The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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.

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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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Chefs Sunday in Denver Lard 11-14-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Lindsay Jones, any suspension that DJ Williams faces from the NFL in relation to his DUI arrest will not come until next season. This is clearly good news for the Broncos, especially with the continuing absence of Robert Ayers. As for the game, today is basically it for the 2010 Broncos. They can pull themselves within two games of the Chefs with a victory, although they'll remain in last place in the AFC West regardless. Of course, a victory today would also be the first one at home for Josh McDaniels' Broncos against a division rival...

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What leadership? Lard 11-13-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, so much for leadership, huh? All the talk of DJ Williams finding comfort in the familarity of a position and perhaps improving his play just went out the window. Oh, and he's a captain to boot. The speculation is that Williams will eventually face a 2- or 4-game suspension from the league, since this isn't his first rodeo. But that is not likely to come before there is a conviction or some sort of plea on his part. Way to go, DJ. All those millions and you can't get someone to drive you around when you've been overserved? No, you don't have to be a role model for kids or Broncos fans - not that you have any say in that matter. But you are most definitely paid to be one of the better Broncos as a player, and you wear the "C" on your jersey because you're expected to provide leadership and a good example for your teammates - especially the younger ones. Yet you've blown it again, just like the coverage on this debacle. Here's to hoping that if you do in fact suit up tomorrow, there's no longer a "C" there...

As previously announced, Robert Ayers and Andre' Goodman are out for tomorrow's game. Darcel McBath, Kevin Vickerson and Wesley Woodyard were again limited in practice and are listed as questionable.

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The Daily Lard 11-12-10

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! No changes on the injury front, as Darcel McBath, Kevin Vickerson and Wesley Woodyard were again limited in practice. For Kansas City, four players were limited but all are expected to play. Meanwhile, the Falcons pulled off a last-minute victory at home on a 33-yard TD pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White. Interestingly, Ryan is now 18-1 at home during his NFL career. His only loss? Week 11 of the 2008 season, when White dropped a last-minute 45-yard pass in the end zone against our Denver Broncos.

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Thank you, veterans Lard 11-11-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans and Happy Veterans Day! To those who have served, thank you for you dedication and sacrifices - you're appreciated here at IAOFM. On the Broncos' injury front, Robert Ayers and Andre' Goodman have already been declared out for Sunday's game. Darcel McBath, Kevin Vickerson and Wesley Woodyard all practiced, albeit in limited fashion.

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Healing defense Lard 11-10-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As mentioned yesterday evening, some good news on the two fronts came yesterday for Denver. Perrish Cox, Wesley Woodyard, Kevin Vickerson and Darcel McBath all returned to practice. Unfortunately, Robert Ayers will be out at least another two weeks as his broken foot heals, and Andre' Goodman is also out this week. The other good news is that we may finally see the starting offensive line we had expected before the season started, with Zane Beadles at LG and Ryan Harris back at RT. The potential starting five of Ryan Clady, Beadles, JD Walton, Chris Kuper and Harris averages just over 25 years of age, so while we can expect growing pains, there's also the potential for this group to remain together for a long time.

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