The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 10-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In reviewing film of Broncos/Chargers, Andy Benoit says no Denver defenders stood out consistently, and that the mistakes of Von Miller and the young secondary were glaring. On offense, Benoit writes that the wide receivers were more to blame than was Kyle Orton for their first-half woes, although he does say the change at halftime to Tim Tebow was the correct decision. Plus, he was very impressed by the offensive line's play in the running game, especially that of J.D. Walton.

Khaled Elsayed disagrees with Benoit regarding the lack of impactful play on defense, as Elvis Dumervil had a whopping nine pressures on 36 pass rushes for his first real impact on the season, but he agrees that Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter sure did look like rookies out there. As for Orton/Tebow, Elsayed writes that the former was "beyond terrible" and the presence of the former presence "seemed to galvanize" the Broncos.

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The Daily Lard 10-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, it sounds like John Fox will name Tim Tebow the starting quarterback today, because what else can he do? The cat's out of the bag, and Kyle Orton has been terrible. As Andy Benoit sees it, Fox is in a very difficult position, and he writes:

In truth, Fox and his staff know that a gameplan full of quarterback draws and screen passes can work in improvisational fashion, but not against a defense that will have seen it on film and prepared accordingly. This logic won’t register with a lot of Bronco fans. All they know is that Tebow came in and showed grit, had that “It” factor and gave the offense a spark.

He's right. The very same Tebow that played on Sunday is not going to win many NFL games, folks (if any). Sure, we can confirm our biases by citing the QB Rating of someone who threw nine passes (plus one spike) in two quarters of work, or point to the energy of the team and the crowd, but honestly this is what happens anytime a backup QB takes over for someone as unpopular as Orton has become in Denver. Everyone goes nuts, and the result doesn't even matter - because the guy "gave us a chance." Let's just go over what throws Tebow actually made on Sunday...

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The Daily Lard 10-10-11

Good Morning, and welcome to Confirmation Bias Week, Broncos fans! I know, I know. We finally had something to get excited about and I'm Mr. Wet Towel. But step back from the hyperbole machine - yesterday did not prove that Tim Tebow is going to be a great NFL QB, nor that he's a flat out winner - and that doesn't even consider the fact that Denver actually lost the game, 29-24 (box score). For those hoping to see Tebow fail, the botched snaps from under center and the bounced throws at receivers' feet are likewise not proof that Tebow will not be an NFL success.

It's practically a foregone conclusion that Tebow will be named the starter for the balance of the season, as well he should be. Kyle Orton has clearly played his way out of the starting job, with more turnovers (nine) than touchdowns this year (eight) and a 6.3 YPA which ties him with rookie Blaine Gabbert for 28th in the league. And to be honest, it's better this way - because however Tebow does going forward, there will be no pressure to put Orton back in, and it's such an obvious choice that the locker room will likely support the move fully.

There were some encouraging signs of progress from Tebow yesterday, including a bit more patience in reading his progressions rather than tucking and running at the first sign of trouble or with his first read covered. Let's see if that continues to improve, if his pocket presence becomes a bit less frenetic (he looked nervous yesterday), and if those snap and accuracy problems are softened over the rest of the season and with first-team snaps. We've got eleven games left in the season - let's see what he's got.

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The Daily Lard 10-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Lindsay Jones and I spoke a few days ago about Denver fans' feelings of empowerment, and she quoted me and linked to IAOFM within her article today. Obviously, we're flattered that Lindsay sought out our opinion - here's what I said, plus some expanded thoughts on the topic:

It seems like fans feel like their voice matters, that it counts, and that it should carry some weight. We don't really see it that way. It's a horrible way to run a team. You can't win games consistently over a long period of time if you operate that way.

The organization’s responsibility is to win as many games as possible, and that requires a long-term plan and vision. Fans tend to take the short view, while teams (businesses) should be less myopic. The moment a team starts “hearing” what the fans want in terms of which players to draft/sign/cut/sit/play, or whom to hire/fire is precisely when their chance of being successful ceases. That's not to say that the Broncos' current management (or any other) is always right, or that the fans are consistently wrong. No owner, general manager, coach, or head of football operations is ever 100% correct, and of course the fans aren't just ignorant dummies either. But we always have to remember that those making the decisions for the Broncos are operating with plenty more information than are any of us, no matter what we think of their ability to process it well. Of course, our goal here at IAOFM is to constantly narrow that knowledge gap by providing you with the best independent analysis of the Broncos anywhere, and we hope we are succeeding. As always, thanks for being here.

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The Daily Lard 10-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Champ Bailey, Rahim Moore, Marcus Thomas and Knowshon Moreno are all probable for tomorrow's game, while Brian Dawkins, Daniel Fells and Jonathan Wilhite are all questionable. As expected, Eddie Royal, Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas are out and will hopefully return after the bye week at Miami. Mike Klis is pretty sure Dawkins will play, while Legwold says that Marcus Thomas will make his season debut in a rotational role.

For San Diego, TE Antonio Gates is listed as doubtful, while C Nick Hardwick, WR Vincent Jackson and CB Quentin Jammer are all probably and expected to play. DEs Jacques Cesaire and Luis Castillo continue to be out.

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The Daily Lard 10-7-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Brian Dawkins again did not practice due to his ankle injury, while Rahim Moore joined Jonathan Wilhite on the sideline; both were described by John Fox as being out due to "illness." Quinton Carter saw more action in Dawkins' absence, while Daniel Fells was back at practice, giving the Broncos a full complement of tight ends. Remarkably, Orlando Franklin practiced yesterday despite mourning the loss of his younger brother.

Meanwhile, Vincent Jackson did not practice for the Chargers but is expected back today, while Antonio Gates is still foreseen as missing Sunday's game. CB Quentin Jammer missed practice with the flu but is expected to play.

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The Daily Lard 10-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team is gradually getting some more key players back, as Champ Bailey, Marcus Thomas and Knowshon Moreno practiced fully yesterday and figure to play on Sunday. Brian Dawkins, Daniel Fells and Jonathan Wilhite did not practice, while Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas still figure to return after next week's bye. According to Andrew Mason, if Fells is kept out by the knee injury he sufferd in Green Bay, there's always the chance that T Chris Clark sees some action at TE, and Quinton Carter would likely step in for Dawkins if his ankle injury prevents him from playing. But Klis says Dawkins, Fells and Wilhite are all expected to suit up.

Meanwhile, Orlando Franklin was excused from yesterday's practice due to the death of his 20-year-old brother. No word on his availablity for Sunday's game, and of course our thoughts go out to Orlando and his family.

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The Daily Lard 10-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! You know what helps empower fans into thinking they have a vote as to whom their team's QB or head coach is? Writers like Dave Krieger and his column today, that's what. Krieger is now framing the Orton/Tebow debate as a "war" between the Broncos and their fans, and in a continuation of the sentiments expressed by his colleagues Paige and Klis, Krieger suggests that a win over the Chargers on Sunday is the only way to keep the hounds at bay.

Krieger takes umbrage at John Fox's assertion that Kyle Orton won the starting job in training camp and that's why he's got it now. But really, what is the guy supposed to say? That the team is re-evaluating the QB situation every week throughout the season? That the team has to start winning or else Orton's gonna be riding the pine? What, pray tell, would that accomplish? Look, Fox is clearly not a juicy quote guy, and we've known that from prior to Day 1. So to parse every word the guy utters is an exercise in futility, or mental masturbation at best.

Really, this is skipping ludicrous and going right to plaid. There are twelve games remaining. For all those clamoring to "see what we have" in Tebow, is there going to be a huge difference between an eight-, nine- or 10-game glance? If this team is 1-7 and Tebow hasn't taken over by then, perhaps we've got a beef...

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The Daily Lard 10-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With the Chargers looming and the bye week to follow, the drumbeat for Tim Tebow to take over as Denver's QB is growing. In his latest mailbag, even the mild-opinioned Mike Klis suggests that the Broncos may have to go with Tebow should they lose again on Sunday. Or, at the least he thinks the fans may show up at Dove Valley with pitchforks and battering rams should the team not make the switch. What he doesn't see happening, however, is a trade of any of Denver's signal callers, because who trades for a quarterback midseason? Klis also confirms that there will be no changes to the Broncos' orange jerseys next year when Nike takes over, and incredibly he's not sure the Colts would take Andrew Luck should they land the first pick in the 2012 Draft.

Meanwhile, Woody says that as much as John Fox would like to stick his fingers in his ears and not hear the clamoring for Tebow, it's just not going away. But at the same time, Woody acknowledges that benching could potentially create something of a locker room problem. Ah, what to do...what to do...

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The Daily Lard 10-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After keeping it close (and even winning one) against three sloppy teams who handed them 11 first downs along the way, reality hit hard yesterday as Denver lost in Green Bay 49-23 to the flawless Packers (box score). While the Broncos made it momentarily close in the second quarter with two Kyle Orton-to-Eric Decker touchdowns bringing them within four points of the defending champs, it was a men-versus-boys type of affair as Aaron Rodgers accounted for a whopping six TDs - four through the air and two via the ground. Green Bay's other TD came on an early pick-six of Orton by Charles Woodson which put the Pack up 14-3.

There were a few positives, as Von Miller was again a terror (two sacks, three QB hits, two TFL), Willis McGahee topped 100 yards on just 15 carries, Mike McCoy opened up the playbook a bit, Orton had three TD passes, and Brandon Lloyd broke free for 136 yards on eight receptions after his "selfish complaining" from last week (hilarious). But in addition to his fatal misthrow to Woodson, Orton also came up woefully short on a would-be 40-yard TD pass to an open Lloyd early in the fourth quarter, and instead CB Sam Shields took it back 60 yards before Rodgers connected with Donald Driver to cap Green Bay's scoring.

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