Mindfreak: The Brian Xanders Random Quote Generator

Brian Xanders doesn't exactly fit the mold of what we expect from a general manager: He's got a double chin.  His clothes don't fit.  He has a tendency to rush his sentences, omit words, state facts as if they were original thoughts, and mix verb tenses.  Hell, the guy used to clean pools.

In short, he's everything Joe Ellis isn't.  It's for this reason, and the way he handled the recent re-signing of Champ Bailey, that the X-Man is starting to grow on me.

So I went back and spent an exceedingly long time reading and listening to interviews Xanders has given since he was named General Manger of the Denver Broncos for real.   At first, I mistook his responses for gobbledygook.  My mind went numb; my senses failed.  Soon, I was unable to determine the questions from the answers.  I fell into a Xanders-induced stupor.

When I came to, however, I realized that inside all of this undeciphered madness, Xanders had a plan.  After so many interviews, he's let a few things slip.  

Later this week, I'll tell you what I think that plan is.  Today, however, I wanted to have a little more fun at the expense of Xanders before I begin singing his praises.

So I gathered together a few dozen of the best quotes Xanders has given.  I plugged them into a random quote generator.  I think you'll enjoy....

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New draft narrative Lard 4-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With precisely three weeks to go til the opening of the 2011 Draft, it's time for the DP to return to their hacktastic glory focus more on the annual selection party. Unfortunately, Klis starts out with a real doozy; remember how he had seemingly put to rest the Legwoldian thread of Denver has ONLY six picks (before they were awarded a compensatory pick for sucking)? Well, he's now creating a narrative of a different flavor (and omitting facts to make the story fit, of course): the Broncos should have a lot more later-round picks because Josh McDaniels got ripped off monthly! Of course, there is some validity to it - dealing away a fourth-rounder for Laurence Maroney wasn't so hot, although no DP writer has ever? mentioned that Denver got back a sixth-rounder in that deal. Perhaps giving up multiple draft picks along with Peyton Hillis doesn't seem all that great for Brady Quinn, although the fact that Quinn didn't play in 2010 shouldn't factor in.

But should we really be riled up about giving up a 2011 fifth-rounder to get a year's worth of Syd'Quan Thompson? And if you're going to decry the loss of a seventh-rounder in the Alphonso Smith/Dan Gronkowski deal, aren't you supposed to point out that Denver received a sixth-rounder in that very same deal (which is, you know, better than a seventh-rounder)? As if it's not enough to leave out these facts, Klis goes on to write that there's a big difference between having a pick near the top of the sixth round rather than at #21 and #24 like Denver does. It's gonna be a long three weeks, friends...

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SI retells story of Darrent Williams’ murder

In the April 11 issue of Sports Illustrated due to hit newsstands this week, Atlanta magazine senior associate editor and SI freelancer Thomas Lake revisits the murder of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. The lengthy and engrossing article explores the backgrounds of Williams, his convicted killer "Little" Willie Clark, and Williams' friend and teammate Javon Walker, in whose arms Williams perished. While expectedly saddening, Lake's retelling of the events from that fateful New Year's Eve of 2006 casts more light on the roles ex-Broncos WR Brandon Marshall and his cousin played in the night-long conflict, including the perceived likelihood that they were the intended targets of Clark's gunfire.

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Fat Camp: Intricacies of cornerback play

It’s become common in recent times to say that the quarterback, left tackle and rush linebacker are the three most important parts when constructing a team, but that hasn’t always been the case. When John Madden used to talk about team building, he was very firm that the two most important things were your offensive line (especially the left tackle, but you need the whole group to be anywhere from solid to exceptional) and the cornerback slot. There’s good reason to still see things that way.  How important is the defensive secondary? Just consider these numbers:

  • 1977 - NFL teams ran 14,650 times (57.7%) and passed/were sacked 10,741 times (42.3%)
  • 1978 - NFL teams ran 16,075 times and passed/were sacked 12,850 times (55.6% vs. 44.4%)
  • 2010 - NFL teams ran 13,920 times and passed/were sacked 18,399 times (43.1% vs. 56.9%)

You easily get the idea: it’s not news that the NFL’s passing game has been bolstered since the (in)famous 1978 rule change that permitted offensive linemen to hold, as long as it was within certain parameters. That rule change began a long series of decisions that put the power in the hands of the offenses in order to make games more exciting to the fans.

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Courtroom Lard 4-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today is the first big day in the players' antitrust suit against the league (Brady v. NFL) to try and end the lockout. As Andrew Brandt points out, Judge Susan Nelson has the power in this case to halt the lockout (which would then be subject to appeal), allow it to continue, defer to the National Labor Relations Board (unlikely), or she could even order the two sides to undergo more mediation towards a settlement. Although Brandt says it's hard to figure out which way Judge Nelson may turn (unlike the predictable Judge David Doty), he thinks the lattermost option makes the most sense.

Meanwhile, Albert Breer writes that several of the most important figures in the case don't think it important enough to attend, including Commissioner Goodell, his incendiary head counsel Jeff Pash, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. However, it is expected that DeMaurice Smith, David Boies and Von Miller will be present. Aren't you excited for all of the relentless TV coverage from outside the courtroom starting today?!?! Hopefully you've got plenty popcorn. Yay legal wrangling!!!

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You Got Served - UConn FTW edition

Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to a Great day to be from Connecticut edition of You Got Served.  As you can imagine, I was tied up for most of Monday evening, so this is going to be shorter than usual, but since it didn’t really cost you anything, I was thinking you’d be happy enough with it anyway.  Armed with home-state pride, a minor snakebite buzz, and the knowledge that I’m unlikely to wind down enough to fall asleep until about 3 AM, we’re getting underway.  Ready…. BEGIN!!

1.  In case you hadn’t heard, not much of substance has been going on in the NFL lately, and a couple weeks ago, I swore off speculating on the CBA situation until something real happens.  I knew in a small way that I was handicapping my ability to find interesting football topics during the lockout, but I didn’t quite fully appreciate the gravity of the decision.

Of course, I’m a stubborn SOB, so I am sticking to my guns, so add that to the more obvious reasons I’m hoping for an injunction in the next couple weeks.  Your boy needs something to write about.

Something interesting beyond the glorious Connecticut victory happened today, actually.  I made a deal on a new place to live and decided to rent a townhouse in Westlake, which is one of the nicest suburbs of Cleveland.  A key feature of the new place is that I am able to get DirecTV and fire Time Warner Cable, which is the corporate personification of awfulness.

I didn’t exactly announce this during the OneManFootball era, but a key reason that I was less prolific as a writer in 2010 than I had been the previous two seasons was that I didn’t have access to nearly as many games.  I have a policy that I don’t comment on football that I haven’t seen with my own eyes, so I honestly had less to say.

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Visitation Lard 4-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers visited Dove Valley yesterday along with Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, while A&M linebacker Von Miller is due in today. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is expected tomorrow, with other visits this week coming from Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Washington linebacker Mason Foster and Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin. In total, there are 13 player meetings scheduled for this week. Meanwhile, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will be visiting the Broncos in two weeks.

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Scouting the Broncos: Tight ends

As we covered last week, the Broncos are well-stocked at wide receiver; meanwhile, the tight end position is somewhat more of a cipher. This is the position that many fans consider the least important on the field. On the other hand, the legendary Sid Gillman said that with two good TEs you could control the entire middle of the field. The comment may be a little dated, but it’s still fair to note that you can use TEs mainly as blockers, send them underneath when you need three or so yards, throw them up the seam against Cover 2, or employ them primarily as receivers with a wide spectrum of routes - and, you can still use them as blockers. You can set them out in a three-TE set that’s sometimes called a ‘Magic 3’, with a good blocking/receiving WR and a RB/FB who can block, run or receive to drive the other defense nuts and who can run or receive a pass in multiple ways out of that formation. However - that’s not how new Broncos coach John Fox tends to like to use them, and whatever happens will take that into account. The point here is, though, the TE position has long been underestimated and has a world of approaches and uses.

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The Daily Lard 4-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his MMQB today, Peter King focuses in on the quarterback class, which Mel Kiper is calling the wackiest he's seen. There are quite a few notable circumstances, with guys staying in school a year later than expected and affecting the draft in a major way - Jake Locker and Andrew Luck, for instance. PK finds out a bit more about Ryan Mallett, although none of it firsthand (the QB wouldn't talk to him) and, like everyone else, thinks Warren Moon was just a bit off base in his comments last week. Plus, he claims Locker will go earlier than everyone thinks (didn't everyone just raise his "stock" after his pro day workout?).

King goes on to write that Da'Quan Bowers' knee issues could drop him into the lower half of the first round and reminds us that recent newsmakers Dez Bryant and Aqib Talib had those classic pre-draft "character concerns" that perhaps aren't as overblown as we'd all like to think (Perrish *cough* Cox *cough*).

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The Daily Lard 4-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Not that we've ever come out and branded ourselves as Fair & Balanced™ but perhaps some levity is due after yesterday's somber Lard. Thankfully, Wesley Woodyard has come through with some comic Broncos gold; he announced via Twitter last night that he'd posted on YouTube his own spoof of teammate Brian Dawkins. As Woodyard explains, the video was created during training camp last year, and it involves multiple costumes for him and clearly a good deal of production help. It's quite brilliant, especially the Wolverine-clawed butt scratching...

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