The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Appreciating Mr. B. Lloyd Lard 10-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! No real news on the Broncos front, or developments in the Brandon Lloyd situation, but I thought I'd share some thoughts on Lloyd. Brandon has been a truly remarkable player for Denver, and it's been a shame to see folks dragging his name around like he's a malcontent or more of a "me guy" than any other NFL player. Sure, he never really did much of anything pre-Denver and never lived up to his billing, and perhaps he was something of an unhappy camper while playing for three different teams in six years. But really, who cares about that stuff? This is Brandon's third season in Denver, so don't we have enough to go on from seeing him on the field and hearing/reading what he has to say every week to form a true opinion of the guy?

For one, the guy spent 14 weeks on the inactive list in 2009 while making the minimum $620K (plus a $50K signing bonus) and we never heard a peep. He then goes out in 2010 and produces one of the best, if not the best, season(s) of any WR in the league and receives a $755K salary, which was the minimum for his experience level (he later received a $500K incentive for making the Pro Bowl). This year, he is playing for a $1.395M salary in the final year of the two-year contract he signed with Denver after having dressed twice in 2009. Yet, we have never heard any inkling of a complaint from either Lloyd or his agent about playing time, his salary or his contract in the 2.3 seasons he's been a Bronco, during which he's made about $2.36M so far and would make about $3M total through the end of this season.

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The Daily Lard 10-14-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Don Banks wrote a lengthy article about Tim Tebow's prospects for the next 11 games, getting analysis from skeptics Brian Billick and Trent Dilfer and the more optimistic Jabar Gaffney, who of course played with Tebow last season and worked out with him over the offseason. Dilfer believes Tebow will have some success early on, but that adjusting to his skills will only be a matter of time for opposing defenses. He also thinks that Tebow's struggles with "rhythm, timing and location" will ultimately be his undoing, and that although Tim has the talent, he's just not consistent enough to be successful at this level. Dilfer goes on to say that Tebow would have had a better chance in the deep-drop NFL of the 1980s, but today's precision passing game based upon timing and shorter drops does not suit him well.

Billick, meanwhile, thinks that Tebow's ability to extend plays is going to end up getting him injured, and he finds it nonsensical that folks are comparing Tim to Cam Newton, whom Billick says is a much better thrower than is Tebow.

Finally, Gaffney says Tebow was exhibiting more poise and a quicker release during the offseason, and that Tim "can make every throw out there." Gaff also points out that the young QB's mobility gives his receivers confidence in that he can keep plays going long enough to find them open. Obviously, we have to hope that Jabar is correct and not just sticking up for his former mate and fellow Gator...

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The Daily Lard 10-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest Walkthrough, Mike Tanier reimagines the Denver QB change and the Peyton Hillis saga in Cleveland, among other dramas. Plus, he diagrams the final play from Sunday's game and says it was all about Knowshon Moreno's excellent pass blocking. But of greater interest to us, Tanier offers his take on the whole Orton/Tebow thing - he believes John Fox should have started Tebow from Week 1 of the preseason, and that he instead went with Orton out of stubbornness and needed Orton to be a resounding success to get away with it.

Meanwhile, Tanier is sticking with his evaluation that Tebow will not make for a good pro quarterback, and he writes that none of Tim's passes Sunday were on time, and that all followed some confused backpedaling. But he does point out that designed runs were quite effective with Tebow and leaves open the possibility that the young QB's "running and his intangibles make him a viable quarterback." Tanier also stresses that Mike McCoy must tailor the Denver offense to highlight Tebow's strengths rather than try to foist the offense as operated by Orton upon Tim. Ultimately, Tanier just wants to be able to write about either the Broncos' future with Tebow or which QB they'll be taking come April - and a long look at Tim starting next week is the only way to get there. Sounds good to me.

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The Daily Lard 10-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In reviewing film of Broncos/Chargers, Andy Benoit says no Denver defenders stood out consistently, and that the mistakes of Von Miller and the young secondary were glaring. On offense, Benoit writes that the wide receivers were more to blame than was Kyle Orton for their first-half woes, although he does say the change at halftime to Tim Tebow was the correct decision. Plus, he was very impressed by the offensive line's play in the running game, especially that of J.D. Walton.

Khaled Elsayed disagrees with Benoit regarding the lack of impactful play on defense, as Elvis Dumervil had a whopping nine pressures on 36 pass rushes for his first real impact on the season, but he agrees that Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter sure did look like rookies out there. As for Orton/Tebow, Elsayed writes that the former was "beyond terrible" and the presence of the former presence "seemed to galvanize" the Broncos.

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The Daily Lard 10-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, it sounds like John Fox will name Tim Tebow the starting quarterback today, because what else can he do? The cat's out of the bag, and Kyle Orton has been terrible. As Andy Benoit sees it, Fox is in a very difficult position, and he writes:

In truth, Fox and his staff know that a gameplan full of quarterback draws and screen passes can work in improvisational fashion, but not against a defense that will have seen it on film and prepared accordingly. This logic won’t register with a lot of Bronco fans. All they know is that Tebow came in and showed grit, had that “It” factor and gave the offense a spark.

He's right. The very same Tebow that played on Sunday is not going to win many NFL games, folks (if any). Sure, we can confirm our biases by citing the QB Rating of someone who threw nine passes (plus one spike) in two quarters of work, or point to the energy of the team and the crowd, but honestly this is what happens anytime a backup QB takes over for someone as unpopular as Orton has become in Denver. Everyone goes nuts, and the result doesn't even matter - because the guy "gave us a chance." Let's just go over what throws Tebow actually made on Sunday...

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The Daily Lard 10-10-11

Good Morning, and welcome to Confirmation Bias Week, Broncos fans! I know, I know. We finally had something to get excited about and I'm Mr. Wet Towel. But step back from the hyperbole machine - yesterday did not prove that Tim Tebow is going to be a great NFL QB, nor that he's a flat out winner - and that doesn't even consider the fact that Denver actually lost the game, 29-24 (box score). For those hoping to see Tebow fail, the botched snaps from under center and the bounced throws at receivers' feet are likewise not proof that Tebow will not be an NFL success.

It's practically a foregone conclusion that Tebow will be named the starter for the balance of the season, as well he should be. Kyle Orton has clearly played his way out of the starting job, with more turnovers (nine) than touchdowns this year (eight) and a 6.3 YPA which ties him with rookie Blaine Gabbert for 28th in the league. And to be honest, it's better this way - because however Tebow does going forward, there will be no pressure to put Orton back in, and it's such an obvious choice that the locker room will likely support the move fully.

There were some encouraging signs of progress from Tebow yesterday, including a bit more patience in reading his progressions rather than tucking and running at the first sign of trouble or with his first read covered. Let's see if that continues to improve, if his pocket presence becomes a bit less frenetic (he looked nervous yesterday), and if those snap and accuracy problems are softened over the rest of the season and with first-team snaps. We've got eleven games left in the season - let's see what he's got.

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The Daily Lard 10-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Lindsay Jones and I spoke a few days ago about Denver fans' feelings of empowerment, and she quoted me and linked to IAOFM within her article today. Obviously, we're flattered that Lindsay sought out our opinion - here's what I said, plus some expanded thoughts on the topic:

It seems like fans feel like their voice matters, that it counts, and that it should carry some weight. We don't really see it that way. It's a horrible way to run a team. You can't win games consistently over a long period of time if you operate that way.

The organization’s responsibility is to win as many games as possible, and that requires a long-term plan and vision. Fans tend to take the short view, while teams (businesses) should be less myopic. The moment a team starts “hearing” what the fans want in terms of which players to draft/sign/cut/sit/play, or whom to hire/fire is precisely when their chance of being successful ceases. That's not to say that the Broncos' current management (or any other) is always right, or that the fans are consistently wrong. No owner, general manager, coach, or head of football operations is ever 100% correct, and of course the fans aren't just ignorant dummies either. But we always have to remember that those making the decisions for the Broncos are operating with plenty more information than are any of us, no matter what we think of their ability to process it well. Of course, our goal here at IAOFM is to constantly narrow that knowledge gap by providing you with the best independent analysis of the Broncos anywhere, and we hope we are succeeding. As always, thanks for being here.

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The Daily Lard 10-8-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Champ Bailey, Rahim Moore, Marcus Thomas and Knowshon Moreno are all probable for tomorrow's game, while Brian Dawkins, Daniel Fells and Jonathan Wilhite are all questionable. As expected, Eddie Royal, Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas are out and will hopefully return after the bye week at Miami. Mike Klis is pretty sure Dawkins will play, while Legwold says that Marcus Thomas will make his season debut in a rotational role.

For San Diego, TE Antonio Gates is listed as doubtful, while C Nick Hardwick, WR Vincent Jackson and CB Quentin Jammer are all probably and expected to play. DEs Jacques Cesaire and Luis Castillo continue to be out.

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The Daily Lard 10-7-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Brian Dawkins again did not practice due to his ankle injury, while Rahim Moore joined Jonathan Wilhite on the sideline; both were described by John Fox as being out due to "illness." Quinton Carter saw more action in Dawkins' absence, while Daniel Fells was back at practice, giving the Broncos a full complement of tight ends. Remarkably, Orlando Franklin practiced yesterday despite mourning the loss of his younger brother.

Meanwhile, Vincent Jackson did not practice for the Chargers but is expected back today, while Antonio Gates is still foreseen as missing Sunday's game. CB Quentin Jammer missed practice with the flu but is expected to play.

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The Daily Lard 10-6-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team is gradually getting some more key players back, as Champ Bailey, Marcus Thomas and Knowshon Moreno practiced fully yesterday and figure to play on Sunday. Brian Dawkins, Daniel Fells and Jonathan Wilhite did not practice, while Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas still figure to return after next week's bye. According to Andrew Mason, if Fells is kept out by the knee injury he sufferd in Green Bay, there's always the chance that T Chris Clark sees some action at TE, and Quinton Carter would likely step in for Dawkins if his ankle injury prevents him from playing. But Klis says Dawkins, Fells and Wilhite are all expected to suit up.

Meanwhile, Orlando Franklin was excused from yesterday's practice due to the death of his 20-year-old brother. No word on his availablity for Sunday's game, and of course our thoughts go out to Orlando and his family.

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