The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

McDaniels safe through 2011 Lard 11-2-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Our friend Woody Paige is back with some real, actual (and needed) journalism today. In confirming what Adam Schefter stated on Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, Woodrow says Josh McDaniels is very much safe in Denver. This is especially so because the Broncos are already paying half of Mike Shanahan’s annual $7 million salary in 2010 and 2011, and owner Pat Bowlen will not consider paying three head coaches next season (if there is one). But aside from the fiscal reasoning of why not to fire McDaniels this year, Woody states that Mr. B and COO Joe Ellis are pleased with how McDaniels and GM Brian Xanders have managed the salary cap and upgraded the roster, and they see growth in McDaniels in his off-field management of players.

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All-phases failure Lard 11-1-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans. I could try to sugarcoat this, but frankly that would be too difficult - I’m a Mets fan, after all. Some might say it was the referees’ fault, or that a few mistakes were to blame for the Broncos’ 24-16 loss to San Francisco. There’s bad luck, there’s misfortune, and then there’s making glaring mistakes at seemingly every juncture. Yes, the Broncos were perhaps only a big call or mistake or two away from winning the game. However, they made an awful lot of them. The special teams were atrocious, as Britton Colquitt shanked two punts, Matt Prater missed an extra point, and Jarvis Moss negated a would-be Eddie Royal punt-return TD with an unnecessary block in the back. The defense allowed Frank Gore to rack up 125 total yards despite his being the clear focal point of the Niners’ offense, while Andre’ Goodman got torched on a Michael Crabtree TD despite having help over the top, and Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey allowed a Hail Mary completion at their own 1-yard line despite outnumbering the Niners receiver. That same defense failed to take away the ball and came up with zero sacks on the day.

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Halloween in London Lard 10-31-10

Happy Halloween, Broncos fans! What’s to say, aside from the obvious? This is a must win for Denver, on so many levels. Pushing back memories of last week, calming a rabid fan base and local media, getting into the bye week on a winning feeling, among the more cliched ones. Perhaps none of those are truly important in a football sense, and today is again but one game, yet things could certainly get ugly with a loss today. On the flip side, it will surely be interesting to see/hear what the folks who claimed Josh McDaniels had lost his team last week will have to say if the Broncos win, and especially if they do so emphatically. I’d suspect there wouldn’t be much backtracking, but rather downplaying the value of a victory against what would be a 1-7 Niners team. Okay, I’ll stop speculating. Let’s get to those sparse Sunday links (lots of stuff about playing in England, not a lot on actual football)...

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Broncos in London Lard 10-30-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brian Dawkins, Andre’ Goodman and Eddie Royal have all been declared as probable for tomorrow’s game. The only other players on the injury report are the five who did not make the trip - Robert Ayers, Perrish Cox, Darcel McBath, Kevin Vickerson and Wesley Woodyard. While this is still a lengthy list, we are most definitely looking at a better situation than in prior weeks. For San Francisco, QB Alex Smith and C Eric Heitmann are out, while CB Tarell Brown is doubtful. TE Vernon Davis and RB Anthony Dion are listed as questionable, while LB Ahmad Brooks, CB Nate Clements and G Adam Snyder are all probable.

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Five players stay home Lard 10-29-10

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, Perrish Cox and Kevin Vickerson have not recovered enough from their injuries and did not make the trip to London last night. The other news on the injury front is that Eddie Royal was a limited participant in practice yesterday, so there is a chance he will play on Sunday. Knowshon Moreno did not appear on the injury report.

Later today, a Broncography on Zane Beadles, and more Trivia Trough.

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Knowshon, not again!!! Lard 10-28-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brian Dawkins and Andre’ Goodman were full participants in practice yesterday. As noted yesterday, Robert Ayers, Darcel McBath and Wesley Woodyard have already been declared out for Sunday’s game and will not make the trip. Also not practicing yesterday were Perrish Cox, Eddie Royal and Kevin Vickerson. Cox is apparently still dealing with the effects of his concussion, so it would be surprising to see him in London. It’s been a couple of weeks since Knowshon Moreno has been injured, so he reportedly grabbed his right hamstring at the end of yesterday’s practice for good measure…

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Dawkins, Goodman practice Lard 10-27-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There’s some good news on the injury front, as Brian Dawkins and Andre’ Goodman returned to practice yesterday. Robert Ayers, Darcel McBath and Wesley Woodyard did not practice and are unlikely to make the trip to London tomorrow. Also not practicing yesterday were Eddie Royal, Kevin Vickerson and Perrish Cox. The Broncos brought back Le Kevin Smith, who had been cut following the preseason. Meanwhile, LB Diyral Briggs was claimed by the Packers after the Broncos waived him with intent to return him to the practice squad. Instead, the Broncos re-signed TE Riar Geer, who they had released just hours earlier, to the practice squad.

UPDATE 8:07AM ET The 49ers have announced that Troy Smith will start at QB on Sunday.

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Day off, Briggs waived Lard 10-26-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Why so happy? Well, the Broncos didn’t give up 59 points yesterday. Plus, I’m not a Cowboys fan. 1-5 with SB aspirations and our quarterback is done for the year? Yes, things could be worse for Broncos fans. Obviously, I agree with the readers who have pointed out the shock value of those opening minutes Sunday, the three plays that virtually decided the game, and with TJ’s column on momentum. I have never seen anything like that happen to the Broncos before, not even close. Yet, they’ve got to be able to stop the run. We knew last week the Raiders would run the ball, and once they got up 21-0 they didn’t even need to pass the ball. Is it hard to stop the run without several of your best defensive players? Absolutely. But after a fine performance against the Jets’ vaunted rushing attack, there are no excuses for the very same personnel allowing 328 yards on the ground. Robert Ayers is still at least a few weeks away from returning, and it doesn’t sound like Brian Dawkins will be back this week, either. So the guys who are actually playing have to come up with a little bit more, because we’re looking at Frank Gore this Sunday.

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Pure humiliation Lard 10-25-10

Not such a good morning, Broncos fans. Gotta refer to them as the Oakland Raiders today - yes, they deserve it. In what may have been the worst loss in regular-season history for Denver, the Raiders beat the Broncos 59-14. Fifty-nine points. In three quarters. I’m actually not sure what is more impressive - a 59 on a golf course or 59 points in three quarters of professional football. After four attempts, the Broncos under Josh McDaniels have yet to win a divisional home game, and the Raiders have now won three straight in Denver. There were no bright spots, so let’s get that out of the way. As for the doom and gloom, where to start?

How about injuries? Perrish Cox left with a concussion, Kevin Vickerson re-aggravated his groin injury, Marcus Thomas hurt his right shoulder, and Demaryius Thomas may have injured a thumb. So, nobody had a season-ending injury. That’s about as good as the news gets today.

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Hyprocritical league Lard 10-24-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We went missing for a few hours, due to some much-needed server maintenance. Please accept our apologies for that, but the upside is that our site is now a heckuva lot faster! You know, Bill Simmons had an excellent point in his mailbag the other day regarding the NFL and player safety. I wish I had pointed it out yesterday, but I’ll do so today instead. So, Roger Goodell and the owners he represents are suddenly acting like the health and well-being of their players is actually important to them. Clearly, a good thing. Unfortunately, there were many years of institutional denial that concussions even have any long-term effects before this about-face; years of stonewalling doctors and researchers who actually wanted to get to the true root of things.

It has taken the exceptional and dedicated work of doctors like Bennet Omalu, Ann McKee and Julian Bailes, and of journalists like Peter Keating, Jeanne Marie Laskas (update to her story here), Alan Schwarz and Malcolm Gladwell to break down this wall of silence and denial. The league had a rheumatologist (Dr. Elliot Pellman) heading its committee on concussions, for that group’s first two-plus years of existence, for crying out loud.  That’s rheumatology, the sub-specialty in medicine dedicated to conditions and diseases afflicting the joints, muscles and bones (nothing about the brain or spine).

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