The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Goodell upholds bounty suspensions levied by Goodell Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans, and Happy Fourth! According to Mike Florio, Matt Prater got $4.25M in guarantees as part of his new deal - not $3M as had been reported by the DP.

If this is true, count me back on the side of disliking this contract. Prater will be making more this season than Ryan Clady and Von Miller (I know, rookie contracts, but still), and somewhere in the neighborhood of Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Tracy Porter, Chris Kuper, and Joe Mays.

This, for a 78.4% career kicker (76% last year, tied for 26th-best among kickers with 24 or more attempts).

Out of 34 active kickers, Prater ranks 29th in overall accuracy over his career. These are not figures that suggest Prater should be one of the league's highest-paid kickers.

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New blackout rule unlikely to curb fan abuse Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Just two days ago we applauded news that the NFL would be relaxing its blackout rules, thus allowing more hometown fans to watch games on TV.

But there's of course a catch, and the Chargers - who accounted for two of the league's sixteen blackouts last season, with four blackouts the year before - say they will not take advantage of the change.

Traditionally, when a team fails to sell out a game, local fans get screwed over by losing the ability to watch that game on television. The idea here is that the blackout rule encourages fans to attend games in person and drop $100 for a ticket, $40 for parking, and $10 per beer, rather than stay on the couch, watch the game for free, and change the channel during commercials and halftime. As if that's a reasonable choice for many people.

Of all the NFL policies that serve to abuse its loyal fans, there's probably nothing worse than the blackout rule. Fans in areas like San Diego are stressing about whether they'll actually see the upcoming game, rather than anticipating it with excitement. And obviously, plenty of these fans cannot afford the time or money required to attend games in person.

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Shame on Mark Kiszla Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There's nothing happening in the football world, but one can always rely upon the Denver Post for low-hanging fruit to bat around.

Mark Kiszla wrote a blatantly xenophobic column about the Nuggets' draft the other day, got called out for it, and his reaction is rather pathetic.

It's this simple: the lazy, ugly angle Kiszla took is no better (and hardly any different) than criticizing the pick based upon the color of the guy's skin or the way his name sounds. It's one thing to stir up one's readers to debate an athlete's skills, but it's altogether something else to incite them over a player's country of origin.

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1990s Broncos inspired RGIII to play football Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Only days after pushing late kickoffs back 10 minutes, the NFL will reportedly make more important changes to improve the gameday experience for both ticketholders and home viewers:

  1. Teams will have the flexibility to set blackout thresholds as low as 85%, allowing teams to both add seating and avoid blackouts
  2. During replay reviews, fans in attendance will be able to see the same footage as officials
  3. Fans will no longer be on their own when it comes to creating noise before key downs; of course, this will be key with the wine and cheese crowd at SAF@MH
  4. Some or all stadiums will finally have free WiFi
  5. Smartphone apps will allow fans to listen to mic'd up players

All of these changes are welcome and long overdue, especially those first three items. Along with the later kickoffs and the coming availability of All-22 film, the league has taken several fan-friendly steps of late. It's not often we say this, but well done, NFL.

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Donovan McNabb is starting to sound like Terrell Owens Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday marked the first annual Drive for Dinger, a golf tournament held at Vanderbilt to honor the late Mike Heimerdinger. Of course, Dinger was a longtime Broncos, Titans, and Jets coach, and the college roommate who saved Mike Shanahan's life after he had ruptured a kidney during practice at Eastern Illinois.

Shanahan, Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison, Jay Cutler, and Brandon Marshall were among those who gathered in Tennessee yesterday to honor their late friend/coach. Said Kubes, "I really miss him. It’s still hard to believe."

The kindest words for Dinger surprisingly came from Marshall, who tends to be quite stingy in his praise for coaches:

That first year, he was on me. He treated me like a rookie, but it was for my best interest. He has a talent for pushing people to the limit, but keeping that respect there, getting the most out of people and also showing them love at the same time.

RIP, Dinger.

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27-year-old ex-NFLer suffering “almost total loss of function” Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Another sad story has emerged regarding the health of a former NFL player, although it's not the typical tale of a longtime player suffering in his 50s or 60s. This time, it's a 27-year-old whom Tampa Bay drafted in the second round of the 2007 Draft. Arron Sears left the Bucs in 2009 under worrisome circumstances, as the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time:

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held offseason workouts in mid March, guard Arron Sears was there. But he wasn't the person teammates and coaches remembered. He was distant, even for someone with his shy demeanor. Sears participated for several weeks, until shortly after the team's minicamp in April, when he simply stopped communicating. He was unresponsive when asked questions. At times, he resorted to replying in writing.

Unfortunately, things haven't gotten better for Sears, on whose behalf his parents filed a suit claiming the NFL, helmet maker Riddell, the Bucs, and other teams were negligent and withheld information on concussions and their effects. A portion of the suit reads:

Sears has almost total loss of function, is unable to care for himself and cannot take (care) of his day-to-day activities. Further, Arron Sears has extreme displays of temper and anger with the appurtenant risk of causing harm to himself and others.

According to the TBT, Sears has been taken into protective custody by the police on several occasions in the past two years, and the lawsuit, which has two other ex-Bucs as plaintiffs, says Arron is now under the guardianship of his parents. Let's hope things take a positive turn for Sears and his family, as unlikely as that may seem.

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Thanks to ESPN, nightmares do come true Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! This will thankfully be taking place past my own bedtime, but for those of you who will stay up to watch the second half of the Week 1 MNF doubleheader, you'll be stuck listening to Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer calling the Chargers/Raiders game for the Worldwide Leader. If anyone out there doesn't know why this is one of the worst events in the history of the world, here's a thoughtful melange of reaction from around the web to help clarify things:

Drew Magary: Berman truly believes he's an NFL institution, and that means you're going to spend the whole evening being reminded of it. He's gonna make it painfully aware to you that he's doing a game for the very first time, at long last. He's gonna say THEHHHHHH RAYDEEZZZZZZ 900 times.

KSK: Naturally, we can expect large quantities of CARSON “DON’T CALL ME ROBERT” PALMER DROPS BACK AND ZZZZZIIIPPPP PICKED OFF BY ERIC “WEDDLE WE GO NOW” AND WHOOOOOOOP AND WHOOOOOOPP AND HE. MAY. GO. ALL. THE. WAY. THEYRENOTGONNAGETHIM until our brains extrude through our ears. And with Dilfer’s self-serious act as the chaser, the mute button shall be our only recourse.

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Finally, playoffs in college football Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Player safety and the bounty scandal/investigation/suspensions continue to be the main topic of NFL discussion.

Starting with the Saints, Drew Brees says his team's coaches have not spoken out much against the bounty sanctions because they fear further punishment from the league. Brees is also working to promote concussion testing for youth athletes and is confident he'll have a new contract in the coming weeks.

New Orleans teammate Remi Ayodele said through his agent he "doesn't recall hearing" the "give me my money" statement during the 2009 NFC title game, for what that's worth.

As for player safety, Mike Freeman hears there was no mention of CTE at the rookie symposium, while Alex Marvez details the theory that strengthening the neck muscles of football players would aid in concussion prevention. Over at PFW, Kevin Fishbain kicks off a series about the technology of helmets by stressing that they can only really function to protect the skull, not to stave off concussions.

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What’s so offal about talking Cutler and Tebow? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team released its official training camp schedule yesterday; as expected, it will kick off a month from today at Dove Valley.

This means we're facing the dead zone for NFL news, which in turn means the Lard is going to have a whole lot of obscure stories, with plenty of them focused on old/former friends.

Now, we have some readers who are dead tired of reading about Timmy Tebow and my opinion of the punt protector. Others wonder why we're still bothering with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and some never tire of discussing Kyle Orton and his 12-21 record in Denver. Some have such disdain for NFL players that we can't help but wonder why they bother to watch at all.

To this end, and thanks to a suggestion from reader @wyoeng, we're going to devote a new section of the Lard to ex-Broncos, and as per reader @schmendrick12, it will be dubbed Offal. For those unfamiliar with the term, offal (pronounced like awful) refers to the delicious organs of an animal which most Americans probably think are disgusting, and you do know what goes into your hot dogs, right? Offal includes all sorts of tasty stuff including brains, hearts, livers, kidneys, tripe, and of course, testicles.

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No Denver offer for LDT Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Naturally, Doug Farrar is among those celebrating the forthcoming availability of All-22 film, and he details its immense value with an example from the most recent Super Bowl.

Unlike the handwringing provincialism of folks like Charley Casserly, Farrar acknowledges that simply having access to All-22 film will not be the same as understanding what is actually going on, but he makes the astute point that there will be people who take the time to study, and those who won't.

This cannot be stressed enough. There's all this talk of more misinformation being out there, and that just doesn't make sense. Bad info tends to come from the same sources. What, so Adam Schein will tell us some guy blew a coverage assignment and everyone will take his word for it? The people who already get their misinformation from Schein will still be getting their misinformation from Schein. Those who choose to get their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted, will still be getting their insight from Farrar, Mike Tanier, Chris Brown, Doc, TJ, and Ted.

Farrar also calls for players and coaches to supplement the visual gold mine by speaking openly about what they are/were trying to accomplish on the field, thus helping us confirm or upend what we'll have seen on film.

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