Broncography: Julius Thomas

Freakish athlete.

I kept running into that phrase as I researched Julius Thomas’ draft info and biographies. Everyone from scouts to athletic directors have called Thomas an athletic freak. In this context, being a freak is anything but a bad thing. Cecil Lammey of the NY Times wrote:

He has good ball tracking ability when hauling in a long pass, and is a natural hands catcher. Thomas has a game built on speed and quickness. He knows how to use his big frame to box out defenders, and will square his shoulders to the line of scrimmage. This gives his quarterback the biggest target possible to throw to. He’s too fast for linebackers to cover, and too big for safeties to cover effectively. Thomas essentially creates mismatches every time he lines up on the field.

It’s no surprise to anyone that Thomas knows how to box out - he attended Portland State University on a basketball scholarship, and didn’t play a down of high school or college football until PSU's 2009 basketball season had ended. Not seeing an NBA career heading his way, Julius walked into the office of head coach Nigel Burton, who had just replaced former Oilers and Falcons coach Jerry Glanville as the head football coach, and asked if he could walk on to the team that spring.

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The Daily Lard 5-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Neat story this morning from LJ on third-year safety David Bruton, who has been putting his free time and poli sci degree to great use this offseason. The special teams standout has been filling in as a substitute teacher at the public elementary and high schools in his hometown of Miamisburg, Ohio. While Bruton's primary reason for doing this work is to be near his five-year-old son Jaden, the experience has opened up the possibility of going into teaching after his playing days are over. He's apparently also pondering going into family law or social work someday.

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Tres Hombres - Three Limericks

After receiving dozens of requests from readers to bring limericks back to football, I've finally decided to do it.

What brought me back from the depths of bawdy and crude artistic expression?

The Denver Broncos' quarterback debate--that, and a whole hell of a lot of time to kill during a lockout.

Orton versus Tebow?

Tebow and Orton versus Quinn?

Woody Paige versus the world?

All of it pales in comparision to whether I can work in a reference to Rick Mirer, The Bible, and Jockey underwear on a Sunday afternoon.

Enjoy.  If you dare.

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Still here Lard 5-22-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There was indeed an earthquake last night in the Bay Area, but it only registered as a 3.6 and caused no major damage. So, we're all still here and what better time to give thanks than the day after the scheduled end of the world? Thanks friends, for being here each and every day and supporting our writing at IAOFM. We appreciate you, especially so after having escaped the end of the world.

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If you can’t sign Bane, Brandon Mebane is a good second choice

If you've ever followed the comic book hero Batman, you're no doubt aware of a fellow named Bane.

Bane was one of the Caped Crusader's strongest adversaries.   Raised in a South American prison and classically educated by a Jesuit priest, Bane acquired six languages by the time he broke out of prison as an adult.  During his prison stint, he was used as an experimental test subject for a drug known as "venom."   From the picture, you can see that it turned him into quite the physical specimen.

Some might say he was a renaissance man--that is, if you can get past the whole shanking guys in prison thing.

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The Daily Lard 5-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Hall spoke with Mike McCoy this week about what the OC has been up to in recent months. While the conversation doesn't offer much in the way of depth or detail, it's always nice to hear from someone like McCoy - especially while we're desperate for actual news. McCoy says his top priority this offseason has been getting new OL coach Dave Magazu and new WR coach Tyke Tolbert familiar with the the team's incumbent personnel (McCoy worked with Magazu for six years in Carolina, while Tolbert is a new colleague who was with Carolina in 2010 after stints in Arizona Buffalo).

As for what to expect when the Broncos have the ball in 2011, McCoy states that it will be a blend of all the offenses he and his assistants have been a part of, but that the core of the offense that Josh McDaniels had run for the past two seasons will largely remain intact. Basically, it sounds like the idea is to pass like the Broncos have under McDaniels and McCoy and run like the Panthers had under Magazu and head coach John Fox. As for the QBs, McCoy says he wants to be able to run the offense the same way no matter who's under center, although Broncos TV interestingly didn't show any Brady Quinn clips while McCoy discusses the position.

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You Got Served: If I had two billion dollars

I was asked Thursday night what I believe in, spiritually speaking, and the answer I gave is that I believe in the power of people, specifically myself.  What I really believe in is self-interest, and that all people will strive to achieve theirs, to the extent that they’re fully able to understand what that self-interest is.  The world is an enormous collection of self-interests, and that’s true of people, companies, nations, and any other type of entity.

This is a key determinant of my thought process about everything that happens in the world.  For example, it’s why I consider myself to be a foreign policy realist.  (In terms of the American political spectrum, realism is centrist-to-center/right; it has been a key tenet of the foreign policy activities of the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Obama administrations, and it was openly disdained by the Bush II administration.)  Nations act in their own best interests, and therefore the best way to approach diplomacy is to try to understand what those interests are, and what those nations think their interests are, in the event that there is a difference.

I decided to share this, because it’s just so fundamental to my thought process, and by reading my work, each of you knowingly partakes of the resulting thoughts.  Today, as always, I’ve got some thoughts to share.

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Cornerback stats Lard 5-20-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Khaled Elsayed of PFF shares some fascinating data on cornerback play, and there are some interesting findings, if not so much in the way of surprises. The conventional wisdom on cornerbacks measures them by interceptions, which of course is how players like Deltha O'Neal and Tory James make the Pro Bowl. Thankfully that's changing, as folks are learning to focus on how many times corners are targeted and how many receptions they allow in front of them. And while that's a good start, there's a lot more to it - with targets and receptions, we're talking about those dreaded counting stats, and those things don't usually paint the most accurate of pictures.

We prefer rate stats here at IAOFM, as does Elsayed, clearly - if Player A gives up 15 catches in 100 coverage plays (15%) while Player B allows 20 catches in 250 coverage plays (8%), who's better? Proponents of counting stats (or Raiders fans) would see that Player A gave up fewer plays and choose him, while an IAOFM reader would prefer player B, naturally. Of course, we can go deeper and look at rates of plays/targets/catches, which Elsayed does.

Anyway, the result of this data is that Nnamdi Asomugha ranks as tops in a couple of categories, while Champ Bailey isn't too far behind (although probably farther than you might expect). As would follow logically, these two players' CB partners (Stanford Routt and Perrish Cox) saw among the most throws per play as a result. But more interesting to me is that Sean Smith ranks among the elites, while Alphonso Smith is among the worst. You know who's been saying precisely those very things for a long time now? Ted Bartlett, of course. Now, Ted's not as big a fan of stats as I am, but since I happen to think both that Ted knows his stuff and that eventually there would be data to confirm Ted's evaluations, it's quite clear that I AM THE WINNER here (thanks Hondo).

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Fight Club: Goodell versus Smith

There are eight rules of Fight Club. 

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith have broken all of them, except one:

"Fights will go on as long as they have to."

Although all of us out here in fanville would prefer they simply followed rule one (don't talk about Fight Club!), it's been unavoidable.  For every one of Smith's biting and over-the-top punches, Goodell (and his lap dog Jeff Pash) have countered with a calculated yet Chicken Little-ish jab.

I've seen girl fights more exciting than this.  At least girls pull hair.

At this point in the process, what more is there to do than sit back, relax, sip some iced tea, wait for litigation, and try out our newest random quote generator?

Give it a whirl and see what happens when DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell say ridiculous things at the same time.  I've included 30 quotes from each, so have as many spins as you'd like.  Don't forget to laugh.  Feel free to even declare a winner if you'd like in the comments below.

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Paige vs. Orton Lard 5-19-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Woody hints at there being a lot more to his collection of negative stories about Kyle Orton and reminds us that Josh McDaniels came very close to trading him away last summer. Without getting into details, he basically says that Orton is two-faced in presenting himself publicly as a good teammate while behind the scenes being something else entirely. It'll be interesting to see whether Woody comes through with details at some point, or if anyone else does, for that matter. He also (as expected) claims credit for Orton having shown up to last week's group workouts and for John Elway having been hired, and writes that Denver is (of course) not going to sign Nnamdi Asomugha.

I've written here before that I think Woody has it in for Orton. To be clear though, I'm referrring to the way he slips these little nuggets in as asides and his column last week saying Orton should be leading workouts. I see those as Woody's way of turning public opinion against the QB in a manner that strikes as insidious. However, I do not believe that Woody Paige has ever played fast or loose when it comes to presenting facts, and I am not accusing him of doing so here, either. If Woody says that Kyle Orton hasn't been the good soldier everyone assumes he's been, and that he hasn't treated Tim Tebow with much in the way of respect, I believe him. It's understandable that he doesn't just come right out and tell us everything he knows about Orton, as that could place Woodrow's own relationship with the organization in jeopardy, and what then if Orton isn't traded?

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