The Daily Lard 8-19-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Hmm. Now that The Professor has floated nationally the thought that Brady Quinn may function as the Broncos' #2 QB heading into the season rather than Tim Tebow, the local scribes figure it's safe to do the same. In fact, Mike Klis and Jeff Legwold are concurrently doing so today, not that we can blame them for wanting to share the spreading of that message. After all, even if it's the truth (at this point, why isn't it to be believed - this probably comes from the top), anyone who writes such a story is going to face the flaming wrath of Tebow's most ardent fans, right?

Legwold cleverly snuck this notion in while responding to a question of whether the Broncos would trade a QB for a DT in light of the recent injuries to Ty Warren and Marcus Thomas, while Klis makes his all about the vast progress Quinn has apparently made since a year ago. But as much as we love to bash these reporters when they try to become analysts, this Quinn as #2 QB storyline is not so much opinion as it is what appears to be the front office putting the word out as gently as they know how. Now, let's see how things go tomorrow night...

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Does ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating correlate to winning?

By now everyone has weighed in on ESPN's new Total Quarterback Rating (TQR) metric.  

Most of the critiques have centered on the following perceived shortcomings of the model:

  1. The Clutch Index.  In short, can one really measure clutchness?
  2. The proprietary nature of the model.  In short, only ESPN knows what goes into the recipe.
  3. The dividing of credit.  In short, we rely on ESPN's video reviewers to tell us how much credit a quarterback contributed to each play.

Since I waited two fulls weeks to react, I didn't want to beat the same drums.  Better stats people than I had already contributed to these discussions. 

Instead, I decided to take a different angle altogether.  I simply decided to look and see if TQR correlated to winning.

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Fat Camp: Gaps and defensive techniques

Football is more than--as Lawrence Taylor once said--a bunch of crazed dogs.

It's a bunch of crazed dogs defending territory.

This territory is represented by gaps and techniques, both of which we are going to explore today.

If you've ever wondered what a 5-tech is, or if you've been mystified by the term gap responsibility, never fear.  You've come to the right place.

After today, the crazed dogs will seem a little less chaotic.  Additionally, you won't find yourself zoning out when players, coaches, and coordinators speak of gaps and techs.  Finally, since we use a lot of this terminology here at IAOFM, your level of appreciation for our work will also increase (we hope).

Most important, however, is that you can impress your father-in-law on Sunday by saying some gibberish like, "The callside end played the 9-tech, but didn't maintain his D-gap responsibiity on that play.  That's why they gave up the big run."

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The Daily Lard 8-18-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver got a bit of help for their ailing defensive tackle corps by claiming DeMario Pressley off waivers from the Colts yesterday. Pressley (6-3, 301) was a fifth-round choice out of NC State by New Orleans in 2008 and was a part of the Saints' Super Bowl-winning team the following year, recording 15 tackles in seven games. Of course, that means Pressley is familiar with DC Dennis Allen, who was the Saints' secondary coach during the player's two seasons there. The 25-year-old tackle was stashed on the Saints' practice squad last season before the Texans signed him to their active roster in December. The Colts claimed Pressley after Houston waived him in February; here are his profiles from the Colts and Texans' official sites.

Meanwhile, Ty Warren is scheduled for surgery to repair his triceps injury and will not as of yet be placed on IR, as the Broncos are holding out hope that he'll be able to return at some point late in the season. Of course, they can always put him on IR at a later point; if he is placed on the PUP list, Warren would have to start practicing by Week 9 and be activiated by Week 12, or else remain on the PUP list for the entirety of the year.*

*Warren cannot be placed on the PUP list, as he had participated in training camp practices

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Wednesday Musings: Running reality, The Fox Effect, QB training

The Broncos started out the preseason looking exactly the way John Fox’s teams tend to look: they had 20 runs to 14 passes at halftime. During one stretch of their first offensive series, they ran the ball six consecutive times (the last nullified by penalty). Never mind the preseason-ishness of the goal-to-go fiasco. They are going to run the ball, run it hard and dare teams to stop them. And while you’re waving the pitchforks and torches made of stat printouts, let me say one thing in their favor: it can work. Maybe it won’t as an average in the league, but it’s not an average that the Broncos need. It’s a single franchise - prone to laws of probability only in part. The fact is, every team makes its own season by doing what it does better than the guys who try to stop them. Denver has made two very smart moves this offseason - one on offense, and one on defense.

It doesn’t matter who you prefer, like, dislike or cheer for - everyone can agree on a few things. We can, for example, agree that no one knows if Denver has a franchise QB among their four. None of them have stepped out enough to stake such a claim, and that may mean going through some harder times at the position. When you’re putting together your options and traditionally you’ve had a lot of success with the run, you start with the run.

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The Daily Lard 8-17-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's official - the Big IF is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. As much as we've made fun of the lengthiness of the name here, at least the stadium now has a sports-related name rather than a financial one. After all, on their days off and while spending their hard-earned money to watch football, fans don't more reminders of their mortgages, 401k's, car payments, or their taxes going to subsidize the place, right? And as a bonus, if any sporting goods retailer was going to take over the naming rights, let's just be glad it wasn't Dick's.

More from Klis on the new name - for now, Sports Authority has just taken over the remaining 10 years on the Invesco deal, while the stadium district is trying to figure if they can milk the company for more money on the 15 years beyond that. The Broncos and the district will split the $6M in annual revenue from the deal. And, hopefully the reported plan to paint pillars in the stadium with ALL THOSE OPPOSED TO THE RAIDERS SAY 'NEIGH' is merely a horribly corny joke. What is this, the 18th century?

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Defensive alignment concepts from the Broncos’ preseason opener

Happy Tuesday, friends.  As expected, I had a crazy two-wedding weekend, and it just ended around midnight Tuesday morning.  I caught the garter at the Cleveland wedding, because I catch a disproportionate number of garters at weddings, and I now have a Cleveland Browns garter on my man-cave bulletin board, next to the other two I’ve gotten in recent years.  People sure love their football.

Logistically speaking, I watched the Thursday night game live and participated in the Chewing the Fat discussion that you read a couple days ago.  That ended around midnight ET, and I had to be up 4.5 hours later for a 6 AM flight on Friday morning.  There was another early morning flight Saturday morning, hustling to get to the second wedding, a drunk/disheveled wakeup in a hotel Sunday, marked by explaining why my drunk friend got mad and punched the glass out of a picture that was in a room under my name and credit card (accident, of course!), followed by recovery, and then an opening-to-closing visit to Cedar Point amusement park on Monday.  It was a really good weekend.

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Broncos release RB LenDale White

The Broncos have released Denver native LenDale White, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon and had gained 10 yards on four carries during the team's preseason opener in Dallas. White had been listed as fourth on the Broncos' initial depth chart behind Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee and Lance Ball, and his release was likely hastened by the impressive performance thus far of Jeremiah Johnson, who gained 28 yards and scored a TD on four carries Thursday.

Thomas to miss rest of preseason; Warren has torn triceps tendon

According to Josina Anderson, fifth-year DT Marcus Thomas is expected to miss Denver's remaining preseason games and perhaps more, with a pectoral injury that is being called "a little more serious than a strain."

Update 11:21AM ET - Meanwhile, Ty Warren does in fact have a tear in his triceps, although the Broncos' FO has not yet decided whether to place him on season-ending IR just yet. According to Mike Klis, there is some hope that Warren could forego surgery and return at some point this season.

Update 12:30PM ET - According to Anderson, Warren also has a bone fragment floating around in his elbow area

The Daily Lard 8-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, not really. During yesterday's practice, Ty Warren suffered a triceps tendon injury that's thought to be serious; he underwent an MRI last night, the results of which we can expect sometime today. To top it off, fellow defensive tackle Marcus Thomas strained his right pec and was also scheduled to undergo an MRI last night. With yesterday's release of DT Louis Leonard, that leaves Brodrick Bunkley, Kevin Vickerson, Jeremy Jarmon, Mitch Unrein, Ryan McBean and Ronnell Brown as the healthy tackles on Denver's roster.

Now, this may be bad news, but keep in mind - serious injuries are a part of almost every NFL team, every year - just ask the SB Champion Packers, who had 16 players on IR last year including six starters. This is why teams need quality depth. Yes, the Broncos were greatly impacted by the injury to Elvis Dumervil last year, but the reality is that their season was harmed equally by the lack of starting-caliber players behind him. So whatever happens with Warren, it's not an excuse for the FO - it's their job to have enough talent on the roster to make up for his potential loss. Remember - it's all in the game.

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