The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 4-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his MMQB today, Peter King focuses in on the quarterback class, which Mel Kiper is calling the wackiest he's seen. There are quite a few notable circumstances, with guys staying in school a year later than expected and affecting the draft in a major way - Jake Locker and Andrew Luck, for instance. PK finds out a bit more about Ryan Mallett, although none of it firsthand (the QB wouldn't talk to him) and, like everyone else, thinks Warren Moon was just a bit off base in his comments last week. Plus, he claims Locker will go earlier than everyone thinks (didn't everyone just raise his "stock" after his pro day workout?).

King goes on to write that Da'Quan Bowers' knee issues could drop him into the lower half of the first round and reminds us that recent newsmakers Dez Bryant and Aqib Talib had those classic pre-draft "character concerns" that perhaps aren't as overblown as we'd all like to think (Perrish *cough* Cox *cough*).

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The Daily Lard 4-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Not that we've ever come out and branded ourselves as Fair & Balanced™ but perhaps some levity is due after yesterday's somber Lard. Thankfully, Wesley Woodyard has come through with some comic Broncos gold; he announced via Twitter last night that he'd posted on YouTube his own spoof of teammate Brian Dawkins. As Woodyard explains, the video was created during training camp last year, and it involves multiple costumes for him and clearly a good deal of production help. It's quite brilliant, especially the Wolverine-clawed butt scratching...

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RIP Shane Dronett Lard 4-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The family of the late Shane Dronett, a former Broncos 2nd-round draft pick, has finally received some closure regarding the behavioral deterioration that led to his suicide two years ago. Researchers at Boston University have determined that Dronett was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the same brain disease that had previously felled former NFL players Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk, Tom McHale, Terry Long, John Grimsley, possibly Dave Duerson and countless unknown others.

Meanwhile, another disturbing and eye-opening story from Jeanne Marie Laskas was published in the March issue of GQ; this one details the day-to-day struggles of former Vikings star LB Fred McNeill, an accomplished attorney in his post-playing days who is now a shell of his old self. Laskas' first article on the subject chronicled the discovery of CTE by Dr. Bennet Omalu (a forensic pathologist) and his subsequent blackballing by the NFL and its concussion committee, which was (darkly comically) headed by a rheumatologist, Dr. Elliot Pellman. We (not the royal) strongly encourage you to read all three of these articles, on Omalu, McNeill and Dronett; I've linked to Laskas' first piece before, and I will surely do so again.

Writers and readers alike, we are all here thanks to our love for the sport of football, but some things are bigger than the orange and blue uniforms we root for; the men who wear them are losing their minds and their lives in the name of playing a game, enduring countless head injuries for an eight-second appearance on SportsCenter or our patron saint's old Jacked Up! segment. Something has to change, and if that means watching an NFL that is far different in nature than the one we have all become quite familiar, then so be it. These players and their families are paying a price far greater than whatever glory and compensation playing in the NFL has provided them with.

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The Daily Lard 4-1-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Yesterday was apparently another big PR day for the Broncos' brass; here are podcasts of John FoxBrain Xanders and John Elway all speaking on local Denver radio, plus a partial transcription of Elway's comments. Regarding Demaryius Thomas and his recovery from surgery on his torn Achilles' tendon, Fox danced around the question and Elway said the Broncos hope that the young WR will be ready by the middle of the season. If that's the case, then we're likely looking at Thomas beginning the season on the PUP list, meaning he'd be out for at least the first six games and would have to play by Week 12 at the very latest or be placed on IR for the year. Meanwhile, Xanders didn't have the warmest of words for RT Ryan Harris but said his status is up in the air thanks to the labor dispute. He also said the Broncos would like to have Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams back, for what that's worth.

PS. Don't let anyone make you a Fool today...

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Memories of Milburn Lard 3-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today, Legwold ponders the effect of the recent kickoff rule changes, slipping in one of his "I know everyone lines" - apparently he talks to enough ST coaches "regularly" to gather a consensus. At least he doesn't use any ridiculous stats, although of course I'd rather see the average kick return for the entire league, rather than just that of the Broncos (who had a terrible year returning kicks in '93, 1.8 yards/per worse than the '92 squad). In fact, Glyn Milburn, the Broncos' diminutive 2nd-round pick in 1993, who was touted by some as "the next Eric Metcalf" - had a paltry 15.7-yard average on 12 returns that year. As we've talked Broncos draft disappointments of late, Milburn fits the discussion (although he was far from a bust) - he was fast, had some nice open-field moves and was supposed to be a jack of all trades for Denver.

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The Daily Lard 3-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, most people figure Denver to be picking a DT with their first pick next month, and as you know the discussion has focused in on comparing Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus. Lots of talk about upsides, ceilings, floor heights, football character. Well, Peter Schrager says not so fast, folks! According to Schrager's ridiculous logic, taking a DT in the top five is a huge risk (actually Pete, all picks are) - and a bigger one than taking an offensive skill player. Firstly, he calls it "safe to label" Dan Wilkinson (who played 13 years), Gerard Warren (10 years) and KC's Glenn Dorsey (who has started 46 out of 48 games in his career) as "colossal draft busts." Disappointments relative to their expectations perhaps, but by no means colossal busts. Secondly, he compares them to QBs, WRs and RBs as a group rather than by each position - this is what we refer to as fuzzy math. Yes, let's take a sample of eight guys, use a wide and suspect brush to paint them all as failures, and then compare them to a group of 46 players. Makes perfect sense. (Thanks, JVill)

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The Daily Lard 3-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Denver prepares to host its allotment of up to 30 draft prospects, Legwold explains what teams can typically glean from these visits and lists a few of the players the Broncos are expected to meet with. Aside from the hackneyed top names, Legwold shares some details on D-linemen Aldon Smith of Missouri and Allen Bailey of Miami, and linebacker Lawrence Wilson from UConn. Plus, he mentions that each organization will traditionally give the visiting players some sort of team swag as souvenirs of their trips. What do you suppose the Broncos will give out? Brain Xanders bobblehead dolls? Signed photos of Joe Ellis with G.H.W.B. and G.W.B.?

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The Daily Lard 3-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Lots of Broncos-related talk in PK's MMQB today: first, he claims that both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be selected within the draft's top five picks. He then writes that all the hoopla surrounding Marcell Dareus is dying down, but that he thinks Dareus is the best pick for Denver - you know, because in between lattes he's been studying lots of film. PK also states that Dareus has indeed passed Nick Fairley "on most draft boards," and that Da'Quan Bowers has supposedly failed a couple of team physicals (not buying that one). PK also writes from both firsthand knowledge and from speaking with John Fox that John Elway has really been quite active and working hard - the usually tight-lipped (according to King) Fox was effusive in his praise for Elway, his work ethic, perspective and knowledge (basically, the Denver PR machine has turned its focus to promoting Elway as a legitimate football exec; more on that later). Finally, PK thinks there's no way the Broncos go QB at #2.

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The Daily Lard 3-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige is as perplexed as we are by the Broncos' obsession with QBs of late. Did you know the Panthers drafted THREE of them last year? Anyone still want to argue that John Fox wasn't handcuffed by a wacky organization and his own lame duck status?At the end of his column, Woody slips in that Marcell Dareus is the frontrunner at this point to be Denver's selection at #2, unless they can trade back a few spots and still get Von Miller or Patrick Peterson. Obviously there's a long way to go before the draft, but these are the sorts of things Woody is sometimes actually right about.

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Compensatory pick?! Lard 3-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Sorry for the extremely late (and abbreviated) Lard, folks. Went to the Sweet 16 last night, although it was not a sweet experience for my Marquette Warriors. Anyway, some nice news on the Denver front, as the Broncos were in fact awarded a compensatory pick, albeit a very late one (a seventh-rounder, #246 overall out of 253). Here's the funny? part - Denver was not awarded the choice because they lost a bunch of (or even any) significant free agents. If we read between the lines of the story on the team website, the Broncos basically got the extra pick out of sympathy for how much they sucked in 2010. I didn't know the NFL did that - did you? At least we don't have to read any more of Legwold's "Denver ONLY has six picks" stories - perhaps Klis put the kibosh on that one.

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