The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 4-26-12

Happy Draft Day, Broncos fans! As Mike Klis sees it, Denver might be picking within the top five tonight had it not been for the singular heroics of Tim Tebow ($4.99, please).

But wait, there's a draft to talk about - Klis figures the team would be happy to take either of defensive tackles Dontari Poe from Memphis or Michael Brockers of LSU if they're still on the board, and GT WR Stephen Hill if not.

In the absence of those three prospects, Klis reports the team would consider Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick, MSU DT Jerel Worthy, and UConn DT Kendall Reyes. He says the team is finally "almost certain" to finally take a defensive tackle (finally!) in the first three rounds, and he floats BSU RB Doug Martin, Washington RB Chris Polk, Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway, Arizona QB Nick Foles and ASU QB Brock Osweiler as other Day 2 possibilities, with a cornerback and kick returner thrown in for good measure.

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Evening Lard 4-25-12

Good Evening, Broncos fans! We're less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, and as you've seen, there's been a ton of news all week. So much so that I've been collecting a lot of it the day/evening before posting, and the results have been unwieldy and overwhelming Lards. So, I figure I might as well just post what I've collected so far tonight, and in the morning I'll share anything that posts between now and then.

As for tomorrow, look for Ted to provide his live pick-by-pick analysis of the first round (and the second and third rounds on Friday night), and the four of us will be doing Chewing the Fat entries throughout the draft. We'll post those after each of Denver's picks, and TJ will present some of his Gut Reactions in the wee hours of the night.

Whatever the Broncos do, whether it's making a stunning move upwards or a ho-hum slide down the board, we'll have you covered. See you in the morning, friends, and have a great night!

Continue reading "Evening Lard 4-25-12"

The Daily Lard 4-25-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Panthers WR Steve Smith says a Saints defender told him during a game that he'd get fined were he not to "go after (Smith's) legs" while forcing him out of bounds. Smith also relates a conversation he had with Gregg Williams during a game last year, saying "He took responsibility, he was saying it wasn't right, but that's who he was."

And yet, Joe Vitt incredibly claimed yesterday that the team's players never tried to hurt opponents. Really, Joe? It's a wee bit late for denials. Saints fans? At least they're honest.

Meanwhile, the FBI and Louisiana State Police are investigating the wiretapping allegations against Saints GM Mickey Loomis. Cortez Kennedy vouched for Loomis to Peter King, who of course finds the whole thing interesting. PK notes that New Orleans so vocally and vehemently denied the allegations after offering quiet reactions to news of their own Vicodin and bounty scandals.

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The Daily Lard 4-24-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway met with the press (video, partial transcript) yesterday to talk about the draft, which begins only 60 hours from the time of this writing. Elway spoke about the retirement of Brian Dawkins (it was the player's decision), the team's needs at defensive tackle (he claims it's overstated) and at cornerback (you can never have too many), and even the Ring of Fame-worthiness of Simon Fletcher (still not in, despite Elway being tricked into thinking he was just added by a reporter's question).

As for trading picks, Elway says the team is more likely to move down from #25 than up, so we should all prepare for the possibility that Thursday night will come and go without Denver adding a player. He also says the team will again draft with the intent of receiving significant contributions from their early picks as rookies.

More on Elway's comments from Lindsay JonesArnie Stapleton, and Stuart Zaas.

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NFL playbooks? There’s an app for that Lard 4-23-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday we read that Denver would be moving fully into the future of the NFL game on the field, borrowing from the Packers, Saints, and Colts to develop the passing section of their playbook. We already know they've adopted a forward-looking approach to conditioning with their hiring of Luke Richesson and his subsequent overhaul of the team's workout facilities.

Today, via Andy Vuong, we learn that the Broncos are following the innovative and intuitive leads of the Ravens and Bucs by eschewing the printed playbooks of old for digital ones distributed on iPads. Players will apparently be able to access game plans, film, and scouting reports on their new tablets, with newly added plays pushed to them instantly.

As for security concerns, the team will be able to remotely erase any iPads that potentially go missing, whereas once a printed playbook was lost, there was no recourse.

Nonsensically, the NFL is not yet allowing tablets to be used on the sideline during games, but they at least have relaxed a silly rule that said such devices had to be shut off 90 minutes before kickoff. Instead, players will have access to them in the locker room right until gametime.

Continue reading "NFL playbooks? There’s an app for that Lard 4-23-12"

The Daily Lard 4-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Woody Paige, the new Denver offense will be complected of:

  • Plays straight out of Indy's playbook, of course
  • Plays that John Fox and Mike McCoy grew fond of during their seven seasons together in Carolina
  • "Pass plays the Broncos had before Tebow," which really means concepts and plays inherited from Josh McDaniels
  • Willis McGahee-friendly rushing plays from last year
  • Plays copied from Green Bay and New Orleans, the preeminent passing offenses of the day
  • Pass plays which suited the skills of new Broncos Joel Dreessen and Andre Caldwell in their prior homes (Houston and Cincy, respectively)

Peyton Manning also tells Woody he's been spending some quality time with Johns Elway and Fox, and that he's found a house in the area.

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The Daily Lard 4-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the reason the Eagles and Broncos did not complete a deal to send CB Asante Samuel to Denver is that the Broncos and Samuel were unable to agree to a renegotiated contract. The 10th-year corner has expressed a willingness to rework his deal, but apparently the two sides haven't yet been able to find common ground.

And while Mike Klis's story from yesterday suggests that Denver has given up hope of completing a deal, McLane's account makes it sound more open-ended:

While Samuel has agreed to restructure the remaining two years of his contract - he's slated to earn $10 million this season and $11.5 million next season - he has yet to consent to some other requests by Denver, sources said.

McLane also says the Eagles "appear willing to take whatever they can get before the draft starts Thursday," so this truly isn't a matter of Denver Philly playing chicken.

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The Daily Lard 4-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're only one week away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, and that can mean only one thing: it's time to celebrate The Passion of the Legwold.

Legwold kicks off Passion Week by breaking the news that Denver desires an impact player at #25, as opposed to the middling prospects they would normally be after in the first round. He also reiterates that the team has interest in BSU runner Doug Martin and could see them taking Martin at #25 if the top defensive tackles are all gone at that point. In fact, that's exactly what he has them doing in his first-round mock.

As for offensive linemen, The Impassioned One says the team is "giving long looks" to center and guard prospects because Peyton Manning is coming off an injury, not because J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles were pretty terrible last season. And, if Peyton were 100% healthy, they wouldn't want to give him great protection?

Presumably it's Legwold (or, could be Klis) who reviews Denver's 1st-to-3rd-round picks of the past 11 years, incredibly calling Jay Cutler just an "OK" pick, while generously calling Beadles and Walton "Good" picks. Look, Cutler may be a jerk, and we give the guy a ton of grief here, but let's be serious - he is a legitimate starting NFL QB and should remain one for a long time, and he is BY FAR the best QB from that 2006 Draft. To equate the expenditure of resources to select Cutler with those spent for Tebow, and to call Beadles and Walton better values than Jay is pure hackery. Really, it's a complete and utter joke.

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The Daily Lard 4-18-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold continues his The Position I'm Writing About Today is a Notably Risky One to Draft series with wide receivers up next. Now, in fairness to Legwold, we did cite this piece yesterday in which Matt Waldman said teams find it especially hard to evaluate QBs, WRs and DBs. But name a position that Legwold hasn't written up as being a super duper gamble and we'll give you a gold star sticker.

Legwold also claims Denver needs more depth now that they have a QB who loves to throw the ball a ton, although this of course ignores the fact that running a no-huddle offense means not changing personnel all that much from play to play. As Ted has noted, the same players tend to stay on the field with Manning.

In reality, Peyton Manning does distribute the ball to a lot of players, but those players are basically all starters. A look back at his time in Indy finds that each year, the bulk of his passes would go to two or three wideouts, two or three tight ends, and two or three running backs. At almost no point in his career has a fourth WR caught very many passes, and early on it was essentially Marvin Harrison and nobody else.

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The Daily Lard 4-17-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's offseason workout program began yesterday, and Peyton Manning, Champ Bailey, Eric Decker, and Von Miller (all videos) all met with the press afterward.

Manning says he's still basically living at Dove Valley, although that's probably something of an exaggeration. Judging by his secretive nature, he probably already bought a house in the area. Of course, the practice nut seems very excited to have started the official, albeit voluntary, portion of the offseason.

Meanwhile, Miller says his injured thumb is still only at 85%, while Decker's knee is free of pain. The third-year wideout says he is already familiar with the "new-age" techniques utilized by strength coach Luke Richesson from having worked out at API the past couple years.

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