The Daily Lard 5-31-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team reconvened for OTAs yesterday (video, photos) and by all accounts, the offense looked a bit out of whack. John Fox (video) acknowledged as much, and blamed the 4.5-day layoff.

Highlights of the session were a juggling interception of Peyton Manning by Mike Adams and a long TD pass from Caleb Hanie to Bubba Caldwell. Says Knowshon Moreno of changes in the offense and at QB from last season:

As you can see, it's a big difference. There's no wasted time. Everybody has to make sure they know what they're doing, know where they need to be.

Manning watched Brock Osweiler throw (video) and got in some extra work with Eric Decker and Joel Dreessen after practice; Mario Fannin is running well, although he says he's not quite 100 percent yet.

Along the defensive line, Ben Garland is currently weighing in at 305 pounds, while Sealver Siliga is apparently all the way up to 330-340 pounds from his listed weight of 307. According to Mike Klis, Buffalo tried to sign Siliga off Denver's practice squad late in the season, but the ex-Utah Ute teammate of Zane Beadles preferred to stick around.

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Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Defensive ends

Jack Del Rio believes in the importance of a front seven that attacks the offense constantly. He believes in it for defending the pass and the run and he has no illusions about it. He recently commented:

Everywhere I’ve been, if you go back to Baltimore and Carolina and Jacksonville, it starts up front on defense. We’ve been fortunate to acquire and develop good players and put together a good front. I feel confident we’ll be able to do that here. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re busy doing that now in terms of developing guys we have. We’ve added a couple guys obviously in the draft and a free agent here or there. We’re going to make it competitive. We’re going to push that group. We’re going to expect the front to really help us play great defense.

Last week, we covered the Broncos' options at DT, while today we'll look at the defensive ends on Denver's roster.

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Winning depends on winning.

Today, Greg Cosell decided to drop some wisdom on the masses.  He writes:

I remember Peyton Manning talking about the winning touchdown drive in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots back in 2007 when we interviewed him for our “America’s Game” series...he went on to add that if Brady had followed with a Patriots touchdown in the final 54 seconds, no one would have remembered the Colts drive, as special as it was in Manning’s mind. His outstanding play would have been viewed through the prism of “he’s not a winner.” His performance would not have been any different. Again, perception without context and understanding.
 
In 2011, one quarterback in particular fostered blind obedience by many observers to the phrase “he’s winner” without much thought as to why it was being said. Tim Tebow won seven of his first eight starts, a number of them in spectacular fashion with late-game heroics...Then came four losses in his last five games, during which Tebow, with the exception of the playoff win against Pittsburgh, played about as poorly as an NFL quarterback can play...So the question must be asked: Was Tebow a “winner” in some games, but not others? Did he not practice “winning” in the weeks leading up to those four losses?
 
Let’s not focus on the specific quarterbacks I used as examples. If you do that, you are totally missing the point. My broader objective is to compel a re-thinking of the “winner” concept. When you drill down deeper, it’s really a term that has almost no meaning.

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The Daily Lard 5-30-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver hired Cory Undlin to be their new defensive quality control coach; Undlin follows new DC Jack Del Rio from Jacksonville, where he coached the Jaguars secondary last season.

This fills the vacancy created by the retirement of longtime defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely and subsequent shift by former quality control coach Jay Rodgers to replace him.

Prior to his three seasons on Del Rio's staff, Undlin worked under Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel in New England in 2004 and joined Crennel in Cleveland for four seasons. Clearly, this is another successful effort by the hooded one to infiltrate Dove Valley with one of his spies. Look for Undlin to be Josh McDaniels's defensive coordinator with the Patriots once Belichick calls it quits.

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On newspapers and Big-J Journalism

I’m an ambitious guy, and I’ve set a goal of finishing my MBA (which definitely will happen), and passing all four parts of the CPA exam (which is a significant challenge), by the end of 2012.  As a corporate accountant, when you get much more senior than I am now (my job title is Division Controller), you have to be one, or preferably both.  When I was an audit intern, while still in college, the client I was working with lost its Corporate Controller unexpectedly, and they wanted to promote a guy from within, but he wasn’t a CPA.  They made his promotion contingent on passing the entire CPA exam within two months, and that’s a really difficult thing to do.  I don’t ever want to be in that position, so I’m doing the damn thing now.

Last Tuesday, I went to take my first section of the test (I think I did well), and I was a little early for my appointment.  (Navy influence – I eat way too fast, and I always show up early to everything.)  Next door to the test center, there is a store, so I decided to just walk through and kill 10 minutes.  In the vestibule, there was a guy handing out free copies of the Plain Dealer, which is Cleveland’s major daily newspaper, and basically trying to get people to subscribe.

He asked if I had gotten “my” free copy of the Plain Dealer, and I said no, I don’t read the newspaper, and haven’t in years.  He started lecturing me about all that I was missing, and proceeded to get me into a discussion of where I get my news from.

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Mike Klis: The Hamburglar of stats

Klis writes:

The Broncos finished the 2011 season ranked No. 1 in rushing and 70 percent credit goes to quarterback Tim Tebow. I’ll give 10 percent to John Fox and Mike McCoy for coming up with the read-option offense that best suited Tebow’s skills; 10 percent to an improved run-blocking offensive line with run-mauler Orlando Franklin at right tackle; and 10 percent to tailback Willis McGahee.

But the stats say Tebow was by far the biggest factor in the Broncos’ running success. In 2010, the Broncos ranked 26th in rushing with 96.5 yards per game. In the first four games of 2011 in which Tebow didn’t play quarterback, the Broncos ranked near the bottom of the league with an average of 86.8 yards per...

...One of the most overrated notions in the NFL is the pass sets up the run. Look back at the top rushing teams each year. They’re all run-oriented teams with decent, not great passers. Michael Vick’s Atlanta Falcons led the NFL in rushing in 2004, 2005, 2006.

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The Daily Lard 5-29-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been a rough couple of seasons for Justin Bannan, the ex-CU Buff whose homecoming to Denver in 2010 was marred by the firing of Josh McDaniels and a 4-12 finish.

Of course, insult was added to injury when the Broncos dumped Bannan a few months later despite his status as one of the team's most solid players. Bannan ended up following McDaniels to St. Louis and enduring an even worse season, including a 2-14 finish and the firing of Steve Spagnuolo.

Prior to his first arrival in Denver, the four years Bannan spent in Baltimore had gotten him accustomed to winning, so naturally he tells Gray Caldwell that he's anxious for a better result in 2012.

As for the man who makes that turnaround for Bannan a likelihood, Peyton Manning is doing plenty to get his young receivers up to speed on running better routes and developing a QB/WR rapport like they've never experienced before.

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The Daily Lard 5-28-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Pending NFLPA approval, the trade deadline will be moved this year from its traditional post-Week 6 spot after to after the conclusion of Week 8's games.

As Bill Polian tells Peter King in today's MMQB, had this shift happened last year, the momentous changes of the past offseason may not have come to pass for the Colts and Broncos.

Polian says that had the trade deadline been after Week 8 in 2011, the Colts would have offered Denver a third-round pick in exchange for Kyle Orton. A Broncos source tells PK the team would have gladly accepted the compensation, and if Orton had led the Colts to a better finish than did Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, then Peyton Manning would theoritically still be a Colt.

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The Daily Lard 5-27-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Lindsay Jones, Kevin Vickerson put a whopping 49 extra pounds onto his frame this offseason, bringing him up to 324 from his 2011 playing weight of 275. Big Vick had dropped around 20 pounds to get to that weight, but admittedly struggled last year before an ankle injury ended his season after Denver's Week 5 loss to San Diego.

Incredibly, Vickerson's substantial weight gain has been accompanied by a drop in his body fat from 37-40% all the way down to 24%. The pay cut accepted by the sixth-year player brings his 2012 salary down to $1.2M from $2.25M.

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Tim Tebow draws ire of Jesus’s lawyers

New York--In a shocking move this weekend, lawyers for Jesus H. Christ have sent a cease and desist letter to Tim Tebow, who they claim is illegally using the name of the Son of God to sell products indirectly.

Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner, is well known for his exploits on the football field.  In college he won two NCAA Championships with the University of Florida.  Last year with the Denver Broncos he helped the team make an improbable run to the AFC playoffs.  It's Tebow's supposed exploitation of Christ, though, that has Christ's lawyers up in arms.  They believe Jesus gives Tebow his distinct brand.  Without him, they say, Tebow wouldn't be selling underwear, sports drinks, or shoes made by Indonesian teenagers.  

"Mr. Tebow," reads one part of the letter, "Your brand, to a significant degree, depends on millions of Evangelical Christians who have an unhealthy emotional attachment to your success.  Through your incessant use of our client's name in post-game interviews without his expressed written permission and your relentless and repetitive public displays of overt invocation in the name of our client--this has recently been described publicly as "Tebowing"--you have contrived an image that, for all intents and purposes, mistakenly gives the impression that our client endorses you; in turn, and through implication, this impression has allowed you to profit extensively through contracts with FRS Healthy Performance, EA Sports, Nike, and Jockey, among others.  Our client, in fact, neither endorses these products nor your behavior.  Further, our client specificly abhors ads similar to that in which you are shirtless, shoeless, and frolicking in a field with a mustang."

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