The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Patriots trying to steal back signing bonuses is just another Patriots story

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning should have all of his top offensive weapons for tomorrow's rematch at Qualcomm.

Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, C.J. Anderson, and Wes Welker were full participants in Friday's practice and are listed as probable.

Meanwhile, Denver is expected to activate Danny Trevathan from short-term IR sometime on Saturday. They'll have to waive a player to make room for him; our guess would be fellow linebacker Todd Davis.

Also probable are Will Montgomery, David Bruton, Juwan Thompson, and Quanterus Smith.

Continue reading "The Patriots trying to steal back signing bonuses is just another Patriots story"

Cards reach unfamiliar heights, but quarterback injuries may shoot them down

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Arizona became the first team to reach 11 wins by topping the host Rams in a 12-6 field goal fest on Thursday night.

A year after missing the postseason despite winning 10 games (while the Packers made it with an 8-7-1 record), the Cards are virtually assured of clinching a playoff spot on Sunday. It's the franchise's most victories since 1975 (!), back when it played its home games in St. Louis.

In 95 years of existence, the Cards have now won 11 games all of four times, and they've never topped that figure in the regular season.

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NFLPA thinks league is lowballing 2015 cap estimate

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If it seems like everyday brings new reasons to think less of Roger Goodell, it's because it's true. Here are a few from Wednesday:

From a WSJ profile of Goodell, via Deadspin:

Before a recent Cowboys-Giants game, the NFL commissioner strode the sidelines atMetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where he got unsolicited advice from the stands. "Bring back Ray Rice," yelled one fan. Another countered: "Stick to your guns!"

"That's what I love about football," Mr. Goodell said. "It brings out passion."

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NFL announces new/old/same personal conduct policy

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! The NFL announced a new personal conduct policy on Wednesday. And in typical NFL fashion, it did so unilaterally, without the input of the players' union.

Roger Goodell will no longer hand down suspensions for players accused of crimes, but will still hear and decide appeals. So, of course, it's still Goodell who has the ultimate power over player discipline, to the surprise of nobody.

As one might have expected, there isn't a whole lot that's new or improved about the supposedly new and improved conduct policy.

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It’s Roger Goodell versus Vlad Putin for Man of the Year

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Green Bay (10-3) held off a furious second half rally to edge Atlanta 43-37 on Monday night.

The Packers jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead, but it nearly wasn't enough. Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan combined for seven touchdown passes in the shootout.

Jordy Nelson piled up eight receptions for 146 yards and two scores, while Julio Jones had 11 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort.

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On second thought, there was little good for Denver in New England’s win

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, last night's Patriots win wasn't as helpful to Denver's cause as I'd thought.

I'd written a few times yesterday that a New England victory would set Denver up to clinch the AFCW with a win at San Diego next week.

But as noted by an astute reader last night, a Broncos win would give them a season sweep of the Chargers and an AFCW title even if San Diego had won last night.

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How many head coaches can Dan Snyder pay at once?

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With a win today against Buffalo, Denver (9-3) can substantially improve its playoff position, one way or another.

San Diego (8-4) hosts New England (9-3) in the night game, in a matchup that obviously contains major AFC implications. Obviously, we'll all be rooting for the Chargers, as uncomfortable a concept that may be.

Wins by Denver and San Diego would give the Broncos a leg up in the race for the #1 seed and homefield advantage.

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Broncos may promote Brandon McManus for kickoffs

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Irv Moss, the Broncos are considering activating Brandon McManus to handle kickoffs as soon as tomorrow against Buffalo.

Prior to Barth's signing, I'd suggested that using two roster spots on kickers would be a waste, as the kickoff specialist would take the place of someone who can tackle, block, catch, carry, and/or run.

But you know what? There are only four games left in the season, and once the playoffs come, the bottom couple roster spots don't figure to matter so much on game days.

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DeMarco Murray is a great player but maybe not such a great teammate

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Led by DeMarco Murray's 228 yards from scrimmage, the Cowboys (9-4) clinched their first winning season with a 41-28 blowout at Chicago (5-8).

The game wasn't nearly as close as the final score would suggest, as Chicago scored 21 fourth quarter points and was within two scores for just a few minutes in the second half.

Murray piled up 41 touches and one score on Thursday, and now has 1,998 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns on the season.

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Broncos should have Aqib Talib back now that they’ll face real wideouts

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It looks like Denver will have Aqib Talib back in the starting lineup on Sunday against Buffalo.

Talib was a full participant in Wednesday's practice after having been held out at Kansas City (possibly as a precaution, since Alex Smith doesn't bother throwing to his wideouts anyway).

Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited, while Jacob Tamme (ribs) and Wes Welker (getting old) were held out. Also not practicing were Kayvon Webster (shoulder) and Quinton Carter (knee).

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