You Got Served: Thoughts on the AFC South and AFC West

Happy Football Wednesday, friends.  I’m back with some thoughts today on 2 more divisions, and my plan remains to stick to the following schedule.

Tuesday: AFC East, AFC North

Wednesday: AFC South, AFC West

Thursday: NFC East, NFC North

Friday: NFC South, NFC West

Tonight, the season kicks off with the Giants playing the Cowboys.  Also, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Convention.  Joe’s comments 4 years ago in Denver went a long way toward getting the dumbasses on the Hall of Fame veterans committee to consider his Syracuse classmate Floyd Little, and ultimately, to elect him.  Whether you like his politics or not, it was cool to see a Vice Presidential nominee, and soon-to-be Vice President, take up for a great Bronco, and help right an egregious wrong.  I don’t think Joe knows Randy Gradishar, though, so if you want to just watch tonight’s game, that’s cool. 

Edit - 7:52 PM :  Biden doesn't speak until Thursday night.  My mistake - I should have checked before I used his speech to set up my joke/complaint about Randy Gradishar.  TB

Anyway, on to analyzing a couple of divisions.  I promised the AFC South and the AFC West, and I’m going to deliver.  Ready… BEGIN!!

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A Second Helping of Elvis Dumervil vs San Francisco

Jack Del Rio has made no bones about it - he wants to increase the defense’s pressure on opposing offensive lines.

That pressure will affect the passing game by sacking, hurrying, and harassing the quarterback, making the job of the secondary easier. It also affects the run game, creating more tackles for loss, and more hits and tackles made at or near the line of scrimmage. Even in the simplified world of preseason football, the approaches Denver will take showed glimpses of themselves.

For a prime example, let's review a sack from two weeks ago by Elvis Dumervil against the 49ers and QB Alex Smith.

With 10:36 to go in the first quarter, the 49ers are down 3-0 and facing third and six - a tough down to achieve - and usually an obvious passing down. The 49ers are in a shotgun 11 formation with three wideouts, and Frank Gore alongside quarterback Alex Smith in the backfield.

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Poor substitute Lard, quickie style

I'm filling in for Doug, who is taking his first break from doing the Lard ever, in the two years of IAOFM's existence.  You know Doug, you love Doug - and I'm no Doug.  Think of this as a weakened strain of the Lard, administered to you so as to prevent withdrawal symptoms, like methadone. 

John Elway and Matt Russell chatted with Broncos fans for the official site Tuesday.  There's a lot of good stuff there, including comments by Russell on his scouting process, and compliments for Derek Wolfe, Ronnie Hillman, and Knowshon Moreno.  Russell had a weird comment about having signed Ryan Clady, toward the end of the article, unless I missed something.

Man, the internet at my office is slow this morning.  Either that, or the Denver Post's site sucks.  Mike Klis has an interesting look at Peyton Manning's mental game.  Usually, i don't bother reading Klis, but I did so out of duty today, and i'm glad I did.

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Leonhard, Bolden top returners Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! The team has updated its depth chart today, with some notable changes:

- Knowshon Moreno has taken his rightful place as the primary backup to Willis McGahee - passing Lance Ball, who is now listed as third-string.

- Jim Leonhard is the #1 punt returner, with Eric Decker backing him up.

- Omar Bolden is the top kickoff returner, with Andre Caldwell next in line.

On a programming note, I will be away from the keyboard for a few days, and will leave you in the capable hands of my fellow IAOFM writers. See you on Sunday, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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You Got Served: Thoughts on the AFC East and AFC North

Happy Tuesday-which-feels-like-a-Monday, friends.  It’s Football Eve, so I decided to give you some NFL-wide football thoughts the rest of this week, two divisions at a time.  Here’s the tentative schedule:

Tuesday: AFC East, AFC North

Wednesday: AFC South, AFC West

Thursday: NFC East, NFC North

Friday: NFC South, NFC West

I don’t want to go all Peter King, and try to predict the result of a Super Bowl that’s five months away, because that’s a stupid and pointless exercise.  I am going to try to give you some more general insight, though.  Ready…. BEGIN!!

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The Broncos are not the Yankees, TYVM Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held its first regular-season practice yesterday, with only Chris Kuper sidelined, due to his injured forearm.

John Fox (video) spoke after practice; team captains were elected yesterday, but will not be announced until tomorrow. The head coach says Tony Carter, fourth on the team's depth chart at corner, made the squad on the strength of his strong man-cover skills and special-teams play.

Brandon Stokley says practice was a bit more intense yesterday.

All teams must be under the salary cap at 4pm ET today; according to PFT, Denver has $11.1M in cap space, which suggests that any financial decisions for 2012 have been based upon budgetary considerations, not cap concerns.

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A Second Helping of John Elway’s early draft returns

Now that Denver has finalized its 53-man roster and is about to complete its practice squad, I had an urge to take a quick look at the two drafts overseen by John Elway’s front office group.

Elway has been very clear that this team needed at least three years to rebuild, and that he has planned to do so via the draft.

So far, so good.

They’ve achieved what seems to be an unusually high percentage of success so far. It’s early, though - drafts are usually best considered after three years.

What follows is just a glance at ‘so far’.

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Saulsberry stakes final practice squad spot Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver completed its practice squad today by signing guard/center Quintin Saulsberry, an undrafted rookie who had been signed by the Vikings out of Mississippi State.

Saulsberry (6-2, 304) was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, and the only player in MSU history to play and start every game of his career there. He played every position along the line except for left tackle.

Meanwhile, Jim Leonhard has switched jersey numbers from 45 to his more familiar 36, which had belonged to Rafael Bush; Leonhard wore 36 with the Ravens and Jets. Also swapping numbers were Ronnie Hillman (34 to 21), C.J. Davis (71 to 54), Steven Johnson (41 to 53), and Duke Ihenacho (39 to 33).

The team returns to practice today as they prepare for Sunday night's opener against the Steelers.

Updated 11:44am ET

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Helton saw Peyton at rock bottom Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For the many thousands of words we've all read about Peyton Manning over the past six or seven months, we'd probably all like to think we know how far Denver's signal caller has come in his physical recovery.

But in a highly revealing piece from Judy Battista, Peyton describes a secret Coors Field throwing session held last summer with Todd Helton (down at the indoor batting cages), during which the QB's lack of arm strength startled the Rockies first baseman.

Later on came a depressing prognosis from the Colts coaching staff, who told Manning his arm reminded them more of Chad Pennington's, than of his own.


At the rock bottom of his physical state, Peyton threw with those who would not judge: his wife, and his brother Eli.

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Seven players added to Denver practice squad

The Broncos have filled seven of their eight practice squad spots with players they had cut from the 75-man roster yesterday.

RB Jeremiah Johnson, DT Sealver Siliga, TE Cornelius Ingram, DT Ben Garland, WR Greg Orton, G Wayne Tribue, and S Duke Ihenacho cleared waivers and were signed today.

S Rafael Bush was claimed by New Orleans, while QB Adam Weber was signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad; T Ryan Harris, who was released yesterday, has signed with the Texans.

Updated 5:05pm ET