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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Over at Shutdown Corner, Doug Farrar provides an excellent example of what's wrong with traditional cornerback stats and how dangerous they can be in the hands of people who don't understand their limited value, namely beat writers. Basically, some fool in Pittsburgh decided to float the idea that Ike Taylor is a superior player to Nnamdi Asomugha because he racks up more tackles, passes defensed and interceptions annually. Naturally, this hack John Harris
doesn't know the concept of targets didn't think about how many times the two players were targeted and declined to consider the defensive schemes the two guys play in, their respective roles within them, and how those factors influence tackle stats.
Worst of all, Harris points to the Steelers' annual success (and Oakland's lack thereof) as proof that Taylor is a better player than Asomugha. Because, you know...the quality of a single cornerback is of course the difference between winning and losing. (As an aside, I experience this at work all the time when people claim that Player A on the Yanks is better than Player B on the Mets cuz he's got ringzzz!!! or that certain guys are winnerz ZOMG!!! even though they are backups/bench players.) Truly, it's good stuff from Farrar. He gets to the crux of what's wrong with a lot of mainstream sports coverage and reminds us that we need context with our stats, and/or just better stats. So, when's Farrar going to take down one of the writers we passionately follow here?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Albert Breer writes that the labor negotiations are expected to continue today in MD, and that a new deal could possibly be reached within two to four weeks. A memo went out to the owners asking them to prepare for a multiple-day meeting next week, which is seen as a good sign. Breer also writes that in order to have a full preseason, it's figured that a deal must be reached by July 15.
According to John Clayton, the current talks are focused on the cut of revenues that will go to the players, who have reportedly proposed a "pegged cap" that would have fixed increases.
More on the positive developments from Vinnie Iyer.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! LJ checked in with Joe Mays, who is expected to enter training camp as the starting MLB in a competition for the job with rookie Nate Irving. Although Mays has bulked up his shoulders to comic-book proportions, he apparently plans on playing at around 245 pounds, which is his typical playing weight. Interestingly, LJ notes that Irving is another rookie who does not have a copy of the Broncos' playbook. So that's at least two rookies who have been acknowledged by the DP as not having a playbook (and thus we can probably assume none of them do) after one of their writers had previously said all the rooks got a copy when they were introduced at Dove Valley. Either way, can't one of the vets find their way to a Kinko's and hook their younger mates up?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Ingold of the DP has more info on the lawsuit filed by the insurance company St. Paul Fire & Marine against the Broncos and several retired players. California law allows professional athletes to file workers' comp claims as long as the player played at least one game within the state, and because NFL teams do not typically bring up workers' comp in conversations with their players, the typical 1- to 5-year statue of limitations for such cases does not apply. According to the Times, as of April 2010 there were 700 NFL players pursuing similar cases.
Ingold writes that the claim behind St. Paul Fire & Marine's lawsuit is that the firm is not responsible for these claims, and that the policies it sold the Broncos only covers claims in New Mexico by non-player employees.