CP Lard 3-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Clinton Portis was released by Shanny and the Skins yesterday after seven seasons in Washington.

While CP was only a Bronco for two seasons, he remains one of my all-time favorites - drafted 51st overall in 2002, Portis was a faster (albeit not quite as durable) version of Terrell Davis who incredibly racked up 1,872 yards from scrimmage and 17 TDs as a rookie despite not becoming the team's primary ballcarrier until Week 5.

He backed that performance up in his sophomore season with 1,905 yards and 14 TDs despite missing three games due to injury, but then Shanny dealt him to DC for Champ and a second-rounder (Tatum Bell) - it was a deal of two superstars who wanted more money, and one of the most significant player-for-player trades in NFL history. In his brief Denver career, Portis posted a remarkable 5.5 yards per attempt and 106.9 per game, with 29 rushing touchdowns on 563 carries.

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Talegating: History of the NFL Draft, Part 2

Back in 2008 at about this same time of the year, with both the Combine and the draft upcoming, I found myself looking back through the history of the NFL to try and learn exactly how each of those two essential processes had begun. I quickly found that there was a vast wealth of information available on the subject, and starting collecting books that referenced them, articles that covered their past as well as the present, and I also started questioning people who I knew were familiar with those subjects. The history of the draft is interwoven into the NFL, which was the first league to hold a reverse-order draft for its teams. Last Monday, we examined the league's formative decades -the 1920s and '30s; today we'll take a look at the monumental developments that followed in the 1940s. I hope you'll enjoy it.

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End of the line for DG? Lard 2-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legwold slipped an interesting little nugget into one of his columns today - he mentioned that Denver would likely release some veterans who are due roster bonuses this week. Of course, he didn't bother to do any research regarding who the prime candidates may be. So, who may be on the chopping block? Justin Bannan is due a $500,000 bonus and will make $3.5 million each of the next two seasons. Let's call him an unlikely cut, but a possibility depending upon the Broncos' draft plan. Not only does Kyle Orton have a $1.5 million roster bonus coming his way, but he's also guaranteed almost $2.9 million of his 2011 salary. Can't see it as being within the realm of possibility, but it sure would be fascinating to see/hear the reaction to a release of Orton after last week.

There is one veteran, however, who sounds like a prime candidate to be cut - TE Daniel Graham. He's set to earn a $1 million roster bonus and a salary of $4.2 million, and although he's still an excellent blocker, he did seem to have a bit more of the dropsies in 2010. Perhaps that was just magnified due to a lack of targets? Either way, $5.2 million for one season of play out of a 32-year-old Graham (he'll turn 33 in November) with no team control beyond this season seems expensive. If so, and Graham is cut, then perhaps Legwold was correct last week in speculating that Denver needs to draft a TE - he just completely whiffed on the reasoning. However, it deserves mention that his colleague Klis did point to Graham's salary as a looming issue early last month. Hopefully he's amenable to a pay cut and will stick around...

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Schein box Lard 2-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I'm not sure I've linked to Adam Schein and his waxed-but-still-hideous eyebrows since we started IAOFM, but he wrote something so ridiculous (granted, this is his specialty) yesterday that it's gotta be mentioned. After having spoken to John Elway and Brain Xanders in recent weeks, Schein writes that he "(doesn't) think (Tim) Tebow has much of a future in Denver." Frankly, it's not even worth breaking down Schein's thought process.

Why such negative feelings toward Schein? Well, aside from his horrific writing, he happens to co-host a show called "Loud Mouths" (go figure) on the Mets' TV station. Although I would never choose to watch the show (really, all they do is endeavor to live up to the show's title), the constant commercials when watching the Mets or Big East hoops are unavoidable. And sometimes while watching whatever is next on the programming schedule, I stumble into seeing the last minute or two of Schein yelling at either the camera or his co-host. It's torture, truly.

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Xanders quote-fest Lard 2-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway and Brain Xanders spoke to reporters at the Combine yesterday; Elway describing his first experiences with interviewing players and what he's looking for out of their game tapes. He basically said he wants defenders he would have had to have accounted for while lining up behind center, and also talked of John Fox helping seal the deal with Champ Bailey. Xanders had some real gems:

  • Regarding Champ Bailey: "There was never a question that we wouldn't have him"
  • On Lombardi's claim that there's little support at Dove Valley for Tim Tebow, presumably from Xanders and Mike McCoy: "First of all, I think that report was false...So, that report was false."
  • As for Elvis Dumervil's return: "We're dealing right now on our team with Elvis, he didn't play last year. But we anticipate that we're going to go off that '09 tape, and he had 17 sacks."
  • On his own place within the Broncos' FO: "It's a great opportunity for myself to have an expanded role."

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Why Champ Bailey really re-signed with the Broncos

Now that Champ Bailey signed his new contract, I have to hand it to the Broncos' front office.

They can now check off point 1A on their offseason to-do list.

I'd like to give specific praise to Brian "The Body" Xanders for getting this deal done.  Whatever we think here of Xanders' verbal acumen, he's accounted himself well on this deal.  I'll put off waterboarding Xanders for another time.  

From Champ's point of view, you might be thinking to yourself, Champ signed with the Broncos because he really believes he can win a championship in Denver.

Not so fast, Boy Wonder.  I've got the real reasons, just after the jump...

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When will then be now? Lard 2-25-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! If ever there were proof that context is everything when it comes to quotes, yesterday was it. When asked (on February 24th) who the Broncos' starting quarterback is, John Fox launched directly into saying that there will be an open competition for the job. I mean, there was no hesitation or fumbling around - Fox said flat out that it's a free-for-all, and then tossed in that at this very moment in time, Kyle Orton's the guy. So what happens next? Why of course, every football site on the interweb says that Fox named Kyle Orton the Broncos' starting quarterback or that Tim Tebow is not the Broncos' starting quarterback. Oh, brother.

First of all, we knew Fox would say this. Elway said it, Fox now said it, and surely Brain Xanders will be next. Of course, once Tebow is named the starter in a few months, Xanders will say that he never believed Orton was the guy, and that Elway just told him what to say. Secondly, Fox later went out of his way to define "now now," sort of like this.

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CBA talks to resume Tuesday

Mediator George Cohen released a statement today regarding the labor negotiations between the NFL and the players' union, which will resume next Tuesday:

I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions...At bottom, some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties...During the intervening weekend, the parties have been asked by us to assess their current positions on those outstanding issues.

Fox speaks at the Combine

Ahh, coachspeak. Broncos coach John Fox met with the press earlier today at the Combine, offering a slew of non-answers to the typical softballs. Fortunately, we've been working here at Fat Man on a special coachspeak translator device. Here's what it made of Fox's presser today:

What Fox said (WFS): "With the second pick, you're obviously going to get a heck of a football player."

What he really meant (WHRM): If we don't get a stud at #2, pool boy Xanders is outta here. Trust me. 

WFS: "Right now, Kyle Orton is our starter."

WHRM: We expect to receive a 3rd- or 4th-rounder in exchange for Kyle. Who's offering?

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Getting bigger with smaller players Lard 2-24-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ahh, it's been a while since we got a true gem out of Legwold - but it's Combine time, so he'll be writing up a storm. Today, he covers what he deems the Broncos' biggest roster needs outside the defense's front seven. First, Legwold says John Fox likes more physical TEs and decries the Broncos' lack of a touchdown from that position in 2010. Meanwhile, the Panthers got 2 TDs out of their guys last year, who happen to be a bit smaller than Denver's current group. No mention of the fact that tight ends just don't see the ball as much in Josh McDaniels' offense - that doesn't mean they lack receiving ability. But as for physicality, are Daniel Graham and Richard Quinn really lacking in that department?

Next up, Legwold continues his "DeAngelo Williams is a bigger, tougher back who fits Fox's profile better" narrative. In case you were wondering, Williams weighs five pounds less than does Knowshon Moreno, twelve fewer than Correll Buckhalter and falls thirty pounds shy of LenDale White. But yeah, let's upsize and add durability to our RB corps by signing DeAngelo, who by the way has missed 13 games over the past two seasons (Knowshon missed 3). Finally, Legwold says the Broncos could use some help at safety (well, one out of four ain't bad) and wide receiver. Yeah, wide receiver. Even with Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal rehabbing from their surgeries, we're long Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Eric Decker, Matthew Willis, and Eron Riley has a future contract. But sure - as the Broncos supposedly move toward being more of a power running team, they should draft some more wideouts. Makes perfect sense...

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