes into evaluating players - usually ones that i’ve seen before, but if not, it helps me to understand what’s being said about them and to look for those tendencies, even on highlight film (which is often terrible).

I enjoyed watching the various players through the drills - not as much the tests, although I always like getting a greater feel for the players’ posture, and build - before I went back for a second and third look purely out of the pleasure of it. Although I strongly agree with those that feel the Combine tests are often heavily overweighted, the opportunity to do some analysis of why you see the things that pop out on film of the drill segment is one that I don’t get all that often.

Say, for example, that you have a player who has problems in his backpedal. On your average broadcast film, the back end of the field is out of the frame more often than not. I get to see the guy as the snap occurs (usually), then there’s generally a point where they don’t show anything on the defensive backfield until the pass is thrown or the runner breaks into the second level.

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