The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Happy Birthday to us Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, IAOFM is two years old today.

It's been an entertaining and satisfying two years, to say the least. We've all been working extremely hard to try to bring you analysis as objective as a group of a team's fans can provide; we hope we've made you think and laugh along the way, and that we've lived up to the goals TJ set out for us 731 days ago (leap year, peeps).

Thanks as always for your readership and support, and for helping get the word out on our little website.

Just know that It's All Over, Fat Man! is nowhere near what we envision, and that we are constantly aiming to provide you a better product. Again, we appreciate all of you.

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Late Week 1 wrapup Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Still stuck away from home here and fighting a balky internet connection, so please pardon the late links.

Following Denver's 31-19 season-opening victory over Pittsburgh last night (Gamebook, BTV & GameDay highlights), John Fox gave out one game ball (video), appropriately to Peyton Manning - for his 400th career touchdown pass.

Fox, Manning, and several others spoke afterward; here are some of their quotes.

Ty Warren left in the second quarter with a sprained elbow and will undergo testing today.

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Manning saves Fox, McCoy from themselves

Better late than never. That was the theme for much of last season in Denver, but one that didn't figure to carry over to 2012.

Yet, it took quite a while (about twenty minutes' worth of game clock) before John Fox and Mike McCoy got the memo.

You know, the one that says Peyton MF Manning is now their starting quarterback.

We spent much of the past several months laughing off quotes from Fox and McCoy that suggested the 2012 Broncos offense would be a blend of those run by the Manning-led Colts and the sleep-inducing run-heavy affairs the two coaches grew fond of when their starting QBs were named Tebow, Delhomme, Clausen, and Peete.

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Manning era begins in earnest Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I had intended to kick off the season with an extremely thorough version of the Lard, but car issues (the third of our road trip) have us stuck in Beantown for what is hopefully a matter of hours.

Travel problems aside, it's been a great mental break for me, and Ted did a real bang-up job of keeping you posted on the news. I hope you've appreciated his fine work here as much as I have.

Anyway, we're just a few hours away from the early kickoffs on the first Sunday of the 2012 season. The Broncos have thankfully been spared the usual early road game as dictated by CB$'s coverage of the US Open men's final, so we (you) all get to enjoy a full day of football before watching the Broncos and the debut of PMFM without the distraction of other games.

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Last Lard from me

Happy Saturday, friends.  Doug will be back tomorrow, but for one last day, you're stuck with me.  News-wise, it's the calm before the storm, but tomorrow, stuff's about to get real.  For today, you draftnik types can watch some college ball, and start dreaming on this dude or that dude.  I liked what I saw of Utah's DT Star Lotulelei last night, but hopefully, the Broncos aren't picking in the Top 5, and don't have a chance to take him.  Let's start calling this stuff out - who do you like from the Saturday games?

For tomorrow's game, it looks less and less like James Harrison will play.  That will rob the Broncos and their fans of knowing how Peyton Manning's neck will hold up to a hit from the greatest neck-tester in the world.  It may be until the postseason before we know how the neck will manage a hit from Harrison, maybe later, if the Steelers don't make the playoffs, like I expect.

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Lard with a ponytail

Happy Friday, friends.  Doug's still vacationing, I'm still pretending to fill his shoes, and from the looks of our numbers, y'all are still reading us.  Fridays are pretty awesome, so we're going to start with something that's extremely awesome.  My favorite ESPN personality John Clayton, as you've never seen him before.  (Unless you saw this video yesterday.

I knock ESPN, because they employ annoying jackasses like Clayton and Chris Berman, and because I think they generally underachieve despite massive resources.  That's the best This is SportsCenter I've seen in a long time, though.  Devil its due.

Who's excited for a full slate of NFL action this weekend?  You know I am.  Let's get to all the news that printed to fit.

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More half-assed Lard

Happy Thursday, friends.  I'm an up-early, tired SOB today, after flipping between the Giants-Cowboys and Bill Clinton's speech last night.  I had one thing on, and kind of watched the play-by-play of the other on Twitter.  I like the Big Dog, and I like football too, so I wanted to catch some of both.  It struck me how natural it felt to experience two events simultaneously, and how it's easy to forget that you couldn't really do that even five years ago.  I'll be interested to see how the ratings looked for both things.  The NFL played last night, instead of Thursday, because they didn't want to go up against the President's speech, but Clinton is a pretty big draw himself.  I wonder how the ratings captures somebody like me, who watched both events.

In football news, the Cowboys had an impressive performance, and won 24-17 over the Super Bowl champion Giants.  Tony Romo made key plays at big moments, and RB DeMarco Murray, WR Kevin Ogletree, and CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne impressed for the Cowboys.  The Giants got off to a slow start offensively, and were hurt by an early Victor Cruz drop on third down, and a fumble by rookie RB David Wilson.

Trailing 24-10, the Giants scored a TD with 2:36 remaining, and had two timeouts and the two-minute warning.  On third-and-1, Murray ran for a first down around left end, but a holding penalty was correctly called, giving the Cowboys 3rd-and-11, and a strong chance for a stop.  Romo hit Ogletree on a 13-yard slant to effectively end the game.  Give Romo and the Cowboys credit for making the plays they needed to make to win a game.

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Leonhard, Bolden top returners Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! The team has updated its depth chart today, with some notable changes:

- Knowshon Moreno has taken his rightful place as the primary backup to Willis McGahee - passing Lance Ball, who is now listed as third-string.

- Jim Leonhard is the #1 punt returner, with Eric Decker backing him up.

- Omar Bolden is the top kickoff returner, with Andre Caldwell next in line.

On a programming note, I will be away from the keyboard for a few days, and will leave you in the capable hands of my fellow IAOFM writers. See you on Sunday, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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The Broncos are not the Yankees, TYVM Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held its first regular-season practice yesterday, with only Chris Kuper sidelined, due to his injured forearm.

John Fox (video) spoke after practice; team captains were elected yesterday, but will not be announced until tomorrow. The head coach says Tony Carter, fourth on the team's depth chart at corner, made the squad on the strength of his strong man-cover skills and special-teams play.

Brandon Stokley says practice was a bit more intense yesterday.

All teams must be under the salary cap at 4pm ET today; according to PFT, Denver has $11.1M in cap space, which suggests that any financial decisions for 2012 have been based upon budgetary considerations, not cap concerns.

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Saulsberry stakes final practice squad spot Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver completed its practice squad today by signing guard/center Quintin Saulsberry, an undrafted rookie who had been signed by the Vikings out of Mississippi State.

Saulsberry (6-2, 304) was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, and the only player in MSU history to play and start every game of his career there. He played every position along the line except for left tackle.

Meanwhile, Jim Leonhard has switched jersey numbers from 45 to his more familiar 36, which had belonged to Rafael Bush; Leonhard wore 36 with the Ravens and Jets. Also swapping numbers were Ronnie Hillman (34 to 21), C.J. Davis (71 to 54), Steven Johnson (41 to 53), and Duke Ihenacho (39 to 33).

The team returns to practice today as they prepare for Sunday night's opener against the Steelers.

Updated 11:44am ET

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