Fat Camp: Thoughts about Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen was hired as the Broncos Defensive Coordinator in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, after I’d wrapped You Got Served and gone to bed - so I didn’t comment on the hiring within that piece.  In between closing the books for January, going to my MBA classes, and turning up at the odd social event, I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the implications of this hiring, and I have to say, I’ve gone from liking it to loving it in that time.

One of the last pieces I wrote on my old site was called What a John Fox Defense Looks Like.  In it, I made the point that Fox is not a technocratic scheme-oriented guy, he’s an old-school football guy.  On both sides of the ball, his coordinators call the plays, within an overall team concept that he sets.  Historically, his defenses have featured 40 fronts and a lot of zone coverage, mostly relying upon 4-man rush schemes.  I’ve said a lot of times that that’s the soundest way to play defense, so I agree with that approach.

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The Daily Lard 1-28-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Lots of talk about concussions, injuries and the future of the NFL. Ben McGrath for the New Yorker wonders if head injuries will someday spell the end of pro football's relevance. Meanwhile, Chris Brown of Smart Football thinks more crucial will be how concussions shape youth and amateur football going forward. Plus, Esquire unveiled a bunch of injury data the NFLPA has collected for its CBA battle. Makes one question just what we're all tuning in for, doesn't it?

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Champ Bailey headed to Pro Bowl

The Broncos have announced that cornerback Champ Bailey will be replacing Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. This will be the 10th Pro Bowl appearance for Bailey, who just completed his 12th NFL season. The 32-year-old Bailey, who is a free agent after having spent seven seasons with the Broncos, has now surpassed Mike Haynes for the most Pro Bowl selections in history by a cornerback.

Why take deer antler fuzz?

An article by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports caught my attention last week; it deals with a performance-enhancing substance being used by NFL players which is extracted from a concentration of the fuzz from deer antlers. This one was new to me, although I’ve dealt with the uses of powdered deer penis (same animal, different end), extracts from frogs and other creatures, the gall bladder of a bear and even certain types of ground fossils, which are high enough in calcium that it can be absorbed by adding certain other substances to the formula. Oddly enough, in the right doses and with the proper accompanying substances, each of these has substantial benefits for the patient. I’d never looked into deer antler fuzz though, and I was curious. How does this function from both Western and Eastern medical perspectives?

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Coaching staff completed

The Broncos have announced via Twitter that John Fox has completed his coaching staff today, contrary to countless earlier claims around the interweb (and on the DP) that Dennis Allen had been the final addition to Fox's crew. Two-time SB winner Keith Burns has been retained as a special teams assistant, while Sam Garnes will be the assistant defensive backs coach. Garnes, who played for the Giants and Jets in a seven-year pro career, had been a special teams assistant with Carolina in 2010. Burns has been coaching the Broncos' special teams since 2007 following a 13-year NFL career which included two stints in Denver; he was originally drafted by Denver in the 7th round of the 1994 Draft (210th overall).

Official team press release

More fun with Brian Xanders Lard 1-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brian Xanders recited his talking points responded to questions for the mothership yesterday. Honestly, this guy needs a spokesperson or an editor. If Pippi Bongstocking can afford to have a PR rep on a 3rd-string RB's salary, then surely the Broncos organization could spring for one to speak on behalf of Xanders, no? Someone needs to stop having him represent the Broncos publicly. I dare you to read this whole thing through without making a face or screaming like this (► perhaps don't click that link at work with the volume really high, or if foul language offends you). When asked what message John Fox laid out to his new coaching staff at the Senior Bowl, here's what Xanders had to say:

John Fox was also excited in terms of enthusiasm and positive energy, and just glad everybody was together for the first time.

If questioning Xanders' intelligence is getting old for you, I'm sorry. While I do parse the words of the DP writers daily, I'm not seeking it out with Xanders. Unfortunately, there's no effort required - he just hits you squarely in the face with incoherence - over and over again. Obviously, we just have to hope he knows his stuff when it comes to football.

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The Daily Lard 1-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen joined the rest of the Broncos' coaching staff in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and called his new gig "a wonderful opportunity" while citing a better personal and professional fit as his reasoning for choosing Denver over Philly. Allen will call the defensive plays for Denver next season, and head coach John Fox said Allen's experience coaching both the line and the secondary influenced his decision to hire the 38-year-old Texan. Meanwhile, his old boss Sean Payton said that he saw a future coordinator and head coach early on in his time working with Allen.

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Broncos add two defensive coaches

The Broncos announced today the hiring of Ron Miley Cyrus Milus and Richard Smith as defensive coaches. Milus will coach the team's secondary, while Smith will coach the linebackers. Both had been on head coach John Fox's staff in Carolina and were Denver assistants earlier in their careers.

You Got Served - Championship Weekend

Happy Tuesday, friends!  Step up to the buffet for a serving.  This is going to be shorter than in some weeks, because I’m putting more effort than normal into the next edition of Fat Camp.  That’s going to be about NFL economics and how they affect the CBA negotiations, and as you can imagine that’s not a topic that can be covered in any value-adding way without writing a lot of words, and doing a lot of research about it.  I could have included it here, but I wanted to publish it under separate cover for a few reasons.  Honestly, I'd already started working on it over the weekend, but I’m tabling it for the time being so I can bring you YGS as regularly scheduled.  Let’s get right to it.  Ready…. BEGIN!

1.  Sunday’s games were both excellent in the end after having started off in lopsided fashion.  I think what that tells us is that each of the four teams was worthy of being there.  Here are some thoughts from the Packers-Bears game:

a.   I’m such a smart analyst that I thought the Bears would be a 4-12 team this year, but they played much better than I'd expected them to.  When I said that, after their lucky/undeserved win against Detroit in Week 1, their offensive line looked so atrocious that I couldn’t imagine them having a good season.  A lot of credit goes to offensive line coach Mike Tice for shuffling his group and putting them in the best position to be successful.  A key was realizing that Chris Williams is much better at Left Guard than he is at Left Tackle - just like Oakland experienced with Robert Gallery. Yeah, you used a first-rounder on the guy - but if he can be solid in a new spot, and he’s lousy in the one you drafted him for, you move him to where he’s solid, and get the most you can out of the guy.  It still makes me chuckle that when I was a newish rank-and-file poster at MHR in the spring of 2008, I was getting hit HARD for publicly preferring Ryan Clady over Chris Williams.  I was the guy who didn’t know what I was talking about.  Everybody LOVED Chris Williams and Earl Bennett, and Denver was going to become Vanderbilt West, and the winning tradition of the Commodores would be transplanted into the Broncos.  Or something.

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New DC Lard 1-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Broncos announced last night that Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen would become their new defensive coordinator, their sixth in six seasons. Denver will have had a new coordinator for five straight seasons, starting with Jim Bates in 2007, followed by Bob Slowik, Mike Nolan, Wink Martindale and now Allen. Allen has worked for two seasons under the leadership of Saints DC Gregg Williams, who declined an interview with the Broncos for their head-coaching position. He coached the defensive backs in New Orleans for three seasons, and in 2010 the Saints allowed the fewest TD passes in the NFL. They also ranked 4th in fewest attempts and yards allowed, but were last in the league in interceptions despite Williams' penchant for the blitz. During the Saints' championship season of 2009, Allen's group ranked 26th in passing yards but allowed the 5th-fewest passing TDs and were 3rd in the NFL in interceptions.

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