Montee already feeling comfy Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team's final set of OTAs began Monday and will run through Thursday. Yesterday, the biggest news out of Dove Valley was the return of Knowshon Moreno.

Moreno had undergone a stem-cell treatment to repair the knee injury that knocked him out of Denver's playoff loss, and of course, only three days ago had come ominous word from the DP that Knowshon wasn't yet cleared to go.

Instead, Knowshon says he worked Monday at 100% speed; of his prior limited work in OTAs, Andrew Mason says the fifth-year back "has looked smooth, with no hitch in his gallop."

As for Denver's younger backs, Ronnie Hillman says that in the absence of Willis McGahee, his own increased reps have helped him become more comfortable lining up behind Peyton Manning, and he adds that Montee Ball has had a less jittery start with the team than his own rookie campaign.

For his part, Ball says he's already feeling "extremely comfortable" and "doing a lot better than I expected."

Having overcome his initial nervousness, Montee says his current focus is on learning Manning's audibles, even extending to doing mental reps on his way home each evening.

Back to Hillman, much of the weight he's put on appears to have gathered around his shoulders, according to Jeff Legwold, who adds that Hillman has looked faster and more decisive.

Broncos

Videos: John Fox, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, Demaryius Thomas, and Montee Ball speak after Monday's practice.

It had originally been reported that Quentin Jammer had signed for around the league minimum. Indeed, he got a $1M base salary, with $100K of bonuses, and $400K in incentives.

The team officially announced the hiring of John Spytek, but as a Southwest area college scout, not as the head of college scouting, as had been previously suggested. Of course, we've updated our story on that. We have to wonder what this means for Cornell Green, the longtime scout who has most recently covered the Southwest for the Broncos.

Legwold speculates that the influence of Mike Martz (his first NFL boss) on Adam Gase will be evidenced in 2013 by an increasingly aggressive use of running backs in the passing game.

From the Mason piece linked above, he says Brock Osweiler has been showing off a snappier release.

Thomas has the usual our new teammate is awesome stuff to say about Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

In discussing QBs and pressure, Sam Monson writes that nobody is better at handling it than is PMFM.

Over at NFL's Future, a claim is made that Champ Bailey is no longer a #1 corner; a thorough response from TJ is coming in a few hours. (h/t Matt, Jared)

News

Detroit signed linemen Jake Scott and Leroy Harris; Dallas added one-time Broncos TE Dante Rosario; Packers CB Sam Shields signed his restricted tender; Seahawks tackle James Carpenter had knee surgery recently.

While there is mutual interest between the Falcons and Richard Seymour, the two sides are apparently far apart on money.

Former Saints DT Sedrick Ellis, who had visited the Pats earlier in the week, will also visit the Lions and Bears.

Oft-concussed former Colts WR Austin Collie claims he'd sign a waiver to make him more attractive to teams. Is this what people have in mind when they suggest that players are aware of the game's risks, and should be allowed to knowingly turn their brains to mush? Seems brutal, no?

RIP Deacon Jones

The NFL lost a legend on Monday night, as the original sackmaster Deacon Jones passed away at 74 of natural causes.

The passing of Jones prompted tributes from around the NFLDoug Farrar, Mike Tanier, Jarrett Bell, Richard Goldstein, Scott KacsmarChristmas Ape offer their appreciations of Jones's greatness; here's Deacon discussing some of his greatest moments and appearing on The Brady Bunch.

Analysis

Mike Silver thinks Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie may have underestimated owner Mark Davis, whose firing of McKenzie's PR flack should serve as a warning shot to the GM and Dennis Allen. Furthermore, Silver believes McKenzie and his PR guy went a little far in trying to publicly distance themselves from the Crypt Keeper.

Chase Stuart supplements his post on which schools each team favors in the draft; in the past 20 years, Denver has drafted most from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Miami, and Oklahoma.

Mike Tanier ponders the parent/football player balance that Cary Williams doesn't seem to have figured out just yet.

Ashley Fox doesn't buy Dwight Freeney's claim that owners colluded to keep him unemployed, and she instead looks to the current CBA to explain the NFL's changing salary structure.

Joe Gibbs comes in at #9 on ESPN's list of the NFL's greatest coaches.

John Clayton responds to emails; Joe Fortenbaugh lists his five favorite picks for this summer's edition of Hard Knocks.

Christmas Ape translates PK's MMQB column; PFT Commenter thinks the Raiders didn't need a PR guy anyway; Chris Chase pitches some reality show ideas for Victor Cruz; a sweaty Chris Berman is about as disgusting as one would imagine; when he's not blasting his old team, Joe Namath keeps busy by doing commercials for retirement communities; sadly, there's a reason people tune in to watch morons like Skip Bayless yell.

Update 12:09pm ET - More remembrances of Deacon Jones added

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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