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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Ty Warren to get MRI on triceps-injury

Death.  Taxes.  NFL preseason injuries.

Klis reported earlier that newly acquired defensive tackle, Ty Warren, could have a siginifcant tricep injury.

We'll likely know the damage by tomorrw.  Warren is getting an MRI late tonight.

Warren, along with fellow DT Marcus Thomas, both left today's practice at Dove Valley with injuries.

Many considered Warren the Broncos' biggest free-agent acquisition and had him penciled into the opening-day lineup.

If the injury costs Warren most (or all) of his season, luckily, the Broncos have enough depth--at the moment.

Broncos add LB Bowen, release Leonard, waive Domino

The Broncos made a few roster moves today, claiming LB Alvin Bowen off waivers from Jacksonville, releasing DT Louis Leonard, and designating LB Derek Domino as waived/injured.

Bowen (6-1, 222) dressed for two games last year with the Jaguars, was originally a fifth-round pick of the Bills in 2008, and has also been a member of the Redskins and Seahawks. Denver had signed Leonard just prior to their season finale last year, while Domino was an undrafted free agent signed this year out of South Dakota State.

Monday Musings

I’m still watching film of the preseason opener. Overall, I like what I see. Dallas is a very physical team that Denver had to stand up to, and the starting offense put together a nice early drive and basically took a bow, while the defense played on a bit. It’s a good start to the preseason - I want to see some production, and I liked what I saw early on defense. Since those are mostly the players that will be with the team later on, they were the ones that I tended to focus on.

Defensive Line

A lot was made of free agency this year - the unprecedented number of UFAs, the unusual (but effective) signing of UDFAs as well as the inevitable draft, which once more featured the Broncos moving up and down the board effectively. Rookie signings went off without a hitch, and I don’t ever remember that happening before. Denver seems to be moving in a direction that meets both of their needs - they’re bringing in players who are veteran enough to play right now, and they’re getting veterans who are young enough to build on over time. I have to admit - add the way Denver’s moved around the draft board and the way they are handling the most important FA period in 10 years and you have to give credit where it’s due. The team looks a lot deeper, more talented and well-planned than the conglomeration of odds and ends they'd had each of the prior four or five years.

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The Daily Lard 8-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legwold checks in on DT Marcus Thomas, who has of course played for a different defensive coordinator in each of his five NFL seasons with the Broncos. Thomas, who will only be turning 26 next month, tells Legwold that, "Every year it seemed like I was trying to learn a new system, learn something new," followed by the obligatory, "I feel like this defense suits me and the things I can do."

As Legwold points out, Mike Shanahan called Thomas a "first-round talent" after he dealt three picks to the Vikings in a draft day trade for the 121st-overall pick the Broncos would use to select the ex-Gator. One of those picks (Denver's '08 third-rounder) would eventually end up with KC, who utilized it to draft Jamaal Charles. Interestingly, that #121 pick had been Denver's original fourth-rounder, but they'd dealt it away the year before as part of their two-part move up to get Jay Cutler, and other players tied to its transactions include WR Sidney Rice and the oft-rumored Denver target John Abraham. Pretty simple, right?

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