The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 11-24-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As mentioned yesterday, Denver will be without Demaryius Thomas, Andre' Goodman and Darcel McBath on Sunday. Josh McDaniels also addressed the question of whether we're about to see a lot more of Tim Tebow soon (we're not). Of course, this is all everyone wants to talk about. Me, I want to know how the Broncos are going to find a pass rush, and who they're going to draft come April to help that cause. If you're traveling today, have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving! If not, don't worry - IAOFM is open everyday, and so is The Daily Lard!

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Groundhog Night Lard 11-23-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans. If only last night's game could have been called on account of bad weather after the game's first nine minutes. But alas, there was no bad weather and we're not talking baseball here. Following a perfect opening touchdown drive and two defensive stops, it was the Broncos' special teams unit that let them down on a San Diego fake punt, and it was all downhill from there. In their nine meetings since Philip Rivers became the Dolts' starter in 2006, the Broncos have now been blown out six times in seven losses. This edition felt an awful lot like the previous ones, littered with plenty of Broncos penalties (8 of them for 56 yards), horrific third-down play (1-of-12 on offense, 7-of-14 on defense), poor special teams play (the fake punt, 9 Britton Colquitt punts for a gross 37.2-yard gross average), phantom tackling (just one sack, and a glaring Dawk whiff on Patrick Crayton's 40-yard catch-and-run TD), phantom blocking (63 rushing yards and 5 sacks), missed passes (bad throws by Kyle Orton, drops and misplays by his receivers) and a puzzling abundance of trick plays.

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MNF Broncos Lard 11-22-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Broncos are in San Diego to face the Smurfs tonight, although as expected they will be without Andre' Goodman; Robert Ayers, Eddie Royal and Darcel McBath are listed as questionable. For San Diego, S Steve Gregory, RB Ryan Mathews and WR Legedu Naanee are listed as doubtful, while TE Antonio Gates, TE Kris Wilson and DE Travis Johnson are all questionable. Finally, LB Brandon Siler, K Nate Kaeding and WR Malcom Floyd are all probable for tonight. The Chefs got back on track yesterday with a convincing win over Arizona, while Jokeland got whipped in Pittsburgh. A win tonight for Denver would move them into a tie with San Diego and keep them within 2 games of the first-place Chefs.

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Must win again Lard 11-21-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans.  Today you're getting your Lard TJ Style.  Doug Lee, your steely and steadfast deliverer of daily Broncos news had to take one day off to test himself in some competitive arm wrestling.  So I stepped in for the day.  I'd like to think that on those days when I compete for the National Curling Championships of the United States, Doug will step in for me.

Besides, at Fat Man, we like to think of ourselves as the Patriots of the lazy and bloated blogosphere.  We fill in as needed, unless there's a rerun of Point Break on TV.  Then all bets are off.

Don't worry, though. Doug will be back tomorrow as strong as ever.  

Is tomorrow night another must win for the Broncos?  I'm afraid so.   The Chiefs are likely to win at home today.  The Raiders have a winnable game against the now-injured Steelers as well.  The Broncos can't afford to go down three games in the division with six remaining.

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So much for that Lard 11-20-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, the nearly-complete health of the team didn't last long, as Eddie Royal missed Friday's practice with a hamstring injury - no word yet on the seriousness of it. Robert Ayers and Darcel McBath were again limited participants, Jamal Williams got his customer third-down Thursday off, and Andre' Goodman is still out. By the way, Yahoo! got confirmation from Nike that the supposedly-leaked uniform designs I cited the other day are indeed a fake. However, I am sticking by my theory, because very little of it had to do with those pictures - I think a decision to switch back to orange pre-dated Dave Krieger's questions on Monday. For what it's worth, Krieger hasn't responded to an email I sent - but that's certainly understandable, since he's likely received thousands this week. I know, I know - what could be more obnoxious than referencing myself in the Lard?

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Healthy Broncos Lard 11-19-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver released their cleanest injury report of the year yesterday, as only Andre' Goodman missed practice and is expected not to play Monday night. Robert Ayers and Darcel McBath were limited participants but are expected to play. The Dolts were still without Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews, while four players were limited for San Diego in practice yesterday. Oh, and Andre Brown is back for more on the Broncos' practice squad. Have a great Friday, everyone! Trivia Trough later...

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According to script Lard 11-18-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Interesting stuff out of Josh McDaniels' Wednesday presser - the Broncos' coaching staff utilized the extra day of practice last week to help them install a script of 18 early plays, which they stuck to against Kansas City. Obviously, it worked quite well, as Denver scored 21 first-quarter points after having scored just 7 all season in the opening stanza. As McDaniels pointed out, a script like this generally only covers 1st- and 2nd-down plays. The offense is trying to show as many looks to the defense as possible, in order to see how the opponent will match up with them that day, and how they will react to each personnel grouping. It's a feeling-out process that will help determine the rest of the game's offensive plan - as Pat Kirwan notes in his book Take Your Eye Off the Ball, scripting is a hallmark of the Bill Walsh coaching tree - of course, in Denver we're familiar with the concept from the Mike Shanahan years. Kirwan says that teams will tend to select five or so of the most successful plays out of the script and then feature each of them four or five times throughout the balance of the game. In his presser, McDaniels mentioned it was something he's done before, and he hinted that the extra day of preparation for next week's MNF game will allow Denver to put together a script for San Diego. Obviously, the question is why Josh doesn't do this every week - well, let's see how Monday goes first. If successful, surely there will be clamoring for McDaniels & Co. to do so every week, and questions as to why they didn't try it earlier...

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The Daily Lard 11-17-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Happy Belated Birthday to Kyle Orton, who turned all of 28 on Sunday. Perhaps it's the neckbeard, or perhaps it's just my incorrect perception, but it seems easy to forget just how young Kyle is. In other words, there's plenty more room on the growth and learning curves for him - hopefully we'll see him continue to improve as a QB over the next 7 games and beyond. FWIW, Kyle ranks third in the NFL in PFR's all-important Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A), which accounts for both interceptions and sacks. Who's ahead of Kyle? Monday night's star Michael Vick, and next Monday's opponent Philip Rivers. Pretty good company.

As always, thanks so much for your readership - we appreciate it and hope you'll continue to tell your friends about us, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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Go orange! Lard 11-16-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! During Josh McDaniels' Monday presser, the subject of the orange jerseys came up, and the coach said he'd be all for switching to them permanently. But unfortunately, it's not his call - it's Pat Bowlen's decision. Mr. B must realize that anyone old enough to remember the pre-1997 jerseys firsthand associates the Broncos with the color orange, John Elway, Mile High Stadium, the altitude, the South Stands and a magical home-field advantage. Unfortunately most of those are gone, and the only ones that could be making a Broncos comeback would be the color and the advantage. Well, how about it? Personally, I'd prefer to turn the clocks back completely to 1996 and bring back the old logo as well - I find that the current logo and uniforms are too 1990s-ish and call to mind every major sports franchise formed during that decade - the Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Rockies, Marlins, Devil Rays, D'backs and so on. Heck, the day Mr. B unveiled the Swoosh-y new uniforms, the entire NFL world laughed as he called them "predominantly orange." So, I say let's go back to orange - if not all the way back to the old jerseys and logo, then at least to the third jerseys. What do you think?

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Broncos pull out 20-point win Lard 11-15-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Somehow, some way, the Broncos eked out 49 points yesterday in slipping past the Chefs of Kansas City yesterday. It was an incredible display by Denver's players, who managed to beat KC despite their coach having lost them weeks ago, and without the services of future Hall of Famers Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Peyton Hillis. In fact, the Broncos likely won just to spite their coach, who has made several of the worst trades in sports history over the past 21 months. While Kyle Orton threw four TD passes and Knowshon Moreno topped 100 yards rushing for the first time in their respective careers, Cutler clearly would have thrown at least five TDs and Hillis would have hit 100 yards with four broken limbs. Tim Tebow both passed and threw for a touchdown yesterday, but a less-arrogant coach would better utilize the young player en route to a far superior won/lost record </sarcasm (for now)>.

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