The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 2-24-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The league's annual cattle call started yesterday, and if it weren't silly enough to have 300-lb men running in their underwear and 24/7 coverage of their centerfold measurements, the NFL is looking to ramp up the circus atmosphere to yet another level. Why? $traight ca$h, homie.

As Judy Battista details, among the ideas being floated is to have prospects compete with each other in running their forties and performing bench presses. Of course, this sounds like a terrific formula for these ultracompetitive individuals to injure themselves while overdoing it in the name of #winning. You know it'll happen, but you also know the NFL won't give a flying @#$% - as long as they can turn it into a primetime event aired exclusively on NFLN over the course of 12 magical nights.

Surely, fans will next be able to tweet questions to players during their pressers and peek in on what are now private interviews between teams and players, all for the low, low price of $30 on NFL.com. No thanks, to any of this.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-24-12"

The Daily Lard 2-23-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The last time we were graced by Woody's mailbag, he told us that too many people were coaching up Tim Tebow, and the solution was to add Sean Salisbury to the mix. We also learned that Mr. Paige had coined the brilliant acronym EFX™. What might he have for us today? How about we start with some caponomics? Or not...

I don't know cap space from my cap size. Honestly, each season I look at the Broncos' salaries, plus bonuses paid to free agents and rookies, and do my own audit to see if the Broncos are keeping up with other teams and aren't short-changing the fans. I know that's not scientific and not completely accurate, but I have a life, and also I am covering about 15 teams and/or sports in the state.

Silly reader. Woody has not time for your trifling questions. HE'S GOT A LIFE, not to mention the three jobs, and he is covering JV basketball at the other corner of the state, the presidential election, and the events in Syria. Why don't you go ask Legwold?

According to Jeff Legwold of The Post, who is accurate about such things, the Broncos have $91 million committed in salaries for next season.

Yes, Captain Accuracy is our preferred fact finder, never mind claims last offseason that Denver was entering the draft with five picks (they had seven). I'm actually sending my taxes to Legwold, and will be expecting a MEGA REFUND.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 2-23-12"

The Daily Lard 2-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Naturally, there's plenty of reaction to Brady Quinn's quotes from Mike Silver's GQ article, which Quinn foolishly tried yesterday to portray as a misrepresentation of his words. Silver, being the pro's pro that he is, told Mike Florio he's got a recording of the entire interview, and that Brady has a copy too.

Doug Farrar, Barry Petchesky, and Christmas Ape offer their takes; Woody Paige doesn't really see anything over the line in Brady words, and he says Quinn is a class act; Demaryius Thomas doesn't believe in luck.

Meanwhile, Jeff Legwold thinks Sage Rosenfels and Byron Leftwich are legitimate veteran options to sign and compete with Tebow. Yikes.

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The Daily Lard 2-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis had a sitdown at Dove Valley yesterday with John Fox, who had the following to say:

  • Expect the Broncos to add two more QBs to the roster
  • Brian Dawkins will come back for one more year in Denver or retire
  • Ty Warren's potential return to health is not being taken for granted
  • Denver's greatest draft needs align with where this class is deep: defensive line and secondary

Nothing particularly new or surprising, but we'll take what we can get for the middle of February.

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The Daily Lard 2-20-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! As we learn more about the effects of head injuries on football players during and after their playing careers, the future of the sport itself continues to come into question.

First there was Malcolm Gladwell's article in the New Yorker which likened football to dogfighting, Jeanne Marie Laskas's GQ piece focusing on the NFL's blackballing of CTE researchers, and her subsequent story on former Vikings star Fred McNeill. More recently we heard from Tony Dorsett about the ghastly treatment of his head injuries by the Cowboys medical staff, and a pair of economists writing for Grantland laid out their vision of how football will someday lose its standing as America's favorite sport.

Fans and even ex-players have begun to question whether they'd allow their own children to play the sport they spend so many hours watching on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays, not to mention reading and writing about it on blogs like this one. Countless NFL retirees have filed suit against the league for having turned a blind eye to their concussions and resultant health and cognitive problems.

Now add to the mix a Hall of Famer and three-time SB champion who is one of the faces of the league - FOX's current lead football analyst Troy Aikman, whose own playing career was shortened by the effects of the head injuries he suffered.

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The Daily Lard 2-18-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're just days away from the 2012 Cattle Call Combine, which means we're in for a deluge of meaningless quotes from EFX™ courtesy of NFLN. Well, meaningless except for the unintentional comedy they will surely provide. Chris Farley Brian Xanders is already obliging us:

We plan to be aggressive and smart at the same time and try to get some good signings in here, some valued signings that help contribute to wins. We also have to address signing our own unrestricted free agents, and we also have the free agency market. So we will have a plan for that. We have a long term vision, too.

Of course, as long as he keeps drafting guys like Von Miller and uncovering gems like Chris Harris, we'll happily take the X-Man's malapropisms.

* EFX is the intellectual property of Woody Paige, who also happens to have been a co-inventor of the internet along with Al Gore

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The Daily Lard 2-17-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Clinton Portis has been cleared to resume his career after playing in just five games in 2010 and missing all of 2011; according to his agent, multiple teams have expressed interest. For this Portis fan, every mention of his name evokes memories of this beatdown of the first-place Chiefs - one of the best individual games we'll ever see by a Bronco. Of course, it's the one where his friend Pastor Troy gave him a championship belt after his five-TD performance. Good luck finding a new NFL home, CP - you were a superstar for us. Oh, and thanks for bringing us Champ.

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The Daily Lard 2-16-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In addition to guard C.J. Davis, Denver signed former Jaguars and Niners WR Jason Hill to a one-year deal yesterday. The 6-foot, 202-lb receiver (he's apparently shrunk an inch since cattle call combine, or got a haircut?) has 76 catches for 1,028 yards and eight TDs in 50 career games; he has virtually no experience as a return man, with just one kick return as a pro and two punt returns in college.

Last year for Jacksonville he caught 25 of the 53 passes thrown his way for 367 yards (14.7 YPR) and three scores, along with four drops. Hill will turn 27 next Monday and was originally drafted by the Niners in the third round of the 2007 Draft (76th overall) out of WSU after running the second-fastest combine time that year among receivers with a blistering 4.32-second forty.

Hill's speed will be a much-needed addition to an offense that had hardly any in 2011, whether at running back or wideout. Andrew Mason seems to think the signing of Hill makes it even less likely that Denver would bring back free agent Eddie Royal, despite Woody Paige's claims to the contrary. Eddie will surely present a hopeful outlook on Facebook and Twitter about sticking around, but he's a sunny guy. We can take his pro-Tebow comments at face value, or we can note that Tim targeted Eddie just 48 times in 12 games -  28 times in Denver's last nine games. Anyone really think he wants to be third or fourth banana again and relegated to return duty? Don't count on it.

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The Daily Lard 2-15-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Adding to yesterday's news that Tim Tebow is working with new UCLA OC Noel Mazzone on his mechanics, it's worthwhile to note the duo has teamed up before. Prior to Tebow's pro day in 2010, he worked with Mazzone, Marc Trestman, Zeke Bratkowski, and Sam Wyche. Here's some of what Mazzone had to say back then:

I think it's going to change some opinions...He looks totally different to me...This guy's an NFL quarterback in my eyes.

I'm not trying to change the guy's motion. I went back and looked at his high school film. He's got a great motion.

It's different when you're in the gun your whole life and not making five- and seven-step drops. Bad feet make bad throws. We worked a lot on loading up his back foot, having good posture and getting his feet and body more involved with his throw.

(h/t AldenBrown)

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The Daily Lard 2-14-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There's perhaps a bit of disconnect between the title and the article, but Mike Klis says there's a good chance Denver will use its franchise tag on K Matt Prater this offseason. The title says the team is "likely" to do so, while Klis simply writes that "Prater is the strongest candidate" to be tagged, so it's unclear how much of this is based upon something out of Dove Valley and how much is simply Klis speculating.

Either way, it's kind of a no-brainer if the team were unable to agree to a long-term deal with Prater, as according to Klis, tagging a kicker is like to only cost a team around $2.6M for the 2013 season. Plus, the tag is often used by teams to buy more time to agree to a longer contract.

None of Denver's other free agents figure to be tag-worthy, as placing the restriction on Brodrick Bunkley or Marcus Thomas would require overpaying either of them with a $7.9M salary; Wesley Woodyard would get $8.8M, and Eddie Royal would command $9.4M - it's pretty safe to say the Broncos will not be shelling out anything close to those amounts on a one-year contract for any of those players.

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