The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 9-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team will hold its first full practice regular-season practice and issue their first injury report today. As Lindsay Jones reiterates, the Broncos are hoping to get DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas back in time for Monday's opener.

So, today is the day the DP unleashed their preview of the Broncos' season, and the focus is John Elway. Where Woody Paige typically shares an interview with team owner Pat Bowlen, Mike Klis instead presents one with Elway as the clear face of the Broncos organization. Within it, Elway speaks of lifting the pall that's enveloped the franchise in recent years as the tragedy of Darrent Williams and Kenny McKinley's untimely deaths, and the ugliness of the Jay Cutler drama have come to dominate the Denver headlines.

Elway strangely theorizes that it's a good defense that creates home-field advantage (tell that to Colts and Saints fans) and defends himself against the ridiculous notion that great players can't become great team execs, just because a few of them have failed to do so in the past. As for that garbage, Elway scored a 29 on the Wonderlic and Dan Marino scored a 16. Marino's flop running the Dolphins predicts nothing for Elway's stewardship.

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The Daily Lard 9-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! On Broncos TV, Brian Xanders tells Chris Hall the team had settled on two or three players to make waiver claims on, but in the end decided the players already on the roster were preferable - or at least until they decided they weren't, and signed Tony Hills yesterday. Xanders also reminds us that waivers are a daily process and that the FO and coaches are constantly evaluating the roster - remember how Shanny used to try out several players almost every week during the season? Or the Curse of Brett Kern? And as Legwold points out, not only are the contracts of vested veterans not guaranteed if they're signed after Week 1, they are only paid on a week-to-week basis after that.

So in keeping with Ted's point yesterday to keep calm, realize that the roster as presently constructed is unlikely to remain unchanged for even three or four weeks. Plus, throughout the preseason we've generally been seeing the second and third units operating as a whole, rather than backups mixing in with starters. Yes, it's still about winning individual battles, but when the guys next to you are losing theirs...

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The Daily Lard 9-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Some terrific news among Mike Klis' practice notes from yesterday - defensive tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas may both return to practice sometime this week, which of course would be an enormous development as the Raiders bring their dominant rushing attack to town Monday night. Plus, Demaryius Thomas practiced yesterday as expected, although there is no publicized timetable as to when he'll return to action - apparently at this point it's strictly a matter of Demaryius getting back into football shape. Granted, that could take awhile.

Meanwhile, Chris Kuper was back at practice yesterday after missing last week with a toe injury. The team is off today and will practice tomorrow.

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The Daily Lard 9-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legwold says the FO just didn't see any players on the waiver wire who could contribute quickly to the team, hence their lack of claims. He also repeats what Klis wrote yesterday about the team not wanting to absorb any pre-existing contracts, but truly that one is hard to believe. As I wrote last night, most young players make the minimum salary for their respective experience levels, so anyone picked up on waivers would in essence be on one-year contracts as the claiming team would be able to cut them at any point with no bonus accelerations or cap hits.

Meanwhile, Demaryius Thomas has been working only with the medical and strength/conditioning staffs as he comes back from his Achilles injury. Brian Xanders says Thomas will be working with the scout team today as the team prepares for next Monday's opener against the Raiders.

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The Daily Lard 9-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Following yesterday's leaguewide cuts and waivers, the Broncos have an opportunity to claim some young talent today. For any players with less than four years of service, the Broncos will have second crack (behind Carolina) at picking them up - and in all instances, they will have to immediately cut or waive another player to make room on the 53-man roster. FWIW, players who are claimed on waivers today cannot then be traded to other teams - so while Denver has an advantage with their place in the waiver order, they cannot leverage it into acquiring other assets.

For players like RB Lance Ball, OL Chris Clark, Manny Ramirez and Herb Taylor, DL Ryan McBean and Mitch Unrein, and CB Chris Harris, this could mean the excitement of having cracked Denver's roster may be limited to but a day. Meanwhile, vested veterans (those with four years of service) will have their 2011 salaries guaranteed come next Saturday. All waiver claims must be submitted by teams by noon ET today and will be awarded at 4pm ET. Any players that clear waivers today will immediately become free agents.

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The Daily Lard 9-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's a big day, as final cutdowns are due across the league, and Denver is expected to be scouring the waiver wire for some much-needed depth - or didn't you see Thursday's game? Andrew Mason takes his shot at predicting the Denver roster (pre-waiver pickups, of course) and figures the team to keep only three RBs (Lance Ball over Jeremiah Johnson and Brandon Minor) and three TEs (with Virgil Green potentially sliding to the PS), plus five WRs (Eron Riley beating out David Anderson) and eight LBs (Lee Robinson and Mike Mohamed sticking). Mason also sees CB Chris Harris making the squad, with Darcel McBath beating out his fellow '09 draftee David Bruton at safety.

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The Daily Lard 9-2-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans, and welcome to the most parentheses-laden Lard in history! The best part about last night's 26-7 loss (box score) to the Cardinals is that it's over. There was injury (Syd'Quan Thompson - torn Achilles tendon, done for the year; Britt Davis - concussion; Nate Irving - chest; David Bruton - shoulder; Matthew Willis - turf toe), there was insult (Arizona led 26-0 until the final two minutes), and there was craptastic play on both sides of the ball, as the Broncos were outgained 398 to 293, with more than half of their yards (164) coming on the team's last two drives of the game.

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The Daily Lard 9-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Doug Farrar rounds up plenty of praise for Von Miller from Greg Cosell and Cecil Lammey, mixing it all in with his own. Farrar and Cosell see Miller as being similar to DeMarcus Ware, and they make note of Von's sack against James Carpenter where he starts outside and then suddenly shifts inside as his most impressive play thus far. Lammey sees Miller as being most successful as a 5-2 end, says he may be the fastest pass rusher in the league and lauds his anticipation of the snap.

Farrar also takes another look at Tim Tebow and the plight of QBs who run the spread option in college and their difficult transitions to the pro game. Farrar again hits up Cosell, who thinks Tebow's mechanics are just poor overall. Meanwhile, Jon Gruden echoes the points made by Mike Lombardi in that any team with plans for Tebow as a QB need to commit to him fully, and that means molding their offense to fit the player, rather than the other way around.

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The Daily Lard 8-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In a column today, Legwold considers the emergence of new starting Mike LB Joe Mays, whom the Broncos acquired last summer from the Eagles. Naturally, I'm going to gloss over the quotes (ZZZZZZ) and focus on the minutiae - he paints the deal as one of, if not the only successful trade of the Josh McDaniels era - never mind the Cutler and Marshall deals. Of course, Legwold doesn't even get the details correct, writing that Denver got a draft pick along with Mays from Philly. Would be nice if it were true - rather, the Broncos dealt twice-signed RB J.J. Arrington to Philly along with a 2012 sixth-rounder conditional upon whether Arrington made the 2010 Eagles. He did not, so Denver owes the pick.

Interestingly, there's more to this 2012 Draft picture, as the Broncos may still owe another conditional pick to the Browns as part of the Peyton Hillis/Brady Quinn deal. The specifics are unavailable on that one (plenty of earlier reports had said Denver was sending a sixth-rounder, but that's obviously not the case since it's going to Philly), so it's unclear what's left of that trade, if anything. Perhaps it's tied to Quinn's playing time this year? Who knows - maybe Captain Journalism can dig up the facts, that is if we want to trust him with that kind of hard work.

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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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