The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

New draft narrative Lard 4-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With precisely three weeks to go til the opening of the 2011 Draft, it's time for the DP to return to their hacktastic glory focus more on the annual selection party. Unfortunately, Klis starts out with a real doozy; remember how he had seemingly put to rest the Legwoldian thread of Denver has ONLY six picks (before they were awarded a compensatory pick for sucking)? Well, he's now creating a narrative of a different flavor (and omitting facts to make the story fit, of course): the Broncos should have a lot more later-round picks because Josh McDaniels got ripped off monthly! Of course, there is some validity to it - dealing away a fourth-rounder for Laurence Maroney wasn't so hot, although no DP writer has ever? mentioned that Denver got back a sixth-rounder in that deal. Perhaps giving up multiple draft picks along with Peyton Hillis doesn't seem all that great for Brady Quinn, although the fact that Quinn didn't play in 2010 shouldn't factor in.

But should we really be riled up about giving up a 2011 fifth-rounder to get a year's worth of Syd'Quan Thompson? And if you're going to decry the loss of a seventh-rounder in the Alphonso Smith/Dan Gronkowski deal, aren't you supposed to point out that Denver received a sixth-rounder in that very same deal (which is, you know, better than a seventh-rounder)? As if it's not enough to leave out these facts, Klis goes on to write that there's a big difference between having a pick near the top of the sixth round rather than at #21 and #24 like Denver does. It's gonna be a long three weeks, friends...

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Courtroom Lard 4-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today is the first big day in the players' antitrust suit against the league (Brady v. NFL) to try and end the lockout. As Andrew Brandt points out, Judge Susan Nelson has the power in this case to halt the lockout (which would then be subject to appeal), allow it to continue, defer to the National Labor Relations Board (unlikely), or she could even order the two sides to undergo more mediation towards a settlement. Although Brandt says it's hard to figure out which way Judge Nelson may turn (unlike the predictable Judge David Doty), he thinks the lattermost option makes the most sense.

Meanwhile, Albert Breer writes that several of the most important figures in the case don't think it important enough to attend, including Commissioner Goodell, his incendiary head counsel Jeff Pash, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. However, it is expected that DeMaurice Smith, David Boies and Von Miller will be present. Aren't you excited for all of the relentless TV coverage from outside the courtroom starting today?!?! Hopefully you've got plenty popcorn. Yay legal wrangling!!!

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Visitation Lard 4-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers visited Dove Valley yesterday along with Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, while A&M linebacker Von Miller is due in today. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is expected tomorrow, with other visits this week coming from Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Washington linebacker Mason Foster and Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin. In total, there are 13 player meetings scheduled for this week. Meanwhile, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will be visiting the Broncos in two weeks.

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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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