The Daily Lard 4-7-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The fallout from the Gregg Williams pre-game speech continues; documentarian Sean Pamphilon says he did not violate his agreement with ex-Saint Steve Gleason by releasing the damning audio clip.

Several current and ex-players chimed in after hearing the speech: Giants legend Carl Banks interpreted it as 90-95% metaphorical coach-speak; Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says that other 10% is a big problem; Cris Carter thinks Williams should be banned for life; Antonio Pierce says he heard the same speech from every defensive coordinator he played for in the NFL.

Mike Lombardi echoes Mike Silver's column from yesterday in stating that Williams's status as a virtual independent contractor with full control over his defenses is what permitted him to operate as he did.

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Champ Bailey and YAC and smoking crack

Earlier in the week, Football Outsiders reported that in 2011, Champ Bailey gave up more yards after the catch (YAC) than any other cornerback in the league.

Was this a sign that Bailey was getting older, losing a step, or declining in skills?

On the surface, it's easy to look at Bailey's YAC stat and smoke the crack (and become immediately paranoid). If you had not watched a Broncos game all year, you'd assume Bailey was either missing a lot of tackles after the receiver caught the ball or he was getting beat deep badly.  Luckily, the gang at FO qualified the numbers:

Now, let's be clear: These YAC allowed numbers generally don't say much about the actual quality of a cornerback. There's generally very little correlation between a cornerback's rank in Success Rate and his rank in YAC allowed. Still, it is very strange to see Champ Bailey giving up the most average YAC of any starting cornerback in 2011 -- and by a wide margin. Isn't he known as an excellent tackler for a cornerback? Yes, and there isn't much evidence that this is an issue of tackling. We only recorded Bailey with two broken tackles on plays where he was in coverage. He just seemed to have a few more plays than usual where guys got behind him on short- and mid-range routes.

As we always preach around these parts, stats are nothing without context.  So let's provide some when it comes to Bailey and his YAC (not to be confused with GOAT, which is purely a term reserved for Norv Turner).

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The heat is on Gregg Lard 4-6-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Roger Goodell heard appeals from the Saints, Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt yesterday, and his decision is expected sometime next week. But the big story was the release of the audio recording of Gregg Williams's speech prior to the Saints' playoff game versus the Niners.

Naturally, reaction was strong and swift: Michael Irvin said he almost threw up while listening to it; Warren "QB Killa" Sapp called Dr. Heat's speech the most heinous, egregious thing in NFL history and says he wouldn't have stood for such a thing during his career.

White Sox GM Kenny Williams, father of 49ers WR Kyle Williams (who was a specific target in the speech due to a prior concussion) suggested that the banned coordinator's behavior bordered on criminality; Niners safety Donte Whitner recalls that the Saints were unusually vicious in the teams' preseason matchup last year.

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The Daily Lard 4-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chargers continue to collect diminutive receivers/returners (pissants) ala Mouse Davis and Tiger Ellison's run-and-shoot offense of the 1960s.

Having already signed our old friend Eddie Royal, who measures 5-10, San Diego on Tuesday added Roscoe Parrish, who is listed as being an inch shorter than Eddie. Yesterday, the team signed 5-11 wideout/returner Michael Spurlock, formerly of the Bucs. Incumbent returner Richard Goodman, who is also a wide receiver, towers over the rest at 6-0.

Early in free agency, the team replaced the 6-5 Vincent Jackson with the 6-2 Robert Meachem, and while that's a downgrade in height, there aren't that many receivers out there with VJ's stature. The team also let the 6-0 WR Bryan Walters move on to San Diego.

Of course, Davis made mighty-mite wideouts the focus of his offense because he couldn't procure bigger/better talent while coaching high school football in Oregon. So what's San Diego's excuse?

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Happy Birthday, Tom Jackson!

Happy Birthday to former Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson, who today turns 61.

Although Jackson is now known for his work as a football analyst at ESPN (since 1987), Jackson's legacy as a Denver Bronco and member of the Orange Crush is epic. During his 14-year career, TJ appeared in two Super Bowls and was a three-time Pro Bowler.  Jackson was a classic "tweener" who thrived in Joe Collier's 3-4 defense in the 70s and 80s. It resulted in Jackson being inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame. Did we mention he was a mainstay of the Orange Crush?

Another reason we love Jackson, of course, is that he originally uttered the phrase (and the very name of this website) "It's all over, fat man!" in 1977 to then Raiders coach John Madden in Week 5 as the Broncos crushed the Raiders 30-7. You might say it was disrespectful. We prefer to call it a restating of the facts. When Jackson said what he said to Madden, the game, in fact, was over. And, facts being facts, Madden was (and still is) the original Oakland butterball. Sebastian Janikowski and JaMarcus Russell came way late to the party.

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Broncos’ 2012 preseason schedule released

The 2012 preseason schedule has been announced, and will feature the following games for Denver:

  • Week 1: at Chicago (Aug. 9-13)
  • Week 2: vs Seattle (Aug. 16-20)
  • Week 3: vs San Francisco (Sun Aug. 26, 4pm ET, nationally televised on FOX)
  • Week 4: at Arizona (Aug. 29-30)

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Broncography: Mike Adams

On Thursday, March 15 of 2012, Denver jumped into the free agent pool and came out clutching veteran free safety Mike Adams in its hooves. Was it the money or the atmosphere that brought him into the Broncos fold? According to Gray Caldwell, Michael ‘Pops’ Adams began by saying, “Nice to be here: the weather’s nice.”

It was your basic 70-degree March day in Denver. Happily, the Broncos signed him before the next traditional spring snowstorm rolled on in (and I’m sorry to hear about the late drought along the front range - all the best to those who were or are displaced by the forest fires that are plaguing that area). Regardless - one of the things that clinched his decision was the warmth within the facility, far more than the weather without. The coaching of John Fox went a long way toward greasing the wheels to a mutual agreement.

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Broncos re-sign Colquitt

According to Adam Schefter, the Broncos re-signed punter Britton Colquitt, who is entering his third season with the team. Colquitt was an exclusive-rights free agent tendered last month at $540K, so this was a simple formality of Britton signing his tender.

Barring an unlikely extension, the 27-year-old member of the Colquitt family of punters will be a restricted free agent after the 2012 season.

Britton's 101 punts ranked second in the league in 2011, and his average of 47.4 yards per kick was seventh-best.

The Daily Lard 4-4-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The jerseys of the Chiefs and Chargers also received minor tweaks, while the Raiders' is apparently unchanged.

I'm a bit puzzled by the negative reaction to Seattle's new uniforms. Their most recent ones were incredibly boring and ugly, especially the all-blue ones. Mike Tanier says there's talk of more uniform changes related to color and style in 2013.

You know what has to be the dumbest habit of all relating to draft analysis? It's not the 40 mocks per writer, it's noting that Denver has the #25 pick, and then looking at every #25 pick in history as if that indicates some sort of precedent for what players can be found there. Here's an entire column devoted to precisely that sort of garbage. Look, Tom Brady was a sixth-rounder, while JaMarcus Russell was taken first overall. What else needs to be said?

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Fat Camp: Understanding the Manning offense - Part 4

Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to Part 4 of the ongoing series about the Peyton Manning offense.  Today we’ll take our first step into the passing game, beginning with the key concepts that make up the three-step game.  If you’ve missed any of the prior installments of the series, please feel free to catch up by following the appropriate links:

Part 1 – Basics – Formations, Personnel Groupings, and Fit of Existing Personnel

Part 2 – Presnap Recognition Concepts

Part 3 – The Running Game

Every team runs some key three-step passing plays, which accomplish the goal of getting the ball in the hands of players in space by way of high-percentage completions.  With an excellent QB like Peyton Manning, the three-step game is especially effective, because he’s so quick at identifying the best receiver to throw the ball to and then put it on the guy’s upfield shoulder, which allows him to immediately begin running after securing the catch.

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