The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Orlando Franklin as Cleopatra Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! No new word yet on the health of Denver cornerback Tracy Porter.

But if/when Porter is cleared to play, Mike Klis expects he'll spend a week working behind youngsters Chris Harris and Tony Carter, who have proven themselves more than capable in his absence.

As for the sophomore improvement exhibited by Rahim Moore, Klis says the 22-year old has matured quite a bit, perhaps thanks to the humbling experience of a difficult rookie season. Moore apparently worked extremely hard over the offseason and has earned newfound respect from both teammates and coaches.

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Get that Manning a manicure Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Thankfully, Peyton Manning says his right thumb is okay after it hit the helmet of Saints DE Martez Wilson on Sunday night.

However, the team is upset about the hit applied by Wilson on the play, and will likely ask the league to examine it and consider disciplinary action against the second-year player.

Turns out that only Peyton's thumbnail was damaged; maybe he (and all QBs?) should be wearing a nail polish to protect his nails, in the way knuckleball pitchers do.

The NFL trade deadline was supposed to come this afternoon, but due to Hurricane Sandy, the league offices have been closed, and the deadline has been pushed back to Thursday at 4pm ET. Among the players rumored to be potentially involved in deals are several high-profile running backs, Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, and the punt protector who can't protect the punter; Titans TE Jared Cook has reportedly asked to be traded.

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Sixty-minute Broncos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night was about questions answered.

Not regarding Peyton Manning - at least around these parts, there have been no concerns about the 36-year-old's play or physical condition since Week 3 - when he established for good that his arm was more than fine.

In the four weeks that have followed, Manning has played at a level far beyond any Broncos quarterback has ever performed. He's the first in NFL history to top 300 yards, 70% completions, and three touchdown passes in four consecutive games; against San Diego, he had become the first to do that three times in a row. File that under the category of arbitrary trivia, but it's still impressive and speaks to how great Peyton has been.

Over that stretch, Peyton has piled up 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 75.4% completion rate and 127.9 QB rating, with just one interception and two sacks. Both sacks came against New England; against Oakland, San Diego, and New Orleans, the Denver QB was not taken down behind the LOS.

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Peyton was Double Secret Squirrel at Duke Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! By now, we're all quite aware that Peyton Manning did the bulk of his rehab work at Duke University with head coach David Cutcliffe, who had been his OC at Tennessee.

But while the work was being done, almost nobody knew it was happening - even Cutcliffe's assistant coaches. Manning's workouts took place at night, and Cutcliffe says his equipment staff were the only ones who knew Peyton was on campus.

As for the simulation of Indianapolis's 2009 AFC Championship win over the Jets - along with Brandon Stokley and other ex-mates - Manning's maniacal attention to detail manifested itself in reenacting plays down to the second. Even plays run by the imaginary Jets.

John Fox says that he and John Elway leaned heavily upon Cutcliffe for an evaluation of Manning prior to signing him, which prompts us to say one thing:

Thank you, David Cutcliffe.

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Derek Wolfe sure does play a lot Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The selection of Derek Wolfe as Denver's top draft pick has been somewhat controversial, and the success of RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay has again focused the spotlight on the choice of Wolfe.

But although Derek has hardly created any pressure, and has (by far) the worst PFF grade of any Broncos player, he's also played the second-most snaps along the defensive line (to Elvis Dumervil), and nobody is close behind him in that category.

Dumervil credits Wolfe as having done "the most dirty work" along Denver's line, and that snap data certainly backs that up. Of course, Elvis and Von Miller have racked up some terrific pass-rushing figures this season, in part thanks to Wolfe's hard work in the trenches.

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Peyton pitched a pepperoni pizza in Platt Park Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! As Denver heads into the weekend with a chance to move above .500 for the first time since Week 1, the turmoil continues in Kansas City.

Chiefs fans are planning to again fly a banner over Arrowhead calling for GM Scott Pioli's ouster this Sunday, and to wear black to their Week 11 home game against Cincinnati to mourn their lost enjoyment for KC football.

And yet, the rumors remain that Pioli's contract has been extended by owner Clark Hunt, and remember when many of us thought he was going to bring respectability back to the Broncos' faltering rivals?

It's under these grim circumstances that Brady Quinn is getting his next, if not last, shot as a starting NFL quarterback. Several Broncos players and coaches were complimentary of Quinn to Mike Silver and one executive (presumably his BFF John Elway) called the Notre Dame grad a "class act," presumably for how he handled getting passed over last season due to a bunch of billboards.

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Denver offensive line: TYJE Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The talk at Dove Valley yesterday was of getting a winning streak going - something that hasn't happened yet this season.

Of course, cleaning up their odd habit of first-half mistakes would go a long way to help build a string of wins, and Peyton Manning says it's about time for the team to put together a sixty-minute game. You'll recall that even their one blowout win, against Oakland, featured a halftime advantage of just 10-6, their only one of the season.

But it's not just a matter of cutting mistakes, especially with the big-play, pass-happy Saints coming to town.

The team is basically at full health, as Sealver Siliga missed practice for non-injury reasons, while Tracy Porter was a limited participant; six others were listed on the injury report as full participants.

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Honey, tell your dad we’re gonna run the ball all day long Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As would be expected, the Broncos aren't taking for granted that they're going to cruise to an AFCW title, despite the turmoil permeating the rest of the division.

​Chris Harris says experience and film work are what helped him nab his game-sealing pick-six in San Diego, and he thinks the same pass would have been completed on him last season.

According to Mike Klis, the determinant in Matthew Willis (still don't understand how he's making more than Willis McGahee this season) being a weekly game-day active over Andre Caldwell is special teams, and he doesn't expect the team to make any deals prior to Tuesday's 4PM ET trade deadline.

Jeff Legwold suggests that Denver's giant fourth-quarter deficits, and the aggressiveness they've necessitated, have led to their whopping 79-6 scoring advantage in the final quarter. Makes sense.

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Porter back after undisclosed illness Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After four days off for their bye week, the Broncos returned to practice yesterday.

With his former team coming to town, Tracy Porter was cleared on a noncontact basis yesterday, after he was held back from the trip to San Diego by what is being called an illness. According to Mike Klis, it's questionable whether Porter - who is not making a big deal of the reunion - will be able to suit up against New Orleans on Sunday night.

Then again, the player himself declared himself "ready to go," so we'll assume that's the case.

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AFCW tightens (sort of) Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFCW got nominally more bunched yesterday, after the Raiders rallied for an overtime win over the decimated Jaguars.

Oakland is now 2-4 and one game behind Denver and San Diego after they overcame a 20-6 deficit for a 26-23 victory. Jacksonville lost Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert to injury, and then backup QB Chad Henne showed exactly why the Jags hadn't yanked Gabbert yet. The ex-Dolphin was 9 for 20 for a woeful 71 yards, and was sacked three times for 26 yards - 45 net passing yards on 23 dropbacks. These are numbers that remind us of...oh, never mind.

Jacksonville wideout Cecil Shorts fumbled on the opening possession of overtime, and Sebastian Janikowski ended the game with a 40-yard kick.

As for Carson Palmer, who does he think he is? Jake Plummer?

Oakland's next game will be Sunday at Arrowhead against the 1-5 Chiefs, who were idle this week. Mark your calendars - should be a good...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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