The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 6-6-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Linebackers Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard (videos) spoke after practice yesterday.

Mays expects the outside presence of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to force opposing offenses to run and throw at him instead, and he thinks Von will be even better in 2012 than he was last year.

Mays and Woodyard are both excited to see larger bodies at defensive tackle this year and expect this development to leave the two of them free to make more plays. Wesley appreciates that DC Jack Del Rio was himself an NFL linebacker, and he's been showing fellow Kentucky alum Danny Trevathan the ropes.

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The Daily Lard 6-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Fox and Peyton Manning (videos) spoke after yesterday's OTA practice; Chris Hall reported from Dove Valley for BTV, plus practice photos via Andrew Mason.

Much of the talk circled around Manning showing off the progress of his arm by throwing a handful of deep passes, one of which resulted in a sprawling catch in triple coverage by Brandon Stokley, with an earlier pass coming back on a Champ Bailey pick-six. Stokley's catch came during a two-minute drill and was followed by a fake spike and 10-yard TD pass to Eric Decker.

Manning says he's not yet all the way back in his rehab, but the team is beyond happy with his arm strength at this point.

Several players practiced returning kicks, including Matt Willis, Andre Caldwell, and rookies Ronnie Hillman, Coryell Judie, and Eric Page.

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The Daily Lard 6-4-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon, the fifth-overall pick in the draft out of Oklahoma State, was arrested for aggravated DUI in Stillwater yesterday morning.

The blood alcohol content limit in Oklahoma is .08 percent, and the threshold for aggravated DUI is .15 percent. Blackmon reportedly blew a .24 percent BAC. Yikes.

Blackmon had a prior drunk driving incident in 2010, when he was arrested while driving to a Dallas Cowboys game without permission to leave his own team to do so. According to the NFL, Blackmon is subject to the league's personal-conduct policies despite not yet having signed a contract and will likely face a suspension in his rookie season.

If you're wondering, a .24 percent BAC only moves Blackmon into a tie for the 20th-highest BAC recorded in the sports world.

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The Daily Lard 6-3-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mark Kiszla suggests the Broncos move on from Ty Warren, adopting Mike Klis's populist tact of highlighting the salaries Warren has been paid over the past two seasons in New England and Denver.

Why should the Broncos, or us fans, care what New England paid Warren in 2010? We shouldn't, because it's irrelevant. All that does is paint Warren as an overpaid underperformer; he has been anything but that during his career. Some DP readers are likely substituting for his name some iteration of fat cat and lazy bum. Indeed, the first commenter had the incredible nerve to compare Warren to perennial malcontent Albert Haynesworth.

What does Warren's 2010 salary have to do with what he should be paid in 2012? Honestly, nothing.

Does Warren owe the Broncos? Not really. They knew when they signed him that his health was/is a great risk, and that veteran players do not lose their salaries when injury strikes is one of the more just NFL compensation rules.

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The Daily Lard 6-2-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday brought a pair of major developments in the Saints bounty scandal.

In a lengthy post on his website, filmmaker Sean Pamphilon offers his own recollection from watching (along with then ex-Saint Scott Fujita) the notorious speech given by Gregg Williams on the eve of the Saints' playoff loss at San Francisco. Pamphilon says Williams handed out envelopes of cash as bonuses, with at least one of them as payment for a "whack hit," with players apparently encouraging each other to "give it back" or reinvest the winnings in the bounty pool.

The filmmaker notes a discomfort in Fujita with the speech, and an apparent sense of regret for having participated in the same during his time with the team. Pamphilon says Fujita and QB Drew Brees both encouraged him to release the audio recording of the speech, with the goal being to shove the bulk of blame onto Williams.

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The Daily Lard 6-1-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Coordinators Jack Del Rio and Mike McCoy (videos) spoke after practice yesterday, the second day of the team's latest OTA.

Del Rio says he prefers bigger defensive tackles, he asked Kevin Vickerson to bulk up, and he has high hopes for developing Sealver Siliga into a contributor. He also cites the absence of Ty Warren as a chance for youngsters like Siliga and Mitch Unrein to improve via more reps, and he likens rookie Derek Wolfe to recently retired Steelers lineman Aaron Smith. The DC sees Wolfe as a "base end that can slide inside" on passing downs, lauding his versatility, intelligence, and ability to rush the passer.

McCoy calls himself "very fortunate" for the chance to coach Peyton Manning and says the team is monitoring how many throws Peyton makes each day. But despite the pitch count, Manning is apparently making all the necessary throws, and McCoy reiterates that the learning process for him and his new charge is a two-way street. He also praised the work of undrafted WR Gerell Robinson and 2011 UDFAs Mark Dell and Mario Fannin, and he says recent acquisition Chris Gronkowski has versatility beyond his fullback position.

The team will conclude this OTA today but will reconvene Monday for four straight days of scheduled on-field work.

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The Daily Lard 5-31-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team reconvened for OTAs yesterday (video, photos) and by all accounts, the offense looked a bit out of whack. John Fox (video) acknowledged as much, and blamed the 4.5-day layoff.

Highlights of the session were a juggling interception of Peyton Manning by Mike Adams and a long TD pass from Caleb Hanie to Bubba Caldwell. Says Knowshon Moreno of changes in the offense and at QB from last season:

As you can see, it's a big difference. There's no wasted time. Everybody has to make sure they know what they're doing, know where they need to be.

Manning watched Brock Osweiler throw (video) and got in some extra work with Eric Decker and Joel Dreessen after practice; Mario Fannin is running well, although he says he's not quite 100 percent yet.

Along the defensive line, Ben Garland is currently weighing in at 305 pounds, while Sealver Siliga is apparently all the way up to 330-340 pounds from his listed weight of 307. According to Mike Klis, Buffalo tried to sign Siliga off Denver's practice squad late in the season, but the ex-Utah Ute teammate of Zane Beadles preferred to stick around.

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The Daily Lard 5-30-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver hired Cory Undlin to be their new defensive quality control coach; Undlin follows new DC Jack Del Rio from Jacksonville, where he coached the Jaguars secondary last season.

This fills the vacancy created by the retirement of longtime defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely and subsequent shift by former quality control coach Jay Rodgers to replace him.

Prior to his three seasons on Del Rio's staff, Undlin worked under Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel in New England in 2004 and joined Crennel in Cleveland for four seasons. Clearly, this is another successful effort by the hooded one to infiltrate Dove Valley with one of his spies. Look for Undlin to be Josh McDaniels's defensive coordinator with the Patriots once Belichick calls it quits.

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The Daily Lard 5-29-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been a rough couple of seasons for Justin Bannan, the ex-CU Buff whose homecoming to Denver in 2010 was marred by the firing of Josh McDaniels and a 4-12 finish.

Of course, insult was added to injury when the Broncos dumped Bannan a few months later despite his status as one of the team's most solid players. Bannan ended up following McDaniels to St. Louis and enduring an even worse season, including a 2-14 finish and the firing of Steve Spagnuolo.

Prior to his first arrival in Denver, the four years Bannan spent in Baltimore had gotten him accustomed to winning, so naturally he tells Gray Caldwell that he's anxious for a better result in 2012.

As for the man who makes that turnaround for Bannan a likelihood, Peyton Manning is doing plenty to get his young receivers up to speed on running better routes and developing a QB/WR rapport like they've never experienced before.

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The Daily Lard 5-28-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Pending NFLPA approval, the trade deadline will be moved this year from its traditional post-Week 6 spot after to after the conclusion of Week 8's games.

As Bill Polian tells Peter King in today's MMQB, had this shift happened last year, the momentous changes of the past offseason may not have come to pass for the Colts and Broncos.

Polian says that had the trade deadline been after Week 8 in 2011, the Colts would have offered Denver a third-round pick in exchange for Kyle Orton. A Broncos source tells PK the team would have gladly accepted the compensation, and if Orton had led the Colts to a better finish than did Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, then Peyton Manning would theoritically still be a Colt.

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