The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 4-20-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's nearly eight months away, but who's not looking forward to the return of Pouty Pants on December 11? Don BanksJason Cole and Joe Fortenbaugh all included that Week 14 tilt among their most notable meetings of the year. Granted, we're talking here about a matchup between a team that went 4-12 last year and another that lost to the eventual SB winners by a single score in the NFC title game - so it may not actually be much in the way of competition. But when considering the prospects of a 4-12 team for whom we don't even know who the QB will be, these are the things we have to look forward to, right? Man, if that doesn't call for an official Orange Sunday, then I don't know what does...

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The Daily Lard 4-19-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's defensive tackle day over at NFL.com, where Pat Kirwan writes that Alabama's Marcell Dareus has the best chance to dominate in the pros, pointing out his youth (he's just 21 - almost two years younger than Nick Fairley) and remarkable 10-yard split time (1.66s). Meanwhile, Kirwan is among the crowd that thinks Fairley is a boom-or-bust prospect, citing the player's lack of dedication in the weight room and the perceived tendency to disappear in some games. Then again, Kirwan writes that Fairley sometimes looks like the next Warren Sapp.

Meanwhile, Bucky Brooks lauds the versatility of Dareus in terms of the various defensive fronts he can fit into and his pass-rushing abilities. As for Fairley, Brooks says the Auburn star looks on film like the most dominant defender in the draft, calling him an impact player and a tone-setter. Brooks is hearing the same knocks everyone else is regarding Fairley; questions of character, technique, motor, work ethic and attitude.

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MNF opener? Lard 4-18-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Klis, the Broncos are actually under consideration to host one of the Monday Night openers for the 2011 season following six straight road openers. For AFC teams to play in the later slot, they have to do so during the 11AM BT (Broncos Time) slot, as CBS broadcasts the U.S. Open men's final during the later one. Hence, all of these early road games for Denver to start the season.

It's a safe bet that Denver would host the second of the two Monday Night games, because there's no way ESPN would want the squad that went 4-12 last year to open their season. But really - why would ESPN even be willing to have Denver be a part of either game? Can't be great for ratings - unless of course, Tim Tebow is starting...

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The Daily Lard 4-17-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei writes that unfortunately for the Broncos, few teams are actually interested in moving up towards the top of the draft. He buys the notion that Cam Newton is headed to Carolina, but wonders if that's a very good fit. As for Newton's Auburn teammate, Pompei writes that the issue of Nick Fairley missing a flight for a team visit is not a noteworthy one but rather a common occurence, and not a reflection of the kid's character.

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The Daily Lard 4-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Via Williamson, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Shanny and the Skins are desperate to trade up from the #10 spot for a quarterback, and McClain is guessing that it's Blaine Gabbert. Williamson points out that if Washington were to move all the way to #2 in a deal with the Broncos, they'd need to use some future picks (or maybe a player?) to do so, at least as far as the Jimmy Johnson draft chart goes. Big Bill also says that #10 may be a bit farther than Denver is interested in sliding back, but who knows - maybe they could move back to ten and then orchestrate another deal to move back up a few notches...

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The Daily Lard 4-15-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Klis checked in on a few Broncos linemen who are working out together, including Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris. Meanwhile, WR Eric Decker is apparently working out with Cardinals superstar Larry Fitzgerald (good choice!) and Elvis Dumervil is sweating with his pop.

According to Klis, the players are getting regular updates on the labor situation from team union reps Kyle Orton, Brian Dawkins and Russ Hochstein.

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The Daily Lard 4-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Alabama DT Marcell Dareus and LSU CB Patrick Peterson visited Dove Valley yesterday, while next Monday will bring Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure to town. On Tuesday the Broncos will host Auburb QB Cam Newton, Abilene Christian WR Edmond Gates and Baylor RB Jay Finley, and on Wednesday Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, Villanova OT Ben Ijalana and K-State RB Daniel Thomas will visit.

John Elway described Dareus as "big, strong, he comes from a good background. Reliable. His traits are all good," while describing Peterson as a "big guy who can run. Athletic. All he did in college was play bump, man coverage. So he has that experience. Plus, he's explosive in the return game."

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Bradshaw applause Lard 4-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legendary QB and now FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw played 14 seasons for the Steelers, winning four Super Bowls, one league MVP award and two SB MVPs; he was inducted into the Pro Football HOF in 1989. But leading the greatest NFL dynasty of modern times has come with a heavy price, as Bradshaw watched the deterioration of his own late teammate Mike Webster, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 50 and in whose brain CTE was first discovered.

More recently, Bradshaw has been experiencing his own concussion-related troubles, including short-term memory loss, anxiety and depression. Thankfully, Bradshaw has decided to come forward and share the details of his problems while encouraging more of his fellow NFL retirees to do the same. There may be no former player more nationally visible than the affable Bradshaw, so let's all hope he is not only able to defeat his own condition, but to remain vocal about concussion and player safety issues, because he can make a real difference. Way to go, Terry.

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Professorial Lard 4-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Just when everyone was getting all riled up by our favorite egghead, a few John Clayton smackdowns have been delivered, the most effective one shockingly coming from Bill Williamson, of all people. The ESPN writers took the two sides of the draft-a-QB / start-Tim-Tebow debate, and Williamson comes off as a well-informed logician next to Clayton in stating that Tebow deserves the chance to run with the starting gig.

Then, there was Clayton's column from last week which posited that teams are suddenly adopting a general strategy of not drafting running backs in the first round because they just don't need to do so. Thankfully, Pat Kirwan and then Bucky Brooks are both here to explain that perhaps there's just nobody in this year's draft worthy of a first-rounder, save perhaps Mark Ingram of Bama. What do you suppose it's like going through life thinking there's a massive sea change involved in everything that happens and that you are the one person who knows it?

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The Daily Lard 4-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In today's MMQB, PK writes that the Panthers appear to be leaning towards drafting Cam Newton first overall, because Carolina wants to see game tape from Newton's juco days. The only (minor flaw) with that logic, of course, is that Newton only played one year at Auburn and thus his juco days were only two years ago. Shouldn't every team be looking at those tapes? After all, one would hope/think that before making such impactful decisions that teams examine more than one season's worth of notes and game tape, no? But okay, sure. They're going with Newton. Let's hope so, and we can move on and Denver will have either their pick of the defensive litter or a chance to move back in a trade as part of the Blaine Gabbert sweepstakes?

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