The Daily Lard 1-3-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis naturally fields a bunch of questions blaming Sunday's loss on the coaching staff, namely Mike McCoy. Yet as he notes, Tim Tebow attempted 51 passes over the past two weeks, and he completed just 19 of them. Somehow that's the coaches' fault? Oh, brother.

Meanwhile, Dave Krieger raises an interesting point - will sneaking into the playoffs the way they did (by winning a tiebreaker over one slightly underachieving 8-8 team and a fellow craptastic one*) serve to set the franchise back in the longer term? Will they commit to building around this offensive offense they've been running?

* I know, you are what your record says you are, right? And the Broncos must be better than the Chargers and Raiders because the rules say they are, right? Not quite. Thanks to our friendly Pythagorean wins, we can divulge that the Broncos and Raiders were 8-8 teams that more closely resembled 6-10 teams, while the Chargers were more like a 9-7 team. Blech.

Broncos

There's a chance Brian Dawkins will play this week; he gave the team a speech yesterday telling them to just look forward. Denver is hopeful that Chris Kuper will recover from his garish leg injury in time for camp next year; FB Austin Sylvester could see action this week due to Spencer Larsen's knee injury. Russ Hochstein will start in Kuper's place on Sunday, and Ryan Harris will be a reserve; he signed yesterday through the 2012 season.

Jeff Legwold is puzzled that fans are questioning Mike McCoy's competence after crafting what he calls "about as creative a playbook as the NFL had seen in decades," and he says the issue is with Tim Tebow's passing. Plus, he says John Elway was right all along in saying Tebow must improve in the pocket.

Surely John Fox would agree with Legwold, as expressed by this quote: "We do run short passes. They just didn't go so well. We called long ones, and they didn't go very well either."

Legwold points out that despite the Broncos' high rushing yardage numbers, they've only punched it in for 11 rushing TDs all season long.

Les Carpenter says John Fox deserves plenty of credit for changing his team's direction so drastically at midseason.

CHFF is suddenly slipping off the Tebow bandwagon.

Jeff Legwold looks back at the debacle that was the 2005 AFC Championship, plus notes from Lindsay Jones on the Steelers.

Video of John Fox's Monday presser and notes from Kenny Legan; on NFLN, the GameDay and Total Access crews talk Tebow.

The Broncos will be selecting no better than 21st overall in the 2012 Draft.

Steelers

Pittsburgh is banged up at running back and cornerback. One of their solutions will be to re-sign CB Anthony Madison.

Scott Brown tells us what's left of the Pittsburgh backfield.

Ron Cook thinks WR Antonio Brown made a good case on Sunday that he's one of the Steelers' MVPs along with Big Ben.

Gene Collier isn't psyched to hear about how much Tebow inspires the Broncos.

Trimmings

The Rams and Dolphins are apparently both quite interested in Jeff Fisher for their respective HC vacancies.

Kevin Acee writes that Chargers owner Dean Spanos is leaning towards keeping A.J. Smith and Norv Turner, and he says it's "all but certain" that Fisher will be the next Rams coach.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says OC Brian Schottenheimer will be retained unless he takes a HC job elsewhere.

Buffalo replaced DC George Edwards with Dave Wannstedt, while Howard Mudd says he'd like to return to coach the Eagles O-line next year.

Jim Harbaugh says Alex Smith will be the Niners' QB in 2012, while San Fran's OC Greg Roman is a finalist for the PSU job.

Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon announced he's entering the draft following his three-TD performance in the Cowboys' OT victory over Stanford.

PFW goes team by team to preview the playoffs, saying Denver would need to get "quite lucky" to win the SB.

Chase Stuart examines some stats for the playoff matchups and finds that Denver is rare for its run/pass split, and he says they couldn't have a worse matchup than Pittsburgh.

Bucky Brooks thinks Packers backup Matt Flynn showed Sunday that he's capable of being a franchise QB.

Scrapple

Don Banks reacts to the firings of Steve Spagnuolo and Raheem Morris, and that of the Polians in Indy. Mike Freeman thinks Bill Polian will be back, even if nepotism may have gotten the best of him with the Colts.

Clark Judge says their losses to Denver were the turning points in the Jets and Bears' seasons.

Brian Burke has added some cool features to his QB career comparision visualizations.

Final DVOA rankings from Football Outsiders.

Drew Magary is back from vacation to help us wade through Peter King's garbage.

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

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