The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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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Rest of the West in chaos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held a light and abridged practice yesterday before heading their separate ways for the bye week.

Tracy Porter, who was held out of Monday's game and did not make the trip to San Diego due to dizziness and lightheadedness (let's hope it's not concussion-related), was the only Bronco not to participate.

John Fox exhorted his players to stay out of trouble, telling them he only wants to read about them if they "win the lottery."

Not everyone will be able to get away, as Chris Harris will still be frequenting Dove Valley for treatment on the ankle injury that's bothered him for much of the season, and Derek Wolfe says his introduction to the NFL has him too beat up to go anywhere.

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D.J. back at Dove Valley Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Back in August, we preached patience in suggesting how the Broncos should go about handling the D.J. Williams situation.

Keeping Williams on their Reserve/Suspended list cost them neither money nor a roster spot, and if anything, the past six games have shown the Broncos to be severely lacking at linebacker.

And while D.J. still has three games to serve on his DWAI-induced suspension, the good news is that his PED suspension is now over, and he returned to Dove Valley yesterday to start getting reacclimated and prepare for his return.

Because his current ban is alcohol-related, Williams is able to interact with players and coaches, which will provide him 4.5 weeks during which to work on his conditioning and be coached up for whatever role he'll be assuming once he's eligible to practice and play Week 11 for the home rematch with the Chargers.

It's been five years since D.J. manned the Mike spot; doesn't this coaching staff need to find a way to have him on the field with Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard?

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Historic comeback sends Broncos into bye Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver now sits in first-place tie with San Diego atop the AFCW, but they occupy the driver's seat by their lonesome.

Both teams are 3-3, but the Broncos for now have an advantage head-to-head and in division record, and a reasonable chance at going 6-0 within the division.

Denver and San Diego enter their bye weeks on different trajectories, and the Broncos will host New Orleans and head to Cincinnati and Carolina, before hosting the Chargers in Week 11. In the interim, San Diego will visit Cleveland, host Kansas City, and head to Tampa Bay.

As devastating as last night was for the Chargers, it's not that hard to imagine them arriving in Denver with another edge in the standings.

But until then, we have an historic comeback in which to delight.

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Broncos perfect art of the comeback

They say practice makes perfect.

The person who coined that phrase probably wasn't talking about trying to overcome 20+ point deficits, but they obviously had someone like Peyton Manning in mind when they did.

After having fallen short while trying to dig out of 20-point holes against Atlanta and Houston, and a 24-point canyon in New England, the Broncos stormed back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to stun the host Chargers 35-24 (GamebookANS box score).

And on a night where John Fox told the KOA guys that Denver had practiced taking the ball away more than any team he's ever coached, the Denver defense ended six of the last eight San Diego possessions by turning Philip Rivers over.

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Seau changed for the worse prior to suicide Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver (2-3) has an opportunity to tie San Diego (3-2) for first-place in the AFCW tonight; if not, they'll maintain a dubious pace just ahead of the one-win Raiders and Chiefs.

Oakland (1-4) nearly pulled off a shocker in Atlanta, where the Falcons needed a last-second 55-yard field goal from Matt Bryant to escape with a 23-20 win and remain unbeaten. 17 points were scored in a wild final three minutes, with Asante Samuel returning an interception of Carson Palmer 79 yards for a score, Darren McFadden scoring with 40 seconds left, and Bryant capping yet another late game-winning drive by Matt Ryan, who had been picked off by Dennis Allen's boys three times in the first half.

Kansas City (1-5) got demolished in Tampa Bay 38-10 as the Brady Quinn-led Chiefs got outgained by 202 yards, and Quinn threw two interceptions (including a pick-six by Ronde Barber) in his first start since 2009. The Chiefs are denying that embattled GM Scott Pioli has been offered a two-year extension, as was reported by CBS's Jason La Canfora earlier in the day. But Jason Whitlock believes management only issued that denial because the team had just been pasted again on the field, and he says the recent Matt Cassel/booing fans/Eric Winston drama is just proof that the NFL and its players have no respect for their own fans.

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Brooking over Mays, Hallelujah! Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If there's been one figure who's received our scorn more than others in recent weeks, it's middle linebacker Joe Mays.

The hard hitter, who has displayed a laudable dose of humility and self-awareness when it comes to his misreads and missed tackles, has had a rough year. He's struggled in both coverage and against the run (his strong suit), especially during his last two games (against Houston and New England).

Denver's coaches have apparently seen the same issues.

As Doc had called for two weeks ago, it appears the Broncos will start Keith Brooking in place of Mays tomorrow night. Brooking had been working primarily at Will - splitting time there with Wesley Woodyard - but this week, he shifted to his more familiar Mike spot, working ahead of Mays. Needless to say, we applaud the decision.

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Memo to Champ: Phil is still a jerk Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ryan Clady (hamstring) and Tony Carter (illness) sat out Friday's practice; all other players were full participants.

John Fox says Clady is day-to-day; Chris Clark would take his place in the starting lineup should he not be ready to go Monday. Chris Kuper will likely see his first action of the year, but it's unknown whether he'll start at right guard and return Manny Ramirez to the bench.

Keith Brooking was a full participant after having passed his post-concussion tests on Tuesday; he admits he's likely past the days where he should be playing 60-70 defensive snaps per game.

Demaryius Thomas continues to tote a football around with him at Dove Valley in order to improve his ball security, and he hopes defenders will become preoccupied with trying to strip the ball instead of tackling him.

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