The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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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The Daily Lard 6-16-11

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?

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The Daily Lard 6-15-11

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.

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The Daily Lard 6-14-11

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?

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The Daily Lard 6-13-11

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.

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Tim Tebow, Q Man Lard 6-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Florida Times-Union examines the remarkable Q score and popularity of Tim Tebow, whose celebrity makes him comparable to the likes of Dick Vitale, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Dan Marino, Derek Jeter and Jack Nicholson depending upon the measure. Arguably, Tebow's exceptional career with the Gators is the biggest contributor to his fame, although his lionization by the Christian right and his straight-laced image can't be too far behind.

But of course, he hasn't really done anything yet as a professional - he's started three games, won one of them, and scored a few touchdowns. And while many of us think he'll end up the Broncos' starting QB in 2011 - and a successful one, at that - one has to wonder what will become of Tebow's fame if he fails as an NFL player. Tebow's jersey was only outsold last year by those of established stars Troy Polamalu, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, all of whom have led their team to Super Bowl titles.

And what does Tebow's popularity mean to the Broncos? Will it help fill seats at the Big IF and continue to sell merch? Will Tebow place/keep the Broncos in the national sports consciousness for whatever length his career in Denver stretches, or only for however long he helps them win, if at all? It will be interesting to find out...

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The Daily Lard 6-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I'd love to wax unpoetic on something or the other, but frankly nothing jumps out. So let's just get straight to the links, and have a great Saturday everyone!

Gray Caldwell spoke with new offensive line coach Dave Magazu, who stressed that he wants his players to exhibit attitude and physicality.

St. Paul Fire & Insurance is suing the Broncos and several former players including Floyd Little, Randy Gradishar, Louis Wright and Barney Chavous over workers' comp claims.

The Broncos sent a care package to the family of a Broncos fan who perished while saving his family from the tornado in Joplin.

Golf Digest debunks USA Today's claim that Tim Tebow generates a ridiculous 141 mph clubhead speed. However, he still has a really fast swing.

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The Commish thinks you’re an idiot Lard 6-10-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! During the most recent player/owner negotiations, Roger Goodell has been portrayed as quite a bit more than the ownership lapdog he was depicted as only weeks ago. Word is, the Commish has been key to the purported progress along with his recent dinner mate, NFLPA head De Smith. I wasn't sure if all this chatter was accurate or just a way to pump up Goodell's public image, not that it matters so much - after all, Goodell is just a representative of the owners, and the only impactful decisions he actually makes are suspensions (and hearing the appeals, but that's another debacle altogether).

Well, whatever positivity has been surrounding Goodell should be gone right about now, because he recently made it quite clear that he thinks we the fans are a bunch of morons. His schtick during recent season-ticket holder conference calls has featured iterations of the following:

We can't continue to shift the cost, whether it's the rising player cost or the rising cost of operating an NFL franchise, on to our fans. That's why we're trying to get a better economic model. And I think everyone understands that. You are not being left out of the equation. The fans are a big part of that equation and a big part of the success of NFL football.

So, your bosses locked out the players for our benefit? Gee, thanks Rog! Can't wait to see those cheaper ticket prices, and surely DirecTV's Sunday Ticket package will cost less once a new deal is reached, huh? Doug Farrar and Aaron Schatz offer their pointed reactions.

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The Daily Lard 6-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The lawyer-free negotiations continued yesterday, shifting from NYC to Long Island, and the word is that both sides realize that now is the time to get a deal done. Albert Breer writes that the owners want a deal that will hold up for a matter of decades, while the players want to make it clear they won't be pushed around by the league as in the past. Interestingly, Breer points out that the tenor of the labor dispute has not been nearly as contentious as it's been made out to be by the alarmist media.

Breer says the urgency of the negotiations is based upon the fact that the league would lose about a billion dollars if the preseason is canceled, and that would harm both sides. Apparently, a deal must be reached by around July 15 if there is to be a preseason in full. Plus, it seems the words of Judge Kermit Bye last week which suggested both sides would be harmed by whatever decision the Eighth Circuit comes down with has leveled the field of play and motivated the two sides to get a move on. Let's hope this momentum carries through...

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The Daily Lard 6-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Remember the negotiations that led to Champ Bailey's latest contract with Denver? You know, when Champ announced he was putting his Littleton house on the market and a few people called the esteemed vet a selfish prima donna? Well, even if Champ later admitted it was nothing more than a negotiating tactic once he was signed and delivered, it turns out he wasn't totally bluffing. That very same house of Bailey's just went into contract on Monday for what's reported as a $1.39 million sale. Just another reminder of why it's okay if Champ loses a step or two over the next few years - his wisdom and ability to disguise what he's up to is good enough to fool us, and that's not even on the field. BTW, anyone else feel like this all happened about six years ago? That's the effect of the lockout for us...

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