The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 2-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Wow, can you imagine being one of those folks who got kicked out of their seats on Sunday? Sure, the NFL is stepping up a bit and trying to make up for it...but that's only really nice if you're not a Packers or Steelers fan, right? Surely at least some of those people were taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see their favorite team play in the Super Bowl and had laid out a ton of cash to do so. How pissed off would you be?

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So much for balance Lard 2-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Couple interesting notes from last night's game - there was but one Super Bowl record broken, yet it was quite a meaningful one: the 36 combined rushing attempts by the Packers and Steelers set a new low. But winning in the NFL is all about balance and running the ball well, right? There's no question that the Packers had a great defense in 2010, and they're just one team; but they won the Super Bowl so let's examine a few things:

  • The Packers ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing attempts
  • They ranked 24th in rushing yardage
  • They were tied for 18th in the league in rushing TDs
  • With 3.8 YPA, Green Bay ranked 25th in the NFL

Denver's ranks in those same categories? 27th, 26th, 12th (tied) and 23rd (tied), respectively. So, you know...now that John Fox is in town and Brain Xanders is talking of running the ball a lot more, the Broncos will be back playing for titles, right?

The other point of note? Why didn't Green Bay go for it on fourth down at the end of the game up 3 points? I have no idea, but they should have...

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Shannon Sharpe, Hall of Famer Lard 2-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's a beautiful day for the predominantly orange and blue, as Shannon Sharpe is now a Hall of Famer. Has a fantastic ring to it, no? Big Play Shay was one of seven men elected to the HOF last night and will be enshrined in Canton on Saturday, August 6. Tickets are available here and range from $35 to $70.

Shannon was on NFL Network following the announcement, and this is an absolute must watch (go to 1h15m). It's quite an emotional segment, as Shannon spoke about his 88-year-old grandmother who raised him and took a phone call from his big brother Sterling. There's even a bonus appearance by Daily Lard "favorite" Jeff Legwold, who is bizarrely listed as still being with the RMN. Of course, it was Legwold who was tasked with presenting the case for Sharpe's election yesterday, and obviously he did Shannon right. While it took three attempts, we do have to tip our hats (or at least I do) to Legwold for doing his part to help get deserving Broncos into the HOF in consecutive years (Floyd Little last year).

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Shay Shay’s day? Lard 2-5-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are - it's election day for the Pro Football HOF, and therefore time for Broncos fans everywhere to get that nauseous feeling in anticipation of Shannon Sharpe getting snubbed yet again. As we get further away from his career, it's bizarre how the conversation changes. Throughout his career, he was rightfully considered the best TE in football and a player who changed the game. Every time his name came up, it was as a surefire HOFer, and his eight Pro Bowl and four All Pro selections can never be taken away from him. But today, the dialogue is about Shannon's blocking skills, whether he was a true TE or should be viewed as a WR, and therefore compared statistically with actual wide receivers.

It's mind blowing, truly. Shannon Sharpe was a dominant player by any measure, remarkably clutch and for much of his career the NFL's only TE who demanded a large portion of the opposition's defensive game plan. Even the teams that knew just how much havoc he wrought could do nothing to stop him (hello, Kansas City and San Diego). Early in his career, Sharpe was the Broncos' only receiving threat worthy of any attention, but he still came through whenever John Elway & Co. needed to convert a crucial third down. For many years, everyone in the building (and watching at home) knew Shay Shay was the guy on third-and-medium or third-and-long, and yet he still got open and made the play - every time, it seemed.

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More Elway Lard 2-4-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! John Elway spoke with Mike Florio on PFT Live and stepped back a bit from his earlier statement that Kyle Orton is the starting QB, instead framing the situation as a competition. Most interestingly, he clearly came down on the players' side of the debate over expanding the regular season, saying "I can't imagine playing 18 games," despite acknowledging that the extra games would be a positive for management and fans.

In another of his media appearances, Elway said he was shocked that Shannon Sharpe was not elected to the HOF in either of the past two years and that Sharpe "has been underestimated in the running game" in terms of his blocking ability.

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Trade value Lard 2-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While making the rounds at the Super Bowl, John Elway did his best yesterday to maintain Kyle Orton's trade value good side by saying that Kyle is still the Broncos' starter and it's "not a foregone conclusion" the QB will be traded. But frankly, what else is he supposed to say about the QB situation? If Elway were to declare that Tim Tebow is the starter or proclaim that he is already a good quarterback, then Orton's trade value would plummet. Not only that, but perhaps Kyle would then come out and publicly demand a trade, making the situation even worse. We'd have even more quarterback drama than is already inherent in the current set of circumstances, and haven't we had enough of that over the past dozen (Bubby/Brian, Griese's dog, Plummer's Element, Jake/Jay, Jay/Josh, Orton/Tebow) years?

Additionally, a declaration from Elway that Tebow will be the 2011 starter would be horribly disrespectful of head coach John Fox. No matter who ultimately makes the decision, or when it becomes public, one would have to think it will be Fox who announces it. Either way, try not to read Elway's comments as a real criticism of Tebow or anything more than posturing to prop up Orton's trade value. Tim Tebow is the future in Denver, and frankly the Broncos organization would be doing themselves a great disservice for that future not to be in place by the next season opener.

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Journalistic pride, anyone? Lard 2-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, the DP writers have once again failed Broncos History 100 - Legwold tries to say that TD rushed for 2,000 yards, won the MVP and SB MVP all in the same season. Actually Jeff, the SB MVP came a season prior to the other two. Details... Oh, back to the article. Legwold says that Josh McDaniels didn't endeavor to run the ball enough and backs it up with the Broncos' 12th-best ranking in rushing yards in 2009. Huh? And never mind the 125.8 yards/game over the last eight games when the O-Line was intact in 2010.

So - in recent weeks, Legwold has misstated what rounds the Broncos' 2011 draft choices fall within, Woody relied upon his faulty memory to incorrectly state how SB XXXII ended and then said Dom Capers works for the Bears, and now Legwold offers up this new gaffe. So much for journalism and fact checking, folks...

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Readers’ Choice Lard 2-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's time for some greedy, shameless begging. As you may know, IAOFM is closing in on five months of life as a blog; quite frankly, it has gone better than we had ever imagined it would to this point. Naturally, this is very much thanks to you, our exceptionally loyal readers. Apparently, some of you have even been crazy enough nominated us for About.com's 2011 Readers' Choice Award for Best NFL Team Blog. This alone is quite a flattering honor, and we thank you for that. But here's the deal - About.com is leaving the nominations open through this Friday night, and then they will announce five finalists for each category in a week's time (only one Team Blog will win - there's not one for each team). We've gotten a late start in the process, as nominations began on Jan 13. So, we need even more of your help - please nominate us and help get the word out on how arrogant self-serving cocky great we are. Thanks again, and frankly we'll still love you tomorrow even if you don't think we deserve it nominate us.

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Pro Bleh Lard 1-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night's Pro Bowl featured a 42-0 NFC lead, 96 combined points, eight turnovers, and two INTs apiece for Philip Rivers and Matt Cassel. Brandon Lloyd caught one pass for 15 yards, while Champ Bailey had four tackles. Browns center Alex Mack scored at the end of the game on a lateral play that is the Pro Bowl in a nutshell. The NFC defenders' interest in pursuing that play encapsulates what the three-hour tour is like for viewers at home. Torture.

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Running fools Lard 1-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Does anyone at the Post understand why the Broncos didn't run the ball well in the first half of the season? Were they actually paying attention up in the press box? Klis pays a visit to Legwold Land and shares his own brilliant analysis which says that teams with lots of rushing attempts did well in terms of either yards or points allowed on defense. Funny thing is, he announces that the best three defenses in the league for his money in 2010 were Green Bay, Chicago and New Orleans. Where did these three teams rank in terms of rushing attempts? 20th, 21st and 30th, respectively.

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