The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Harris likely out again Lard 9-24-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans. Unfortunately, that return to O-Line health I was talking about yesterday? Not so much - Ryan Harris missed practice yesterday and is unlikely to play on Sunday. One would have to think this means Zane Beadles will be spending a lot of time with his close friend Daniel Graham. Also not practicing were Champ Bailey and Andre’ Goodman, although both have a chance of playing. Jamal Williams did not practice, but he is not injured and it seems like a weekly thing for him to get Thursdays off. Chris Kuper and Wesley Woodyard were both limited in practice. The good news is that Darcel McBath and Laurence Maroney were full practice participants, and those players will boost perhaps the two most important weapons against Peyton & Co. - running the ball and defending the pass. Meanwhile, the RB shuffle continues as Lance Ball was added to the practice squad a few days after getting cut and replaced by Andre Brown. Today is the Broncos’ private memorial for Kenny McKinley.

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O-Line getting healthier Lard 9-23-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans. Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman and Wesley Woodyard all missed practice yesterday with injuries. Meanwhile, Ryan Harris, Chris Kuper, Laurence Maroney and Darcel McBath all returned to practice in limited fashion; all four had been out of action for some time, so this is a big development for the Broncos. Considering how important it will be to both possess the ball and put up points on Sunday versus Peyton & Company, potentially getting the starting offensive line intact couldn’t come at a better time. Plus, Denver added LB Diyral Briggs to the practice squad. Briggs was an undrafted rookie last year for the 49ers, who waived him two weeks ago. The Broncos are holding a memorial for Kenny McKinley tomorrow. He will be buried Friday in Georgia.

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Mourning McKinley and RB swap Lard 9-22-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans. Yesterday was another somber day for the Broncos, as the organization began its mourning process for their late teammate Kenny McKinley. Coach McDaniels and Wes Woodyard spoke about McKinley, for whom there will be a moment of silence at Sunday’s game versus the Colts. The Broncos will wear a decal of McKinley’s number 11 on their helmets and his locker will be left in tact for the season.

Here is the Broncos’ video tribute to McKinley.

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RIP Kenny McKinley Lard 9-21-10

It is a somber morning in Broncos Land, as the team finds itself mourning the loss of its third player in less than four years. WR Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home yesterday afternoon of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. McKinley was only 23, leaving behind a young son. Drafted 141st overall in the 2009 Draft, McKinley returned 3 punts and 7 kickoffs last season before injuring his knee during a Week 16 game at Philadelphia. McKinley was placed on IR and had knee surgery, only to recover and suffer another season-ending knee injury this August. Josh McDaniels had the following to say:

Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Our thoughts here at IAOFM go out to the family, friends and teammates of Kenny McKinley. We hope he has found a better place and may he rest in peace.

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Victory Lard 9-20-10

Good Morning, Friends! The Broncos won their home opener in mostly impressive fashion yesterday over the Sea Chickens, 31-14 (box score). Denver was able to take advantage of four Seattle turnovers and an exceptional NFL debut by Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos’ “other” first-round pick. DT made ‘em count, gaining 6 first downs on 8 receptions (9 targets, 0 drops) for 97 yards and a TD. Kyle Orton was excellent, racking up 307 yards and 2 TDs on 35 attempts for a 117.2 QB rating - his protection was better and his passes sharper, and he only took one sack. Eddie Royal had another terrific game, as did the Broncos’ defensive backs (3 interceptions). Knowshon had a spectacular 45-yard catch and run in the second half. The other side of the coin is that Denver’s rushing attack is still impotent, as the O-Line could not create consistent holes for Knowshon and Buck (especially to the right side with Hochstein and Beadles). Plus, the special teams made two consecutive blunders, as KR Perrish Cox started the Broncos out at their own 5-yard line to begin the second half, and the punt unit allowed a subsequent 63-yard punt return to Golden Tate. Meanwhile, the defense gave up 7 conversions on 11 third downs. But overall, it was an impressive win and something to build on. On Sunday, the Colts come to town.

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Home opener Lard 9-19-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are - it’s Week 2 and already the Broncos are facing a must-win game. Next week begins a brutal stretch, as they’ll host the Colts and Jets, with road games at Tennessee and Baltimore in between. Today, they’ll have to get it done without Ryan Harris, Darcel McBath, and Laurence Maroney. Chris Kuper and Wesley Woodyard are game-day decisions, while Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas are probable. Hopefully, we’ll see a bit more of a pass rush from the Broncos today, a bit less-efficient passing from Matt Hasselbeck than David Garrard pulled off, and NO injuries! Enjoy the game (we will have a thread up for it) and Go Broncos!!

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A must-win game already?! Lard 9-18-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The injury outlook is somewhat better than it was yesterday, as only Ryan Harris and Darcel McBath are listed as out. Chris Kuper again missed practice yet is listed as questionable, along with Wes Woodyard who was limited in practice. Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas both practiced and are listed as probable, so it seems a safe bet we’ll see DT’s NFL debut on Sunday. Fortunately, the Broncos are facing a Sea Chickens team with an O-Line that’s been disrupted just as much by injury. So, if Denver can find that missing pass rush, it could be a long day for both QBs. Meanwhile, Laurence Maroney spoke with reporters for the first time since being traded.

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TEIF (that’s E for Elway if you didn’t know) Lard 9-17-10

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, the Broncos are not exactly getting back to health just yet. Missing from practice yesterday due to injuries were Ryan Harris, Chris Kuper, Laurence Maroney, Darcel McBath and Wesley Woodyard. Jamal Williams missed practice but not due to injury, while Eddie Royal was limited and Demaryius Thomas again was a full participant. According to Jeff Legwold, Ryan Harris will not play on Sunday, while there is a chance Kuper will.

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Banged-up O-Line Lard 9-16-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Laurence Maroney passed his physical and is officially a Bronco. Unfortunately, several important players did not practice yesterday - Chris Kuper, Ryan Harris (no surprise there), Eddie Royal, Wesley Woodyard and Darcel McBath (still). Quite clearly, the offensive line is in rough enough shape as it is, and if Kuper were to join Harris on the sideline on Sunday, the Broncos will have to throw often and quickly. On the bright side, Demaryius Thomas was a full practice participant, so at least Kyle Orton will have more people to make those hurried throws to…

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Never enough RBs Lard 9-15-10

In case you missed it, the Broncos traded a 2011 fourth-round pick to New England in exchange for RB Laurence Maroney and a 2011 sixth-round choice. A thigh injury apparently kept Maroney out of the Pats’ opener. Although he has been a decent player and scored 9 touchdowns in 2009, Maroney failed to live up to expectations in New England. Before you get too excited about the guy, it is important to keep in mind that Bill Belichick was apparently so anxious willing to get rid of trade the RB that he took for just perhaps 55 or 60 points of draft value in exchange for the former first-rounder.

Brandon Stokley was released yesterday after agreeing to an injury settlement. In three seasons with Denver, Slot Machine had 108 catches for 1,490 yards, 12 TDs and one of the most memorable plays of 2009 and in Broncos history. Best wishes, Stokes!

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