The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Another wild day for Broncos, NFL Lard 3-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! What a day for the Broncos and the NFL, and where to start? Suppose we should go in chronological order, because my head is still spinning.

Roger Goodell lowered the boom on the Saints, whose SB 44 win will be forever tarnished by their bounty scandal: the Commish fined the team and took away two second-rounders, suspended Mickey Loomis (eight games), Sean Payton (the entire 2012 season), Gregg Williams (indefinitely), and Joe Vitt (six games); more to come once the league finishes investigating individual players.

Williams issued another apology; Drew Brees is stunned by the developments, but he now has a truckload of leverage in his contract negotiations with the team. NFLN's Warren Sapp unleashed his big, fat mouth fingers on Twitter, accusing Jeremy Shockey of being the "snitch" who blew the whistle on the institutionalized head hunting. Of course, we're still talking about something that's likely always been a part of the league's culture. But this heavy punishment was not just about injuring players - it was Goodell reminding everyone who's boss - and the Saints will be feeling the pain all year long.

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Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco Lard 3-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pat Bowlen and John Elway (BTV interview) introduced (presser video) Peyton Manning (BTV interview) as the new starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos yesterday.

Say it aloud, friends:

Peyton Manning. Denver Broncos.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Still hard to believe, but click your heels, and it will remain just as true.

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No, you were not dreaming yesterday Lard 3-20-12

GOOD MORNING, Broncos fans! Yesterday may have been dreamlike, but we can assure you, you were not dreaming. Peyton Manning is going to be the next starting quarterback for YOUR Denver Broncos.

Expectations are that Manning will be introduced and presented with his new, orange number 18 (most likely - thank you, Frank Tripucka) jersey sometime this afternoon by Pat Bowlen once the details of his new contract are cleaned up.

Welcome back, Broncos fans, from the 1950s. It's time to reacquaint yourselves with seeing passes thrown where receivers can easily catch them, audibles at the line, lightning quick decisions and releases, hot reads being hit, picture perfect footwork and mechanics, proper route progressions being read, checkdowns being taken, and points filling the scoreboard.

Even Woody Paige has to admit Denver made sense all along, as Bob Kravitz in Indy stresses; Mark Kiszla correctly says we're back to talking football instead of spectating at the circus; along with Dave Krieger, they credit John Elway for importing his peer in football greatness.

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Brady Quinn gave up $500K to escape Tebowmania Lard 3-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Is today the day? Let's just save ourselves the stress and assume it's not - how about that?

According to Mike Klis, the team has not heard from Peyton Manning since Friday's van chase and workout. Klis says Tim Tebow will be Denver's starting QB, potentially backed up by Josh Johnson or Dennis Dixon, if Manning chooses to sign elsewhere. Jeff Legwold says the Broncos are fine with waiting for Peyton to make his decision (not that they have a choice).

As for the Titans, it's expected they would release Matt Hasselbeck if they were to sign Manning, unless they were somehow able to work a trade for him.

Down in Miami, Dave Hyde is bummed his town lost out to Arizona and Tennessee in the Manning race. Meanwhile, the Dolphins hosted Alex Smith yesterday and talked terms, and the team will host David Garrard today, who is scheduled to visit the Rams after that.

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Manning pursuit creating a mess in San Francisco? Lard 3-18-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Titans brass met Peyton Manning in Knoxville to see the QB throw, with GM Ruston Webster issuing a statement quite similar to that tweeted by John Elway the day before. Could be that Webster was tweaking his competitor, but it seems just as likely Manning (or CAA) may have directed both parties what to say. Speculation continues that Peyton will issue his decision shortly after this weekend, but as Adam Schefter stressed on SportsCenter this morning, such a timeline has not come directly from Manning himself. Meanwhile, David Climer reminds us that Peyton has always been quite tight-lipped regarding his career decisions, as Volunteers fans know quite well.

With the Niners having entered the fray after having dragged their feet on re-signing Alex Smith, Smith is now considering a change in representation, and today he is visiting the Dolphins, who are considered the favorites to land former Packers QB Matt Flynn. Flynn also visited the Seahawks and is said to be deciding between the two teams.

There's been plenty of talk this weekend about how well San Francisco has played the situation, but imagine how they'll look if Manning chooses Denver or Tennessee, and Smith ends up signing elsewhere as well. Whoever is quarterbacking the Niners this year, he'll have both Randy Moss and Giants SB hero Mario Manningham to throw to, after the wideout agreed to a two-year deal with the team yesterday.

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Manning pursuit a Foxy call; Peyton to throw for Titans today Lard 3-17-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige dropped something of a bombshell this morning - he says the Broncos' chase for Peyton Manning was started not by John Elway or Pat Bowlen, but by John Fox. Yes, the same Fox we have ripped for his conservative play-calling and fourth-down decisions; whom Paige had suggested last week would be unwilling to run Manning's no-huddle offense; the guy who considers throwing the ball to be a risky proposition. Yep, that John Fox.

It's been said and written countless times that Fox would always prefer to run the ball given his druthers, but it's been likewise beaten to death that he prefers older QBs. But at the same time, we're talking about a coach who has had the misfortune of having at his disposal only journeyman Rodney Peete, mistake-prone Jake Delhomme, baseball player Chris Weinke, a 44-year-old version of Vinny Testaverde, the oft-replaced Matt Moore, bust Jimmy Clausen, a Tebowmania-frazzled Kyle Orton, and Tebow, who Fox himself said would "be screwed" if the Broncos ran a conventional offense.

So here he is, facing potentially another year of Tebowmania in the face, and what does the risk-averse coach tell Woody?

Sometimes you have to be willing to take big risks in life.

Continue reading "Manning pursuit a Foxy call; Peyton to throw for Titans today Lard 3-17-12"

Farewell Eddie, we don’t wish you luck Lard 3-16-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Klis says it appears the Manning sweeps is down to Denver and Tennessee, with Miami having turned its attention to Matt Flynn and Arizona expected to be ruled out today with their Kevin Kolb roster bonus deadline looming. Mike Lombardi says the same.

Says Duke head man and Manning Family Coach David Cutcliffe about his pupil's health:

It’s incredible how much progress he’s made in throwing the football. He’s gotten his arm strength back and his accuracy is there. I’m not an NFL coach, of course, but I think I know what it takes to complete passes in the NFL, and it’s clear that Peyton can make all those throws.

From what I’ve seen, he’s right on target for that. Everybody knows what a hard worker he is, and he’s dedicated himself to getting ready for the season.

BTW, has anyone noticed that the Niners and Alex Smith still haven't agreed to a new contract yet?

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Titans coaches, FO couldn’t convince Adams not to pursue Manning Lard 3-15-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning spent 6.5 hours at Titans headquarters last night and, according to Titans owner Bud Adams, took a call from the governor of Tennessee while he was there. According to David Climer, Manning is intrigued by the idea of finishing his pro career where he played his college ball, and word is that Adams may be dangling a front-office position and/or partial team ownership to sweeten the pot for Peyton.

As for when he'll make his decision, Mike Freeman hears Peyton is shooting for Sunday at the latest, and he thinks Denver is still the frontrunner. According to Freeman, some of the teams Manning already visited with (Denver, Arizona, Miami) have been calling the QB during his travels to and/or visits with the other teams, to remind him why their team/city is best for him. Was there any doubt this occurs?

Mike Klis says that before turning their attention to Manning, the Broncos were content to sign a backup for Tim Tebow the likes of Josh Johnson and draft another QB in the first three rounds.

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Brandon Marshall, nightclubs, & women do not mix well together Lard 3-14-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Old friend Brandon Marshall is expected to rejoin Jay Cutler with the Bears after Chicago agreed to send two third-rounders to Miami in return for him - two years after Miami had given up two second-rounders in a trade with Denver. There had been speculation that Miami was clearing Marshall's moodiness from the locker room and his salary from the cap, both to help the team sign Peyton Manning.

But the trade looks different this morning, as Marshall is accused of having cold-cocked a woman outside an NYC nightclub early Sunday. This, after Marshall was apparently kicked out of the club for fighting with another, unnamed NFL player. Busy lawyer Harvey Steinberg didn't quite deny the allegation, but he claims that Marshall's wife was struck in the face by a thrown bottle and "suffered serious injury."

Marshall turns 28 in two weeks and had taken up the cause for spreading awareness for Borderline Personality Disorder, but he will again be associated with a nightclub incident and alleged violence against women.

Let's see how the Bears handle this news, and the potential for yet another suspension of Marshall by the NFL.

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Will Peyton decide before start of free agency today? Lard 3-13-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Dolphins finally got their meeting with Peyton Manning, even if it likely wasn't quite what they had likely envisioned. Instead of the full-court press both Denver and Arizona were able to employ, Miami sent new head coach Joe Philbin, OC Mike Sherman, and other members of the coaching staff, who met with Manning in Indianapolis for between five and six hours last night. 

Manning is next expected to meet with Titans coach Mike Munchak either today or tomorrow at an undisclosed location. The Titans were reportedly planning on making a big push to sign Mario Williams but have now instead shifted their attention to Manning.

Meanwhile, John McClain reasserted yesterday that Houston is not pursuing Manning, and there is still no indication the 49ers have any interest, despite Mike Klis's report to the contrary.

Klis says there's an outside chance Manning announces his decision before today's 4pm ET free-agency kickoff, and he reports that John Fox assured Peyton he would be allowed to run his hurry-up offense in Denver. Of course, if this weren't the case, Peyton wouldn't have bothered showing up in the first place.

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