The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

4-3 Lard 2-18-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! To no great surprise, John Fox has confirmed this week that Denver will be shifting back primarlly to useing a 4-3 defense. According to Klis, Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers will indeed be converted back to ends, while Justin Bannan will be playing tackle. Klis also suggests that Denver may use a high pick on a linebacker, with incumbent LBs DJ Williams (if he's still around) moving back to play weakside, Joe Mays or Mario Haggan in the middle, and either Wesley Woodyard or Haggan on the strongside. Whatever works, please. Oh, and it would be nice to has some continuity...

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Who do we want? Champ! Lard 2-17-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ahh, the power of social media. Champ's announcement that he's put his house up for sale has already riled some fans up to action. As I write this, 77 people say they're gonna show up at the Big IF to convince Champ he should stay in Denver. Perhaps if they each bring along $500,000 cash (perhaps he'd take a certified check) they'll get a deal done. I don't mean to make light of either side here - for one, if people weren't so enthusiastic in their fanatacism toward the Broncos, TJ, Doc, Ted and I would have about twelve readers, including each other, our moms and a few friends. Secondly, it's hard to begrudge Champ the chance to break out of this new-defensive-coordinator-every-winter prison he's been stuck in for the past six years. Guy's a pro's pro, a HOFer, and seemingly an intelligent and upstanding guy. If he wants to go get a ring, his best chance will most definitely not be in Denver. For those who were wondering, Champ moved on from his Cherry Hills house when he apparently had the all-too-rare public-contention-free athlete divorce...

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Champ talks resume Lard 2-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Negotiations have resumed between Denver and all-universe cornerback Champ Bailey after having come to an abrupt halt midseason. According to Klis, the Broncos are unlikely to utilize their franchise tag on Bailey should their talks fail again. This is quite sensible, for as great as Champ is, he is unlikely to be worth a guaranteed $15 million to a team that won but four games in 2010 with no contingency for the 2012 season. If the deal being discussed is similar in structure to what was reported in-season, then we're looking at a 4-year, $40 million deal (or more, now that the Broncos have no leverage aside from the specter of a lockout). I'll throw on my speculation hat and say that a deal of that size and for a player of Champ's stature would likely require Denver to guarantee around $25 million or $30 million over the course of the contract. Let's hope it gets done, because even at age 33, Bailey shows no signs of slowing down and has already stated publicly that when he does, he will welcome a shift over to safety.

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Stinky Lard 2-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Golic and Mark Schlereth spoke yesterday morning on ESPN Radio about the Broncos' offseason picture. Regarding the QBs, Stink correctly pointed to Kyle Orton's 3rd-down struggles as a major concern and says Tim Tebow is the choice. He also said Brandon Lloyd is the Broncos' best offensive player at this point and thinks Denver needs to re-sign Champ Bailey and dump some of their other older defenders. Regarding the draft, Stink suggests the Broncos should just pick the best defender at #2, regardless of position. Finally, it's pretty clear that Stink has been reading the DP - he cites Josh McDaniels' handling of personnel and the Broncos' lack of draft choices as reasons the team is better off without their former coach. I suppose the folks out west who listen to Stink deal with this regularly, but aren't analysts like him supposed to do better than just regurgitate the ridiculous memery?

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Indentured Lard 2-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Brandt takes a peek at the NFLPA and NFL's CBA proposals - the union is pushing for shortening their indentured servitude and protection against career-ending injuries, while the league wants to keep the indenture in place but with a defined compensation slotting system for each and every draft choice. The NFL is also looking to rein in escalators, bonuses and not allow contract negotiations within the first three years of a player's initial contract. Brandt offers up his compromise.

As a public service announcement of sorts, just a friendly reminder that it's Valentine's Day - if it saves just one of our readers from catching a bit of grief, I figure it's worthwhile, haha.

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Football-less Sunday Lard 2-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are, the first Sunday without football since August - what a bummer, right? Well, the Daily Lard will still be around every morning to satisfy at least a bit of your pigskin hunger, if a bit late today. As always, thanks for being here - we appreciate your support. Of course, TJ, Em, Ted and I have plenty of exciting ideas for the offseason. There's no shortage of things NFL and Broncos to analyze, from the CBA to the draft to the new coaching staff and schemes. But please let us know in the comments if there's anything you'd like specifically to see from us. Have a great Sunday!

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Going (without) Greek Lard 2-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, the specter of a lockout has some potential ramifications for the Broncos in light of the rehabilitations facing WRs Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas. Royal had surgery on an injured hip (presumably a torn labrum) while Thomas will have his Achilles' tendon repaired in the coming days. But where it gets tricky is that in the event of a lockout, team trainer (when he's not busy interviewing head coaching candidates) Steve Antonopulos cannot have direct contact with any of the Broncos' players, and the players cannot be at Dove Valley for rehab. Greek will be able to be in touch with the players' doctors, but the motivation will have to come from the players and their private trainers. Fortunately we're talking about two guys with fine reputations in terms of their work ethics, but we'll see how that turns out come training camp...

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Achilles’ Lard 2-11-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, yesterday brought news of another serious injury to Denver's WR corps. Only a week on the heels (cough) of Eddie Royal's hip surgery,  Demaryius Thomas apparently tore his Achilles' tendon - according to the Broncos he's not expected to be ready for action for 6-8 months. Now, with the understanding that every injury is unique in terms of its severity, and all athletes have their own recovery rates, as a Marquette hoops fan (my wife's alma mater) I can share one positive Achilles'-related story. Golden Eagles point guard Junior Cadougan ruptured his Achilles' as a freshman in September '09 and was expected to miss the entire season. But through hard work in rehab, Cadougan remarkably returned to action only four months later. Fortunately for Thomas and the Broncos, it's only February - so Demaryius doesn't need to make quite as fast a recovery to help the Broncos in 2011.

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The Daily Lard 2-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brian Burke has kicked off the offseason by presenting a bunch of fascinating ideas on how the NFL game could be tweaked, including lessening the impact of field goals, eliminating the extra point, altering the replay challenge rules, and weight limits. My favorite among the realistic options is awarding the ball in OT to the home team first, because it would change the strategy at the end of regulation and therefore likely result in fewer overtime games, which would be a good thing. Anything that promotes aggressive strategery is a good thing in my book. What do you think? Which are your favorite ideas?

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The Daily Lard 2-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway told Legwold last week that in interviewing John Fox he talked to the coach about the offensive philosophy Elway envisioned for the Broncos going forward. Said Elway, "It really doesn't come down to the system, but rather the attitude on offense. That's what we're talking about, the aggressive type offense, what we want to do on offense to win football games, not to just sit back and try to win them on defense."

Perhaps Elway realized how silly he had sounded when he talked of winning Super Bowls with an "adequate offense," or he's just continuing to mix the message. Now of course, this is all talk, and it will be many months before we see what the Broncos' strategy will be on offense. Surely, he'll say something totally different on Friday and we can parse more of his wording then...

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