The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 4-2-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peter King thinks he thinks that he thinks it's interesting the Eagles and Chiefs are running A&M QB Ryan Tannehill through private workouts this week, but he believes the Dolphins (whose OC Mike Sherman was the QB's college head coach) and Browns are the likely landing spots for the prospect. Other MMQB factoidy thoughts:

  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross now claims he didn't offer Jim Harbaugh the Miami gig, and that he didn't really want Peyton Manning. Guess Ross is learning from his counterpart in New Jersey...
  • PK finally got around to linking the Elway and Luck families, and he says Chris Mortensen had so many Manning scoops because of his close relationship with the QB, not because they share representation.
  • King wonders if Greg Schiano could someday be Bill Belichick's successor in New England, or has he forgotten about McHoodie? BTW, does Geraldo Rivera think Belichick and McDaniels are putting themselves in physical danger by wearing their thuggish apparel at practice and on the sideline during games? Hmm. Geraldo should have been an NFL reporter - he would have sniffed out Spygate and McDaniels's iffy personnel moves before anyone else, given their suspicious attire.
  • PK laudibly calls out the NFL for making an example of the Saints while their cash cow TV network glorifies vicious hits from days gone by, and he's hearing that Gregg Williams won't be appealing his suspension.

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The Daily Lard 4-1-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We learned last summer that former Denver lineman and Pro Bowler Larry Kaminski plans to donate his brain to the Boston University group studying CTE and its occurence in football players. Kaminski now lives out in Washington, and spoke with his local paper about the physical toll of the game as he's experienced it:

At the end of the game ... I couldn't even bite down. It felt like somebody stuck a pencil in there or a knife or something because your jaw was so (out of) whack from getting hit so much.

I would wake up the next day and it was like I just left the battlefield and everybody had their heads off and I was carrying a sword with blood on it, and I said, 'What happened?' It was like I got into this darkness.

It looks to me like we were the prototype model to go out and find out how badly you can get beat up and then changed the design of the model or how it's used.

The league is trying to abandon a lot of us old-timers because they know there's a big liability.

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Broncos have plenty of cap room Lard 3-31-12

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! There's been a lot of mystery surround Denver's cap space this offseason, with wide assumptions that the team was running low on cap space after having added Peyton Manning, Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Andre Caldwell, Tracy Porter, Mike Adams, and Caleb Hanie, plus having re-signed Wesley Woodyard, Joe Mays, Jason Hunter, and Manny Ramirez.

But thanks to the team's whopping $26M cap carryover from 2011 - second only to Jacksonville's $31M - Denver still has a very comfortable $13.8M in current available cap room. Only nine teams - Cincinnati, Cleveland, Jacksonville, KC, Minnesota, Philly, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee - have more space left.

There will be draft picks to sign, the team reportedly still has interest in bringing back Marcus Thomas, and there remain some viable free agency options - including tackles Derek Landri and Amobi Okoye. So while there's no way for us to know whether the team plans to make any more splashes in free agency, it's great to know they have the flexibility to do so.

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The Daily Lard 3-30-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold spoke with Jeff Fisher, Leslie Frazier and Mike Shanahan about the problems Peyton Manning creates for defenses. The best quotes come via Fisher, whose Titans played Manning twice yearly for nine years, plus once in the 1999 playoffs (a Tennessee victory that included a !15-yard! rushing TD by Peyton). Said Fisher:

He'll raise the offense to a level where they are consistent week after week after week. He eliminates a lot of mistakes, and they'll score a lot of points week after week after week. He kind of changes the defensive philosophy (the Broncos) will face because all of a sudden (defenses) aren't rushing the passer against Denver or protecting a lead.

We've always said it's like preparing for one of those quarterbacks in a video game. You just can't fool him. He'll move fast and get the ball to the right people.

He's going to get up under center, scan the field and he knows what you're doing," Fisher said. "It may look like you're doing something else, but he knows what you're doing. It goes beyond staring into the eyes of the safeties. He understands presnap looks, the signals, the communication. He just knows all that.

Sound good to you?

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The Daily Lard 3-29-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway provided some insight into how the Denver and Manning offenses will be melded, and what he said wasn't much of a surprise: Peyton will get to use the verbiage he's familiar with when making calls at the line.

Obviously, this will require all of his new teammates to adjust to him rather than vice versa, but it makes sense. Since the players cannot work out at Dove Valley or under coaches' supervision, they can get to learning right away, and since Manning is already organizing workouts, there's a good chance they've already started the process.

Besides, they probably all forgot what it's like to change a play at the line anyway...so what's the difference?

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Stokley may yet return Lard 3-28-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver is reportedly among several teams to have shown interest in Bears DT Amobi Okoye, the remarkable young man who graduated from Louisville at 19 years old before the Texans drafted him 10th overall in 2007.

Meanwhile, the team may end up bringing back WR Brandon Stokley as had been rumored shortly after Denver signed Peyton Manning. DT Marcus Thomas is apparently choosing between the Broncos and two other teams, and Denver is also trying to re-sign DE Jason Hunter.

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Broncos may open vs Steelers on SNF Lard 3-27-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The NFL's annual league meetings got off to a busy start yesterday:

  • 32 compensatory picks were dispensed among 15 teams; Oakland's depleted arsenal was replenished with third-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, while the Chargers got a seven.
  • Saints owner Tom Benson addressed his peers about the bounty scandal
  • Sean Payton is in attendance, and he's spoken with his old boss Bill Parcells about taking his place coaching the Saints while Payton is suspended. Parcells, reprising his role as the original Brett Favre, says he doesn't think he wants to coach again, probably because doing so might delay his HOF induction. Tuna will meet with Payton and GM Mickey Loomis today.
  • The Commish says he'd allow Payton to coach during a potential appeal, and the team is permitted to hire an outsider to stand in for Payton. Goodell appears most upset about the Saints trying to cover up their bounty system, and he says the league has several sources, none of them named Jeremy Shockey.

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Winning Super Bowls is difficult Lard 3-26-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Dave Anderson finds it notable that Peyton Manning would join only Norm Van Brocklin (pre-SB era) as a great QB to win a title after a late-career team switch, if he wins one in Denver.

We're going to be subjected to a lot of this stuff going forward, for however long Peyton plays in Denver (unless, of course, he wins one).

But really, the list of championship quarterbacks is pretty short to begin with (29 different SB winners), and the tally of guys who led their team to a SB title at 36 or older is obviously shorter (John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Jim Plunkett). And as we can see from Anderson's column, the list of great QBs who switched teams during the autumn of their NFL time is quite brief to begin with. Teams tend to hang onto great QBs, unless they are the rare organization like the Niners or Packers with a great replacement on tap like Steve Young or Aaron Rodgers.

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Saturday didn’t feel the love from Denver Lard 3-25-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Although Jeff Saturday chose to go to Green Bay over joining Peyton Manning in Denver, it appears the writing was on the wall that the Broncos were less interested in adding Saturday than was the QB. Says Saturday:

Peyton is a close friend and I loved playing with him. I loved the time we spent together. It was the most difficult call I've ever made. I told him before anyone else that I was going to Green Bay.

I told him I don't think the Broncos wanted me as much as he did. They've got things going on that they're happy with and are moving forward with and I didn't think it was an exact fit. I always felt like in Green Bay I was their very first choice.

Saturday agreed to a two-year deal with the Packers; apparently the Colts had offered him a contract to play and then join the team's front office, but playing for the NFC's overdog trumped sticking around for a rebuild. We could speculate all day about the Broncos' apparently tepid interest, but it's impossible to know whether it was financially motivated, the team has a rosier opinion of J.D. Walton than we do, or they have plans to acquire another center via free agency or the draft.

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Happy Birthday, Peyton Lard 3-24-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Happy Birthday to our new starting quarterback, Peyton Manning, who turns 36 today.

As amazing as it still is that Denver reeled in the highest-profile free agent in NFL history, it remains even more incredible that so many pundits had predicted the Dolphins would end up with the big catch. The Dolphins are a joke of an organization, as their fans would happily tell you.

On the field, Miami opened last season with seven consecutive losses and fired their coach; they've had seven wins or fewer in six of the past eight years. Not helping matters, they play the Pats twice yearly and "compete" with them for the division title.

But the Dolphins now make more news off the field, as Jeff Ireland can attest. Their ownership roll lists more stars than does their player roster. Atop it all is chucklehead Stephen Ross, who pulled an odd PR stunt the other night.

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