The Daily Lard 9-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans - here we are, the first Sunday of regular-season football in 2011! Enjoy the games - of course we'll have an open thread for you to discuss the action, and TJ has a stellar analysis of the Raiders as the Broncos prepare to face them tomorrow.

As we commemorate the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, our thoughts here at IAOFM go out to all who suffered a loss on that day, and to all who have served.

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Demaryius Thomas breaks finger; Marcus Thomas out

WR Demaryius Thomas has suffered yet another injury, although at least this time it's not major - he broke a finger on his left hand during Thursday's session and missed practice yesterday and today. Thomas has been working back into football shape as he returns from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, and he was already expected to miss at least two or three games to start the season.

Also listed as out for Denver on today's injury report are Marcus Thomas, Ty Warren and D.J. Williams, while David Bruton, Brodrick Bunkley, Quinton Carter, Chris Kuper and Matt Willis are all probable. For Oakland, TE Kevin Boss, S Mike MItchell and WR Louis Murphy are out, while LB Darryl Blackstock, WR Derek Hagan, CB Chris Johnson, RB Taiwan Jones, WR Chaz Schilens, and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke are all listed as probable.

Fat Camp: The Erhardt-Perkins Offense, Part 2

On Wednesday we talked about the Erhardt-Perkins offense: its history, some of its usage and some principles on how it’s going to be used in Denver. Today I’d like to touch a little more upon what the Air Coryell offense is and how it fits together with the EP for Denver, including specifically what the groups of players are doing by position.

As I noted last article, Denver is combining the EP vertical passing offense with its power running game - and by saying ‘power’ I’m not dismissing the zone blocking aspect. Big, stronger blockers with good feet fit into this approach efficiently - they can have a lot of size and power, even though zone blocking is generally expected from smaller linemen. The issue is simply whether they have the feet to handle it.  A simple way of combining the two systems comes from Ron Erhardt himself. Back towards the end of his coaching days, Erhardt took his system and combined it into a hybrid with the spread formation, in an approach that was quickly dubbed ‘Air Erhardt’. A coach whose team has been running a spread variation and is developing a good running game can use some plays from that as a good beginning. Denver is more likely to do what they’ve said - to use the run more aggressively.

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The Daily Lard 9-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Nothing earth-shattering in Broncos Land today, so I'd like to take this opportunity to mark a pair of noteworthy occasions here at IAOFM. Plus, tomorrow should be all about the first Sunday of real NFL football rather than self-referencing snobbery. Anyway, tomorrow marks the first anniversary of IAOFM's existence, and it's been quite a year. Doc, TJ, Ted, David (who runs the technical side) and I have had an incredible time working with each other, we've made a bunch of new friends, and we're excited about what the future holds for our little endeavor. We set out a year ago to offer high level analysis of the Broncos, to make you think and laugh, and we believe IAOFM has been consistently evolving into a better product. We hope you feel the same way.

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Opposition Research: Oakland Raiders - Week 1

Happy Friday, friends.  Can I talk frankly?  Yes, I think I can.  Since I started my football writing “career” back in 2008, I’ve always been kind of a loose cannon.  I’ve mostly avoided agreeing to put myself in any boxes, rather than to generally say that I’ll have something written on this day or that day.  A lot of times, if I have something due on Friday at noon, I’ll have no idea what I want to write about when I’m driving home after work on Thursday afternoon.  I just like to let stuff go from my mind to my fingers to the screen.  It’s kind of like being a 30-something dude who lives with his parents and won't date a chick for longer than three months because he doesn’t want to grow up.

Well, I went and agreed to produce a recurring feature on Fridays as part of our game lead-up package, which is going to be just outstanding, even if it isn't scantastic.  I don’t have a fitting gluttony reference for it yet, so I’m just going to call it Opposition Research, because that's what it is.  Basically, I plan to watch some recent video of the upcoming opponent, take some notes, and then talk about some non-obvious things that I saw, particularly stuff that you can't get just by looking over a couple box scores.  Then, I’ll talk about what the Broncos can do to be successful in light of those observations.  Pretty straightforward, right?  Here goes, as we break down Tranny Nation after the jump.

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The Daily Lard 9-9-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! How was that for a season opener? If you thought you had something better to do than watch Saints/Packers last night, it really wasn't. Green Bay outlasted New Orleans 42-34 (box score) in an all-out slugfest which featured 51 first downs, 17-of-26 third-down conversions, 876 yards of offense, 84 pass attempts for 731 yards and six touchdowns, two special teams touchdowns, and a goal-line stop by the Packers to conclude the game on an untimed down from the one-yard line.

As for what last night meant to us as Broncos fans: Be patient this season. No matter how far they exceed any of our expectations (if they do), it will take multiple years for Denver to be able to consistently compete with teams the caliber of today's Packers and Saints. We saw third and fourth receivers making huge plays, electric kick returners, two of the best QBs we'll ever see, and we can only hope at this point that Julius Thomas will someday be as effective as either Jermichael Finley or Jimmy Graham in the passing game. And of course, we won't be seeing that brand of football anyway, as the John Fox-led Panthers scored 34 points or more just 13 times in nine seasons (including playoffs). For comparison's sake, the Packers have scored 34 or more points 13 times in their last 48 games, while we only have to go back 37 games to find 13 such outputs by the Saints. On the bright side - and this is no small matter - Darren Sproles is no longer on our schedule twice a year - once every four years is bad enough, so let's all hope he finishes his career in the NFC.

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Open Thread - Thursday night opener

On the Broncos' front, Brodrick Bunkley returned to practice today and was listed as a Full Participant on the season's first injury report along with David Bruton, Quinton Carter, Chris Kuper, Demaryius Thomas and Matthew Willis. Only Marcus Thomas, Ty Warren and D.J. Williams did not participate. Meanwhile, the Broncos have unveiled a history section on the official site which features all of the team's media guides along with gamebooks and programs for home games. Be careful, because you may not emerge to see the light of day once you dive into this treasure trove...

The winners of the last two Super Bowls face off as the defending champion Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints. Enjoy the game!

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Fat Pickins - Week 1

On most Thursdays, I put out a Mail Revue, a Playbook Abides, or a Fat Camp column.  But this isn't most Thursdays.  I've been traveling all week, and the NFL season actually starts tonight.  So today we'll simply introduce this year's picks segment.   Under normal circumstances, I'll be running this on Saturdays, along with a detailed scouting report on the week's opponent. So this Saturday, expect to see a scouting report that you're not going to find at other Broncos-centric websites.  In short, expect more and expect better.

With that out of the way, let's get right to it.  Last year, I called this segment The Jesus, The Generator, and the Experts.  That's because I wanted to show just how silly most NFL experts were by letting my cat (the feline kind - not the friend/buddy kind), Jesus Quintana and a random number generator (RNG) pick NFL games.  We weren't disappointed.  As expected, the RNG - armed with the notion that the home team wins about 57% of the time on average - ended up correctly picking about 57% of the games correctly.

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The Daily Lard 9-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team will hold its first full practice regular-season practice and issue their first injury report today. As Lindsay Jones reiterates, the Broncos are hoping to get DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas back in time for Monday's opener.

So, today is the day the DP unleashed their preview of the Broncos' season, and the focus is John Elway. Where Woody Paige typically shares an interview with team owner Pat Bowlen, Mike Klis instead presents one with Elway as the clear face of the Broncos organization. Within it, Elway speaks of lifting the pall that's enveloped the franchise in recent years as the tragedy of Darrent Williams and Kenny McKinley's untimely deaths, and the ugliness of the Jay Cutler drama have come to dominate the Denver headlines.

Elway strangely theorizes that it's a good defense that creates home-field advantage (tell that to Colts and Saints fans) and defends himself against the ridiculous notion that great players can't become great team execs, just because a few of them have failed to do so in the past. As for that garbage, Elway scored a 29 on the Wonderlic and Dan Marino scored a 16. Marino's flop running the Dolphins predicts nothing for Elway's stewardship.

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Fat Camp: The Erhardt-Perkins Offense, Part 1

As we shift from the player-evaluation mode of the preseason to games that count, I thought this would be a good time to turn our focus to just what type of offense we can expect to see from the Broncos. Exhibition games offer only a hint of what's to come, as teams are reluctant to telegraph their intentions for the regular season and are concentrating more on roster construction.

Denver is employing their own variation on the Erhardt-Perkins offense, which was very much what Josh McDaniels used both in New England and in Denver. The new version Denver will utilize will emphasize the run more, where McDaniels preferred to use the short pass more as a sort of ball-control passing game - in a certain respect, not dissimilar to the Bill Walsh theory of the game.  However, most of the passing from Denver is likely to be vertical, and of the Air Coryell variety.

A few simple things should be covered before we get into much detail on the offensive system, and we'll start today by revisiting the history of the Erhardt-Perkins Offense; we'll get more into the nitty-gritty on Saturday.

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