The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Broncos win would clinch AFCW and NFCS Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Adderall has become a hot topic in the NFL this season.

A slew of players have been suspended this season for apparent abuse of the ADHD med, including Broncos tight end Virgil Green. Most players have challenged their bans, with varying levels of success. Excuses for positive tests by players have ranged from needing to stay awake during long drives, to incorrectly filed paperwork with the league, to urine sample switcheroos.

Outside theories on the rise in positive tests have included players needing a boost to trudge through their lengthy playbooks, or seeking an awareness edge during games, or covering for a more sinister substance (ie steroids) by citing the more societally acceptable Adderall.

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2012 Broncos have outscored 2011 Broncos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brandon Stokley (hip, wrist) and Manny Ramirez (back) were limited in practice yesterday, while Robert Ayers was the only player absent.

Ayers is back east mourning the unexpected loss of his father, the funeral service for whom will be held on Saturday in Virginia. It would appear unlikely that Ayers would play Sunday against Tampa Bay after having missed the entire week of practice, and rookie Malik Jackson has been prepping to fill in Ayers's spot backing up Elvis Dumervil at RDE.

Tampa Bay is also in relatively good shape, with defensive tackle Roy Miller the only player to miss practice Wednesday, and starting center Ted Larsen a limited participant (both due to illness). Their biggest issue is apparently offensive line depth, and they re-signed guard Derek Hardman to help them there.

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RIP, Marvin Miller Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! American professional sports lost a great, influential man on Tuesday, with the passing of Marvin Miller at the age of 95.

Miller, the legendary former head of the MLB players union, helped athletes across America find their individual and collective power.

Under his watch, MLB players won free agency, the right to have their grievances arbitrated, more substantial pensions, and the ability to hire their own agents. Eventually, these improvements reached the NFL and other major sports, and we all have reason to be thankful in that regard.

The power of the individual athlete manifested in John Elway forcing his way out of Baltimore and into Denver, and that move is obviously having positive repercussions on the Broncos franchise to this day. Free agency has, of course, brought many important players to Denver, most recently Peyton Manning.

So, thank you, Marvin Miller, and RIP.

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Jay Cutler is a doting father figure Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With Peyton Manning having been sacked twice and administered a concussion test on Sunday, Jeff Legwold thinks it's suddenly time for Denver to bring out some heavier personnel groupings.

We're not buying it, for even a second.

Obviously, Denver's chances go down the tubes if Peyton gets hurt - but that has been the case since Day 1, and is also true for most NFL teams - especially those with great quarterbacks.

As Ted has been telling us since March, the Manning offense puts 11 personnel (one back, one end, three wideouts) on the field and likes to keep them out there, preferably in a slow no-huddle fashion. It is Manning and Denver's most effective grouping, and a couple of sacks is not a reason to change course there.

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Thank You, Romeo Crennel Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've spent the past eight months and six days thanking John Elway, for having turned our Broncos - by virtue of one pair of deft transactions - from self-promoting circus to legit contender characterized by intense professionalism.

Today, our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, who gift-wrapped yesterday's 17-9 game (GamebookANS box score) in a roll of Foxball-like (and then some) paper.

Not only did KC have Peyton Hillis attempt a pass to Brady Quinn on third-and-three of their game-opening, Bronco-mauling opening drive, but Romeo doubled down on the stupidity by going for the field goal when the ill-conceived throw failed. It was early four-down territory for the Chiefs, but in a game where Crennel and his players were never, ever thinking ahead, Denver escaped what seemed sure to be a 7-0 deficit.

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Crennel has had Peyton’s number Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've all read countless chronicles of Peyton Manning's comeback from injury, and his rehabilitation at Duke with David Cutcliffe.

But each time, there are some new nuggets to keep our attention.

The latest such column is from Sam Farmer of the LA Times, who speaks with all of the usual characters, plus the original Fat Man, in doing his research.

Manning finally comes out and tells Farmer that he simply cannot throw the ball as far as he used to, even calling his new style of play as the normally dreaded "dinking and dunking." John Fox says he appreciates that Peyton takes copious notes from Fox's meetings with the team, and that his own leadership talking points are repeated by the QB later on each week.

It's a lot of the same old stuff, but there's enough new information to make it a worthwhile read. (via Dan Pompei)

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Thx for the turkey, Chiefs. You still suck, tho Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Poor Brady Quinn.

Dude's finally getting another crack at the Chiefs' top QB gig, four weeks after having suffered a concussion one quarter into his start against the Raiders. But at least he'll be playing behind a decent offensive line that's been around league-average in terms of allowing sacks, right?

Not so much.

Kansas City will most likely be without starting left tackle Branden Albert for tomorrow's game, in which case third-round rookie Donald Stephenson would start in his place. Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah are questionable, but it sounds like they'll play.

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Forget the first seed Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Any dreams of Denver stealing the AFC's top playoff seed have likely evaporated in the past five days, and in dramatic fashion.

After having survived a shootout during which Jacksonville had led by 14 points in the fourth quarter, before Mike Mularkey questionably went for it on 4th and 10 in overtime, Houston (10-1) again escaped - this time, with a 34-31 OT win over the Lions (4-7) in Detroit.

Yesterday, Kubes & Co. benefitted from an epic blown call by Walt Coleman's crew, a hotheaded brain fart by Jim Schwartz, and one of the dumbest rules on the NFL's books, to gain a free 81-yard touchdown on what should have been marked a seven-yard gain.

With Detroit up 24-14 midway through the third quarter, and the ball on the 19-yard line, Justin Forsett took a handoff and was clearly tackled at Houston's 26-yard line, but no whistle was blown. The back got up, ran the remaining 74 yards, and was awarded a touchdown.

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AFCW fans should be thankful for Clark Hunt Lard

Happy Thanksgiving, Broncos fans! A day after having given RB Steve Slaton a workout, the team auditioned former Chargers back Jacob Hester on Wednesday.

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos are likely to sign a running back this week to take the spot of Willis McGahee, which we'll translate to mean that Jeremiah Johnson won't be promoted from the practice squad.

Tracy Porter and Chris Kuper practiced fully on Wednesday, marking the first time Porter had done so in three weeks; Kuper had been no more than a limited participant since having suffered his ankle injury Week 9 at Cincinnati.

Champ Bailey got the day off and will practice today. Omar Bolden (concussion) did not practice, while Derek Wolfe (quad), Virgil Green (hamstring), and Demaryius Thomas (knee) were listed on the injury report as having been limited. Ronnie Hillman (hamstring) and Robert Ayers (groin) were listed on the report but were full participants.

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Brian Burke, NFL Consultant (Hire that man) Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Trout/Cabrera MVP voting notwithstanding, the baseball community has embraced statistical analysis more so than any other major sport.

MLB front offices are not only littered with so-called outsiders who utilize a blend of advanced metrics and scouting in their decision-making process, but a large portion of teams, led by the A's, Rays, Rangers, Indians, and Mets, are now run by these people.

Michael Lewis's bestselling book Moneyball glorified this way of thinking as employed by Billy Beane's Athletics, and the Red Sox went from cursed franchise to two-time World Series winner in no small part by studying the A's model. Tampa Bay has become a low-payroll powerhouse, winning an average of 91.6 games over the past five years despite having paid its players an average of just $57M per season over that span.

There's of course always been resistance from the baseball lifers and scouts, and the beat writers who think their access gives them a better understanding of how the game is played and won, this year's AL MVP voting a prime example.

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