The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Peyton was Double Secret Squirrel at Duke Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! By now, we're all quite aware that Peyton Manning did the bulk of his rehab work at Duke University with head coach David Cutcliffe, who had been his OC at Tennessee.

But while the work was being done, almost nobody knew it was happening - even Cutcliffe's assistant coaches. Manning's workouts took place at night, and Cutcliffe says his equipment staff were the only ones who knew Peyton was on campus.

As for the simulation of Indianapolis's 2009 AFC Championship win over the Jets - along with Brandon Stokley and other ex-mates - Manning's maniacal attention to detail manifested itself in reenacting plays down to the second. Even plays run by the imaginary Jets.

John Fox says that he and John Elway leaned heavily upon Cutcliffe for an evaluation of Manning prior to signing him, which prompts us to say one thing:

Thank you, David Cutcliffe.

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Derek Wolfe sure does play a lot Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The selection of Derek Wolfe as Denver's top draft pick has been somewhat controversial, and the success of RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay has again focused the spotlight on the choice of Wolfe.

But although Derek has hardly created any pressure, and has (by far) the worst PFF grade of any Broncos player, he's also played the second-most snaps along the defensive line (to Elvis Dumervil), and nobody is close behind him in that category.

Dumervil credits Wolfe as having done "the most dirty work" along Denver's line, and that snap data certainly backs that up. Of course, Elvis and Von Miller have racked up some terrific pass-rushing figures this season, in part thanks to Wolfe's hard work in the trenches.

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Peyton pitched a pepperoni pizza in Platt Park Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! As Denver heads into the weekend with a chance to move above .500 for the first time since Week 1, the turmoil continues in Kansas City.

Chiefs fans are planning to again fly a banner over Arrowhead calling for GM Scott Pioli's ouster this Sunday, and to wear black to their Week 11 home game against Cincinnati to mourn their lost enjoyment for KC football.

And yet, the rumors remain that Pioli's contract has been extended by owner Clark Hunt, and remember when many of us thought he was going to bring respectability back to the Broncos' faltering rivals?

It's under these grim circumstances that Brady Quinn is getting his next, if not last, shot as a starting NFL quarterback. Several Broncos players and coaches were complimentary of Quinn to Mike Silver and one executive (presumably his BFF John Elway) called the Notre Dame grad a "class act," presumably for how he handled getting passed over last season due to a bunch of billboards.

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Denver offensive line: TYJE Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The talk at Dove Valley yesterday was of getting a winning streak going - something that hasn't happened yet this season.

Of course, cleaning up their odd habit of first-half mistakes would go a long way to help build a string of wins, and Peyton Manning says it's about time for the team to put together a sixty-minute game. You'll recall that even their one blowout win, against Oakland, featured a halftime advantage of just 10-6, their only one of the season.

But it's not just a matter of cutting mistakes, especially with the big-play, pass-happy Saints coming to town.

The team is basically at full health, as Sealver Siliga missed practice for non-injury reasons, while Tracy Porter was a limited participant; six others were listed on the injury report as full participants.

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Honey, tell your dad we’re gonna run the ball all day long Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As would be expected, the Broncos aren't taking for granted that they're going to cruise to an AFCW title, despite the turmoil permeating the rest of the division.

​Chris Harris says experience and film work are what helped him nab his game-sealing pick-six in San Diego, and he thinks the same pass would have been completed on him last season.

According to Mike Klis, the determinant in Matthew Willis (still don't understand how he's making more than Willis McGahee this season) being a weekly game-day active over Andre Caldwell is special teams, and he doesn't expect the team to make any deals prior to Tuesday's 4PM ET trade deadline.

Jeff Legwold suggests that Denver's giant fourth-quarter deficits, and the aggressiveness they've necessitated, have led to their whopping 79-6 scoring advantage in the final quarter. Makes sense.

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Porter back after undisclosed illness Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After four days off for their bye week, the Broncos returned to practice yesterday.

With his former team coming to town, Tracy Porter was cleared on a noncontact basis yesterday, after he was held back from the trip to San Diego by what is being called an illness. According to Mike Klis, it's questionable whether Porter - who is not making a big deal of the reunion - will be able to suit up against New Orleans on Sunday night.

Then again, the player himself declared himself "ready to go," so we'll assume that's the case.

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AFCW tightens (sort of) Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFCW got nominally more bunched yesterday, after the Raiders rallied for an overtime win over the decimated Jaguars.

Oakland is now 2-4 and one game behind Denver and San Diego after they overcame a 20-6 deficit for a 26-23 victory. Jacksonville lost Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert to injury, and then backup QB Chad Henne showed exactly why the Jags hadn't yanked Gabbert yet. The ex-Dolphin was 9 for 20 for a woeful 71 yards, and was sacked three times for 26 yards - 45 net passing yards on 23 dropbacks. These are numbers that remind us of...oh, never mind.

Jacksonville wideout Cecil Shorts fumbled on the opening possession of overtime, and Sebastian Janikowski ended the game with a 40-yard kick.

As for Carson Palmer, who does he think he is? Jake Plummer?

Oakland's next game will be Sunday at Arrowhead against the 1-5 Chiefs, who were idle this week. Mark your calendars - should be a good...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Skip Bayless works hard at his craft; is that a good thing? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are, bye week Sunday.

While it's always great for the players to rest up in both a physical and mental sense, it sure does make for an empty-ish football feeling for us fans, right?

Granted, there are some great matchups we'll be watching - namely Houston/Baltimore and Washington/G-Men.

How will you spend your second straight Sunday off from Broncos football?

Whatever you do, enjoy it, and as always, thanks for reading.

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Tebowing™ Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We already noted yesterday that San Diego's head PR guy had waved his finger at naysaying Chargers fans, but Bill Johnston's words are so ridiculous that we must post a selection of them here:

Listening to some of you out there, you’d think Monday night was “win or go home” and the Chargers are now packing their bags.

Sometimes I think Twitter was invented to give people a chance to puff out their chests and talk big, saying things they never would say to someone’s face.

And talk radio … don’t get me started. The old adage your mom used to preach – “If you don’t have anything good say, don’t say anything” – seems to have evolved to “if you don’t have anything good to say, call sports talk radio.”

Time to take a chill pill.

If you want these players and coaches to succeed, then support them.  Don’t tear them down.  What you want and what we all want, including your team, is to know people believe in them. 

And to think, Bolts fans haven't even resorted to billboards and airplane-flown banners. Yet.

Perhaps Johnston can dial up his buddy Jim Saccomano for some advice in how to better handle criticism. Or not.

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San Diego columnist: TYJE Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Unsurprisingly, San Francisco and Seattle waged quite the defensive battle last night.

The Niners emerged from the run-heavy physical matchup with a 13-7 victory which put them atop the surprisingly strong NFCW with a 5-2 record. The division, for many recent years the worst in the league, is currently the only one sporting four teams at or above .500, and no other division has three teams with winning records.

A pair of late decisions by San Francisco raised eyebrows: first, they ran the tentative Alex Smith on a draw while facing a 3rd-and-7 at the Seattle 13-yard line, which for some evinced a lack of confidence in the QB. The play gained just three yards, and the Niners kicked a short FG to extend their lead to 13-6.

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