Looking like Tebow time Lard 12-18-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, the Broncos haven't come out and said it yet, but it sure seems like Tim Tebow is about to get his first start. Kyle Orton's rib injury has been perfect cover for Tebow to get a full week of first-team reps under the guise that Orton would make it back in time to play. Personally, I think this was the way to go, rather than throwing the kid to the wolves in the middle of a game after having spent the week with the scout team and getting minimal reps working within Denver's playbook. Of course, we likely won't find out until later today or perhaps even tomorrow whether Tebow or Orton is starting. But Denver has managed to avoid the potential avalanche of attention that would have come with announcing it earlier in the week.

As for injuries, the Broncos have listed Brian Dawkins, Demaryius Thomas and Matt Prater as out. Yes, that means another week of Steven Hauschka. David Bruton, Darcel McBath and Orton are questionable, while five players are listed as probable.

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The Broncography of Lee Robinson

The Broncos promoted LB Lee Robinson from the practice squad last week, and I'm thrilled to see him. Why the fervor for a PS player? Robinson was originally signed by Denver as a college free agent following the 2009 Draft, and I thought he was well worth an enduring look at the time. Robinson was an outside linebacker in college who, like so many Broncos linebackers, has also spent some time with his hand on the ground at DE.  However, Robinson is also a player whose maturity and dedication have given the Broncos a new level of competition for any and all of their linebacker slots. Inside linebacker is as good a place to begin as any.

To start, he’s a solid 6’2” and 256 lbs of linebacker. The Broncos once moved to smaller, lighter linebackers, but it’s fair to say that Josh McDaniels preferred something contrastive. He said that he wanted big, physical players who are versatile and can work in multiple situations, which is a choate description of Robinson. One way to consider Robinson is as a bigger version of Wesley Woodyard. In 2008, Woodard took the Broncos by storm. Robinson might be the player at ILB that Denver right now is lacking, freeing up Mario Haggan to stay with his move back to OLB. He can also move into OLB situationally.

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More chicken, more egg Lard 12-17-10

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Picking up where yesterday's thoughts left off, there's been a lot of worry among the fanbase  that the next head coach will be from an offensive-minded background like Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels were, and that the defense will thus be disregarded going forward. Sure, it is a legitimate concern that the next coach and GM pay proper attention to rebuilding the defense, as it was atrocious in 2008 and hasn't fared much better this year. But that doesn't mean the head coach has to have cut his own teeth on defense - he merely has to value that side of the ball and employ a worthy defensive coordinator (and let said DC do his job, of course). In the most meaningless informal of exercises,  I looked at the top half of the league (16 of 32 teams) in terms of points and yards allowed, and it's a mishmosh - in terms of points, seven HCs came from the offensive side, while nine came from the defensive side. Relative to yards allowed, it was eight from Column A, eight from Column B.

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WWTBD? (Part 1)

I’m nowhere near Jesus-like.  I mean, hell, if you’re talking about the Christian portrayal of the historical figure Jesus Christ, I can’t even grow a full beard, and I’m already the same age that that Jesus is reported to have died at.  If you’re talking about The Jesus, I’ve never had to register as a sex offender and go door-to-door, and I’m not too good at bowling.  (My strategy: Use the heaviest ball they have, and throw it straight as hard as I can.)  TJ “The Dude” Johnson’s cat, Jesus Quintana?  I’m not like him either.  For one thing, I’m badly allergic to cats, and for another, I decline to predict the outcomes of football games, or other complex future events.  I don’t even really like fish.  You get it.  I’m nothing like Jesus.

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The Dude’s Mail Revue: Waterboarding with goth girls

Dude's Mail Revue 400x145

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Denver Broncos.

You wanna roll your way into the semis?

Drop TJ a question: tjthedudejohnson@gmail.com.

(NOTE: No marmots were harmed in the writing of this revue)

TJ, let me be quick to the point.  After John Elway comes on board, the Broncos are going to give Xanders full GM powers and hire Jim Fassel as coach.  Think about it, Dude.  Who was the coach that tutored Elway and Phil Simms?  Fassel.   Who resurrected Kerry Collins' career?  Fassel.   The early 1990s were off the hook for Elway under Fassel.  I really think Bowlen and Elway are going turn back the clock.  You hear that little bitty ting?  That's the sound of a lightbulb going off over Elway's head right now.

In case you didn't know it, Fassel is also the one guy who won't be scared away by the theory that Tim Tebow can't play quarterback, either.   Remember you heard it here first, straight out of Palm Beach!

--Robert Van Winkle, Palm Beach, Florida 

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Dave Nelson, Tubby Raymond and the rise of the Wing T Offense

In a recent interview, Wink Martindale commented that the Broncos are seeing a lot of Wing T running plays this year - he indicated that many of Denver's 2010 opponents (which tend to a heavy percentage of running plays) use it at least part of the time. The Wing T also is a very viable, deception-based passing offense too, but right now the rushing aspect seems to predominate when it’s used in the NFL. With that being the case, and with NFL games available on NFL Rewind and more and more fans enjoying watching film and learning from it, I wanted to give you an overview of the system. It was originally developed, as so many are, out of sheer necessity - you could even say desperation - by Coach Dave Nelson along with Harold Westerman and Mike Lude. Over time, however, most authorities would tell you that it was Coach ‘Tubby’ Raymond who brought it into its modern form. Let’s take it from the very beginning, then on to small Hillsdale College, onward to the University of Maine, the University of Delaware, and the Hall of Fame careers of Dave Nelson and Tubby Raymond.

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Chicken or the egg? Lard 12-16-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday's story about Denver's potential interest in Mike Mularkey raised concerns about the future structure of the team's front office - the idea of hiring a coach before a GM caused some discomfort. But while the personnel problems of the past 10+ years in Denver can largely be blamed upon the team's lack of a quality GM to help select players, the role of the GM in the NFL is not typically what it is in other professional sports. There is no person more important within a football organization than the head coach, and this is the case even in the presence of a commanding GM like Bill Parcells, Bill Polian or Scott Pioli, although these three men happen to also be very good at selecting head coaches. This isn't baseball, where the GM and his decision making are much more crucial to winning than the manager and his calls are.

When it comes down to it, the head coach is responsible for the schemes, the playbook, the play calling, motivating and teaching the players - everything that happens on the field and in the locker room, including winning and losing. The personnel the GM selects has to match or fit the schemes of his head coach. As Pat Kirwan writes in the oft-quoted (here, anyway) Take Your Eye Off The Ball,

In an ideal situation, then, the general manager should support the head coach...he should have enough football experience that he can be a valuable contributor to the head coach's vision...He can't be seen as outranking the head coach, especially in the eyes of the team.

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Broncos reportedly interested in Falcons’ Mularkey

According to a report from Adam Schefter on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, the Broncos may have interest in Falcons OC Mike Mularkey for their head coaching position. Mularkey, who was head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005, has been the Falcons' OC for three seasons. The 11-2 Falcons are fifth in the NFL this season in scoring with 335 points and ninth in yardage.

Mularkey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that while unaware of Schefter's report or of any interest from the Broncos, he is indeed interested in becoming a head coach again. When asked specifically about pursuing a HC job, Mularkey said,

I would like the opportunity again. I would, if it ever presents itself.

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Taking the stress out of the holidays

The answer lies in history.

With the fortunes of the Broncos continuing their annual seasonal toboggan ride, it might be hard to imagine how things could get any worse. Realistically, they probably can’t, other than in minor degree. The Broncos brought in someone to completely change over the team in a brief amount of time with little help from management and plenty of errors on their part and made him the scapegoat when it didn’t bear immediate fruit. Josh McDaniels didn’t create a shortage of problems himself, but it’s well worth considering that by the end of his second month, Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis had placed him in very much the same situation that led to Mike Shanahan’s perhaps-overdue firing, heaping responsibility on his head, agreeing to let him function as head coach, personnel partner with Brian Xanders and offensive coordinator pro temp.  Considering that he’d never held the HC reins at any level, this was problematic even when Jim Goodman was going to be around to help guide him - no first time HC is ready for that level of obligation. Without direction or experienced advice, it was masochistic of the team and cruel to the fans.

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The Daily Lard 12-15-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It looks like Demaryius Thomas will miss his fourth straight game Sunday. Meanwhile, the Broncos did not re-sign Stanley Daniels as was reported earlier by Mike Klis; rather, WR Britt Davis was promoted from the practice squad to replace the injured S Kyle McCarthy, who was place on IR.

Meanwhile, the news on Perrish Cox is getting worse before it gets better - his charges are Class 3 and Class 4 felonies, which involve knowingly assaulting a helpless victim. These charges carry a sentence ranging between two years and life in prison.

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