The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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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The Daily Lard 8-20-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige says the QB competition is officially over, and that there is nothing either Tim Tebow or Brady Quinn can do to supplant Kyle Orton as the starter at this point. However, Woodrow believes that eventually Tebow will take over the starting job, albeit again late in the year - his guess is December 11 when the Bears and Jay Cutler come to town.

Meanwhile, Mike Klis says to expect Orton and the other first-teamers to play most if not all of the first half, and he and Andrew Mason both point out that John Fox has not announced which QB will follow Orton tonight. Now while there may be uncertainty surrounding the QB rotation tonight, you can count on this - TJ will be bringing a double-whammy of Baxter McLove during the day and his Gut Reactions once the game is over, and as always we'll have an open thread during the game and a Chewing the Fat tomorrow.

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The Daily Lard 8-19-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Hmm. Now that The Professor has floated nationally the thought that Brady Quinn may function as the Broncos' #2 QB heading into the season rather than Tim Tebow, the local scribes figure it's safe to do the same. In fact, Mike Klis and Jeff Legwold are concurrently doing so today, not that we can blame them for wanting to share the spreading of that message. After all, even if it's the truth (at this point, why isn't it to be believed - this probably comes from the top), anyone who writes such a story is going to face the flaming wrath of Tebow's most ardent fans, right?

Legwold cleverly snuck this notion in while responding to a question of whether the Broncos would trade a QB for a DT in light of the recent injuries to Ty Warren and Marcus Thomas, while Klis makes his all about the vast progress Quinn has apparently made since a year ago. But as much as we love to bash these reporters when they try to become analysts, this Quinn as #2 QB storyline is not so much opinion as it is what appears to be the front office putting the word out as gently as they know how. Now, let's see how things go tomorrow night...

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The Daily Lard 8-18-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver got a bit of help for their ailing defensive tackle corps by claiming DeMario Pressley off waivers from the Colts yesterday. Pressley (6-3, 301) was a fifth-round choice out of NC State by New Orleans in 2008 and was a part of the Saints' Super Bowl-winning team the following year, recording 15 tackles in seven games. Of course, that means Pressley is familiar with DC Dennis Allen, who was the Saints' secondary coach during the player's two seasons there. The 25-year-old tackle was stashed on the Saints' practice squad last season before the Texans signed him to their active roster in December. The Colts claimed Pressley after Houston waived him in February; here are his profiles from the Colts and Texans' official sites.

Meanwhile, Ty Warren is scheduled for surgery to repair his triceps injury and will not as of yet be placed on IR, as the Broncos are holding out hope that he'll be able to return at some point late in the season. Of course, they can always put him on IR at a later point; if he is placed on the PUP list, Warren would have to start practicing by Week 9 and be activiated by Week 12, or else remain on the PUP list for the entirety of the year.*

*Warren cannot be placed on the PUP list, as he had participated in training camp practices

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The Daily Lard 8-17-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's official - the Big IF is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. As much as we've made fun of the lengthiness of the name here, at least the stadium now has a sports-related name rather than a financial one. After all, on their days off and while spending their hard-earned money to watch football, fans don't more reminders of their mortgages, 401k's, car payments, or their taxes going to subsidize the place, right? And as a bonus, if any sporting goods retailer was going to take over the naming rights, let's just be glad it wasn't Dick's.

More from Klis on the new name - for now, Sports Authority has just taken over the remaining 10 years on the Invesco deal, while the stadium district is trying to figure if they can milk the company for more money on the 15 years beyond that. The Broncos and the district will split the $6M in annual revenue from the deal. And, hopefully the reported plan to paint pillars in the stadium with ALL THOSE OPPOSED TO THE RAIDERS SAY 'NEIGH' is merely a horribly corny joke. What is this, the 18th century?

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The Daily Lard 8-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, not really. During yesterday's practice, Ty Warren suffered a triceps tendon injury that's thought to be serious; he underwent an MRI last night, the results of which we can expect sometime today. To top it off, fellow defensive tackle Marcus Thomas strained his right pec and was also scheduled to undergo an MRI last night. With yesterday's release of DT Louis Leonard, that leaves Brodrick Bunkley, Kevin Vickerson, Jeremy Jarmon, Mitch Unrein, Ryan McBean and Ronnell Brown as the healthy tackles on Denver's roster.

Now, this may be bad news, but keep in mind - serious injuries are a part of almost every NFL team, every year - just ask the SB Champion Packers, who had 16 players on IR last year including six starters. This is why teams need quality depth. Yes, the Broncos were greatly impacted by the injury to Elvis Dumervil last year, but the reality is that their season was harmed equally by the lack of starting-caliber players behind him. So whatever happens with Warren, it's not an excuse for the FO - it's their job to have enough talent on the roster to make up for his potential loss. Remember - it's all in the game.

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The Daily Lard 8-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legwold checks in on DT Marcus Thomas, who has of course played for a different defensive coordinator in each of his five NFL seasons with the Broncos. Thomas, who will only be turning 26 next month, tells Legwold that, "Every year it seemed like I was trying to learn a new system, learn something new," followed by the obligatory, "I feel like this defense suits me and the things I can do."

As Legwold points out, Mike Shanahan called Thomas a "first-round talent" after he dealt three picks to the Vikings in a draft day trade for the 121st-overall pick the Broncos would use to select the ex-Gator. One of those picks (Denver's '08 third-rounder) would eventually end up with KC, who utilized it to draft Jamaal Charles. Interestingly, that #121 pick had been Denver's original fourth-rounder, but they'd dealt it away the year before as part of their two-part move up to get Jay Cutler, and other players tied to its transactions include WR Sidney Rice and the oft-rumored Denver target John Abraham. Pretty simple, right?

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The Daily Lard 8-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Broncos have been a bit banged up at receiver, but Eddie Royal did catch passes yesterday on a field adjacent to practice and should be back in full this week. Royal has been hampered by soreness in his previously healthy hip, presumably due to him compensating for his surgically repaired one. Plus, Matthew Willis was limited in practice and TE Richard Quinn will be out 2-4 weeks with a strained MCL.

Meanwhile, the team waived/injured WR Mark Dell and will likely place him on IR if he clears waivers; Dell suffered a serious knee injury in Thursday's game. They replaced him with former Purdue WR Greg Orton, who was an undrafted signee of the Bengals in 2009 and appeared in three preseason games for Cincy that year.

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The Daily Lard 8-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The details of Matt Prater's DUI arrest are pretty embarrassing*, laughable within the context that nobody got hurt and it all occurred within the confines of a parking lot. Sounds like our idiot kicker picked up a waitress/bartender/stripper at Shotgun Willie's, backed his Blazer into a parked car, and then tried to get a room in the hotel of said parking lot after being yelled at by a bunch of witnesses. When that didn't work out, he ditched the young lady and headed over to a nearby La Quinta where the police found him.

Prater then proceeded to fail his sobriety test and took a breathalyzer test at the police station, telling the cops along the way, "I really messed up. I'm going to lose my job. I deserve this." Meanwhile, the Broncos released the following statement:

Our organization is disappointed with the poor judgment shown by Matt Prater on Aug. 2. This matter, which was addressed with the team last week, continues to be thoroughly reviewed internally.

Drinking and driving is without doubt a serious matter, as comedic as this tale appears to be. But let's just be glad no one was injured, and hope that Prater and his teammates learn a good lesson from his shenanigans.

* Speaking of embarrassing, I'm reminded that I forgot to mention that it's Doc's birthday today! Please join all of us in wishing Doc a happy one, with many healthy ones to come!

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