Fattening Up on the offensive line, Part 1

The Chicago and New England games were the third and fourth times this season that the Denver OL has gotten pushed around by a strong defensive front: Buffalo put the icing on the cake. The opening week loss in Oakland could have been put down to being rusty, new coaching and opening nerves, but the pattern since then has been to handle lesser lines well, yet to fall apart against a stronger team. Denver had a run of wounded and problematic teams in terms of the opposing defensive lines, and the Broncos O-linemen moved and attacked well against them. Against the stronger teams, they weren’t worth much. They’ve had better games, but it’s become clear that there’s a talent/experience issue as well. J.D. Walton has made strides but still has weaknesses, Zane Beadles is a matter of some concern, and Orlando Franklin, for a guy who never played right tackle, has improved across the board.

There’s some good news. Mike McCoy agrees:

They’ve gotten better every week. That’s something that is going to take time coming together with the limited practices we had going into the season. Like everybody else in this league, we are going to grow and keep going.

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The Daily Lard 12-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver made a surprising move yesterday, waiving Quan Cosby and bringing back FB Austin Sylvester. Cosby had been an effective return man for much of the season, with a 10.0-yard average on 27 punts and a 26.9-yard average on 17 kickoffs, before muffing a punt against New England and being a healthy scratch against Buffalo. Cosby's release leaves Eddie Royal and Eric Decker as punt returners, with Matt Willis presumably returning kickoffs (he returned seven kicks Sunday for a 19.7-yard average).

Denver also waived FB Will Ta’ufo’ou from the practice squad and added TE Cornelius Ingram in his place.

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Three Broncos to Pro Bowl; six are alternates

Although the NFL is set to officially announce the Popularity Contest Pro Bowl rosters at 7PM ET, word has slipped out that Broncos stars Von Miller, Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil have made the AFC squad. Ryan Clady, Britton Colquitt, Brian Dawkins, Willis McGahee, Matt Prater and Tim Tebow have been named as alternates. This marks Champ's 11th selection in his 13-year career, while for Dumervil it's his second.

Observations from a debacle

Happy Tuesday, friends.  I have limited time today, due to a confluence of continuing holiday activities and the continuation of my year-end financial close, so I’m just going to share some observations from my fantastic trip to Buffalo on Saturday. 

a.  It’s really pretty funny, but Tim Tebow looked great in warmups before the game, and during the game.  Whenever he was just making throws in non-game situations, the throws were perfectly on-target, and his delivery looked excellent.  Didn't his reputation used to be that he couldn't make a throw in warmups?  Maybe it was bizarro Tim on Saturday – good in practice, shaky in the fourth quarter of actual games?

Seriously, though, of the interceptions I witnessed in person, there were three flavors of them.  The first one was a good decision and a very good job extending the play, but a terrible overthrow of Demaryius Thomas.  The second pick was a case of staring down Eric Decker and not looking off a Cover-1 Safety; Tebow needs to get better at looking away from the intended receiver, because Decker had his corner beat, and the throw was good, if Jairus Byrd isn’t able to jump it.

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The Daily Lard 12-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Nick Canepa, the Chargers will fire Norv Turner at some point next week, and there's a good chance that A.J. Smith will be joining him. For his two cents, Canepa thinks firing Smith would be a mistake, and he says not only that rumors of Bill Cowher already having interviewed for Turner's gig are untrue, but that San Diego owner Dean Spanos is unlikely to hire one person to handle both the GM and head coaching duties - something Cowher is said to be seeking.

If Smith retains the GM gig, Canepa is hearing that Jeff Fisher could be interested in joining the Chargers, but he says Smith's closeness to Jon Gruden makes Chucky the best fit for the job, if not the most likely successor to Turner. Meanwhile, Kevin Acee writes that should Spanos drop the axe on Smith, the Rams will pounce and hire the egomaniacal pair of A.J. and Chucky. This would apparently send current Rams HC Steve Spagnuolo back to Philly as their DC, and of course it also would free up Josh McDaniels (this part is my speculation) to potentially be reunited with Scott Pioli in KC as either his head coach or handpicked OC - perhaps under Romeo Crennel.

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The Daily Lard 12-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Packers locked up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs last night with a 35-21 victory over the Bears. Aaron Rodgers notched the first five TD pass game of his career, and the Bears' fifth straight loss polishes off their once promising playoff chances.

The elimination of Chicago also clinched a playoff spot for the Falcons, who need to beat the Saints tonight to remain in the running for the NFC South title. The final NFC playoff spot comes down to Cowboys at Giants Sunday night for the NFC East title - winner takes the division, loser is out.

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If these Broncos were an 80s video, what video would they be?

(Warning: This has very little to do with the Denver Broncos.  But it's midnight and it's the day after Christmas and I don't care one bit.)

People often come up to me on the street and say, "Dude, you're an expert on the Denver Broncos. Would you mind telling me what band from the 80s you think Tim Tebow is?"

Often, I'm so wrapped up in my life as a highly influencial facilitator of the powerful elite, I have little time for these sorts of trivialities.  

Until now.

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The Daily Lard 12-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFC West is set up for a wild finish next Sunday afternoon, as the Broncos host the Chiefs and the Raiders face the Chargers in Oakland. Denver's only path to the playoffs is via the division title, but they have three ways of claiming it: 1) beat KC; 2) tie KC, plus Oakland ties or loses to SD; 3) lose to KC, plus Oakland loses to SD. As for the AFC's final wild card spot, Oakland can nab it with a victory and some help, but Denver has no shot at it due to victories yesterday by Cincinnati (23-16 over the Cards) and Tennessee (23-17 over Jacksonville).

How did we get to this point? Well, the Broncos came up pretty small yesterday, especially the offense and special teams, which combined to allow 21 points to the defense's 19 in a 40-14 loss to Buffalo. The 21 came via a punt return TD by Leodis McKelvin and two fourth quarter pick-sixes by Tim Tebow, although one of those could be changed to a fumble. As for the defense, they struggled to keep the Bills outside the 20 but stiffened up once allowing them in (Buffalo was 1-6 in the red zone).

The Broncos lost the turnover battle (0-4) for the third straight week and have given the ball up nine times over that stretch (seven of them by Tebow). They also lost Chris Harris to a pinched nerve, Quinton Carter to a severe bruise on his lower back, and Brian Dawkins to a reaggravation of his neck injury which is feared could end his playing career.

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Gut Reaction: Week 16 - Broncos at Bills

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the team;

Not an offense (or defense or special teams) was stirring, not even a dream.

John Foxball requires good field position and a positive turnover ratio,

Neither of those things happened today.

It doesn't matter who is your quarterback; it doesn't matter how much you believe; it certainly doesn't how many times you kneel and pray.

Football is football--even the night before Christmas.

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Open Thread - Saturday Week 16

Enjoy the games, everyone! Go Broncos and Chiefs! Inactive for the Broncos today are WR/PR Quan Cosby, S Kyle McCarthy, LB Mike Mohamed, G Manny Ramirez, T Tony Hills, TE Julius Thomas, and DE Derrick Harvey. Buffalo will be without WR Naaman Roosevelt, RB Johnny White, DB Josh Nesbitt, T Sam Young, DL Jarron Gilbert, WR Ruvell Martin, and TE Fendi Onobun.

Remember, our new commenting system allows for real-time updating now - so you no longer have to refresh the page to read new comments or wait for your own to appear. If you haven't registered under the new system, please check out David's primer.

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