The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 11-4-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Benson previews Sunday's matchup in Oakland for PFF, and he writes that it's something of a must-win for both teams, as the loser will surely be faced with big questions about its QB in the aftermath. Will Denver stick with Tim Tebow if he doesn't show progress? Did the Raiders overpay for Carson Palmer? Benson also speculates that a loss for Denver could mean a shakeup in the starting lineup, and it's a fair point.

Benson says Oakland's fans likely won't be long on patience for their new QB given the ransom they gave up to acquire him, although he figures Palmer should do well against a pass defense that has struggled for almost the whole season. Unfortunately, Sunday has the potential to be another brutal day for Orlando Franklin, whose assignment will be to fend off yet another top pass rusher - this time LB Kamerion Wimbley, whom he was not able to contain in the opener (six hurries).

Finally, Benson theorizes that the reason for Tebow's success as a starter last year and apparent regression this season is partly a matter of opposing teams having a better idea of how to game plan him - playing him less like a passing threat and focusing more upon keeping him in the pocket. So, can the Broncos manage to run the ball efficiently if they're facing 8 or 9 men in the box? Will Tebow be able to make some throws against man coverage and soften up the Oakland defense? If not, it will be another long Sunday...

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 11-4-11"

The Daily Lard 11-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Quinton Carter, Virgil Green and Cassius Vaughn did not practice yesterday, while Willis McGahee and Orlando Franklin were limited. John Fox says McGahee will only play Sunday if he's able to use both of his hands effectively.

Out in Oakland, RB Darren McFadden is still on crutches and in a walking boot, so don't expect him to play Sunday; rather, Denver can figure upon seeing a steady diet of Michael Bush, a RB many Broncos fans had hoped the team would acquire via FA. Also not practicing were LB Rolando McClain, K Sebastian Janikowski, and CBs Chris Johnson and Chimdi Chekwa. Janikowski is expected to play, and his replacement against KC, Dave Rayner, is no longer on the team's roster.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 11-3-11"

The Daily Lard 11-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Greg Gabriel believes it's pretty much time to move Tim Tebow to another position, if not now than sooner than later. Gabriel says that Tebow was blessed in his Florida career to have arguably the best players in the country surrounding him, and that with the offensive scheme, line and skill players at his disposal, Tim was bound to be successful there. A quick glance at Tebow's 2008 BCS Title team shows NFL starters Cam Newton, the Pouncey twins, Aaron Hernandez, David Nelson, Percy Harvin, Carlos Dunlap, Joe Haden, Brandon Spikes, and Major Wright, plus lesser NFL lights (but still in the league) Louis Murphy, Riley Cooper and Ahmad Black, among others. Gabriel states that this vast talent supply helped Tebow get away with his poor mechanics, and he writes:

He does not read defenses well, he lacks accuracy and he is too impatient to let plays develop. All things that are needed to be a good NFL quarterback. Denver has adjusted its offense to try and call plays to Tebow’s strengths, using the shotgun more and having some run/pass options.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 11-2-11"

The Daily Lard 11-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Thankfully, we don't have to bother speculating on who will play QB on Sunday, because John Fox confirmed it will be Tim Tebow, although he didn't commit beyond that.

Meanwhile, Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports' Eye on Football reviews all of Tebow's throws, and he writes,

Tebow continues to struggle with identifying coverages, going through his progressions, and getting the ball out of his hands on time. Couple that with average arm strength, poor mechanics and inaccuracy issues, and you get a lot of bad football.

Wilson has apparently been doing this all year long for Tebow including the preseason; here is his analysis of Tebow's first start in Miami.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 11-1-11"

The Daily Lard 10-31-11

Happy Halloween, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, it seems Tim Tebow & Co. got all their treats a week early, because yesterday was just one big trick - and the Lions just weren't fooled by Tim's winner costume in their 45-10 victory (box score). In fact, Detroit didn't follow the script properly at all, because their Scooby Doo-style unveiling of Tebow as a fraud came way too early in the show. Or, was it that Tebow turned into a pumpkin when struck by a more talented team? Because really, the Broncos looked like a bunch of headless horsemen yesterday.

Okay, no more Halloween puns. Last week we got 55 minutes of ugly from Denver, and yesterday wasn't really any better. Granted, Tebow for much of the game looked better than he had in Miami, but that's hardly saying anything at all. We can pin it on the coaches, on the offensive line, the receivers, the defense. But this is the NFL, and it's all about the quarterback - or wouldn't this team have started out 4-1 or 5-0 had Tebow been the QB from Week 1?

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 10-31-11"

The Daily Lard 10-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver has interestingly foregone the option to add another running back to the active roster today, so only Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball will suit up in the absence of Willis McGahee. Obviously, Tim Tebow's running skills (on both designed and improvised plays) are a factor, and the team does have two fullbacks in Spencer Larsen and Quinn Johnson, who dressed last week in Miami after having been claimed on waivers from Tennessee three weeks ago. Presumably one of the fullbacks would fill in at halfback should Knowshon and Ball suffer injuries, and TE Dante Rosario has seen action at FB as a Bronco. Denver has one tailback on the practice squad: Jeremiah Johnson, who had been activated for the Week 2 victory over Cincinnati.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 10-30-11"

The Daily Lard 10-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Benson previews tomorrow's game for PFF, and he says it's practically a must-win for the Lions after having dropped two straight. He figures we'll see plenty of carries for Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball in the absence of Willis McGahee, but says that despite Detroit's struggles against the run in recent weeks, they're not lacking for defenders who play it well.

Benson is excited for the matchup of Champ and Megatron, as he points out that most teams don't move their top cornerbacks around to shadow top receivers, unlike Denver with Bailey. As for the Denver passing game, he writes that Ndamukong Suh will be licking his chops for those frequent occasions where Tim Tebow turns himself into a runner and foregoes the NFL's quarterback-protecting rules, and that Orlando Franklin should need less help with Cliff Avril than he did against Cameron Wake of the Dolphins.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 10-29-11"

The Daily Lard 10-28-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! What a remarkable week for Tim Tebow, huh? First, he onside kick diving catches nickel personnel against obvious draw singlehandedly brings the Broncos back from down 15 points with three five minutes left in the game against a terrible real NFL team to snatch victory from the jaws of the winless Dolphins defeat. Then, we learn that Tebow really is closer with his offensive teammates than is Kyle Orton, hence the incredible effort they all put forth on his behalf for five minutes all game long.

Next, we find that a pair of Tebow's pants are available on eBay for the low, low price of $5,000 $4,999.99 (Free shipping!!!). Then, a vomit-inducing an awesome music video dedicated to His his greatness, AND we find out that he's got a DVD coming out (I already pre-ordered 35 copies of it to distribute to my family at Thanksgiving)! (Amazing he found time to film a DVD, hawk undies, and do a book tour in between all those countless hours practicing his snaps from under center and perfecting his throwing motion.)

But yesterday Tebowmania reached another new pinnacle, with his very own Taiwanese animation and a new meme he inspired on Sunday called Tebowing going viral. Heck, even Von Miller got swept up in the craze. And to think, it all started at the bar I used to watch Broncos games at until I got DirecTV just so I could Chew the Fat with the guys. Not to be a jerk about it, but how can anyone complain about East Coast media bias when Tim Tebow's very first meme starts in the heart of New York City? Hahaha.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 10-28-11"

The Daily Lard 10-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In Andy Benoit's preview of Sunday's game, he says we shouldn't expect to see much change in Tim Tebow's throwing motion going forward, that we can at least hope his footwork will improve, and he calls Tebow's arm strength "middling" by NFL standards. Benoit's answer to the question of why the Broncos don't unleash Tebow's game earlier is that doing so would create more mistakes and bigger deficits. And, nothing Benoit saw Sunday served to convince him that the Broncos have a true deep threat who can stretch a defense among their wide receivers. He writes that this is why the Broncos are so conservative on offense, although of course this is Foxball! Denver wasn't exactly chucking it downfield with Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton, either...

Benoit says the Lions' run defense is much better than their ranking would suggest, and that a few missed tackles have led to big runs and those poor numbers. But he thinks the Broncos need to try to attack Detroit up the middle in the run game, and pretty much abandon the idea of running outside. As for the Lions' offense, Benoit says the absence of Jahvid Best has really hurt their passing game and tightened things up for Calvin Johnson, who is seeing more double coverage as a result. This, combined with the presence of Champ Bailey and the pass rush ability of Von Miller tells Benoit the Broncos should be able to hang with the Lions' passing attack.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 10-27-11"

The Daily Lard 10-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, Nate Jackson thinks the fact that Tebow doesn't fit everyone's conventional mold of a QB is good for football. Should Tebow become a sustained NFL success, that will absolutely be true. It's always neat to see the prevailing wisdom of the day turned on its head, no matter the forum, and a winning Tim Tebow would be great for the sport, not just for the Broncos. Yet, just like it's irresponsible to declare Tebow will never be an NFL QB, it's a bit early to be pronouncing him a football hero, wouldn't you say? Or, is perspective only welcome when the Broncos lose?

You know what else is funny about Jackson's column? The notion that passing the football and stopping the pass is the surest pathway to winning has only recently overtaken the outdated mindset of running and stopping the run. Sure, there have been plenty of championships won over the past several decades by teams that leaned primarily on their passing games, but the notion that this NFL is a "passing league" is still relatively new. And guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have reset the bar for precision quarterbacking over the past decade or so. But, Jackson finds this all too bland for his blood.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 10-26-11"