The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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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The Daily Lard 5-27-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Lindsay Jones, Kevin Vickerson put a whopping 49 extra pounds onto his frame this offseason, bringing him up to 324 from his 2011 playing weight of 275. Big Vick had dropped around 20 pounds to get to that weight, but admittedly struggled last year before an ankle injury ended his season after Denver's Week 5 loss to San Diego.

Incredibly, Vickerson's substantial weight gain has been accompanied by a drop in his body fat from 37-40% all the way down to 24%. The pay cut accepted by the sixth-year player brings his 2012 salary down to $1.2M from $2.25M.

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The Daily Lard 5-26-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Many of you have been with us from our modest beginnings, and some even know us from our earlier days at MHR. Of course, we are grateful to all of you for your continued readership, and for the new readers we've gained over the past twenty months or so.

Over that time, we have received many requests for access to older material, and we've hinted at providing it in the past. It's time we finally honor those requests by making that prior content available, including most of our pre-Fat Man writing and Ted's work on One Man Football. Unfortunately, his Smarter Fans columns have been lost to the ether.

Our archives will be evolving as we figure out more intuitive and thorough ways of organizing them, but for now our guess is the Fat Camp, Broncography and Mail Revue sections will be most appreciated. As always, TJ (Mark it Zero), Doc (Doc's Musings), and Ted's (Ted's Analysis) work can be found under the parenthesized headers. Happy reading, friends!

Update: For technical reasons, we've had to remove the "Archives" moniker, but the content is all there for viewing. As mentioned, we'll gradually make this all easier to navigate.

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The Daily Lard 5-25-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Now that it's okay to be honest about it, Mark Kiszla says the Broncos are better off sans Tebowmania, and do you see the position of that ball? Just, wow. Kiz observes that the chatter in Denver is about actual football rather than who's not dating whom. But since the Broncos' first OTA wrapped up on Wednesday, what else is there to talk about than young Teebs?

Timmy threw two picks when he should have checked down (sound familiar?) and worked as a punt protector yesterday during the open session of the Jets' OTA. After practice, the crisper Mark Sanchez conversed with Jets brass, while Tebow worked to maintain the polish on his image with the PR guy.

In other Tebow-related news, Olympian Lolo Jones says she still has her V card, prompting Timmy's Jets mates to suggest a potential love match; plus, Snoop Dogg Tebowed after throwing out the first pitch at Comiskey.

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The Daily Lard 5-24-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Following the third and final day of Denver's first OTA of the year, Elvis Dumervil, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Von Miller (videos) spoke with the press.

As will be the overarching theme for months (years?) to come, expectations have been raised with the addition of Peyton Manning. The other main commonality of the four players' comments was a discussion of their body weight, with Elvis (250, down 10) and Demaryius (228, down from 232, aiming for 222) shedding the pounds to increase endurance and maintain health. Thomas took on yoga during the offseason to help.

Doom says he's looking to cut down on processed foods, a societal problem one might not expect to find among professional athletes. Yet, a quick glance at players' Twitter feeds shows otherwise, and even in a post-Shannon Sharpe NFL, the guys who cook for themselves and/or employ nutritionists and/or personal chefs appear to be the exceptions more than the rule.

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The Daily Lard 5-23-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After Denver's second day of OTAs, veteran defensive additions Tracy Porter, Justin Bannan, Mike Adams, and Drayton Florence (videos) all spoke with the media.

Naturally, everyone is happy to be on the same team as Peyton Manning and smitten with the idea of playing with leads. Regarding the league's decision to require thigh and knee pads in 2013, Porter already wears them and is fine with the mandate, while Bannan is skeptical about the benefits and is more concerned with the "integrity of the game," whatever that means. Florence isn't thrilled with the pads requirement and is adjusting to the new standard helmets, which are larger for concussion prevention.

Porter says he's already received plenty of welcome advice from Champ Bailey and admits he worried about a possible suspension in connection with the Saints' bounty system.

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The Daily Lard 5-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman dropped something of a bombshell yesterday regarding the league's handling of the Saints' bounty system.

As told to Freeman by several Saints players, the NFL's suspension letters to Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, Joe Vitt, and Mickey Loomis essentially offers them a way back into the league in exchange for their silence.

These players believe the NFL has little or no evidence of a bounty system in New Orleans, and that much of the punishment was levied in response to the recording of Williams's notorious pregame speech from last season.

They also maintain that the league has overblown the supposed admissions of Williams and Anthony Hargrove, claiming the NFL wrote Williams's confession and that Hargrove did not acknowledge the existence of a bounty system, as the NFL has alleged.

Obviously this is just one side of the story, and it could be a coordinated PR stunt by a still-defiant team. Or, there could be some truth to it and the NFL is handling this all like a bunch of dirty cops trying to show they care about player safety. Hopefully we'll learn the truth one of these days.

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The Daily Lard 5-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's first set of OTAs will run from today through Wednesday, with more to come next week, and the last a week after that. These are voluntary in nature, so it will be interesting to see who shows up for the Broncos. What of Matt Prater ($2.6M franchise tag, unsigned) and Ty Warren (asked to take a significant cut from $4M), who are reportedly unhappy with their contract situations?

Today will mark the next "first" time Denver's coaches get to see Peyton Manning working with his new teammates, and what will they see? Respected analyst Chris Brown isn't so sure - whether Manning will be able to play up to his old level, or whether the Denver coaching staff is up to snuff. Will Mike McCoy show enough trust in Manning to duplicate the simplicity of the Colts offense? Can the two meld their personalities quickly enough to reprise the successes Manning had with Tom Moore?

Of course, it will be several months before we know the answers to those questions.

In the meantime, Brown offers his breakdown of the Indy offense as constructed by Moore and run by PMFM, including 12 passing concepts. It's a perfect complement to Ted's series on the topic.

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