The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 3-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Lots of Broncos-related talk in PK's MMQB today: first, he claims that both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be selected within the draft's top five picks. He then writes that all the hoopla surrounding Marcell Dareus is dying down, but that he thinks Dareus is the best pick for Denver - you know, because in between lattes he's been studying lots of film. PK also states that Dareus has indeed passed Nick Fairley "on most draft boards," and that Da'Quan Bowers has supposedly failed a couple of team physicals (not buying that one). PK also writes from both firsthand knowledge and from speaking with John Fox that John Elway has really been quite active and working hard - the usually tight-lipped (according to King) Fox was effusive in his praise for Elway, his work ethic, perspective and knowledge (basically, the Denver PR machine has turned its focus to promoting Elway as a legitimate football exec; more on that later). Finally, PK thinks there's no way the Broncos go QB at #2.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-28-11"

The Daily Lard 3-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige is as perplexed as we are by the Broncos' obsession with QBs of late. Did you know the Panthers drafted THREE of them last year? Anyone still want to argue that John Fox wasn't handcuffed by a wacky organization and his own lame duck status?At the end of his column, Woody slips in that Marcell Dareus is the frontrunner at this point to be Denver's selection at #2, unless they can trade back a few spots and still get Von Miller or Patrick Peterson. Obviously there's a long way to go before the draft, but these are the sorts of things Woody is sometimes actually right about.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-27-11"

Compensatory pick?! Lard 3-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Sorry for the extremely late (and abbreviated) Lard, folks. Went to the Sweet 16 last night, although it was not a sweet experience for my Marquette Warriors. Anyway, some nice news on the Denver front, as the Broncos were in fact awarded a compensatory pick, albeit a very late one (a seventh-rounder, #246 overall out of 253). Here's the funny? part - Denver was not awarded the choice because they lost a bunch of (or even any) significant free agents. If we read between the lines of the story on the team website, the Broncos basically got the extra pick out of sympathy for how much they sucked in 2010. I didn't know the NFL did that - did you? At least we don't have to read any more of Legwold's "Denver ONLY has six picks" stories - perhaps Klis put the kibosh on that one.

Continue reading "Compensatory pick?! Lard 3-26-11"

HGH testing? Lard 3-25-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Alex Marvez is reporting that the owners are demanding HGH testing be part of the next CBA. That word of this insistence is just slipping out now makes it seem more like a negotiating tactic than anything else, as there is still not yet a urine test for the growth hormone. While it's a wide (and safe) assumption that plenty of NFL players use the substance to illegally enhance their own performance, it's hard to imagine this bargaining chip providing much in the way of leverage until HGH testing graduates to something more reliable that does not require blood samples. Of course, it will be interesting to see if/how the players respond to this news, nonetheless...

Continue reading "HGH testing? Lard 3-25-11"

The Daily Lard 3-24-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I was going to discuss here how absurd it is that Denver has worked out or planned to work out six QB prospects, while they've only lined up 12 non-quarterbacks (according to PFT's list). But it's only March 24, and the first round of the draft is still five weeks away from today. Perhaps that list will balance out by the time the draft arrives and Denver will have worked out 30 players who don't play QB; especially a lot more defensive players? I'll see about putting together a comprehensive list of Denver's scheduled/planned workouts with links...

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-24-11"

Touchbacks galore! Lard 3-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The NFL's Competition Committee passed some changes to kickoff procedures yesterday, although not in as drastic a form as originally proposed. The ball will indeed be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35, reversing a change the league had made (to make kickoffs more exciting, naturally) prior to the 1994 season. But unlike the first proposal, touchbacks will still place the ball at the 20-yard line, and the two-man wedge remains legal. Meanwhile, the coverage team will only be allowed a 5-yard running start rather than one of 10 or 15 yards. What do these changes mean for the Broncos? Firstly, Matt Prater becomes even more valuable - unless he's facing strong winds, he should be able to get a touchback on every kick at the Big IF and reach the end zone on the road consistently. The downside is that Denver has a more dynamic crew of kick returners than they've had in decades (Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Cassius Vaughn), yet their positive contributions will more often be turned into touchbacks.

Another significant change was to the play review system - all scoring plays will now be reviewable by the replay official. This is a good move for everyone, as coaches no longer have to weigh the risk of losing challenges and/or timeouts when considering whether to protest a questionable (and potentially game-changing) play. More importantly, a missed call by the on-field officials will still be correctable even if a team is out of challenges or timeouts; this was the most unfair facet of the replay system, bringing a game-show quality to the NFL. Good riddance.

Continue reading "Touchbacks galore! Lard 3-23-11"

QB Wonderlic Lard 3-22-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Luis DeLoureiro took an interesting look back at some of the more notable Wonderlic scores both high and low among quarterbacks. While there have certainly been some QBs who did poorly on the Wonderlic but excelled in the pros, it seems that guys with better scores have generally turned out to be better NFL signalcallers. For the record, Tim Tebow scored a below-average 22, Kyle Orton notched an above-average 26, while Brady Quinn posted an impressive 29. Depending upon who you ask, John Elway scored either a 30 or a 29.

Continue reading "QB Wonderlic Lard 3-22-11"

The Daily Lard 3-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Via Mike Florio, Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post tweeted yesterday evening the following regarding Broncos owner Pat Bowlen:

Wow, does Pat Bowlen look frail and out of it. His right-hand man just had to show him how to get in a car. Sad.

As Florio reminds us, there has been a good deal of hushed speculation surrounding Bowlen's health in recent years while Joe Ellis has emerged from the shadows to execute the bulk of the Broncos' major decisions. I'm not about to play the guessing game regarding Bowlen's health, but there has certainly been some erratic behavior recently out of Dove Valley - none more so than Bowlen's public assertion that Josh McDaniels would be back as the Broncos' coach in 2011, followed only days later by the young coach's ouster. And, we may never know if Jay Cutler and Mr. B ever spoke on the phone when the QB was on his way out of town. Aside from wishing that Bowlen can somehow recover from whatever is ailing him, we can only hope that John Elway knows what he's gotten himself into, not to mention what he's doing...

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-21-11"

Hoarding picks Lard 3-20-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei focuses in on the Patriots' brilliant yearly stockpiling of draft picks. This year, New England has two picks in each of the first three rounds, giving them the flexibility to do basically anything they want, moving up to nab an elite talent inclusive. But before you start wishing the Broncos would do the same thing, know that they have already done so in recent seasons; the trades of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall (and their brilliant maneuvering down and up the board in 2010) have enabled Denver to select four first-rounders and four second-rounders over the past two years, with two second-rounders in hand for the 2011 Draft. Of course, the jury is still out on how well they actually fared in utilizing those choices.

And while Brain Xanders has attempted to disavow himself of every move made during Josh McDaniels' time in Denver, we can only hope that he was the integral part of these draft-related deals that we assume he was, and that at least this facet of the so-called Patriot Way has stuck with him. For as important as the upcoming draft is for the Broncos' future, the 2012 one will be no less crucial - whether it's via more trades downward in April or a potential deal of Kyle Orton for a future pick, one of the best things Xanders can do for Denver and his own legacy is to keep extending Denver's draft flexibility. Hopefully he's already been working the phones in pursuit of such a stratagem...

Continue reading "Hoarding picks Lard 3-20-11"

The Daily Lard 3-19-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I'd like offer some more details on the NY Times' decision to move behind a pay wall as relates to the Lard: While clicking through to the NYT from the links I provide will count toward your own monthly 20-article limit, once you hit that limit you'll still be able to read articles via links from referring sites like ours and via social media. In other words, hitting the limit will only prevent you from heading directly to the NYT website and accessing articles - reading articles that I link should not be affected.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-19-11"