The Daily Lard 2-28-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! A pair of 40-yard dash runs have made headlines the past couple of days: one for good reason, and the other not so much. Yesterday was all about Memphis DT Dontari Poe, who put up a Combine-leading 44 reps on the bench press and then ran the 40 in an unofficial 4.87 seconds with a 1.70-second 10-yard split. Crazy part? The guy is 6-foot-4 and weighs THREE-HUNDRED FORTY-SIX POUNDS. That's 346 lbs moving 40 yards in under five seconds.

Obviously, Will Brinson has Poe among his winners from Monday's happenings in Indy, and Bucky Brooks says Poe's performance will vault him into the draft's top twenty. Jeff Legwold says the Broncos were already discussing Poe before yesterday, but he too thinks the mammoth athlete will be gone before Denver's pick at #25.

As for the less impressive 40, that was posted by Mississippi State RB Vick Ballard, who had the misfortune of tripping during his run and plowing into a camera tripod. Okay, maybe plowing is a bit strong, but you get the picture. Unfortunately, Ballard's official time (4.63 seconds) on his next run wasn't much better.

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I could not have been more wrong about Vontaze Burfict

So, you remember a few weeks ago when I wrote that the Broncos should draft Vontaze Burfict?

Forgive me for taking crazy pills; thank the football gods for creating the NFL combine.

Not only should the Broncos not draft this guy, neither should any other team.

He started the week by blaming his coaches at Arizona State for his past troubles. Then he spouted off that he was the best linebacker in the draft. When it came time to show what he could do physically, he was (thus far) the biggest disappointment of the combine.

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Scouting the Combine: Offensive linemen

I had a lot of fun this weekend pulling game tape out of the library, watching Combine film, reading, and writing about the offensive line candidates. Although I’m mentioning Mike Kalil first, the following list isn’t in any particular order. Neither will any of my subsequent prospect columns; some will get attention later for one reason or another.

A couple of general comments to consider: last year’s vertical leap average was 28.5 inches; for interior linemen it was 27.5. The average broad jump last year for OL was 8.5 feet or 102 inches. Last year’s fastest 10-yard split was 1.74 - this year it was in the mid 1.60's. The players continue to get bigger and faster. I offer these marks simply as a sort of loose basis for comparison. That said, let’s move on to some of the OL candidates:

Matt Kalil out of USC was pretty much as expected - fast and smooth on his 4.99-second 40. He came in at NFL weight (6’7”, 306 lb), measured adequately, and he did very well in the tests and drills. In particular you can see his silky smoothness and skill on the kickstep drill. He’s the complete package, and I’ll mention him from time to time in illustrating why certain players are and aren’t as desirable. Kalil pretty much has it all.

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The Daily Lard 2-27-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's hard to tell whether it was fueled by some inside knowledge, or whether he's just pulling a Woody, but Mike Klis wrote yesterday afternoon that Brian Dawkins is "expected to retire". The blog entry even has a headline that proclaims Denver will acquire a hard-hitting safety to replace Dawkins this offseason, and Klis even suggests that former Pats first-rounder Brandon Meriweather is a possible target.

Now, it's certainly not a stretch to presume that Dawk will retire, as that possibility was first floated by the DP a couple months back when he suffered the neck injury which prevented him from playing beyond the Broncos' Week 16 loss at Buffalo. But it was only yesterday we read again that Dawkins is still considering a return to Denver for one more season.

So who exactly who expects Dawkins to retire, and who says the Broncos will undoubtedly acquire a "safety who can thump"? The entire Denver FO? John Elway? Brian Xanders? The cook at Dove Valley? Mike Klis? Because it's not anywhere close to clear from how Klis wrote it, and the insertion of the word likely in the headline and in the stead of expected within the piece would have done wonders. Here we are again, parsing words because someone didn't do their job correctly.

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NFL Combine - Open Thread

Use this thread to discuss large men breaking the speed of sound, lifting heavy weights, and jumping long distances!

The Daily Lard 2-26-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chiefs are expected to use their franchise tag on WR Dwayne Bowe if they're unable to sign him to a long-term deal. HC Romeo Crennel met with the press yesterday, and he spoke about each of the top QB prospects. But what caught everyone's attention were his comments about Peyton Manning:

I’m not supposed to talk about anyone else’s players. He’s still a player with Indianapolis. But with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. I’ll leave it at that.

Judy Battista thinks Crennel's words could land the Chiefs in hot water for tampering, but an NFL spokesperson told Will Brinson it was no biggie; Kevin Acee says Chargers fans shouldn't be scared of a potential Manning/KC marriage due to San Diego's record against Peyton and the Colts, as if that means anything at all (not really).

Colts owner Jim Irsay says he met with Manning recently; ex-Colts center Jeff Saturday talks to Peyton regularly and thinks he'll be playing this season. Mike Silver says Manning could end up in any of Seattle, Washington, Miami, Cleveland, KC, Arizona, or even with the Niners or Jets. Plus, he adds that Irsay is clearly in control of his franchise and was wise to dump GM Bill Polian along with his outsized ego, and he thinks Irsay would be well served to publicly acknowledge the team is moving on without Manning.

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The Daily Lard 2-25-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Here's video of John Elway's Combine presser yesterday, and a summary of his comments from the official site. Of course, all anyone heard among Elway's words was the following regarding Tim Tebow:

We're hoping he's going to be the guy for a long, long time.

Again, these are just words, and only actions count. But until the Broncos sign and/or draft another quarterback, words are all we've got. Tebow fans will likely ignore the first two words of Elway's sentence and see unwavering organizational support, while the skeptics will zoom in on that second word.

It's all open to interpretation, and several writers read Elway's quotes in their own ways: Clark Judge focuses on hopingMike Tanier thinks Elway said nothing at all; Will Brinson says Elway made it pretty clear he's not committed to Tim; Jeff Legwold stresses that no matter what Elway thinks, he has to have a Plan B.

Doug Farrar and Jeff Darlington are more interested in when Elway will get to coaching Tim up, and the rules forbidding the Broncos from talking to Noel Mazzone.

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The Daily Lard 2-24-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The league's annual cattle call started yesterday, and if it weren't silly enough to have 300-lb men running in their underwear and 24/7 coverage of their centerfold measurements, the NFL is looking to ramp up the circus atmosphere to yet another level. Why? $traight ca$h, homie.

As Judy Battista details, among the ideas being floated is to have prospects compete with each other in running their forties and performing bench presses. Of course, this sounds like a terrific formula for these ultracompetitive individuals to injure themselves while overdoing it in the name of #winning. You know it'll happen, but you also know the NFL won't give a flying @#$% - as long as they can turn it into a primetime event aired exclusively on NFLN over the course of 12 magical nights.

Surely, fans will next be able to tweet questions to players during their pressers and peek in on what are now private interviews between teams and players, all for the low, low price of $30 on NFL.com. No thanks, to any of this.

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Training with Luke Richesson

Jack Del Rio, far better than many coaches, understands the value and responsibilities of a strength and conditioning coach. Most fans couldn’t name three of them around the league, but it’s a position that carries with it enormous responsibility and a potential benefit that is rare - the ability to increase the effectiveness of the players’ efforts and to simultaneously reduce the number of their injuries.

Del Rio had been a linebacker and a very good one. He’d become a consensus All-American in his senior year with the USC Trojans at the position. He was immediately drafted by the New Orleans Saints, made the All-Rookie Defensive Team, and was named the team’s most valuable rookie. Often on the move from one team to another as a player, Del Rio was voted to the Pro Bowl after the 1994 season, and he credited that in great part to the ferocious attitude that he’d always brought to his own conditioning. It was an attribute that others noticed.

Del Rio retired after the 1996 season, but a lunch with Tony Dungy resulted in an offer from New Orleans head coach Mike Ditka for Del Rio to bring his knowledge to the Saints as their strength and conditioning coach. It was an entry level position for Del Rio, who was promoted to linebackers coach the following year, but his work in that role showed the kind of commitment that Del Rio expects from the players under him. It also explains why, when Del Rio went to Arizona to see the trainer that his players were raving about despite the vast changes and improvements that were and are sweeping through that field, JDR understood enough of what Luke Richesson was doing to make sure that the Jaguars made him an offer that brought him first to Florida. After seeing the results he got over three seasons, JDR has now brought him to Denver.

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The Daily Lard 2-23-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The last time we were graced by Woody's mailbag, he told us that too many people were coaching up Tim Tebow, and the solution was to add Sean Salisbury to the mix. We also learned that Mr. Paige had coined the brilliant acronym EFX™. What might he have for us today? How about we start with some caponomics? Or not...

I don't know cap space from my cap size. Honestly, each season I look at the Broncos' salaries, plus bonuses paid to free agents and rookies, and do my own audit to see if the Broncos are keeping up with other teams and aren't short-changing the fans. I know that's not scientific and not completely accurate, but I have a life, and also I am covering about 15 teams and/or sports in the state.

Silly reader. Woody has not time for your trifling questions. HE'S GOT A LIFE, not to mention the three jobs, and he is covering JV basketball at the other corner of the state, the presidential election, and the events in Syria. Why don't you go ask Legwold?

According to Jeff Legwold of The Post, who is accurate about such things, the Broncos have $91 million committed in salaries for next season.

Yes, Captain Accuracy is our preferred fact finder, never mind claims last offseason that Denver was entering the draft with five picks (they had seven). I'm actually sending my taxes to Legwold, and will be expecting a MEGA REFUND.

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