The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Collected thoughts on the Gary Kubiak hiring

Plenty of virtual ink will be spilled in the coming days discussing Denver's hiring of Gary Kubiak. We'll do our best to keep up.

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Terrance Knighton would still take less money to stick around

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As you may have gathered, there hasn't been enough time in the day for a Lard, what with the near constant flow of coaching search-related news and speculation.

Now that there's at least a momentary lull, let's get caught up on what else has been happening around the league this week:

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Patriots prompt another debate over what is and isn’t cheating

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's January, and the Patriots find themselves in a very familiar place. And we're not talking about the AFC Championship, even if next Sunday will mark the Pats' fourth straight appearance in that game.

Rather, New England is again at the center of a controversy regarding the rules and spirit of the NFL.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh accused the Patriots doing "an illegal type of thing" on Saturday night by using deceptive substitutions during their first scoring drive of the second half (when they trailed 28-14 but then drew to within 28-21).

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Jack Del Rio to Raiders chatter warming up

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here are a few developments in the league's coaching and GM searches:

  • Mike Florio says the chances that Oakland hires Jack Del Rio appear to be increasing, while throwing out the notion that a loss on Sunday could result in some coaching firings by Denver.
  • Per the Daily News, the LOLJets are leaning toward New Jersey native Dan Quinn as their head coach and Texans college scout Mike Maccagnan as GM. Quinn is said to want Kyle Shanahan as his OC. The irony here is that Quinn was the presumed target of recently fired GM John Idzik.
  • Mini Shanny and Greg Roman may interview for the OC opening in St. Louis.

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Aaron Hernandez’s soon-to-be-former fiancee may flip on him for immunity

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Brandon Marshall was again limited during Friday's practice, is listed as questionable, but is expected to play.

Mitch Unrein was also limited and is questionable, Quanterus Smith has been ruled out with a knee injury, and all others are probable.

Indy, meanwhile, got corner Greg Toler and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson back to practice on Thursday, and will likely field the same starting offensive line in consecutive weeks for the first time in two months.

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The Rams are giving St. Louis the cold shoulder

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Sunday's divisional round matchup approaches, both the Broncos and Colts appear to be in relatively good health.

Orlando Franklin and David Bruton made full returns to practice on Wednesday, having cleared the league's concussion protocol. Brandon Marshall was limited and is expected to play, while all other players were full participants.

For Indy, corner Greg Toler (knee) was held out, and is characterized by Chuck Pagano as day-to-day. Two linebackers were held out of practice, while two more were limited.

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Raiders may try to woo Suh with big offer

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, the Greg Bedards of the world can't accept the notion that a single blown call might have cost the Lions a win on Sunday.

Well, how about two blown calls?

The NFL admitted on Tuesday that the refs missed another huge penalty on Sunday, this time an uncalled hold on Ndamukong Suh during Tony Romo's late fourth-down conversion to Jason Witten.

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NFL admits defensive holding should have been called on Cowboys

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As their participation in Monday's practice suggests, Brandon Marshall and T.J. Ward are expected to play in Sunday's divisional round matchup with Indy.

Peyton Manning also returned to practice, while Orlando Franklin and David Bruton did conditioning as they work back from concussions.

The bye week also helped Julius Thomas, who says his injured ankle continues to improve.

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Adam Gase said to prefer job with ‘established quarterback’

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There were several coaching carousel developments on Saturday, with Denver's Adam Gase and Jack Del Rio wrapping up their first rounds of job interviews:

  • Gase unexpectedly switched agents, from Bob LaMonte to Jimmy Sexton. Not sure how to read this, but it seems to suggest Gase is going to take one of the jobs he auditioned for.
  • Jason La Canfora says Gase prefers a gig with an "established quarterback," which would appear to mean Atlanta and Matt Ryan. It can't mean Chicago and Jay Cutler, can it?
  • Adam Schefter reports that Oakland requested an interview with Dallas OC Scott Linehan

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Steelers to be without Le’Veon Bell in bid to take on Broncos

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The 2014 playoffs open today with matchups between Arizona/Carolina (4:35pm) and Baltimore/Pittsburgh (8:15pm).

Should the Steelers prevail, they will be the Broncos' opponent next Sunday at SAF@MH. If Baltimore pulls off the road win, their prize will be a trip to Foxboro next Saturday, and Denver will host the winner of tomorrow's Cincy/Indy showdown.

The Ravens and Steelers split their season series, with the home team winning each game by 20 points.

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