The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Huh? Locker Lard 3-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Jason La Canfora, the Broncos are one of several teams expected to hold a private workout with Huskies QB Jake Locker. This one is a head-scratcher; if it's just a smokescreen to confuse other teams with regard to Denver's draft strategy, isn't it a bit of a waste of time? If there's genuine interest, then I can only ask why? Locker only complete 53.9 percent of his passes in college, with an unimpressive 4.6% TD rate, 6.2 adjusted yards per attempt and a 119 QB rating (an otherwordly number in NFL terms but not that special relative to college play). By comparison, Tim Tebow had a 66.4% completion rate at Florida to go along with a TD rate of 8.8%, 10.4 adjusted yards per attempt and a 170.8 QB rating. Of course, stats don't tell the whole story about a QB, especially a college one - scheme, competition level, surrounding talent and that pesky intangibles thing all factor in; but all great NFL QBs completed passes more frequently and for more yardage in college than did Jake Locker...

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“Favorite” bust Lard 3-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ouch. Adam Rank includes old friend Ebenezer Ekuban among the Cowboys' all-time draft busts. Either Dallas has just been really good at drafting, or Rank doesn't know what he's talking about. Not that Ekuban was ever a star, but he had a nine-year career - if we were to list the Broncos' biggest busts, we'd find that they hardly had NFL careers at all. Surely Rank will get to the Broncos eventually, but let's see what I can come up with: Ted Gregory, Willie Middlebrooks, Marcus Nash, Paul Toviessi, Jeremy LeSueur, Maurice Clarett, Jarvis Moss, Chris Watson, Terry Pierce, Travis McGriff, George Foster, Alphonso Smith - not all first-rounders, but all were pretty brutal picks. Who's your "favorite" Broncos bust of all time? I've already rehashed Maddox over Pickens and Lelie over Reed countless times (and will surely do so again), but those guys at least had some NFL success. Those fall more under the "really stupid picks" category rather than biggest busts. I'll go with Marcus Nash - sure, he was the 30th-overall pick after Denver's first SB win, but they could have easily gone best player with no real holes to fill and instead completely whiffed.

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The Daily Lard 3-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Not much going on - perhaps all of the football writing population is busy trying to make sense of the NCAA Selection Committee's hack job? Gotta figure several of you are CU fans, and there is no question that the Buffs got jobbed yesterday. After having beaten K-State three times this season and having claimed big victories over Texas and Missouri, they were left out of the field of 68 while teams like VCU and UAB went from not even being discussed as bubble teams to making the tourney. We feel for you, Buffs fans...

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DST Lard 3-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Lots of interesting Broncos-related stuff from Dan Pompei in his Sunday column - he thinks the Bills and Vikings have significant interest in Cam Newton - hopefully this would translate into a nice trade for Denver if Minnesota wants to then leapfrog Buffalo from the 12th spot? Mr. Wilf, perhaps we'll take your second-rounder this year and your first-rounder next year, thank you very much! If not, then we could squeeze a nice pick out of Buffalo for them to move up one spot and keep Minnesota at bay. Pompei is also hearing serious concerns surrounding the health of Da'Quan Bowers' surgically-repaired knee. Plus, he can foresee big bucks for Marc Bulger with the Cards or Niners and Kevin Kolb in Seattle (taking a couple of Kyle Orton trade options out of the picture).

Finally, Pompei has Denver taking Marcell Dareus in his mock draft and lists his favorite NFL unretirement stories, including Tommy Maddox (whom Dan Reeves drafted after his sophomore season instead of Carl Pickens as John Elway was entering his age 32 season). Another of Pompei's favorites is Gary Zimmerman, who didn't come back for the Broncos' first SB win until Elway rode up to Sturgis to go get him (or of course, Zim just wanted to go to Sturgis before suffering the rigors of training camp).

PS. You turned your clocks forward, right?

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Decertified Lockout Lard 3-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, here we are. The NFLPA decertified yesterday evening, the owners made it sound like they had met the players halfway (halfway from what?) and the players filed suit to block a potential lockout. The owners for a few hours portrayed themselves as still willing to negotiate, fans raged on Twitter, and then the owners moved forward with their lockout. Look, this is not about "feeling bad" for anyone. Yes, we're talking about a sport here, albeit one we all love dearly. But the players (who we turn on the TV to see) and the owners (who represent nothing to us as fans) are business partners and neither can thrive without the other. But the owners have not treated the players as such, and their public stance of having tried to meet the players in the middle is laughable, to say the least. How can anyone believe them when they're playing with imaginary numbers? Until the NFL opens up its books to the players, nothing is going to get done, nor should it...

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Statuesque Lard 3-11-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! What a shame. It appears Tim Tebow will have a statue erected in his honor at the Gators' stadium before John Elway gets one outside the stadium THAT HE BUILT. Who knows - perhaps Mr. B has offered to have one created to honor Elway and The Greatest Ever was embarrassed by the idea. And maybe Elway specifically didn't want one because he knew he'd someday be either running the team and/or owning it, so perhaps he thought it would be a bit tacky to have a statue of himself outside his 'office'. Whatever the explanation, Mr. B should still have gone ahead and put up a worthy tribute to John Elway the football player. After all, without Elway would Bowlen have his shiny publicly-subsidized stadium that's named for a company that engaged in market timing?

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The Daily Lard 3-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yahoo's Jason Cole is reporting that the NFL and the players' union have agreed to the structure of a new rookie wage scale, in which first-rounders' contracts would be limited to four years in length. There would also apparently be a cap on the signing bonuses and guarantees given, and contracts for players drafted beyond the first round would be limited to three years (which would be followed by restricted free agency). Assuming Cole's report is correct, this is unquestionably good news for the Broncos - it will allow them to either select a player at #2 and not be hamstrung by a massive guarantee, or trade the pick, which would now be more attractive thanks to those same financial restraints.

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The Daily Lard 3-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Fox spoke at a business breakfast yesterday at the Pepsi Center and made some strange promise that "we'll be in the championship on some level very soon," whatever that means. Once again, Fox spoke of the parallels between his arrivals in Denver this year and in Carolina in 2002, while John Elway talked again about re-signing Champ Bailey. Both men basically said that the decision to re-sign Kevin Vickerson and release Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams was about fielding a younger group.

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The Daily Lard 3-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The details on Kevin Vickerson's new contract are out, and it includes a $1 million signing bonus and a potential value of $4.75 million over two seasons. Plus, Kyle Orton is due to receive his $1.5 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the new league year (in addition to his salary which is just under $7.4 million), while John Elway and John Fox are headed to Auburn's pro day today.

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Laborious week Lard 3-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! This is going to be a slooooow week in the news department, as the only game in town is the CBA negotiation. Again, the extended deadline (to Friday at 5pm ET) came with the caveat of no player transactions for the entire week. But worry not - Doc, Ted and TJ will be bringing it as always, meaning real analysis and in-depth writing. If you're looking for wild speculation and ridiculous headlines (or perhaps a new mock draft each day) then you know where to go. Obviously, we'll keep you posted on the CBA fun.

Speaking of speculation, among PFW's AFC Whispers they're hearing that Denver is backing off the idea of dealing Kyle Orton. Why? Because as many have pointed out (especially our own readers), John Fox may prefer to have a veteran QB around. Plus, in the event of a lockout, there'd be the possibility of a shortened offseason and therefore little time for a true QB competition. Obviously, we're going to be hearing/reading different versions of this very story for the next 4-6 months, but I think Orton and his $7.379 million salary will still eventually be traded.

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