The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Same old Jay Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Things were supposed to be different for the Bears and Jay Cutler.

He had his BFFs Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Bates back, an OC in Mike Tice who was willing to protect him with more than five blockers, and he had become a father. Jay was all grown up, and the Cutler/Marshall/Bates trio would finally get to recreate the offensive magic they supposedly crafted in 2008 when they were 16th in the league in scoring.

Waxing the NFL's worst team of 2011 in their opener on Sunday (they beat the Colts 41-21) had Jay and Brandon confident enough to talk trash about a Packers team that had beaten Chicago four straight times and physically punished the ex-Broncos passer.

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SAF@MH is for the birds Lard

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled programming for some frightening news from SAF@MH:

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Middle school ref to work Denver’s next game Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! DP colleagues Lindsay Jones and Jeff Legwold agree that Denver going no-huddle has to include a dose of runs, but of course, the decision of whether to huddle up has nothing to do with the choice of passing or running.

It's all about substitutions, for both the Denver offense and opposing defense.

There's nothing wrong with Peyton Manning audibling to a run play (or changing the type of run), as he often does at the line of scrimmage. If opponents want to invite Peyton to run the ball, guess what? He's not Dan Marino; he'll run the ball 50 times and throw 20 times, if that's what makes sense.

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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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