Happy Friday the 13th, Broncos fans! Kevin Vickerson stunned his teammates by showing up in Denver this week down over 30 pounds from when they last saw him. LJ writes that Vickerson weighed in at a relatively svelt 285 pounds as opposed to the 321 he played at in 2010, armed with a two-year deal that will guarantee him $1 million this summer even if there's a lockout. Vickerson, who will be moving inside for John Fox and Dennis Allen's new defense, says he expects that Denver will sign another defensive tackle or two in free agency. Finally, he hopes to be a three-down player and says the FO wants him to be both a starter and a leader in 2011.
Vickerson also spoke with (starts at around 18m40s) Mike & Scott on The Fan yesterday about the players' workouts, his role in the new defense and his weight loss, which he says will help him become that three-down player. BTW, try not to walk under any ladders today...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andy Benoit's latest film review is of the Broncos, and it sure is nice to see some meme-free analysis of our team from a newspaper, eh? Granted, he's not a beat reporter or a newspaper scribe at all, but still - Benoit writes that Kyle Orton was decisive and exhibited sound fundamentals, while Brandon Lloyd's breakout season is almost surely no fluke. He also points to Knowshon Moreno's shortcomings while acknowledging that he could still become a star someday, if not likely a workhorse.
And although Benoit doesn't focus on the offensive line's early struggles, he does mention notable improvement over the year by Ryan Clady and Zane Beadles. Benoit also points out that Marcus Thomas may have turned it up last year because it was a contract year and that the defense's undoing was a result of poor tackling, the lack of a pass rush, and poor linebacker play inside. Now, Benoit probably just skimmed through the season's game tapes - why can't the DP's writers come up with this sort of analysis - which focuses in on real game action rather than harping on trades gone by and eye-catching "bust" labels - when they actually sit through every game live?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Brandt has some interesting thoughts on the recent news that the owners are thinking of tweaking the 2010 work rules should the lockout injunction be affirmed by the Eighth Circuit. Brandt points out that if the NFL goes another season without a salary floor or cap, the owners who don't spend as much as others could put themselves into hot water with the courts, as they could appear to be colluding to keep salaries and payrolls down. All of these players stuck in the murkiness of "am I an RFA or a UFA" like Denver's own Marcus Thomas and Ryan Harris would seemingly have a legitimate beef, right?
Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports writes that players and assistant coaches are skirting the lockout rules by staying in touch via text, phone, email and Skype. And as Doug Farrar points out, while this reality may damage the players' case in the labor battle, it's not something the NFL would likely try to make a big deal of.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Tim Tebow spoke with Dan Patrick last week on Patrick's radio show and of course answered the typical questions. One of his responses offered another hint at Tebow's relationship with Kyle Orton...
Tebow: No, I mean we haven’t talked too much, but we have a great relationship. I’ll look forward to going in there and just competing.
Translation: Of course we haven't spoken, especially after he left me out of his Vegas trip - you know I would've torn that place up. Kyle's been a jerk ever since Studesville announced that I had the starting gig - which I won't be relinquishing - the rest of the way. There won't be anything left to say after I crush him in training camp.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from Tebow is that he thinks Urban Meyer will indeed return to coaching college ball at some point. Here's the podcast of Patrick's conversation with Tebow in full.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Judy Battista writes that the NFL has been in contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about possibly overseeing the league's PED testing going forward. And if Judge Nelson's lockout injunction is upheld by the Eighth Circuit (whose decision is expected any day now), without the existence of a players' union the league will be free to impose rules that include third-party and HGH testing, both of which the NFLPA has resisted in the past. But while the league is likely to begin drug testing in short order should the Eighth Circuit rule for the players, Battista writes that the inclusion of HGH testing would not occur until later on in the year.
Of course, if the courts continue to show they have the players' backs in their dispute with ownership, then such a unilateral move by the NFL to institute HGH testing could only serve to open the league to more legal losses, upon a sure challenge by the players. How do you feel about HGH testing in the NFL? Do you feel strongly either for or against it, or are you indifferent as to if/when it finally does get instituted?
Good Morning, Broncos fans, and Happy Mother's Day! Kiszla thinks the Broncos should go with Tim Tebow this year to see what he's made of, and if that doesn't work out then maybe they'll have a shot at Andrew Luck next April. Sounds about right to me...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The chances of the Broncos or any other AFC team being involved in any wild finishes like this one or this one just went down oh, I don't know...about ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. In basically the worst broadcasting news in history, Gus Johnson and CBS were unable to reach agreement on a new deal, so the electric announcer is moving on. In other words, no more Gus for AFC football or NCAA tourney games. I'm going to go cry now...but before I do, here's Gus describing and reenacting the Stokley call, Part 1, Part 2 (Stokley again), Part 3 and Part 4 of the Best of Gus on YouTube. For good measure, here's the Stokley play as called by Gus in Tecmo form. It just doesn't get old...
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Channel 3 Sports in Arizona is reporting that the Cardinals have had "preliminary contact" with the Broncos about acquiring Kyle Orton. The report also states that Denver believes the Cards would only be interested in Orton if they were unable to trade for Eagles backup Kevin Kolb.
Meanwhile, Orton has apparently been working out with his Broncos teammates in Denver. The players have yet to conduct formal practices, but honestly that's completely besides the point. Anyone suppose Woodrow is going to come forth with some sort of apology/mea culpa after his column from yesterday? Well, here's what the standup DP did: they removed the little part about Orton playing golf at Bandon Dunes from the column and slipped this little nugget in at the bottom:
Editor's note: Woody Paige originally reported that Orton was playing golf in Oregon. Orton is working out in Denver, according to Judianne Atencio of ProLink Sports.
Of course, a correction like this one is only going to reach folks who hadn't already read the column yesterday. How many OCD folks like me are revisiting it (to link it here)? Can someone who gets the hard copy of the DP today tell us if there's a separate note of correction somewhere? Obviously, it remains to be seen what Woody does to address his mistake directly, but perhaps some of the "eight hours" he claims he spent researching defensive tackles would have been put to better use confirming Kyle Orton's whereabouts...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige thinks the Broncos' players should be gathering en masse to practice and basically points the finger at Kyle Orton to take charge in doing so. Aside from the possibility that Paige is just doing his best to turn more people against Orton and thus run him out of town (anyone wonder what the unassuming guy did to Woodrow?), it's an interesting point to consider. Orton is in a most curious position - he's the team's labor rep, is under contract for just one season (albeit for over $7 million), has been the focus of trade speculation for several months, and has been discussed by the Broncos' front office first as being the starting QB to more recently being just one half of an open competition for the job. Orton is also competing with a guy in Tim Tebow who sells jerseys and tickets and is his polar opposite in both his image as a player and in demeanor, and the only way Orton could ever win in the court of public opinion (for what that's worth) is by winning big.
That's not to say Orton is in an unwinnable position, nor to speculate that he's already assuming his time is up in Denver - he's a professional athlete and has competitive pride; we're not talking about some pushover who just wants to collect a paycheck. But what nobody would ever call Orton (at least from the outsider's view) is a rah-rah guy or an obvious leader of men. So my questions are these: Would it be within Kyle Orton's character to call up his 80 or so teammates and try to gather them up? Does he have the "pull" with his teammates to actually get them to show up? What does Orton have personally to gain by doing so? Is it reasonable to expect of Orton what Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Cassel and others have been up to? Keep in mind, there haven't been (to my knowledge) stories about Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler (just threw that in for a chuckle) rounding up their mates to play. I happen to think Woody is making something of nothing in pursuit of his own agenda, but I'd love to hear what y'all think...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Apologies for the late Lard of late; I've been out of town for a few days, and we'll be back on the normal schedule tomorrow. Tim Tebow was the keynote speaker at John Lynch's scholarship/awards luncheon for area middle- and high-school students, and he spoke more about his workout program so far this offseason. Tebow says he's been focusing on play-action passing and has been able to spend time with "most of the guys," whatever that means. Of course, he's now got a new playbook to study courtesy of Mike McCoy. Here are Andrew Mason and Gray Caldwell's stories on the luncheon.