Readers’ Choice Lard 2-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's time for some greedy, shameless begging. As you may know, IAOFM is closing in on five months of life as a blog; quite frankly, it has gone better than we had ever imagined it would to this point. Naturally, this is very much thanks to you, our exceptionally loyal readers. Apparently, some of you have even been crazy enough nominated us for About.com's 2011 Readers' Choice Award for Best NFL Team Blog. This alone is quite a flattering honor, and we thank you for that. But here's the deal - About.com is leaving the nominations open through this Friday night, and then they will announce five finalists for each category in a week's time (only one Team Blog will win - there's not one for each team). We've gotten a late start in the process, as nominations began on Jan 13. So, we need even more of your help - please nominate us and help get the word out on how arrogant self-serving cocky great we are. Thanks again, and frankly we'll still love you tomorrow even if you don't think we deserve it nominate us.

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The Dude’s Worthless Wins Projector

When the going gets tough, the tough simply reach into the vault.

It's a slow week, so I thought I'd revisit a subject I've touched upon several times before--namely, the subject of luck.  Which NFL teams got lucky in 2010 and which teams got the shaft?

Before I jump into numbers, let me preface everything I'm about to show you with the notion that defining luck is problematic by itself.  One man's missed 26-yard field goal is another man's great push from the interior of the defensive line.  And as we've all seen, stripping the ball may very well be a skill, but recovering the fumble is almost entirely random chance.  So we should accept going into the topic that we'll likely not agree on the premise. 

This may look like I'm already backing from the data.  So be it.  I'm fine with that.  I've become much less of a stats guy over the last two years anyway.  Thus, I've lost my attachment to the outcome, you might say.  Very zen of me, isn't it?  

The view is also grounded in several points.  First, as I've broken more tape down over the last several years, I've realized that individual stats in the NFL are somewhat limited.  Let me give you an easy example.

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Fox reportedly forced to keep Studesville

Just two weeks ago, Panthers running backs coach Jim Skipper had been rumored to be joining the Broncos' staff under new head coach John Fox. On Thursday, the Broncos announced they had completed their coaching staff, and the man who had spent nine years working under Fox (including the last five as his assistant head coach) was nowhere to be found among the Broncos' employment rolls. Today, Skipper is without a job.

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Pro Bleh Lard 1-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night's Pro Bowl featured a 42-0 NFC lead, 96 combined points, eight turnovers, and two INTs apiece for Philip Rivers and Matt Cassel. Brandon Lloyd caught one pass for 15 yards, while Champ Bailey had four tackles. Browns center Alex Mack scored at the end of the game on a lateral play that is the Pro Bowl in a nutshell. The NFC defenders' interest in pursuing that play encapsulates what the three-hour tour is like for viewers at home. Torture.

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2011 Pro Bowl Open Thread

Enjoy the game, and go Champ and BLloyd!!

Running fools Lard 1-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Does anyone at the Post understand why the Broncos didn't run the ball well in the first half of the season? Were they actually paying attention up in the press box? Klis pays a visit to Legwold Land and shares his own brilliant analysis which says that teams with lots of rushing attempts did well in terms of either yards or points allowed on defense. Funny thing is, he announces that the best three defenses in the league for his money in 2010 were Green Bay, Chicago and New Orleans. Where did these three teams rank in terms of rushing attempts? 20th, 21st and 30th, respectively.

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The Daily Lard 1-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Not much in the way of football news today. BTW, did you know the Pro Bowl is tomorrow? Is anyone even going to watch? Perhaps during commercials for the Winter X Games? Actually, I can think of one reason to watch - it may be the last time we get to see Champ Bailey wearing a Denver helmet. Enjoy your Saturday, and thanks as always for being here!

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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.