The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 6-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman writes that after having spoken with several players and league officials over the past couple days, he expects a new CBA will be reached sometime in early- or mid-July. Freeman thinks all of the recent progress was sparked by the owners' desire to salvage their preseason revenue, and he says parties from both sides have been much more optimistic about a new deal off the record than on.

Meanwhile, LB Ben Leber, who's a named plaintiff in the Brady suit and a free agent, says he expects a new CBA will be agreed upon in time for a full season to be played.

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The Daily Lard 6-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Leigh Steinberg considers the many ways the lockout will end up affecting teams this season, starting with the disadvantage teams like Denver will have as a new coaching staff races to familiarize itself with the players. Steinberg writes that veteran free agents will have plenty of catching up to do in learning new systems and getting acquainted with teammates, while both drafted and undrafted rookies will be at a serious competitive advantage. Due to the lack of offseason conditioning, Steinberg foresees an increase in serious injuries during training camp and a higher severity of injuries.

Along the same line of thinking, Jason Cole writes that teams expect to lean more on veteran players than ever before.

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The Daily Lard 6-24-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! ESPN's trio of Mortensen, Schefter and Clayton are reporting that as part of the labor talks, the two sides are considering measures to help teams retain their own players in what will be an abbreviated free agency period. One option is to give each team a right of first refusal on up to three free agents (only this year), allowing them to match contract offers from other franchises. Another idea under consideration is to open a brief window for teams to negotiate exclusively with their own players before free agency truly begins.

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The Daily Lard 6-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Woody writes that Tim Tebow was mostly coached last year by Mike McCoy and Adam Gase, and is very happy the two were retained for John Fox's staff. He also says that if Tebow is declared the starter this season and Kyle Orton is still around, that the veteran will demand a trade. interestingly, Woody writes that Fox sent Jake Delhomme packing from Carolina last year for the player's benefit and would like for Delhomme to back up and help mentor Tebow if Orton is indeed dealt away.

Plus, apparently Sam Farmer of the LA Times floated the idea of Pat Bowlen swapping franchises with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and moving the Rams to Los Angeles. But Woody says that's just not happening.

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The Daily Lard 6-22-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Although they were prepared to spend as much as two days ironing out their differences, the NFL's owners spent only five hours yesterday discussing the general framework of the next CBA. Having reached what Jeff Pash characterized as a "consensus within the ownership," the negotiations between the players and the league will reconvene today in a Boston suburb. And while Albert Breer writes that yesterday's meeting was more about general concepts than specific details, and both parties are maintaining the "there's a long way to go" mantra, the brevity of the powwow points to real progress being made.

Meanwhile, Jason Cole reports that the new league year could begin as soon as July 15, with veteran free agency and rookie OTAs first on the docket. Beyond agreeing to a new deal, Cole writes that the two sides would then need to settle the class-action suits filed in concert by active and retired players, followed by recertification of the NFLPA, and finally ratification of the CBA by ownership.

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The Daily Lard 6-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Some details have finally come out on Jason Hunter's stabbing in April. Apparently, his girlfriend found a bag of cellphones which Hunter claimed belonged to a friend of his, and in the course of their "conversation" she waved a kitchen knife at him before "accidentally" throwing it at Hunter. So, why is Hunter holding a collection of cellphones for his buddy, and why did his girlfriend need to have a knife in hand when she told him to "stay back"? So far, no charges have been filed against the girlfriend, but prosecutors are apparently studying evidence.

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The Daily Lard 6-20-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest MMQB column, Peter King writes that tomorrow's ownership meeting will not feature any voting, but rather just discussions on the framework of a potential new CBA. PK figures the owners who haven't been present during the most recent negotiations still have a good idea of where the talks have headed and won't mount enough of a fight to truly set back the talks with the players.

Meanwhile, PK thinks Tiki Barber will end up with the Steelers, and that Nnamdi Asomugha is most likely to land in Philly, Dallas or Baltimore, in that order, although he also makes the case that Kubes and the Texans should try to sign the CB.

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The Daily Lard 6-19-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jason Cole says to expect that this week's ownership meetings are going to mark a crucial point in the labor talks, as owners need to find a common ground among themselves before they can reach a deal with the players. Cole writes that the owners taking charge in the recent negotiations have been the more moderate ones, including Clark Hunt of the Chiefs and Dean Spanos of the Chargers, and that Jerry Richardson and Robert Kraft have softened from earlier hawkish stances.

Interestingly, Cole reports that many NFL owners do not know the framework of the deal as is being currently negotiated, due to Judge Boylan's order that the subject of the talks be kept as confidential as possible. Tuesday in Chicago is when the owners' meetings begin, so the hope is that there's not enough dissention there to hold up the deal. Cole writes that the outcome of those meetings could determine the future of Roger Goodell, whose power and relevance has come into question in recent months.

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The Daily Lard 6-18-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brandon Lloyd spoke to the guys on The Drive the other day, and he had the following to say about working out with Tim Tebow down in Florida:

I thought it was good. It’s better for morale going into the season when you see how good of shape guys are in. It’s kind of like, I want to see where dude’s at with his training and guys want to see where we’re at so we have some confidence going into the season. That’s how I took it. It was good to see that Tim’s improving on his drops, he’s improving on his timing, and within the first day we got into rhythm, within the first 20 minutes of it.

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The Daily Lard 6-17-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! For the Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer takes a look at what John Fox faces with his new team in trying to make them a tougher and more balanced team. Iyer writes that Fox will give Von Miller a great chance to become a dominant playmaker and expects the rookie to become a leader in Denver. Plus, he thinks Tim Tebow will win the starting QB job and could see a big year out of Elvis Dumervil as opponents will hopefully not be able to double-team him with the presence of Miller.

Sadly, Iyer omits Robert Ayers from that equation and is another writer who doesn't realize that the "ex-Browns experiment" actually worked pretty well, if nearly making the SB with the third-fewest points allowed in 2005 means anything. There are plenty of personnel moves we can/should knock Mike Shanahan for, but the acquisition of Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown and Michael Myers are not among them. But I digress; Iyer also thinks the Broncos may go after DeAngelo Williams if he is indeed a free agent, and that a successful first season for Fox would be lifting the defense to middling and finding a long-term answer at QB.

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