The Daily Lard 1-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! By now, everyone knows that Mike McCoy lost out in his bid to become the head coach of the Dolphins, who instead chose Packers OC Joe Philbin. And while a certain segment of the fan base thinks they could do a better job of calling plays than him, there is no doubt that retaining McCoy is the best thing for Tim Tebow's future as a quarterback and with the Broncos. Unless he suddenly becomes a candidate for the Tampa or Indy job, or Reggie McKenzie overlooks McCoy's snub from earlier in the week, the former QB will be entering his third season as Denver's OC.

Just as was the case heading into the 2011 season, nothing could be more important for Tebow's development than continuity. Denver call-in shows have likely spent the week suggesting candidates to replace (and upgrade over) McCoy, but we should all be letting out a big sigh of relief. McCoy understands Tim's strengths and weaknesses and how he learns, and he's seen them on display everyday at Dove Valley for the past two years. He's already shown a willingness and commitment to adapt his playbook for Tebow in a way most OCs likely would not; can anyone imagine Mike Shanahan doing such a thing? Mike Martz? McCarthy? Payton? Think any of those offensive geniuses would take over the Broncos if they were forced to have Tebow as their starting QB?

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McCoy loses job to Joe Philbin

Per Adam Schefter: Filed to ESPN: Miami plans to hire Joe Philbin as its head coach.

This after Klis wrote that McCoy had a marathon 16-hour interview with the Dolphins over the last two days.

Now what? 

Ten Worst Moves of 2011: #10 - Trading Jabar Gaffney

(Note: This is the first part in a Epic mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; We'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011)

When John Elway and John Fox entered the 2011 season, one thing stood out above all others, and it had nothing to do with Tim Tebow.

The Broncos had a glut at the wide receiver position.  Coming back were All-Pro Brandon "The Pretzel" Lloyd, jackknife Eddie Royal, Jabar "Steadyhands" Gaffney, and a whole host of hotshot whippersnappers like Eric "GQ" Decker, Demaryius "MiniTron" Thomas, Matthew "Don't call me Matt" Willis. Add in a hyped-up tight end class from the 2011 Draft and the Broncos had a problem.

Too many hands and not enough balls (yeah, I just wrote that).

At the same time, the Broncos had potential holes on the defensive line. Compounding the problem was the 2011 Draft, in which, for the second straight year, the Broncos completely ignored the defensive tackle.

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The Daily Lard 1-20-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel says the Dolphins are expected to announce their head coaching decision this morning, with Mike McCoy still considered the frontrunner by several sources. As Jeff Legwold notes, superagent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents several Dolphins, hit the airwaves yesterday saying he believes McCoy will be the choice. Meanwhile, Dave Hyde is reminding Miami fans that the team's most high profile coaching hires haven't worked out, so he suggests that hiring a lesser known coach like McCoy or Joe Philbin is perhaps preferable.

As for the Broncos, it will be interesting to see how McCoy structures his staff should he get the gig; usually departing coordinators are allowed to take an assistant or two from their old team with them. This is pure speculation, but one might figure the guys John Fox brought with him from Carolina would stick around, while any of Brian Callahan (quality control, offense), Clancy Barone (tight ends) or Eric Studesville (running backs), who were all hired by Josh McDaniels, could be more likely to go with McCoy. We've already heard that QB coach Adam Gase would likely become the new OC, with Buffs assistant Rip Scherer taking the QB coaching spot.

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The Daily Lard 1-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Word is that Tim Tebow's injuries from Saturday night would likely have kept him out of the AFC title game had the Broncos won; Barry Petchesky considers how Tebow and the Broncos should deal with this going forward. There were some comments yesterday noting that Tebow's injury occurred in the pocket, and so his being a running QB shouldn't mean he's more prone to injury than any other QB. But this is about Tim's style of play inviting more contact than other QBs take, because he is more often a runner without the in-the-pocket QB protections. He's just going to take more hits than other quarterbacks. Add in the ridiculous hype that surrounds him, and just like guys supposedly want to play harder for him? His opponents surely relish taking him down too - they also have extra motivation. Obviously, his size, strength and toughness help, but eventually the multitude of hits he takes will cost him.

What about Cam Newton? Well, the same can be said for him too, although Cam has a much better chance of success should the Panthers ever decide to put a rein on his running. And, who cares? Whatever the Panthers do with Cam Newton has nothing to do with whether Tebow can can survive the punishment.

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Von Miller and the shooting linebacker, Part 2

This is the second of a multi-part series on Broncos star linebacker Von Miller; Part 1 originally appeared on January 5

If you ask why a player who’s only 6’2 and 210 lb could be playing in the middle/nose guard slot under Paul Brown, it had to do with three things. It was a long time ago, so size and heft weren’t quite the same factors they are now. Because of that, speed at the snap is the number one skill needed for a pass rusher. The sudden blast from a neutral start to full speed in a moment’s time - and it’s something that Von Miller has in spades, just as Bill Willis did under Paul Brown - is the single most important quality for that role. Miller had 7.5 of his sacks in 2.5 seconds or less - they’re starting to gauge ‘quick sacks’ by that measure, and while OL mistakes can play into it, the most important thing it gauges over a season is how fast the player can explode off the LOS. Miller nudges the land-speed record there.  In a couple of seasons, he may be pushing to break it.

Leverage is second, another absolute key to the job as a pass rusher. Just ask Elvis Dumervil - or an offensive lineman. Actually, Zane Beadles already weighed in on this. He’s been on the receiving end of this one enough times:

In the simplest terms, the lower man wins. "If a player like Von is able to get down and he's flexible — and it's the same with Elvis — he gets underneath guys and is able to separate with his arms. That's difficult for an offensive lineman. You're not going to win many of those no matter the weight difference."

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Elway: Timmy, do or do not - there is no ‘try’

Okay, so John Elway didn't quite put it that way, but he said Timmy needs to get better at passing the football.  How is that going to happen?  John Elway needs to become mother#$@!ing Yoda, that's how:

Tebow played through torn rib cartilage, bruised lung

Adam Schefter is reporting that Tim Tebow suffered the following injuries early in the third quarter of Saturday's loss at New England:

Tebow tore cartilage on his first rib where it attaches to his sternum, bruised his lung and had fluid buildup in the plural space of his chest

Three Four reactions:

  1. We knew this already, but it bears repeating: Tebow is a tough bastard.
  2. The culmination of all of Tebow's rushing attempts and sacks was bound to levy a toll on his body, and his ribs were the most likely location of such an injury.
  3. Should he have remained in the game? Granted, it was largely over before halftime, but is an injured Tebow better than a healthy Brady Quinn in a playoff game where there is no next week without a victory?
  4. This is another reason why the Broncos must de-emphasize Tebow's role in the running game, no matter how tough and strong he may be. His style of play invites contact, and outside the pocket he will not receive QB-specific protections from officials, and sometimes even within the pocket, as shown by the multiple facemask non-calls we all witnessed this season.

The Daily Lard 1-18-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Jason La Canfora's latest update, Mike McCoy and Miami interim coach Todd Bowles are the finalists for the Dolphins head job, although Adam Schefter is hearing that Packers OC Joe Phlbin will also get a second meeting (and interview with the Bucs too); Bengals DC Mike Zimmer had been in the mix earlier. Additionally, John Clayton says the Colts will look to hire an offensive-minded HC after firing Jim Caldwell yesterday, and he says McCoy could be a candidate for Indy. Of course, McCoy will also meet with new Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie today, as will Dennis Allen.

Now, the Broncos offense next season will probably be dissimilar to the one we saw this year with Tim Tebow; not only did opposing defenses appear to figure out the zone read, but the big hits on Tebow seemed to multiply with each passing week - and as Phil Simms pointed out, the defenses that saw Tebow a second time this season didn't have trouble containing him. As has been mentioned countless times, most notably by John Elway, Tebow is going to have to learn to win games from the pocket, and that is likely to be reflected in the offensive structure going forward. And as Ryan Wilson notes in his final Tracking Tebow column of the season,

If the organization is truly committed to him (and we're not convinced they are long term) then that means building the entire offense around one person, right down to a backup quarterback proficient at running Tebow's brand of option football.

If it seems extreme, think of it this way: what happens if Tebow goes down? Denver's offense suddenly reverts to its pre-Tebow playbook? And the remaining starters -- all of whom have spent months practicing the option offense, will suddenly be expected to run a conventional offense? In the middle of a game? That ain't happening.

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Chris Harris proof again that nobody knows anything

What we know--Broncos nickel back Chris Harris made Pro Football Weekly's All-Rookie Team, along with fellow Bronco, Von Miller.

What we don't know--how 32 teams passed Harris over for seven rounds in the draft last year.

Perhaps it's due to the fact that Harris is five feet, nine inches tall.  Perhaps it's because he didn't play in the SEC.  Perhaps it's because this guy had him as the 48th best cornerback coming out.  Whatever the reason, it just goes to prove that nobody knows anything when it comes to the NFL draft, a league where 1st-round picks bust with regularity and undrafted free agents are named Defensive Player of the Year.