The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Helton saw Peyton at rock bottom Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For the many thousands of words we've all read about Peyton Manning over the past six or seven months, we'd probably all like to think we know how far Denver's signal caller has come in his physical recovery.

But in a highly revealing piece from Judy Battista, Peyton describes a secret Coors Field throwing session held last summer with Todd Helton (down at the indoor batting cages), during which the QB's lack of arm strength startled the Rockies first baseman.

Later on came a depressing prognosis from the Colts coaching staff, who told Manning his arm reminded them more of Chad Pennington's, than of his own.

Ouch.

At the rock bottom of his physical state, Peyton threw with those who would not judge: his wife, and his brother Eli.

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Broncos likely not done tinkering Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pending any potential waiver claims, trades, or signings, the 53-man roster and depth chart have been set.

Waiver claims (for players with fewer than four accrued seasons) are due by Noon ET today, and then the team can begin to construct its practice squad. Adam Weber, Ben Garland, Sealver Siliga, Adam Grant, Rafael Bush, Gerell Robinson, Cornelius Ingram, Jerry Franklin, Mike Mohamed, and Greg Orton would all appear to be viable candidates for the eight-man crew.

Of the fifteen unvested players Denver waived yesterday, only Syd'Quan Thompson is ineligible for the practice squad.

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It’s the final cutdown Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Know what's worse than preseason football in general? The fourth preseason game of each year. Worse than that? Overtime in the fourth preseason game at 2am ET.

For helping us avoid that unparalleled misery: Thank You, Adam Weber. Thank You, Greg Orton. Now, good luck on the practice squad.

Thank You, Matt Prater - for making the winning kick at the gun of this morning's 16-13 victory over the Cardinals (BTV & NFLN highlights, Gamebook). For at least a day, we'll shelve the notion that your contract is richer than should be given a Broncos kicker.

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Pre-game Lard and Open Thread: Broncos @ Cardinals

Good Evening, Broncos fans! Although any one of the four Denver players currently on IR will be eligible for activation later in the season thanks to the NFL's IR rule change, the team would have to designate that player by tomorrow night. So, forget about Jason Hunter coming back; the team will surely save the exception for a potential in-season injury to a more important player.

Once a player returns to practice, he will have 21 days to be added back to the 53-man roster.

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Replacement refs like lamp Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held another padless practice (BTVphotos) yesterday before heading to Arizona for tomorrow morning's tonight's game against the Cardinals.

Chris Kuper and Tony Hills were again the only nonparticipants; Jim Leonhard practiced and could play tonight, while Keith Brooking was limited yesterday and thus unlikely to play.

Brock Osweiler (video) spoke after practice; looking back to rookie minicamp, BO says he was essentially drowning in the playbook at the time, and is now "fairly comfortable" with its contents. The former Sun Devil expects to have plenty of acquaintances in attendance tonight in Glendale.

More importantly, tonight will mark the final chance for several players to make an impression on the Broncos' coaches, and perhaps put something good on tape to prompt another team to pick them up if they're one of tomorrow's 20 cuts. Of course, there's also the chance that the last men to make the final 53 will later be jettisonned in favor of other squads' cuts.

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Chargers fielding team of undrafted rookies Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Caleb Hanie is likely to be the team's starting QB tomorrow night in Arizona, with ASU alum Brock Osweiler following him into the game for an early homecoming.

Of course, with 20 roster cuts looming the next day, those on the bubble will likely need to plead their cases via special teams play.

Whether this is the case for Knowshon Moreno - who is the most discussed bubble player, and for good reason - remains to be seen. According to Jeff Legwold, Knowshon has not take a single ST snap this summer, so it wouldn't make sense for him to pop that cherry tomorrow night in live action.

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Raiders finally understand who their fans are Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! Denver is edging its way to better health, as veteran defenders Keith Brooking and Jim Leonhard were full participants in the team's (unpadded) practice on Tuesday (photos).

Brooking says he feels great, but isn't sure whether he'll play on Thursday night at Arizona.

Omar Bolden (knee) and Lance Ball (ribs) both practiced after suffering minor injuries on Sunday, while Tony Hills (neck) was sidelined along with Chris Kuper, who is still recovering from his broken forearm.

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Thank Goodness Pat Bowlen is nothing like Jerry Jones Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Make sure you're sitting down for this one. It's a real shocker:

An appeals court has ruled that D.J. Williams's six-game suspension for having submitted a non-human urine sample should not be overturned. However, the three-judge panel did say the league and players union need to improve the collection process, and it's hard not to agree with that.

After all, D.J. wouldn't have had the chance to futz around with his bottle of liquid if the collector were allowed into the locker room. What a strange job, right?

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Ready to Start Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! When Denver got thumped by Seattle last week, we found encouragement in the play of the starters, specifically the progress of Peyton Manning and the pass rush.

Causes for concern were the run defense, depth on the offensive line and throughout the defensive roster, and the influence of horrendous officiating.

Yesterday brought another loss, this time 29-24 to the 49ers (Gamebook, BTVNFLN, & PMFM highlights). The worries remain, for as much as John Elway & Co. have served to upgrade the team's depth, the second and third teamers continue to get whipped.

It's the reality of overhauling a team that won but four games in 2010 and scored more like a 6-12 team than the 9-9 record they sported (348 points for, 458 against = 6.2 expected wins, 11.8 expected losses).

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Injury bug still biting Steelers Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we would expect, Peyton Manning tells Woody Paige he's not looking beyond 2012 when he envisions his Broncos career.

That's not to say he's planning a farewell tour this season, and Paige stresses that the Broncos plan for Peyton to be around for at least three seasons. As we pointed out the other day and Woody notes, the structure of Manning's contract tells us all we need to know there.

And although Peyton says all the right things in terms of trying to win a SB this year, out of respect for those teammates who will be gone in a year's time, he sounds like a guy who isn't quite sure what to expect of himself this season.

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