The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 8-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Puzzingly, Jeff Legwold thinks the Broncos' FO should speak up regarding Tim Tebow's status within the organization. Really, what's the point? He's either starting or he's not, and we all know he's not. We also know he's not going anywhere, as his 2011-2014 salaries have already been paid out. Beyond that, any more Tebow talk from Johns Fox and/or Elway is wasted breath, and we know the coach isn't about to tip his hand to how the young QB may or may not be used come the regular season. Are we the fans owed some sort of explanation or road map? Absolutely not.

Top backup? First into the game in the case of an injury to Kyle Orton? First guy to start if Orton is unable or inept? Will Tebow see any short-yardage or goal-to-go snaps this season without those prior occurences? Let's just wait and see, why don't we?

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The Daily Lard 8-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Legwold, the Broncos expect to be without LB D.J. Williams (dislocated elbow) for the first two weeks of the season, although there's a chance he could return by Week 2. Unfortunately, he says there's also a chance that DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee sprain) could miss the opener against Darren McFadden and the Raiders. Obviously, the absence of Bunkley is not going to help Denver's cause in trying to prevent a repeat of their most recent matchups - the Raiders have ripped us for a total of 833 rushing yards over the past three games, and no that is not a typo. By higher math, that averages out to 277.7 yards per game on the ground. Hmm, time to try out some platelet rich plasma injection therapy on Bunkley's knee?

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The Daily Lard 8-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night's 23-20 victory (box score) over Seattle was about two things - the exceptional pass-rushing duo of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, and Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow's strengths and weaknesses encapsulated. The two defenders put on quite a show, combining for 3.5 sacks, six QB hits and three tackles for loss in just over two quarters of football as the defense held the Seahawks to 39 yards of total offense in the first half and just 183 yards overall. The extent of Von and Doom's dominance was likely magnified by the awful play of Seattle's starting tackles Tyler Polumbus and James Carpenter, but it's still cause for excitement.

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The Daily Lard 8-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Legwold points out, tonight's game against Seattle will provide the best and last preseason barometer of where the team is at, as the starters will play into the third quarter and sit out next Thursday's finale at Arizona. Tim Tebow is expected to be the second QB into the game, while the Broncos are expected to cut 10 players before Monday's practice - so tonight will be the final audition for several players.

As always, we'll have an open thread here starting an hour before kickoff, TJ's peerless Gut Reactions after the game's conclusion, and a Chewing the Fat tomorrow.

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The Daily Lard 8-26-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Pat Bowlen did his annual the team looks good the players love the coach I love the coach sitdown with the DP, although this time it's Mike Klis asking the questions (hasn't this always been Woody's gig?). In comparing Josh McDaniels and John Fox, Bowlen offers up this puzzler - "(Josh) just didn't have the level of experience that made me comfortable. John does." Okay, so why did you hire the guy in the first place, Mr. B? Honestly, there's not much in the way of substance to this one, although Klis does write that given his druthers, Bowlen would prefer an offensive-minded coach who'll lead the team to put up a ton of points. But as Klis puts it, Bowlen was nudged in the defensive direction by John Elway. BTW, someone should tell Klis that the Patriots have only won three Super Bowls under Bill Belichick, so the Shanny/Belichick/Coughlin total for SB victories should be six rather than seven. Ah, details.

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The Daily Lard 8-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, go figure. It continues to be Tim Tebow Time all the time here in Broncos Land - yesterday, John Fox stepped up and said he doesn't know where Mike Silver got his quotes from the other day, suggesting even that it was perhaps the chef (did he mean chief?). Fox says the teams holds Tebow "in high regard," that he's "progressing fine," and that he'll get a bunch more chances in one of the next two preseason games. Of course, that was going to happen anyway, since the starters often don't play at all in the fourth and final preseason game - so drama or not, Tebow was going to see plenty of snaps next week.

Klis and Woody are wondering why so many writers think the Tebow Project is already over. Look, we all saw him in the final three games of last season, and there was plenty to get excited about. Plus, he looked pretty good in the preseason opener this year, and if you blinked you may have missed his appearance in last week's game. Meanwhile, if Legwold has it right, then it seems I may have been right all along about the $6.275M roster bonus Tebow was due this year - in today's article about the tradeability of the Denver QBs, Legwold says Tebow got paid right after the lockout when I said he had. Perhaps I just need to trust myself more, who knows? Anyway, this should put to rest any questions about the possibility of Tebow getting traded or cut - it's just not happening.

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The Daily Lard 8-24-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his article today, Mike Klis focuses on Dennis Allen's creative use of Champ Bailey in covering the slot on passing downs. In reading the following quote from Allen, the role Charles Woodson has played for the Packers comes to mind:

We just felt like it would be the best thing for our team to move him inside. We can use him in a role he hasn't been used in as much — pressure the quarterback, lock him down on the slot and do some different things outside. I think it gives us a lot of flexibility putting him in there.

Now, we all know that the reports of Champ having lost a step or two are greatly exaggerated, but what is true is that he hasn't been put in a position to make many game-changing plays since having amassed an eye-popping 18 picks (plus one forced fumble and that legendary INT against the Pats in the playoffs) from 2005-2006. In fact, over the four years since, Champ has only had 9 INTs and three forced fumbles - basically, opponents have been able to largely ignore him. Hopefully, this year we'll get to see more of the big plays we know Champ is still capable of, now that he'll be regularly foisted upon the hearts of opposing offenses.

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The Daily Lard 8-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As you all know, I love to call professional journalists out for their factual errors, especially when they don't bother to go back and correct them later. Live by the sword, die by the sword, can't fear it, right? I've written a couple of times (including yesterday) that Tim Tebow was already due to have received his $6.275M payout (which is an advance on his 2011-2014 salaries). However, LJ tweeted yesterday that Tebow's payout is due on Sep 2, and she may in fact be correct. Having re-read the section of the new CBA that covers this stuff, the date for Tebow's payday was definitely no earlier than this past Saturday - it didn't come weeks ago, like I had written previously. I've asked a couple of writers to check into this, so hopefully we'll have a definitive answer shortly.

Anyway, here's the gist - if Tebow has not yet received his payout, then of course that opens the possibility for him to get cut like Mike Freeman wrote on Sunday, as unlikely as that sounds. Back to the self-flagellation - I pride myself in getting everything factually correct, and you as readers depend upon that. Doesn't always happen, unfortunately - so I can't promise it. But what I can guaranatee is to always double back and correct myself, and clearly so. I worry that the more times I do this I open that much more doubt about what I write daily, but I find that preferable to losing your respect and becoming Captain Hypocrite (what could be worse as a writer?). Anyway, I'll let you know what comes of the Tebow/cash money question as soon as I can. Okay, can I stop writing about myself now? Thanks...

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The Daily Lard 8-22-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Mason thinks it's a virtual certainty that Rahim Moore will be fined by the NFL for his devastating hit Saturday night on Bills WR Donald Jones. Mason cites the movement of Jones' helmet upon impact, and says Moore "launched himself" into the hit as his reasoning. Honestly, I have watched this hit probably 25 times, and I still don't see a problem with Moore's action there. Not only was he completely upright, but he did not leave his feet, and he even turned his head away as he delivered the blow with his right shoulder. I'll agree with Mason in that Moore's helmet did contact that of Jones, but he did not lower or lead with it.

Who knows - maybe Steelers fans have these very same sentiments after watching James Harrison's hits, and I'm just being a homer. Either way, it appears Moore himself has a good perspective on the physicality of his position - he doesn't intend to hurt anyone, he hopes Jones is okay, and he will continue to play aggressively and physically. Sounds good...

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The Daily Lard 8-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night was another encouraging one, and not just because of the 24-10 final score (box) in Denver's favor. On offense, both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn were quite sharp and efficient, Knowshon Moreno ran well, and all of the backs were effective weapons within the passing game. Mike McCoy attacked the Bills' defense all night long with his play calling, and John Fox even went for it on 4th-and-1 in plus territory (Don't get too excited - Fox only went for it 111 times in 9 seasons in Carolina, and 43 of those instances came during the past two years when the Panthers won a combined 10 games. Bill Belichick has gone for it 161 times during that same 9-year period.)

Now if you are looking for something to be excited about, Denver's pass rush was exceptional - harrassing the Buffalo QBs all night long. Even if they only had one sack and one takeaway, the defense held the Bills to just 21 of 40 for 188 yards of net passing. Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil and Brodrick Bunkley brought tons of pressure, Cassius Vaughn was stellar in coverage, and Britton Colquitt lived up to his family name in a big way. Reason for concern? As TJ mentioned in the Gut Reactions, the Broncos' defense was quite vulnerable to screen plays. But overall, it was a very good night for the Broncos, even if they were only playing the Bills.

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