The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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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Unfortunately for KC, they have to start someone at QB this week Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The big topic of discussion yesterday at Dove Valley was, of course, the injury to Wilis McGahee and how the Broncos will try to compensate for his loss.

Lance Ball, likely understanding that it's his own strongest suit in the race for McGahee's snaps, says picking up the blitz is the most important task for a Denver running back, while Ronnie Hillman admits he's still got some work to do in that facet of the game.

Knowshon Moreno, who is expected to be activated for the first time since Week 2 at Atlanta, says that not playing has allowed the knee injury which ended his 2011 season to heal completely.

Will McGahee's absence harm the Broncos' ability to rely heavily upon 11 personnel? Unfortunately, the prospects of that being the case are strong to very strong.

The bright side of the injury coin is the growing likelihood the Broncos will have Chris Kuper back in the starting lineup Sunday at Arrowhead.

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30 points? Piece of cake Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The specialness of YOUR 2012 Denver Broncos is now far beyond Peyton Manning.

This has become a team that scores 30 points when it's hardly running on all cylinders, as it has shown for the past three weeks (and four of the past five). These Broncos score 30 and win easily - even when John Fox¹ and the referees² do their best to make things closer.

Denver won its fifth straight game, by a 30-23 score over visiting San Diego (GamebookANS box score), and now owns a commanding three-game lead in the AFCW over those same Chargers, plus the head-to-head tiebreaker in the extremely unlikely case of a tie at season's end.

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Phil Rivers, meet Chris Harris, Jr. Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As expected, the team officially added D.J. Williams to the 53-man roster yesterday, and he is expected to be among the 46 game-day actives against San Diego today.

Williams will earn a $950K salary for the rest of the season, plus a $100K escalator for each game during which he's active - a far cry from the pre-suspension $4.9M salary he had been due to make.

Meanwhile, fellow defenders Von Miller and Kevin Vickerson are trying to keep their salaries whole by appealing the fines levied upon them by the NFL for hits on Cam Newton last week. Miller says he was successful in appealing fines for hits on Mark Sanchez last year, while Vickerson is hoping for a reduction of his penalty.

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Who wins a battle between Ditka and a stroke? Ditka Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Elvis Dumervil made a limited return to practice Friday, and is listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup against San Diego.

Chris Kuper and Tracy Porter also practiced on a limited basis, but Kuper is doubtful, while Porter will miss his fifth straight game.

Dumervil would likely play in a limited role if at all, while D.J. Williams will probably see some action tomorrow, once he's expectedly added to the active roster later today.

For the Chargers, RB Ryan Mathews returned to practice yesterday and expects to play, while LT Jared Gaither is listed as doubtful and figures to be replaced again by rookie Mike Harris.

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