The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Elvis, still blowing his top Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! We already covered the new injuries from today's practice (photos); CB Tracy Porter (illness) also joined LB Keith Brooking (hamstring), LB Danny Trevathan (ankle), and S Jim Leonhard (knee) on the sideline.

WR Andre Caldwell and defensive lineman Jamie Blatnick excelled in the morning session; the team will hold a walkthrough this evening, and Thursday will mark the final public practice of this year's training camp.

DE Elvis Dumervil apparently exhibited what is now becoming his trademark temper today, when he got into a tiff with RB Knowshon Moreno; D.J. Williams was again called to action with the injuries to Trevathan and Brooking.

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Raiders lose pitching duel Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! DT Justin Bannan (calf) finally returned to practice without a hitch yesterday (photosmore photos), while newly-signed linebacker Keith Brooking (hamstring) left early for an MRI. T Ryan Harris (ankle) and FB Chris Gronkowski (groin) were back in action; LB Danny Trevathan (ankle), S Quinton Carter (knee), and S Jim Leonhard (knee) remain sidelined.

Carter's knee injury apparently dates back to last season, and its repair was prompted by the hamstring injury he suffered early in camp. TE Julius Thomas says his knee recovery is still only at 80%, but along with Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas, he was one of the day's standouts.

Eric Decker had a productive day working against Champ Bailey, and the backup running backs all made notable plays. Ronnie Hillman also made a big play, and he would have been active in the preseason opener were it not for the rainy conditions.

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Andrew Luck, winner Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Mason updated his predictions for the Broncos' 53-man roster, and he has T Ryan Harris, DE Jeremy Beal, and LB Mike Mohamed among those on the outside looking in.

Despite fan dreams of Harris returning to form (and health) and playing a major role in a revamped offensive line, it's just not happening. Per Mason, the starting five is set, and it will be the same group that started all 16 regular season games together in 2011: LT Ryan Clady, LG Zane Beadles, C J.D. Walton, RG Chris Kuper, and RT Orlando Franklin.

While some of us have remained eternally hopeful that the 2008 version of Harris (the only one that played 16 games, and more than 11) would reappaear at some point, a reality check is in order. Harris dressed for a combined 19 games (18 starts) in 2009 and 2010, and none in 2011; so far in camp, he has worked behind both Chris Clark and Adam Grant. And although he's listed as being the second-string right tackle on the initial depth chart, the versatility (and health) of Clark and Grant give the slightly younger players (both are 26, Harris is 27) a distinct advantage.

Updated 9:52am ET

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Chad Johnson, perhaps not such a great guy Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Players returned to practice yesterday (John Fox, photos, more photos) for the first time following the preseason opener.

Keith Brooking put on the pads for the first time since he signed on Monday, and even got into a scuffle with center J.D. Walton. The fifteenth-year veteran worked at the Will linebacker spot and is also expected to work at the Mike. Brooking says he needs to improve his familiarity with Denver's defensive scheme, and that he expects to be something of a mentor to the younger linebackers.

CB Tracy Porter strained an ab muscle, while LB Danny Trevathan (ankle), FB Chris Gronkowski (groin) sat out due to injuries from Thursday. T Ryan Harris (ankle) and DT Justin Bannan (calf) did not play Thursday or practice yesterday.

Ronnie Hillman returned to full-fledged action following his hamstring injury; fellow running back Xavier Omon and LB Wesley Woodyard excelled. So did S Rahim Moore, and Chris Harris appears to be holding onto his nickel corner role.

The team held a walkthrough in the evening and will have another day off today.

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Broncos weighing Franklin move Lard

Good Morning/Afternoon, Broncos fans! There's been plenty of chatter about the possibility of the Broncos shifting right tackle Orlando Franklin over to guard, and of course, a lot of that took place right here at IAOFM. TJ has been beating that drum since a month after the team drafted the guy, while Ted and Doc have also mentioned the idea of using Franklin to replace Zane Beadles at left guard.

According to Jeff Legwold, the Broncos have indeed pondered a move, although it's not the one-for-one Franklin/Beadles swap. Rather, he says the team is is considering sliding Big O over one spot to Chris Kuper's right guard position, with Kuper likewise moving leftward as the one to replace Beadles.

Of course, the trick here is finding someone good enough to start at right tackle, whether it be Ryan Harris, Chris Clark, or even Beadles. Don't forget - Zane was a tackle at Utah, and his first six starts in the pros came at right tackle when Harris was injured in 2010.

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Back to the Future Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Denver's backups shellacked the Bears' understudies 31-3 (box score, BTV highlights, NFLN highlights, John Fox, Peyton Manning, others) in Chicago last night.

Manning wasn't quite all there - several of his throws fluttered a bit - and his only possession ended with what appeared a poorly-placed throw at the goal line to Brandon Stokley which was tipped and intercepted. FWIW, Stokes claims he ran a poor route on the play, but we'll never know for sure.

But Peyton's legendary footwork, decision-making, and quick release were on full display, and from his postgame comments, it's clear he wasn't so sure a year ago that he'd ever be back in the NFL. Last night was obviously a big deal to Peyton, who we're guessing had as much nervous anticipation for a preseason game as he did for his very first one in 1998.

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Turn on the lights; the party’s starting Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held a walkthrough yesterday morning (John Fox) before heading to Chicago for tonight's preseason opener (BTV). New Broncos Jim Leonhard and Keith Brooking did not make the trip, nor did injured players Justin Bannan, Quinton Carter, Tyler Grisham, and Greg Orton.

Chris Kuper and Ronnie Hillman traveled with the team, but the lineman is not expected to play. The rookie back will be a gametime decision, as is D.J. Williams, who has apparently been working with the scout team during camp and not totally inactive.

Kevin Vickerson and Ty Warren are expected to start at defensive tackle; one matchup to watch for will be Champ Bailey versus Brandon Marshall.

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Marshawn Lynch, King of Corn (rows and mazes) Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Justin Bannan (calf), Ryan Harris (ankle), and Quinton Carter (knee, hamstring) were among those who did not participate in yesterday's practice (Peyton Manning, photos, more photos), while Ty Warren left early with a possible stomach virus. Newly signed LB Keith Brooking was already on the field for individual and 7-on-7 drills; he cannot join padded practices until Saturday.

D.J. Williams even saw some action, but it was only at the Sam spot when Von Miller got a late start to the morning walkthrough. A failure to stay in bounds by Knowshon Moreno while trying to run out the clock yesterday calls both his low Wonderlic score and Marion Barber to mind, although he did see first-team snaps.

The Broncos also had a walkthrough yesterday evening, and this morning's practice will be somewhat abbreviated so the team can catch a flight to Chicago for tomorrow's preseason opener.

After several days' worth of heaping praise, Brock Osweiler has struggled in the past couple of practices; Adam Weber was the only QB to lead a successful two-minute drill, as Peyton's turn ended with four straight incompletions at the goal line.

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Terrell Owens, back to troll the world Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team returned to work yesterday (video, photos, more photos) following a day off Sunday.

Demaryius Thomas sat out the second half of practice with tightness in his Achilles; Thomas missed the first five games of 2011 after tearing his Achilles in February of 2011. Ryan Harris, Von Anthony Miller, and Greg Orton (all ankles) also left early, while Ronnie Hillman did conditioning work as he works back from a slight hamstring injury. Justin Bannan (calf) and Quinton Carter (knee, hamstring) remain sidelined.

Orlando Franklin practiced for the first time since having suffered a concussion a week earlier and took some snaps at right guard as Chris Kuper continues to work back to full strength.

Robert Ayers and Kevin Vickerson both took first-team snaps, and wideouts Matt Willis and Jason Hill impressed.

Working on the two-minute drill, Peyton Manning and Caleb Hanie each led drives that culminated in field goals, while Brock Osweiler threw a pick on the second play of his possession.

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Saints suspensions shortened soon? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Saints and Cardinals opened the preseason last night at the annual HOF game; Drew Brees was Drew Brees, and New Orleans won 17-10 in a game that featured only three second-half points (although Cardinals DB Justin Bethel impressed with a blocked FG).

With the referees association amidst a labor dispute with the NFL, replacement officials got off to an inauspicious start by screwing up the coin toss. Embattled Arizona QB Kevin Kolb also had a rough debut, completing just one pass out of four attempts, and bruising his ribs on the play.

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