Quoth the draftniks, Evermore: You will always draft the largest man on the board. It will lead to riches and wins.
Draftniks sometimes lie.
There’s Edgar Allen Poe, and then there’s Dontari Poe - one could write brilliantly, the other is simply huge. At 6-3 and 346 pounds, Kansas City’s future at nose guard may be tied to Poe’s ability to play the two-gap nose position. Poe is without question a huge man with surprising athletic talent. The question that’s going to have to be answered is whether he fits the slot for which he’s been chosen.
Dontari Poe looks every inch and every pound the ‘monster in the middle’ kind of nose guard that odd-front teams all over the NFL are looking for. Head coach Romeo Crennel is drooling over his chances of turning around the team’s fortunes. There was a lot more than Poe to KC’s draft, but despite all the clamoring about him and his potential, there’s something that people aren’t talking about.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Player safety and the bounty scandal/investigation/suspensions continue to be the main topic of NFL discussion.
Starting with the Saints, Drew Brees says his team's coaches have not spoken out much against the bounty sanctions because they fear further punishment from the league. Brees is also working to promote concussion testing for youth athletes and is confident he'll have a new contract in the coming weeks.
New Orleans teammate Remi Ayodele said through his agent he "doesn't recall hearing" the "give me my money" statement during the 2009 NFC title game, for what that's worth.
As for player safety, Mike Freeman hears there was no mention of CTE at the rookie symposium, while Alex Marvez details the theory that strengthening the neck muscles of football players would aid in concussion prevention. Over at PFW, Kevin Fishbain kicks off a series about the technology of helmets by stressing that they can only really function to protect the skull, not to stave off concussions.
Happy Tuesday, friends. I’ve rarely done this over the years, but I am a little short on time today, with packing, and my final month-end close ever at my soon-to-be-former employer going on. I’m going to do Part 2.5 of the Bartlett Defense series today, rather than move to Part 3, which will be lengthy and complex. I’ll probably write most of that in the car on Sunday, on my way to Florida, and I’ll release it next Tuesday.
Today I want to focus on responding to an excellent Facebook comment that we received, regarding Part 2. If you haven’t read Part 2, you should, and you should probably start at Part 1 if you haven’t seen that. The comment comes from John Randall, who seems to really know his stuff. His points are excellent, and in fact, I have thought of approaches to all of it. Since his comment is so good, I am just going to let it guide me in the direction of explaining how I plan to deal with some real issues that go with trying a new approach.
Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe turns 44 today, which also happens to be the retired number of fellow Broncos HOFer Floyd Little. Happy Birthday, Shay!
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team released its official training camp schedule yesterday; as expected, it will kick off a month from today at Dove Valley.
This means we're facing the dead zone for NFL news, which in turn means the Lard is going to have a whole lot of obscure stories, with plenty of them focused on old/former friends.
Now, we have some readers who are dead tired of reading about Timmy Tebow and my opinion of the punt protector. Others wonder why we're still bothering with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and some never tire of discussing Kyle Orton and his 12-21 record in Denver. Some have such disdain for NFL players that we can't help but wonder why they bother to watch at all.
To this end, and thanks to a suggestion from reader @wyoeng, we're going to devote a new section of the Lard to ex-Broncos, and as per reader @schmendrick12, it will be dubbed Offal. For those unfamiliar with the term, offal (pronounced like awful) refers to the delicious organs of an animal which most Americans probably think are disgusting, and you do know what goes into your hot dogs, right? Offal includes all sorts of tasty stuff including brains, hearts, livers, kidneys, tripe, and of course, testicles.
With OTAs behind them, the Broncos are off until the two-a-days of training camp start on July 25. Plenty of what emerged from OTAs is worth noting:
Peyton Manning isn’t at full strength yet, which is somewhat terrifying if you’re on the defense. He certainly didn’t have much trouble finding his rhythm or accuracy. Second-round pick Brock Osweiler got high marks from onlookers such as Cecil Lammey in terms of his improvement since the winter, and quarterbacks coach Adam Gase commented on his innate leadership, grasp of the playbook, and even-minded approach to the situation.
Sixth-rounder Danny Trevathan scored some immediate points by absorbing the playbook like a human sponge - the coaches looked at that coupled with his ability to move, and quickly put him with the first team nickel package at Will linebacker. With D.J. Williams’s still challenging his six-game suspension for ‘non-human urine’ in his urinalysis, plus a DUI trial yet to be dealt with, Danny will be fighting against Nate Irving and Wesley Woodyard for game reps at weakside linebacker.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Naturally, Doug Farrar is among those celebrating the forthcoming availability of All-22 film, and he details its immense value with an example from the most recent Super Bowl.
Unlike the handwringing provincialism of folks like Charley Casserly, Farrar acknowledges that simply having access to All-22 film will not be the same as understanding what is actually going on, but he makes the astute point that there will be people who take the time to study, and those who won't.
This cannot be stressed enough. There's all this talk of more misinformation being out there, and that just doesn't make sense. Bad info tends to come from the same sources. What, so Adam Schein will tell us some guy blew a coverage assignment and everyone will take his word for it? The people who already get their misinformation from Schein will still be getting their misinformation from Schein. Those who choose to get their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted, will still be getting their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted.
Farrar also calls for players and coaches to supplement the visual gold mine by speaking openly about what they are/were trying to accomplish on the field, thus helping us confirm or upend what we'll have seen on film.
Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! From Chicago Tribune writer Jared Hopkins comes a lengthy, detailed profile of old friend Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Bears and reunited with his pal Jay Cutler earlier this offseason.
It's a unique story, in that Hopkins began his research by speaking with relatives and friends of Brandon's in his hometown Pittsburgh, prompting a call from Marshall himself, along with an invitation into his current home in Florida. Hopkins then spends a few days at Marshall's mansion, observing Brandon's relationship with his wife and hearing about their newfound devotion to Christianity.
Most interesting, if not a surprise, is that Marshall is apparently a lot like his father, a highly successful former high school quarterback whose life has been marked by frequent violence against women. And, despite Marshall and Hopkins spending several days together in close company, Brandon never quite opens up to the reporter, eventually turning on Hopkins after another meeting. In other words, it's a lot of what we've already come to know of Marshall - hard to tell when he's being sincere, if ever, and hard to believe he's actually changed.
Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to the Ginger Hammer requesting that the league reopen its investigation of the bounty allegations against the Saints.
In speaking to PFT about the issue, Smith cited "all of the recantations and all of the contradictions" within the league's evidence as reasons to revisit the investigation.
Meanwhile, in an interview on SiriusXM, former Saints LB Scott Fujita said of greeting Goodell at Monday's appeal hearing:
I saw him in the [appeal] hearings and he offered to shake all of our hands. Some of the other players didn't, but I went ahead and shook his hand, and I just said to him, 'What the hell are you doing, Roger?' He had nothing to say. His face sure turned red, though.
Oddly, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash tells Mike Florio the league never issues discipline based upon the intent of players. Yet, isn't that the whole point of the bounty suspensions?
Happy Friday, friends. I am taking a break from packing for my upcoming move to bring you Part 2 of my series about the Bartlett Defense, which I am inventing as I go. Here is Part 1.
As you see, I set the stage for laying out the strategy and tactics of a defense by beginning with a personnel grouping, one which doesn’t really fit the standard 4-3 or 3-4 convention. You could call it a 4-2-5, or a 3-3-5, or a 3.5-3.5-4, with the two inside DBs being half-LBs, but the thing is, it doesn’t matter how you identify the positions that each player plays. It may confuse Pro Bowl voters and idiot reporters, but you can’t really worry about that when you’re trying to design a winning defense.
Today, we’re going to holistically begin to take stock of where an every-down big nickel grouping leaves us in terms of defending the whole football field. As compares to a more traditional defense, strictly by considering personnel, the Bartlett defense is going to be more effective in covering the downfield passing game, and less effective in stopping the power run game.