The Daily Lard 11-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Brandt points out that the deadline has passed for teams to extend players' contracts and confine the financial impact to the 2011 salary cap. This means it's likely Denver will allow Eddie Royal, Daniel Fells, Marcus Thomas, Brodrick Bunkley, Wesley Woodyard, Mario Haggan, Joe Mays, and Matt Prater become free agents, among others (not that it's a shock). Based upon their respective roles, age and what interest they'd likely command on the open market (not much, frankly), I'd say the only one I'd like to have seen locked up would be Prater - and Denver can always franchise the guy if they're unable to reach agreement with him after the season. Then again, the team is still able to work on a new deal with any of these players until the day before the season finale, and Denver has plenty of cap room - so any guaranteed money would be prorated over the length of the contract rather than assigned to the 2011 cap.

Obviously it'd be nice to hang onto most, if not all of those other guys, but the question is at what cost and rather than which potential draft/FA replacements? Even if Denver were interested in keeping Royal, it's safe to presume he'll want to test the FA waters to find a situation where he can start instead of potentially being stuck behind Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas in a run-first (and second) offense. The question to consider is whether there will be better, cheaper and/or younger options available in the offseason, and the only resounding "no" in that regard is Prater.


Woodyard was on crutches yesterday due to a knee injury and is iffy for Sunday, while Brian Dawkins, Virgil Green, Spencer Larsen, Rahim Moore and Cassius Vaughn were limited participants.

Andrew Mason on the return of Moore to practice after he suffered a concussion on the first play from scrimmage against Oakland, plus photos from practice.

Bucky Brooks adds his breakdown of Denver's use of the Zone Read on Sunday.

Jeff Legwold says Tim Tebow is going to have to start beating defenses down the field more often via the pass.

Mike Klis considers the amount and tenor of attention paid Tebow and his play, and he's bemused that Tim has "received such close inspection from the industry in victory and such hefty praise from fans in defeat."

Jeff Legwold focuses on the struggles of Ryan Clady and wonders if his knee injury is still hampering his play.

Video of John Fox and Tim Tebow speaking after practice yesterday, plus notes from Gray Caldwell.

Tebow was named the league's most overrated player in a poll of NFL players by the Sporting News. Obviously, the point is that Tebow is among the lead stories on every football show despite the fact that Denver is a 3-5 team. Trust me, if Tebow were on another team you'd be annoyed, and really - who cares?


Obviously, Handshake Haley says he's preparing his team to face the Zone Read. Now, we'll see if they can stop it.

To do so, the Chiefs have been using two players to play the scout team role of Tebow in practice this week - lefty QB Tyler Palko and speedy WR Jerheme Urban.

KC's current roster is mostly healthy, as CB Javier Arenas and S Jon McGraw returned to practice after missing Sunday's game against the Dolphins. LB Demorrio Williams was out with a groin injury.


Tampa Bay claimed Albert Haynesworth off waivers from the Patriots, and they were reportedly the only team to put a claim in for the guy.

Meanwhile, the Pats placed old friend S Josh Barrett on IR with a calf injury.

Frank Gore is closing in on the Niners' career rushing record, which has belonged to Joe "The Jet" Perry for a remarkable 60 years.

Mike Tanier and Chris Benson preview tonight's matchup of the Raiders and Chargers in San Diego. Oakland will be without Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson and DeMarcus Van Dyke tonight, and it appears the Chargers will be short Malcom Floyd, Kris Dielman, Luis Castillo and Shaun Phillips.

Tanier says the Texans, Lions, and Ndamukong Suh are all getting a bad rap when folks call them dirty.

Bill Barnwell on the failure of Haynesworth in New England, plus a few other players he thinks should be dumped. Barnwell also examines the Packers' road to 16-0 and the big move in the Broncos/Chiefs line from KC by 7 to KC by only 3.

PFF wraps up Week 9: 32 observations from Nate Jahnke, best (Von Miller) and worst players of the week, plus reviewing some key matchups.

Andy Benoit goes in depth to preview Niners/Giants and Bengals/Steelers, plus some shorter thoughts on Jets/Pats, Cowboys/Bills and Ravens/Seahawks.

Some midweek thoughts from Pat Kirwan and Mike Freeman, who thinks John Elway is doing Tebow wrong by saying he's starting on a week-to-week basis. I agree with this, although I think it's because Elway wants to manage the expectations and reactions of Tebow's most vocal fans.

Midseason All-Pros from Mike Lombardi and Khaled Elsayed (Von Miller), and Pro Bowlers from Andy Benoit.


Jonathan Comey points out the oddity of Denver gaining more yards per rush than per pass this year; the Broncos rank 23rd in CHFF's power rankings.

Gil Brandt checks in on some notable rookies in his weekly column (no mention of Von Miller).

Jack Bechta explains how older players manage to maintain their youthful abilities.

Mike Silver has Denver at 24th in his weekly rankings, plus midseason evaluations from John Clayton and Clark Judge.

Rob Rang updates his big board, while Wes Bunting looks at senior wideouts. Meanwhile, Bucky Brooks looks at where some top prospects would match team needs and sees Andrew Luck and Janoris Jenkins as good fits in Denver.

The Penn State Board of Trustees did the right thing and ended the careers of Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier last night. Apparently, there are actually a few kids who disagree with this move. Greg Gabriel offers his thoughts on the scandal and says Paterno always made the jobs of NFL scouts quite difficult.

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

The Lard