Good Morning, Broncos fans! We went missing for a few hours, due to some much-needed server maintenance. Please accept our apologies for that, but the upside is that our site is now a heckuva lot faster! You know, Bill Simmons had an excellent point in his mailbag the other day regarding the NFL and player safety. I wish I had pointed it out yesterday, but I’ll do so today instead. So, Roger Goodell and the owners he represents are suddenly acting like the health and well-being of their players is actually important to them. Clearly, a good thing. Unfortunately, there were many years of institutional denial that concussions even have any long-term effects before this about-face; years of stonewalling doctors and researchers who actually wanted to get to the true root of things.
It has taken the exceptional and dedicated work of doctors like Bennet Omalu, Ann McKee and Julian Bailes, and of journalists like Peter Keating, Jeanne Marie Laskas (update to her story here), Alan Schwarz and Malcolm Gladwell to break down this wall of silence and denial. The league had a rheumatologist (Dr. Elliot Pellman) heading its committee on concussions, for that group’s first two-plus years of existence, for crying out loud. That’s rheumatology, the sub-specialty in medicine dedicated to conditions and diseases afflicting the joints, muscles and bones (nothing about the brain or spine).
Yet, they are about to force the expansion of the NFL regular season from 16 to 18 games onto these players, and in the event of a lockout are threatening not to provide them with health care benefits. It’s disgusting, quite frankly. Now, is this a blog about a professional football team, and only in existence because we all adore the product that is the NFL? Of course it is. But we should all be thinking and talking about these issues - we are investors in the NFL product, both financially and emotionally, whether it be via tickets, merchandise, or television viewership. Yes, the logo and the jerseys stay the same for the most part, no matter who’s wearing them or what names run across the back of them. But these are human beings as we are, and it sure would be nice to see Mr. Goodell and the owners treat them as such, rather than as gladiators. If you haven’t already, please read the above-linked stories, plus Doc’s excellent piece yesterday, with the indispensable contribution of Dr. Denny Clifford. They matter, truly.
Thanks for obliging my rant on this Sunday. Now, let’s get to the links and a somewhat lighter topic - pummeling the Raiders.
Legwold profiles Brandon Lloyd, who hopefully has finally found an NFL home. Some interesting quotes from Lloyd and Kyle Orton.
Andrew Mason on Zane Beadles, who is expected to again start at right tackle today.
Plus, Mason’s five questions and answers for the game.
Marcus Thomas opens up to Lindsay Jones about his upbringing and his post-football career dreams.
It’s game day, which can only mean one thing at the DP - a scantastic scouting report with reporters predicting exact scores (is that really necessary?).
Mike Klis applauds the NFL’s new stance on player safety.
Vittorio Tafur on Jokeland’s expectations for rookie LB Rolando McClain, plus some notes.
Carson Cistulli on the enigmatic Dolts.
Kevin Acee focuses on the Dolts’ defensive issues.
The Chefs released WR Jeremy Horne and replaced him with WR Verran Tucker, who had been on their practice squad.
Meanwhile, Adam Teicher thinks the Chefs will take care of the Jags.
Plus, the relationship between Chefs backs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.
NFLPA head man DeMaurice Smith issued a statement yesterday regarding the league’s stance on hits, health and safety.
Several current and former players talk about the league’s new policy on hitting, including John Lynch.
William Rhoden makes the case for player safety being the most important issue.
But former Broncos TE Nate Jackson says the players know what they’re getting themselves into when the step onto the field, and that the league’s moves are just knee-jerk reactions.
Finally, Michael Sokolove asks the most uncomfortable question of all for us fans - should we even be watching this stuff anymore?
Dan Pompei is hearing that BMarsh is maturing in Miami and the Dolphins are happy to have him, even though he’s back to not scoring touchdowns.
Doug Farrar reviews Ron Jaworski’s new book The Games That Changed the Game.
PFW is hearing the Broncos may stick with a 4-man front on defense until Robert Ayers gets back to health.
Here’s what Brian Burke thinks is worth reading.
Matt Bowen tells us what he’ll be watching for in today’s games.
CHFF thinks the Broncos will win but not cover.