Von Miller has always been a prankster. They didn’t name his position at Texas A&M for his senior year Joker just for football reasons. His locker room antics and infectious grin are as much a part of him as his incredible ability to get low cutting around linemen. It’s just natural to him and who he is.
Miller recently put that sense of humor to work in getting a series of tattoos which included Pac-Man, a slice of watermelon, a dollar sign, a fried chicken drumstick and a Pac-Man ghost which he described as a ‘hater’. What I got from reading about it and listening to what he had to say was that Miller was making fun of those who pigeonhole others by race. He’s never minded getting a little attention for his antics - to him, this is no different.
Me? I’m a white guy, originally from Chicago, a city where one street is named ‘Division’ because for over a century and a half, blacks didn’t dare go above that street unless they were cleaning houses or clearing garbage. Race was a huge issue when I was younger. It went both ways, too - when I was at college, there was a dog visiting one of the dorms I lived it. I petted its head as I passed, and one of the group that was hanging out there yelled, “Bite that honky, dog!”. The rest of them laughed. They’d had worse aimed at them and probably just saw it as ‘giving some back’. Those kinds of incidents were common between whites and blacks, and neither was more to blame than the other.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The lawyer-free negotiations continued yesterday, shifting from NYC to Long Island, and the word is that both sides realize that now is the time to get a deal done. Albert Breer writes that the owners want a deal that will hold up for a matter of decades, while the players want to make it clear they won't be pushed around by the league as in the past. Interestingly, Breer points out that the tenor of the labor dispute has not been nearly as contentious as it's been made out to be by the alarmist media.
Breer says the urgency of the negotiations is based upon the fact that the league would lose about a billion dollars if the preseason is canceled, and that would harm both sides. Apparently, a deal must be reached by around July 15 if there is to be a preseason in full. Plus, it seems the words of Judge Kermit Bye last week which suggested both sides would be harmed by whatever decision the Eighth Circuit comes down with has leveled the field of play and motivated the two sides to get a move on. Let's hope this momentum carries through...
Happy Wednesday, friends. It’s another nice day in Cleveland, and I hope that’s the case wherever you live too. I have to quickly address something, dating back to my last piece, and some of the nonsense that ensued in the comments section. I’ve said now for years that I’m in the saying what I think business, and not the arguing business. I let myself get dragged into some silly arguing on Monday, and I’ve reminded myself that that’s not what I want to be doing. There’s no value in it for me, or for anybody else. If you want to troll it up in my comments, you will not be engaged by me.
And now, back to regular football programming. It’s interesting to me how much Brandon Lloyd has been in the news lately, because I’ve been planning to write a piece about him for the better part of the week.
I don’t really get into the human side of players that much, as we have the outstanding Doc Bear keeping that covered as well as anybody on the internet, but with Lloyd, you almost have to consider his personality to get at how his career has gone, and why.
As mentioned in today's Lard, the NFL's owners and players reconvened for more labor negotiations yesterday, this time at a hotel in NYC. The talks are said to be continuing into today, and according to Jason La Canfora, are expected to again stretch for "several days" and featuring the same cast of characters as last week's negotiations (ie. no lawyers save for De Smith).
Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of CBS wrote this morning that the two sides "continue to close the gap on significant issues and there remains a slim chance a deal is reached before the 8th circuit rules in July." Freeman also writes that he believes the 2011 NFL season "is no longer in jeopardy."
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Remember the negotiations that led to Champ Bailey's latest contract with Denver? You know, when Champ announced he was putting his Littleton house on the market and a few people called the esteemed vet a selfish prima donna? Well, even if Champ later admitted it was nothing more than a negotiating tactic once he was signed and delivered, it turns out he wasn't totally bluffing. That very same house of Bailey's just went into contract on Monday for what's reported as a $1.39 million sale. Just another reminder of why it's okay if Champ loses a step or two over the next few years - his wisdom and ability to disguise what he's up to is good enough to fool us, and that's not even on the field. BTW, anyone else feel like this all happened about six years ago? That's the effect of the lockout for us...
Will John Fox be a good coach? Will he be a great coach? Will he be fired after two seasons?
Rather than offer up a Kool-Aid-based opinion, in which I defend Fox as a turnaround artist and the victim of bad ownership in Carolina, I thought I'd let sheer randomness take a crack at the question.
So let's start our own NFL. You've always wanted to do that, haven't you? Now, instead of being born an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, you can just have a team. Yeah, I'm that nice a guy. Savor it.
The ground rules of our league are quite simple. We don't even need to pay Roger Goodell his meager $1 salary. The rules are as follows:
Why four seasons? Well, that happens to be a common contract length for a new coach. But who's counting, eh?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! PFF has a lengthy interview with Brandon Lloyd, and there's plenty of interesting stuff. For one, Lloyd has had quite an interesting offseason - he's been selling specialty metal to aerospace companies in what he says started "as a joke". BLloyd says that although he grew up in KC, he was not a Chiefs fan per se - yet, he was a big Nick Lowery fan - go figure. Plus, he says what gives him the ability to make so many acrobatic catches is that he actually visualizes and dreams about doing so.
Lloyd also spoke of his relationship with Josh McDaniels, who apparently had wanted the Pats to draft the WR after running his Illinois pro day. But Brandon says he's not concerned by the switch to a more defensive-minded coach in John Fox and that he'll prepare the same way he always does - plus, that he would rather win more games and catch fewer balls. He also pointed to opposing defenses' shift to Cover 2 from Cover 1 as having hurt the Broncos' passing attack later in the season and says the team was outcoached in McDaniels' final game in KC.
In addition to marveling at Tim Tebow's will and determination (and whose mechanics he says need tightening) and rehashing his past in San Fran and Washington, Lloyd thankfully says that playing football has still not become "a job" for him, and that he still enjoys the game, which he says he figures he only has 3-5 years left playing. Frankly, if Lloyd were to slip back to catching 10 or 20 balls a year I'd still like to see him in Denver, just to hear what he has to say...
As a defensive back, Denver Broncos safety Renaldo Hill has seen it all.
By all, what I mean isn’t limited to the length of his career, although that is moving into its 11th year. Hill has seen the change in the modern game to ever-increasingly pass-oriented offenses which use more of the short pass as a staple of their approach. That movement (although some teams still predominatly use the longer, Coryell-type offensive passing strategy) has led to a need for the safeties - both strong and free safeties - to have coverage skills as well as to be strong hitters. The lines between the strong and the free safety are becoming blurred, as compared to the historical versions of those positions. Hill is a good example, since he began his career in 2001 as a cornerback with the Arizona Cardinals before sliding back to safety, where he’s quietly been highly effective ever since. Brian Dawkins has said that he and Hill tend to take turns quarterbacking the defense. Both are excellent at reading the offense and calling the responses.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest MMQB column, PK says he hopes the players and owners will continue to meet sans lawyers and makes the case for said lawyers to shut the hell up. Plus, monitoring concussions - there's an iPhone app for that - PK's ridiculous shadow top 100 list, and a bunch of book reviews from King. Finally, PK points out that not only are team staffers dealing with reduced salaries, but so are NFL Films employees. Stay classy, NFL...
Happy Sunday, friends. Y'all remember White Boy Day, right? Of course you do; I think some of you are still mad at me about it. I have found it interesting how a middle-of-the-pack NFL RB - who tailed off late in the 2010 season due to overuse and led the league in fumbles while playing for a losing team - was voted the Madden coverboy. I have posited several times over the last few years that Hillis's wide popularity is largely due to the fact that he's very rare as a caucasian tailback. People get pissed at me for saying so, but I think all this stuff about "grit" and "blue collar" is code for "he looks like us, and we can relate to him."
I think that's fine, and that it doesn't in and of itself make anybody a racist. People of all ethnic groups tend to naturally identify with their own, and it's an instinct-driven defense mechanism. It's good that the world is consciously moving toward widespread racial tolerance, but it's a societal choice that we're making, and not something that happened naturally, in the sense of evolutionary biology.
So, I continue to believe that Hillis is massively popular because he's caucasian, and the majority of NFL fans are caucasian. I have tended to think that that popularity drove the voting victory for Hillis in appearing on the cover of Madden. It turns out that his race had little to do with his victory, at least in the final round of voting. I know some of you are thrilled, and feel vindicated by me telling you this. Last night, I learned how and why Hillis actually won, and I feel like I should share that information with you all, so that we all have the record straight.