More about Robert Ayers

On Tuesday, one of our readers said that he felt Robert Ayers’ low sack production to date means that he shouldn’t have been drafted in the first round.  He opined that the reason people seem to imply or call Ayers a flat-out bust is this supposed over-drafting.

I have some problems with this thinking, and I decided to focus on it today.  I don’t blame the commenter, and I’m not picking on him or her.  Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and my purpose today is to explain my own.

I didn’t love the Ayers pick when the Broncos drafted him 18th overall in 2009.  I also didn’t love the Knowshon Moreno choice six picks prior, and of course, I did love the Alphonso Smith pick in the second round.  Obviously, my opinions have changed over time on all three.  Moreno is on his way to being an outstanding all-around RB, Smith really isn’t very good at all, and Ayers is the best player of the three.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I became Ayers’ biggest supporter in the Broncos internet world.  I feel like I should explain myself.  As a member of the Fat Man team, you should be used to me saying that the best way to win football games is to pass the ball down the field, and to stop other teams from doing so. 

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Bunting says Broncos leaning towards Bowers

NFP's Wes Bunting tweeted the following this morning:

Hearing the Broncos are starting to lean more toward DE Da'Quan Bowers with that number 2 pick, move to 43, he makes perfect sense

In a followup tweet, Bunting wrote,

Got to think the Broncos would look Fairley at 2, if Bowers is gone, got to put together their 4-3 front

Cycle of snubs Lard 2-19-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Over at the NFP, Dan Pompei continues his defense of the HOF selection process; he likes Mike Lombardi's suggestion that voters watch some game film together. He brings up a funny point (not sure he meant it to be so) - as Ted often states, the fact alone that football writers get to vote on awards and on HOF entrance devalues the legitimacy of the HOF and all player awards, especially Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. Back to Pompei - he says that so many people spend time panning the Pro Bowl votes for who got snubbed, and then when it comes time for the HOF, guys like Richard Dent are called unworthy because they didn't make enough Pro Bowls. It's just an endless cycle. But what about this? Dent and his four Pro Bowl selections made the HOF, but Karl Mecklenburg and his six Pro Bowls plus three All-Pro selections, Randy Gradishar and his seven Pro Bowls and two All-Pros, and Steve Atwater and his eight Pro Bowls and two All-Pro choices are barely in the discussion.

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Midday Lard 2-18-11

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! I don't plan on making a habit of this, but it's a slow day by me so I'm serving up an extra scoop of the Lard today...

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4-3 Lard 2-18-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! To no great surprise, John Fox has confirmed this week that Denver will be shifting back primarlly to useing a 4-3 defense. According to Klis, Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers will indeed be converted back to ends, while Justin Bannan will be playing tackle. Klis also suggests that Denver may use a high pick on a linebacker, with incumbent LBs DJ Williams (if he's still around) moving back to play weakside, Joe Mays or Mario Haggan in the middle, and either Wesley Woodyard or Haggan on the strongside. Whatever works, please. Oh, and it would be nice to has some continuity...

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Elway responds to Bailey/Reale’s statements

Yesterday, Champ Bailey and his agent Jack Reale won the PR side-battle that today typically accompanies any significant contract negotiation. A statement presumably from Reale expressed the player and agent's frustration with the lack of progress on the guaranteed-money front and was followed by Champ's pronouncement that he would be propping a "For Sale" sign out front of his Littleton home. The latter message prompted a small grassroots campaign to rally fans for the two sides to come to an agreement.

Today, John Elway has responded via Twitter:

We've been working with Champ Bailey's representative this week on a new contract, which is an important priority for us. Our conversations have been constructive, and we'll continue those talks in the hopes that we can reach an agreement. Champ's an elite player who means a great deal to our entire organization and our fans. We want Champ to finish his Hall of Fame career as a Denver Bronco.

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Thursday Trivia Trough: Broncos All-Pros

Here we are, friends. It's the dead of the offseason, we don't even know for sure if there will even be a season this year,  and our best player from the past seven seasons may be on his way out of town. Damn, a Broncos fan could practically freeze and starve to death. So, what to do? Naturally, we can always fall back upon the greatness of Broncos past to warm us up and satiate our football appetites. Some Trivia Trough should do the trick, no?

Over the course of their 51-year history, the Broncos have had 33 different players named First-Team All-Pros. How many of them can you name? As always, surnames will suffice, and in this instance you can simply hazard guesses - there's no requirement to enter your guesses in specific slots. No peeking or cheating, and feel free to discuss your scores and answers in the comments!

Click here for Sporcle quiz:
Denver Broncos First-Team All-Pros?

Who do we want? Champ! Lard 2-17-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ahh, the power of social media. Champ's announcement that he's put his house up for sale has already riled some fans up to action. As I write this, 77 people say they're gonna show up at the Big IF to convince Champ he should stay in Denver. Perhaps if they each bring along $500,000 cash (perhaps he'd take a certified check) they'll get a deal done. I don't mean to make light of either side here - for one, if people weren't so enthusiastic in their fanatacism toward the Broncos, TJ, Doc, Ted and I would have about twelve readers, including each other, our moms and a few friends. Secondly, it's hard to begrudge Champ the chance to break out of this new-defensive-coordinator-every-winter prison he's been stuck in for the past six years. Guy's a pro's pro, a HOFer, and seemingly an intelligent and upstanding guy. If he wants to go get a ring, his best chance will most definitely not be in Denver. For those who were wondering, Champ moved on from his Cherry Hills house when he apparently had the all-too-rare public-contention-free athlete divorce...

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Champ unhappy with direction of contract talks

UPDATE: 6:30PM ET - Vic Lombardi has just tweeted that he spoke with Champ's agent Jack Reale, who has confirmed that the Broncos' midseason offer and the latest proposal were both for four years and around $40 million. As reported earlier, the gap between the two sides is apparently an issue of guaranteed money.

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Fat Camp: Defensive fronts, Part I

A friend and I got to talking recently about 3-4 and 4-3 formations and systems, and I was a bit surprised when he noted, quite honestly, that he really didn’t know much about the differences between the fronts and how they work. After asking around a bit, I found that my friend was far from alone in that regard.  It got me looking at the issue, and what better way to address it than a session or two at Fat Camp? 

Regarding the differences between variations of the 3-4 and 4-3, new Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen takes much the same public stance as head coach John Fox does. In speaking with Dave Krieger of the Denver Post, Allen said,

"I don't look at it as a huge issue. Each player has a unique skill set and the challenge for a coach is to find out what those guys do well. So we're going to give them opportunities to do the things that they do well, whether it's 4-3, 3-4, 4-4, it doesn't really matter. I think our challenge is finding out what our personnel can do and highlighting those strengths."

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