On developing players

After writing an article on CFAs last week, a subject that’s kind of close to my heart (I love a good underdog story - who doesn’t?) the whole issue of player development has been swirling around in my head. The NFL can be amazingly shortsighted at times, and the area of creating a system to develop players has been one glaring hole in the entire NFL system that the league seems bound and determined to ignore. With the issues of a rookie salary cap on the table currently (and like most folks, I’m in favor of one), the issue of CFAs has also taken on a greater perspective by a lot of people, including agents, the players themselves and the NFL teams. Since this is the first year in memory that CFAs weren’t placed under contract immediately after the draft, it’s also been an opportunity to look at what circumstances might benefit all sides in terms of signing these players.

Back in early May, Jack Bechta wrote a nice piece on CFAs and their role in the NFL and commented on the need for a better policy for the teams to pick the CFAs. Under current rules, immediately after the draft teams take on a ton of CFAs, and few of them are really researched or given an opportunity to show the teams much. They might fit the team’s needs, and they might not - there isn’t the kind of attention to them that draft choices get, for obvious reasons. The CFAs are often dependent on injuries to get any playing time, and more than half of them don’t even make it onto the practice squad.

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The Daily Lard 7-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The legal staffs of the two sides met yesterday for over seven hours in New York, will meet again today, and are expected to be joined by the players, owners, De Smith and Roger Goodell tomorrow. Meanwhile, Albert Breer goes on to write that if the talks were to stretch beyond July 15 and result in canceled preseason games, ownership is likely to worsen their offer and thus increase the likelihood of the labor dispute playing out in court.

Chris Mortensen is hearing a deal is "within reach" yet unlikely to be consummated this week. Finally, Mike Silver writes that a deal is much closer than the two sides are letting on, too close for them to allow the whole thing to regress into a legal battle. Silver believes that ultimately the two sides will both be able to claim victory in the end and come out looking like roses in the eye of the football-watching public, and that all will be forgiven for the lockout and its rhetoric. I'd have to agree with that last sentiment - what, are people going to stop watching football because training camp and OTAs were either shortened or omitted? Please...

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6 Things I’ve Decided Are True

Happy Tuesday, friends.  I hope everybody had a nice holiday weekend and got to spend it with friends and family.  I had an excellent weekend, and today finds me in a good mood.  I’ve been trying to think of something to write about, since we’re at that lull period of the offseason - even if this were a regular year - where nothing is going on, and everything has been analyzed to death.

After careful deliberation, I decided to mock honor our old friend Peter King by listing 6 Things I’ve Decided Are True, because once I think about something, I decide on an answer.  Peter King is somebody who thinks that he thinks things.  I know what I think – maybe that makes me weird.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, and get that same warm fuzzy feeling that Peter gives you each week when he isn’t having randoms write his column while he vacations in Montclair, New Jersey, or whatever.

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The Daily Lard 7-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While the players and owners prepare to resume their negotiations today in New York, more details on their talks from last week are emerging. The reports from Thursday and Friday that the owners had backtracked from the earlier agreed upon split that gave 48% of revenue to the players has been confirmed by John Clayton, who says the owners increased their offer to 46% before the latest talks adjourned.

Meanwhile, Judy Battista writes that the retired players whose suit was combined with that of the current players filed a class-action complaint yesterday against both the players and owners, accusing the two sides of conspiring to lessen the retirees' benefits for their own gains. The goal of the complaint, which was filed in Federal District Court in Minneapolis, is to allow the retired players to represent their own interests at the negotiating table rather than letting the NFLPA do so.

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A taste of freedom

Today, football fans and non-fans alike celebrate the heart of the Independence Day weekend, a celebration that has long feted the signing of the Declaration of Independence:  the cornerstone event in the founding of our nation. I consider the Declaration to be one of the most important documents in recorded history, as important to human rights and freedom as the Code of Hammurabi and the Magna Carta. While I strongly support certain causes which I consider to be aspects of the rights of human freedom, I’m not particularly political by nature. I am, however, a fairly devoted student of history and to me, the Declaration was a huge step in our evolution as human beings. The recent massive movements to protests against repression and even regime changes that recently swept parts of North Africa and the Near and Middle East can legitimately be argued to have some of their roots in the signing and implementation of that document. It’s affected global policies adopted by the US and been a beacon to people around the globe.

What does this have to do with football? Very little, I suppose. But, I’ll tell you a story that does.

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The Daily Lard 7-4-11

Happy Fourth of July, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman has penned an open letter to De Smith asking the NFLPA leader to get lawyers Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn away from the labor negotiations. Freeman hears that the two attorneys have been "picking stupid fights" which have "delayed the negotiating process." As Jason Cole wrote the other day, the thinking is that Kessler and Quinn are pursuing an agenda that holds out until a verdict is reached in the Brady antitrust suit, one the players would be expected to win in a big way.

Meanwhile, Florio points out that the players will also lose out financially if preseason games are lost.

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The Daily Lard 7-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Bradenton Herald caught up with Von Miller while he was at the NFLPA's rookie symposium last week, and the #2 pick spoke about his inclusion in the Brady suit and his lockout living arrangements. Miller admits it will be tough to top the season last year's second-overall choice Ndamukong Suh had, and he has a great perspective on the fact that he'll likely make a lot less money on his rookie contract than will Suh as a result of the expected new rookie wage scale. Miller told writer Alan Dell that he can't fear losing something he never had, and that

I am living with my parents, and they love me being there so everything is fine. To me, it’s never been about the money. I’ve played all my life for free, and if you take something here you’ve got to give something there. The great players will get their money in the long run.

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Little known facts about the Founding Fathers if they’d had football

The 4th of July is only a few days away.  I am feeling patriotic.  Rather than give you a lecture on the Boston Tea Party, however, I'm just going to make the following assumptions:

  1. You'll be too drunk to walk
  2. One of your kids will have blown his hand clean off with an M-80
  3. You'll forget sunscreen and your skin will bubble like bacon in hot grease
  4. If you give a mouse your fat uncle a cookie some BBQ, he's going to ask for steal a glass of milk cheap plastic cup of beer

What's more American than getting drunk, blowing stuff up, baking in the ozone, and having your relatives steal your alcohol?   

Nothing, my man, there ain't nothing.   

In your drunken stupor, you're going to want to mix football and patriotism. You should probably resist that urge.  Leave that to the professionals like Roger Goodell.  

Instead, impress your father-in-law with some of these little known facts about the Founding Fathers...if they had had football back in 1776.

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The Daily Lard 7-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The yo-yoing of the labor talks has continued, as Thursday's grim midday news were followed by many hours of negotiations and a reported mending of the revenue split issues. The talks continued for a couple of hours yesterday before breaking for the weekend, and are expected to start anew on Tuesday. Adam Schefter says the main issues being dealt with at this point are still the revenue split and the financial source of the so-called "legacy fund" to benefit retired players.

Mike Freeman is hearing that player attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn are the biggest impediments to a deal at this point, and he writes that the Eighth Circuit and Judge Doty are holding off their own rulings and hoping that Judge Boylan's mediation will be enough to see the two sides through to an agreement. Finally, Jason Cole writes that Kessler and Quinn are happy to wait out the courts because come September, the players are likely to win big with their antitrust suit, as the owner's lawyer before the Eighth Circuit did little to convince the judges that a lockout could be extended beyond six months.

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Friday Trivia Trough: Players with 10 or more sacks as Broncos

Last week, we tested your knowledge of the players who scored 10 or more touchdowns during their Broncos careers. Today, let's switch over to the defensive side - the NFL began tracking defensive sacks in 1982, and since then 29 different players have amassed at least 10 sacks as Broncos. Sadly, this means pass-rushing legend Rich "Tombstone" Jackson is not included, as his career ended in 1972. As always, last names suffice and guesses need not be made in order; discuss your answers and scores in the comments section.

Click here for Sporcle quiz:
Can you name the Players with 10 or more sacks in their Broncos careers?