The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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.

Continue reading "Happy Birthday, Peyton Lard 3-24-12"

Broncos hold cards on Manning contract Lard 3-23-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Florio claims to have dug up the details on Peyton Manning's contract, and if he's correct, it's even more team-friendly than was previously thought:

  1. Manning is guaranteed $18M this season as the form of a base salary, with $6M of it in the form of an advance (not a signing bonus).
  2. Contrary to (or adding to?) what Mike Klis and Andrew Brandt have previously reported, Florio says Manning's guaranteed $20M salaries for 2013 and 2014 kick in only if he is on the roster on the final day of the 2012 league year, meaning the Broncos could conceivably cut Peyton before he takes his exit physical to close that league year. Put simply, this is in essence a one-year deal and Denver can cut Manning up to two days before the 2013 league year starts, similar to the option the Colts recently held.
  3. Denver can escape that 2014 salary of $20M if, and only if, Manning suffers a recurrence to his specific neck injury during the 2013 season.
  4. Manning's $19M salaries for 2015 and 2016 will each be guaranteed if he is on the roster on the final day of each preceding league year

Continue reading "Broncos hold cards on Manning contract Lard 3-23-12"

Another wild day for Broncos, NFL Lard 3-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! What a day for the Broncos and the NFL, and where to start? Suppose we should go in chronological order, because my head is still spinning.

Roger Goodell lowered the boom on the Saints, whose SB 44 win will be forever tarnished by their bounty scandal: the Commish fined the team and took away two second-rounders, suspended Mickey Loomis (eight games), Sean Payton (the entire 2012 season), Gregg Williams (indefinitely), and Joe Vitt (six games); more to come once the league finishes investigating individual players.

Williams issued another apology; Drew Brees is stunned by the developments, but he now has a truckload of leverage in his contract negotiations with the team. NFLN's Warren Sapp unleashed his big, fat mouth fingers on Twitter, accusing Jeremy Shockey of being the "snitch" who blew the whistle on the institutionalized head hunting. Of course, we're still talking about something that's likely always been a part of the league's culture. But this heavy punishment was not just about injuring players - it was Goodell reminding everyone who's boss - and the Saints will be feeling the pain all year long.

Continue reading "Another wild day for Broncos, NFL Lard 3-22-12"

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco Lard 3-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pat Bowlen and John Elway (BTV interview) introduced (presser video) Peyton Manning (BTV interview) as the new starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos yesterday.

Say it aloud, friends:

Peyton Manning. Denver Broncos.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Still hard to believe, but click your heels, and it will remain just as true.

Continue reading "Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco Lard 3-21-12"

No, you were not dreaming yesterday Lard 3-20-12

GOOD MORNING, Broncos fans! Yesterday may have been dreamlike, but we can assure you, you were not dreaming. Peyton Manning is going to be the next starting quarterback for YOUR Denver Broncos.

Expectations are that Manning will be introduced and presented with his new, orange number 18 (most likely - thank you, Frank Tripucka) jersey sometime this afternoon by Pat Bowlen once the details of his new contract are cleaned up.

Welcome back, Broncos fans, from the 1950s. It's time to reacquaint yourselves with seeing passes thrown where receivers can easily catch them, audibles at the line, lightning quick decisions and releases, hot reads being hit, picture perfect footwork and mechanics, proper route progressions being read, checkdowns being taken, and points filling the scoreboard.

Even Woody Paige has to admit Denver made sense all along, as Bob Kravitz in Indy stresses; Mark Kiszla correctly says we're back to talking football instead of spectating at the circus; along with Dave Krieger, they credit John Elway for importing his peer in football greatness.

Continue reading "No, you were not dreaming yesterday Lard 3-20-12"

Brady Quinn gave up $500K to escape Tebowmania Lard 3-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Is today the day? Let's just save ourselves the stress and assume it's not - how about that?

According to Mike Klis, the team has not heard from Peyton Manning since Friday's van chase and workout. Klis says Tim Tebow will be Denver's starting QB, potentially backed up by Josh Johnson or Dennis Dixon, if Manning chooses to sign elsewhere. Jeff Legwold says the Broncos are fine with waiting for Peyton to make his decision (not that they have a choice).

As for the Titans, it's expected they would release Matt Hasselbeck if they were to sign Manning, unless they were somehow able to work a trade for him.

Down in Miami, Dave Hyde is bummed his town lost out to Arizona and Tennessee in the Manning race. Meanwhile, the Dolphins hosted Alex Smith yesterday and talked terms, and the team will host David Garrard today, who is scheduled to visit the Rams after that.

Continue reading "Brady Quinn gave up $500K to escape Tebowmania Lard 3-19-12"

Manning pursuit creating a mess in San Francisco? Lard 3-18-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Titans brass met Peyton Manning in Knoxville to see the QB throw, with GM Ruston Webster issuing a statement quite similar to that tweeted by John Elway the day before. Could be that Webster was tweaking his competitor, but it seems just as likely Manning (or CAA) may have directed both parties what to say. Speculation continues that Peyton will issue his decision shortly after this weekend, but as Adam Schefter stressed on SportsCenter this morning, such a timeline has not come directly from Manning himself. Meanwhile, David Climer reminds us that Peyton has always been quite tight-lipped regarding his career decisions, as Volunteers fans know quite well.

With the Niners having entered the fray after having dragged their feet on re-signing Alex Smith, Smith is now considering a change in representation, and today he is visiting the Dolphins, who are considered the favorites to land former Packers QB Matt Flynn. Flynn also visited the Seahawks and is said to be deciding between the two teams.

There's been plenty of talk this weekend about how well San Francisco has played the situation, but imagine how they'll look if Manning chooses Denver or Tennessee, and Smith ends up signing elsewhere as well. Whoever is quarterbacking the Niners this year, he'll have both Randy Moss and Giants SB hero Mario Manningham to throw to, after the wideout agreed to a two-year deal with the team yesterday.

Continue reading "Manning pursuit creating a mess in San Francisco? Lard 3-18-12"

Manning pursuit a Foxy call; Peyton to throw for Titans today Lard 3-17-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige dropped something of a bombshell this morning - he says the Broncos' chase for Peyton Manning was started not by John Elway or Pat Bowlen, but by John Fox. Yes, the same Fox we have ripped for his conservative play-calling and fourth-down decisions; whom Paige had suggested last week would be unwilling to run Manning's no-huddle offense; the guy who considers throwing the ball to be a risky proposition. Yep, that John Fox.

It's been said and written countless times that Fox would always prefer to run the ball given his druthers, but it's been likewise beaten to death that he prefers older QBs. But at the same time, we're talking about a coach who has had the misfortune of having at his disposal only journeyman Rodney Peete, mistake-prone Jake Delhomme, baseball player Chris Weinke, a 44-year-old version of Vinny Testaverde, the oft-replaced Matt Moore, bust Jimmy Clausen, a Tebowmania-frazzled Kyle Orton, and Tebow, who Fox himself said would "be screwed" if the Broncos ran a conventional offense.

So here he is, facing potentially another year of Tebowmania in the face, and what does the risk-averse coach tell Woody?

Sometimes you have to be willing to take big risks in life.

Continue reading "Manning pursuit a Foxy call; Peyton to throw for Titans today Lard 3-17-12"

Farewell Eddie, we don’t wish you luck Lard 3-16-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Klis says it appears the Manning sweeps is down to Denver and Tennessee, with Miami having turned its attention to Matt Flynn and Arizona expected to be ruled out today with their Kevin Kolb roster bonus deadline looming. Mike Lombardi says the same.

Says Duke head man and Manning Family Coach David Cutcliffe about his pupil's health:

It’s incredible how much progress he’s made in throwing the football. He’s gotten his arm strength back and his accuracy is there. I’m not an NFL coach, of course, but I think I know what it takes to complete passes in the NFL, and it’s clear that Peyton can make all those throws.

From what I’ve seen, he’s right on target for that. Everybody knows what a hard worker he is, and he’s dedicated himself to getting ready for the season.

BTW, has anyone noticed that the Niners and Alex Smith still haven't agreed to a new contract yet?

Continue reading "Farewell Eddie, we don’t wish you luck Lard 3-16-12"

Titans coaches, FO couldn’t convince Adams not to pursue Manning Lard 3-15-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning spent 6.5 hours at Titans headquarters last night and, according to Titans owner Bud Adams, took a call from the governor of Tennessee while he was there. According to David Climer, Manning is intrigued by the idea of finishing his pro career where he played his college ball, and word is that Adams may be dangling a front-office position and/or partial team ownership to sweeten the pot for Peyton.

As for when he'll make his decision, Mike Freeman hears Peyton is shooting for Sunday at the latest, and he thinks Denver is still the frontrunner. According to Freeman, some of the teams Manning already visited with (Denver, Arizona, Miami) have been calling the QB during his travels to and/or visits with the other teams, to remind him why their team/city is best for him. Was there any doubt this occurs?

Mike Klis says that before turning their attention to Manning, the Broncos were content to sign a backup for Tim Tebow the likes of Josh Johnson and draft another QB in the first three rounds.

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