The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 9-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Following yesterday's leaguewide cuts and waivers, the Broncos have an opportunity to claim some young talent today. For any players with less than four years of service, the Broncos will have second crack (behind Carolina) at picking them up - and in all instances, they will have to immediately cut or waive another player to make room on the 53-man roster. FWIW, players who are claimed on waivers today cannot then be traded to other teams - so while Denver has an advantage with their place in the waiver order, they cannot leverage it into acquiring other assets.

For players like RB Lance Ball, OL Chris Clark, Manny Ramirez and Herb Taylor, DL Ryan McBean and Mitch Unrein, and CB Chris Harris, this could mean the excitement of having cracked Denver's roster may be limited to but a day. Meanwhile, vested veterans (those with four years of service) will have their 2011 salaries guaranteed come next Saturday. All waiver claims must be submitted by teams by noon ET today and will be awarded at 4pm ET. Any players that clear waivers today will immediately become free agents.

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The Daily Lard 9-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's a big day, as final cutdowns are due across the league, and Denver is expected to be scouring the waiver wire for some much-needed depth - or didn't you see Thursday's game? Andrew Mason takes his shot at predicting the Denver roster (pre-waiver pickups, of course) and figures the team to keep only three RBs (Lance Ball over Jeremiah Johnson and Brandon Minor) and three TEs (with Virgil Green potentially sliding to the PS), plus five WRs (Eron Riley beating out David Anderson) and eight LBs (Lee Robinson and Mike Mohamed sticking). Mason also sees CB Chris Harris making the squad, with Darcel McBath beating out his fellow '09 draftee David Bruton at safety.

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The Daily Lard 9-2-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans, and welcome to the most parentheses-laden Lard in history! The best part about last night's 26-7 loss (box score) to the Cardinals is that it's over. There was injury (Syd'Quan Thompson - torn Achilles tendon, done for the year; Britt Davis - concussion; Nate Irving - chest; David Bruton - shoulder; Matthew Willis - turf toe), there was insult (Arizona led 26-0 until the final two minutes), and there was craptastic play on both sides of the ball, as the Broncos were outgained 398 to 293, with more than half of their yards (164) coming on the team's last two drives of the game.

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The Daily Lard 9-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Doug Farrar rounds up plenty of praise for Von Miller from Greg Cosell and Cecil Lammey, mixing it all in with his own. Farrar and Cosell see Miller as being similar to DeMarcus Ware, and they make note of Von's sack against James Carpenter where he starts outside and then suddenly shifts inside as his most impressive play thus far. Lammey sees Miller as being most successful as a 5-2 end, says he may be the fastest pass rusher in the league and lauds his anticipation of the snap.

Farrar also takes another look at Tim Tebow and the plight of QBs who run the spread option in college and their difficult transitions to the pro game. Farrar again hits up Cosell, who thinks Tebow's mechanics are just poor overall. Meanwhile, Jon Gruden echoes the points made by Mike Lombardi in that any team with plans for Tebow as a QB need to commit to him fully, and that means molding their offense to fit the player, rather than the other way around.

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The Daily Lard 8-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In a column today, Legwold considers the emergence of new starting Mike LB Joe Mays, whom the Broncos acquired last summer from the Eagles. Naturally, I'm going to gloss over the quotes (ZZZZZZ) and focus on the minutiae - he paints the deal as one of, if not the only successful trade of the Josh McDaniels era - never mind the Cutler and Marshall deals. Of course, Legwold doesn't even get the details correct, writing that Denver got a draft pick along with Mays from Philly. Would be nice if it were true - rather, the Broncos dealt twice-signed RB J.J. Arrington to Philly along with a 2012 sixth-rounder conditional upon whether Arrington made the 2010 Eagles. He did not, so Denver owes the pick.

Interestingly, there's more to this 2012 Draft picture, as the Broncos may still owe another conditional pick to the Browns as part of the Peyton Hillis/Brady Quinn deal. The specifics are unavailable on that one (plenty of earlier reports had said Denver was sending a sixth-rounder, but that's obviously not the case since it's going to Philly), so it's unclear what's left of that trade, if anything. Perhaps it's tied to Quinn's playing time this year? Who knows - maybe Captain Journalism can dig up the facts, that is if we want to trust him with that kind of hard work.

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The Daily Lard 8-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Puzzingly, Jeff Legwold thinks the Broncos' FO should speak up regarding Tim Tebow's status within the organization. Really, what's the point? He's either starting or he's not, and we all know he's not. We also know he's not going anywhere, as his 2011-2014 salaries have already been paid out. Beyond that, any more Tebow talk from Johns Fox and/or Elway is wasted breath, and we know the coach isn't about to tip his hand to how the young QB may or may not be used come the regular season. Are we the fans owed some sort of explanation or road map? Absolutely not.

Top backup? First into the game in the case of an injury to Kyle Orton? First guy to start if Orton is unable or inept? Will Tebow see any short-yardage or goal-to-go snaps this season without those prior occurences? Let's just wait and see, why don't we?

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The Daily Lard 8-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Legwold, the Broncos expect to be without LB D.J. Williams (dislocated elbow) for the first two weeks of the season, although there's a chance he could return by Week 2. Unfortunately, he says there's also a chance that DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee sprain) could miss the opener against Darren McFadden and the Raiders. Obviously, the absence of Bunkley is not going to help Denver's cause in trying to prevent a repeat of their most recent matchups - the Raiders have ripped us for a total of 833 rushing yards over the past three games, and no that is not a typo. By higher math, that averages out to 277.7 yards per game on the ground. Hmm, time to try out some platelet rich plasma injection therapy on Bunkley's knee?

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The Daily Lard 8-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night's 23-20 victory (box score) over Seattle was about two things - the exceptional pass-rushing duo of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, and Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow's strengths and weaknesses encapsulated. The two defenders put on quite a show, combining for 3.5 sacks, six QB hits and three tackles for loss in just over two quarters of football as the defense held the Seahawks to 39 yards of total offense in the first half and just 183 yards overall. The extent of Von and Doom's dominance was likely magnified by the awful play of Seattle's starting tackles Tyler Polumbus and James Carpenter, but it's still cause for excitement.

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The Daily Lard 8-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Legwold points out, tonight's game against Seattle will provide the best and last preseason barometer of where the team is at, as the starters will play into the third quarter and sit out next Thursday's finale at Arizona. Tim Tebow is expected to be the second QB into the game, while the Broncos are expected to cut 10 players before Monday's practice - so tonight will be the final audition for several players.

As always, we'll have an open thread here starting an hour before kickoff, TJ's peerless Gut Reactions after the game's conclusion, and a Chewing the Fat tomorrow.

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The Daily Lard 8-26-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Pat Bowlen did his annual the team looks good the players love the coach I love the coach sitdown with the DP, although this time it's Mike Klis asking the questions (hasn't this always been Woody's gig?). In comparing Josh McDaniels and John Fox, Bowlen offers up this puzzler - "(Josh) just didn't have the level of experience that made me comfortable. John does." Okay, so why did you hire the guy in the first place, Mr. B? Honestly, there's not much in the way of substance to this one, although Klis does write that given his druthers, Bowlen would prefer an offensive-minded coach who'll lead the team to put up a ton of points. But as Klis puts it, Bowlen was nudged in the defensive direction by John Elway. BTW, someone should tell Klis that the Patriots have only won three Super Bowls under Bill Belichick, so the Shanny/Belichick/Coughlin total for SB victories should be six rather than seven. Ah, details.

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