The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Seau brain tests confirm worst fears Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we all celebrate the Broncos' return to the NFL's heavyweight class, here comes another sobering reminder of the long-term costs associated with the sport.

Junior Seau had CTE.

Much in the way gun advocates said it was too early to discuss gun restrictions in the days following the Aurora and Sandy Hook massacres, those who prefer to keep their heads in the sand regarding concussions (or claim that players have chosen to subject themselves to these consequences) said it was in poor taste to speculate about what caused Seau to shoot himself in the heart last May.

Just because they didn't want to face the truth, they preferred that everyone else ignore it out of some perverted sense of decency or respect.

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Kuper on track for career playoff debut Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been well-documented here and elsewhere that the Ravens will come to Denver with many players they didn't have for the first matchup between the two teams.

But Denver has several recovery stories of its own, if not all with an eye toward Saturday, or even this 2012 season.

Willis McGahee's return to practice yesterday offers hope of a particularly deep backfield - given the emergence of Knowshon Moreno - but Willis will only become a factor should the Broncos emerge victorious from this upcoming divisional round game.

To get there, a likely reappearance by Chris Kuper in the starting lineup would be a major boon, given the oft-noted vast difference between the offensive line's pass protection with Kuper around rather than Manny Ramirez.

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Several factors stacking up against Ravens Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver heads into Saturday's rematch with the Ravens buoyed by several distinct advantages:

  1. They know they're the better team, and if they weren't already sure of that, their Week 15 boatrace job proved it.
  2. This team is loaded with veterans who are quite aware the Ravens are looking at Saturday as a chance to avenge that game.
  3. Having a week off bought Chris Kuper and Ryan Clady time to heal up; the chances of either one not playing would appear slim or nil.
  4. Previously injured key defenders Terrell Suggs (reaggravated Achilles) and Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) were further hobbled during Sunday's win over Indy.
  5. Baltimore faces the triple whammy of a shortened week of preparation combined with a trip up to 5,280 and two time zones over.

That latter quartet of factors could loom even larger than normal.

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What were Shanny and Chip thinking? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After a mostly meh wild card weekend, the decisions of two head coaches are in the spotlight today.

First, there's old friend Mike Shanahan, who left a gimpy RG3 on the field, only to have the dynamic quarterback further aggravate the knee injury he'd suffered in Week 14 against Baltimore, and leave for good in the fourth quarter. While many are skewering Shanahan for the decision, Griffin demanded that he be kept in the game, and let's not forget that Shanny himself almost died playing football, so it's not like he was asking his player to do something he wouldn't have done.

That doesn't make his decision right, and it doesn't mean reason ruled the day, but as Patrick Hruby writes, that's the problem with football. Mike Silver rightly points out that people should think about their own reactions to Jay Cutler's knee injury from a couple of years ago before they judge Shanny and RG3.

As for the original injury, Shanahan doubled down on his claim that Dr. James Andrews had cleared Griffin on the sideline during the Baltimore game, so stay tuned for that he said/he said showdown. Should get more interesting before all's done with.

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RIP, Jeff Lewis Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In just a few hours' time, we'll be learning which subpar playoff team (between Indianapolis and Baltimore) will be visiting the rarified air on Saturday afternoon to take on your top-seeded Broncos.

By edging the middling Bengals and their scattershot quarterback (who Mike Klis pronounced earlier in the year would meet Cam Newton "in a future SB or three") by a 19-13 margin, the Texans earned a return trip to New England and a chance to avenge the 42-14 thrashing they suffered there four weeks ago.

Houston will need to bring with them the defense that showed up last night, and find the confident Matt Schaub who threw 21 touchdowns in the first 12 games of the season - not the milquetoast one who's thrown just one in the past five.

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McGahee on track for return Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Although Chip Kelly is likely to become the next coach of the Browns, he still met with the Bills last night and will interview with the Eagles today.

It was a busy day for Buffalo's front office, who also interviewed former Bears coach Lovie Smith and Doug Marrone of Syracuse, and will interview Broncos OC Mike McCoy today in the Denver area.

With Kelly probably ending up in Cleveland, Philly has expanded its search to include Colts OC Bruce Arians and Seahawks DC Gus Bradley; they'll meet with McCoy tomorrow.

Arizona, the other team McCoy will sit down with today, is apparently still waiting to hear whether Handshake Haley will take their interview request, as he reportedly doesn't want to jeopardize his standing Pittsburgh.

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Bill O’Brien: loyal, humble state employee Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Expectations continue to be that Andy Reid will become the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

When this happens, Arizona and San Diego, who had been scheduled to interview the ex-Eagles coach, will each be down two targets.

PSU's Bill O'Brien, who had already interviewed with the Browns and was also being pursued by the Eagles,  Cardinals, and Chargers, announced he will be staying at the school.

Of course, as these college coaches tend to do, O'Brien framed his decision as him being a great guy who sees through commitments. You know, he was so committed to not being a "one-and-done guy," that he went for an interview. Look, there's nothing wrong with going for the interview; people look to improve their job situations all the time. But don't claim you're the most loyal person on earth just because you weren't offered didn't take the job.

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Raiders facing another overhaul Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! This week continues to be all about coach firings and interviews.

Andy Reid met yesterday with Clark Hunt (and yes, Scott Pioli) for almost nine hours - prompting speculation that Reid is atop KC's wish list - and he will interview with Arizona either today or tomorrow.

As for who will replace Reid in Philly, Eagles brass will interview both DC Mike Nolan and special teams coach Keith Armstrong of the Falcons in Atlanta. Jeffrey Lurie & Co. are also said to be interested in Bill O'Brien, but hiring him away from PSU could require a prohibitive $18.4M payment to break his contract at Happy Valley.

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Eagles to interview McCoy Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The coaching and GM carousel is awhirl, with news and rumors flying every which way.

And as tends to happen in these situations - much like the start of free agency each year - information is rushed, out of a desire to be the first to break a story, prompting rival reporters to question journalistic standards and the quality of others' sources. What we get are catfights between folks like Mike Florio and Jason La Canfora, who cannot agree on when Andy Reid will take his interview with the Cardinals.

La Canfora reported that Reid would meet with Arizona today, while NFLN's Ian Rapoport said the interview would occur tomorrow. That's when Florio jumped in, backing Rapoport's report while also accusing La Canfora of operating as a mouthpiece for Bob LaMonte, the agent for Reid.

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Lovie’s firing leaves attractive job, candidate in its wake Lard

Happy New Year, Broncos fans! So far, seven coaches (Andy Reid, Lovie Smith, Norv Turner, Ken Whisenhunt, Chan Gailey, Pat Shurmur, and Romeo Crennel) have been canned, with potentially more to come (Mike Mularkey, Ron Rivera).

Of the moves that have already occurred, none is more surprising than the firing of Lovie Smith, after he led the Bears to a 10-6 record and within a Sunday Packers win of making the playoffs.

Mike Ditka called the move "ridiculous," Devin Hester was moved to thoughts of retirement, and several other players expressed their shock. The other side of the story is that Lovie couldn't get his team to win big games, and the offense again sputtered down the stretch.

As per usual, Lovie's team sported an elite defense, which led the league in takeaways, was third in points, fifth in yards, and tops in overall efficiency prior to Sunday (Burke's final data isn't out yet).

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