The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 5-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Brandt has some interesting thoughts on the recent news that the owners are thinking of tweaking the 2010 work rules should the lockout injunction be affirmed by the Eighth Circuit. Brandt points out that if the NFL goes another season without a salary floor or cap, the owners who don't spend as much as others could put themselves into hot water with the courts, as they could appear to be colluding to keep salaries and payrolls down. All of these players stuck in the murkiness of "am I an RFA or a UFA" like Denver's own Marcus Thomas and Ryan Harris would seemingly have a legitimate beef, right?

Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports writes that players and assistant coaches are skirting the lockout rules by staying in touch via text, phone, email and Skype. And as Doug Farrar points out, while this reality may damage the players' case in the labor battle, it's not something the NFL would likely try to make a big deal of.

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The Daily Lard 5-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Tim Tebow spoke with Dan Patrick last week on Patrick's radio show and of course answered the typical questions. One of his responses offered another hint at Tebow's relationship with Kyle Orton...

Tebow: No, I mean we haven’t talked too much, but we have a great relationship. I’ll look forward to going in there and just competing.

Translation: Of course we haven't spoken, especially after he left me out of his Vegas trip - you know I would've torn that place up. Kyle's been a jerk ever since Studesville announced that I had the starting gig - which I won't be relinquishing - the rest of the way. There won't be anything left to say after I crush him in training camp.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from Tebow is that he thinks Urban Meyer will indeed return to coaching college ball at some point. Here's the podcast of Patrick's conversation with Tebow in full.

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WADA Lard 5-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Judy Battista writes that the NFL has been in contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about possibly overseeing the league's PED testing going forward. And if Judge Nelson's lockout injunction is upheld by the Eighth Circuit (whose decision is expected any day now), without the existence of a players' union the league will be free to impose rules that include third-party and HGH testing, both of which the NFLPA has resisted in the past. But while the league is likely to begin drug testing in short order should the Eighth Circuit rule for the players, Battista writes that the inclusion of HGH testing would not occur until later on in the year.

Of course, if the courts continue to show they have the players' backs in their dispute with ownership, then such a unilateral move by the NFL to institute HGH testing could only serve to open the league to more legal losses, upon a sure challenge by the players. How do you feel about HGH testing in the NFL? Do you feel strongly either for or against it, or are you indifferent as to if/when it finally does get instituted?

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The Daily Lard 5-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans, and Happy Mother's Day! Kiszla thinks the Broncos should go with Tim Tebow this year to see what he's made of, and if that doesn't work out then maybe they'll have a shot at Andrew Luck next April. Sounds about right to me...

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Say it ain’t so, Gus!!! Lard 5-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The chances of the Broncos or any other AFC team being involved in any wild finishes like this one or this one just went down oh, I don't know...about ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. In basically the worst broadcasting news in history, Gus Johnson and CBS were unable to reach agreement on a new deal, so the electric announcer is moving on. In other words, no more Gus for AFC football or NCAA tourney games. I'm going to go cry now...but before I do, here's Gus describing and reenacting the Stokley call, Part 1Part 2 (Stokley again), Part 3 and Part 4 of the Best of Gus on YouTube. For good measure, here's the Stokley play as called by Gus in Tecmo form. It just doesn't get old...

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Setting Woody’s record straight (someone’s gotta do it) Lard 5-6-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Channel 3 Sports in Arizona is reporting that the Cardinals have had "preliminary contact" with the Broncos about acquiring Kyle Orton. The report also states that Denver believes the Cards would only be interested in Orton if they were unable to trade for Eagles backup Kevin Kolb.

Meanwhile, Orton has apparently been working out with his Broncos teammates in Denver. The players have yet to conduct formal practices, but honestly that's completely besides the point. Anyone suppose Woodrow is going to come forth with some sort of apology/mea culpa after his column from yesterday? Well, here's what the standup DP did: they removed the little part about Orton playing golf at Bandon Dunes from the column and slipped this little nugget in at the bottom:

Editor's note: Woody Paige originally reported that Orton was playing golf in Oregon. Orton is working out in Denver, according to Judianne Atencio of ProLink Sports.

Of course, a correction like this one is only going to reach folks who hadn't already read the column yesterday. How many OCD folks like me are revisiting it (to link it here)? Can someone who gets the hard copy of the DP today tell us if there's a separate note of correction somewhere? Obviously, it remains to be seen what Woody does to address his mistake directly, but perhaps some of the "eight hours" he claims he spent researching defensive tackles would have been put to better use confirming Kyle Orton's whereabouts...

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The Daily Lard 5-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige thinks the Broncos' players should be gathering en masse to practice and basically points the finger at Kyle Orton to take charge in doing so. Aside from the possibility that Paige is just doing his best to turn more people against Orton and thus run him out of town (anyone wonder what the unassuming guy did to Woodrow?), it's an interesting point to consider. Orton is in a most curious position - he's the team's labor rep, is under contract for just one season (albeit for over $7 million), has been the focus of trade speculation for several months, and has been discussed by the Broncos' front office first as being the starting QB to more recently being just one half of an open competition for the job. Orton is also competing with a guy in Tim Tebow who sells jerseys and tickets and is his polar opposite in both his image as a player and in demeanor, and the only way Orton could ever win in the court of public opinion (for what that's worth) is by winning big.

That's not to say Orton is in an unwinnable position, nor to speculate that he's already assuming his time is up in Denver - he's a professional athlete and has competitive pride; we're not talking about some pushover who just wants to collect a paycheck. But what nobody would ever call Orton (at least from the outsider's view) is a rah-rah guy or an obvious leader of men. So my questions are these: Would it be within Kyle Orton's character to call up his 80 or so teammates and try to gather them up? Does he have the "pull" with his teammates to actually get them to show up? What does Orton have personally to gain by doing so? Is it reasonable to expect of Orton what Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Cassel and others have been up to? Keep in mind, there haven't been (to my knowledge) stories about Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler (just threw that in for a chuckle) rounding up their mates to play. I happen to think Woody is making something of nothing in pursuit of his own agenda, but I'd love to hear what y'all think...

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The Daily Lard 5-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Apologies for the late Lard of late; I've been out of town for a few days, and we'll be back on the normal schedule tomorrow. Tim Tebow was the keynote speaker at John Lynch's scholarship/awards luncheon for area middle- and high-school students, and he spoke more about his workout program so far this offseason. Tebow says he's been focusing on play-action passing and has been able to spend time with "most of the guys," whatever that means. Of course, he's now got a new playbook to study courtesy of Mike McCoy. Here are Andrew Mason and Gray Caldwell's stories on the luncheon.

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The Daily Lard 5-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis lets us in on some of the Broncos' pre-draft thinking/strategies: Denver did indeed hope to trade back from #2 to a team hot after Blaine Gabbert, whether it be the Bills, Bengals, Cards, Niners, Titans and Skins. Unfortunately, those calls never came in earnest; Klis also writes that the Broncos were zeroed in on Von Miller since early February and were indeed willing to trade back a few spots from #2 in hopes of loading up on more picks and still having a chance to go with Nick Fairley. Plus, Denver couldn't turn down the value they perceived in Quinton Carter in the fourth round to pick up a DT there, and the team was in fact also interested in Arkansas TE D.J. Williams when they decided to trade up for Julius Thomas. Finally, Klis writes in response to an apparently incorrect PFT post (go figure, an overblown headline at PFT...) about the Falcons/Broncos that while the two teams discussed the possibility of swapping first-round picks long ago, Atlanta never made an offer.

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Corrective Lard 5-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I need to acknowledge a blatant error I made within yesterday's Lard (as pointed out by IAOFM reader SteveUk) in regards to the possibility that Denver could have moved up to draft a falling Nick Fairley. The hypothetical swap to weigh is not a three-for-one deal in reality, but rather a five-for-one deal as Denver only acquired their fourth- and fifth-rounders when they traded down from 36 to 45 later on (the fifth-rounder was dealt to Green Bay as part of the deal to move up and get Julius Thomas at #129 overall). So, the real question is whether you'd prefer to have Nick Fairley or the quintet of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Quinton Carter and Thomas - at this point, considering the holes Denver entered the draft with, it seems clear that Denver did the right thing. Now, about those defensive tackles...

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