The Daily Lard 12-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! How anxious is Matt Forte to get back onto the field for the Bears? Well, he's already turned to PRP injections (platelet-rich plasma) to help heal his sprained right knee, if that tells you anything. There's basically no chance Forte suit up on Sunday in Denver; so the Broncos will be facing the fearsome backfield duo of Caleb Hanie and either Marion Barber or Kahlil Bell, who's spent more time in scout-team duty than actually playing in Chicago's offense.

Quite a downgrade from Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, huh? Just goes to show that when looking at a fearsome schedule months in advance, any multitude of events can change its complexion when the games actually roll up. Just two months ago, Denver's schedule looked like a largely-winless gauntlet with the Broncos headed back for another top-five draft choice in April. But, an improved running game, the defense stepping up in a huge way (even last week, some key takeaways were mixed into the poor play) and the mostly turnover-free play of Tim Tebow, and a slew of opponents injuries has the Broncos appearing headed for the playoffs. But it's not just the Broncos' fortunes that have changed so drastically, as Chase Stuart points out. Remember how the Bills and Shanny were each back to relevance? Oops...


Arnie Stapleton on Tim Tebow's rendering of 4Q comebacks as commonplace weekly affairs.

Andrew Mason says it's become habit for John Fox-led teams to thrive as seasons wear on.

Jeff Legwold tries to make some sense of the Broncos' defensive statistics. Operative word here is tries.

Denver remains 23rd in ANS' efficiency rankings, and Zach Sanders rightly points out that while many of Tebow's big throws on Sunday were to wide-open receivers, this qualifies as progress because he wasn't making those throws in weeks prior.

Kenny Legan sums up yesterday's Elway Live, plus Billick and Mora talking Tebow on NFLN.


Lovie Smith is peeved by talk that Mike Martz may not be back running the Bears offense next season.

Mark Potash wonders if the Bears should actually want Martz to stick around anyway, plus some Bears notes.

Mike Mulligan talks Tebow/Cutler/Hanie/Orton/Elway and winning.


Steelers NT Chris Hoke and two Panthers rookie DTs were placed on IR yesterday, while Seahawks G John Moffitt was suspended for PED use.

During the Vikings' Week 12 loss to the Falcons, Jared Allen punched his ex-teammate Ray Edwards in the nuts and told him it could've been worse. Meanwhile, the Vikes claim that a city other than Los Angeles has contacted them about a possible relocation.

The Texans cut QB Kellen Clemens and are apparently going to sign Jeff Garcia. Mike Tanier explains how Kubes has had to simplify the offense as his team runs through QBs.

LeGarrette Blount, not a nice human being, apparently needs a lesson in better treatment of his team's fans.

Andy Benoit breaks down Cowboys/Cards, Bills/Titans, Colts/Pats, Browns/Ravens, Dolphins/Raiders and Bears/Chiefs in his weekly film review, and he says Bears RT Lance Louis was pretty much the sole reason for the seven sacks taken by Caleb Hanie. You think Louis has his fingers crossed that Von Miller doesn't play?

Week 13 stuff from PFF: analyst chatter, best (Britton Colquitt) and worst (Spencer Larsen, Marcus Thomas, D.J. Williams) players, and the ROY race (still led by Von Miller); from PFW: best players, MVP (Tim Tebow) and rookie (Von Miller) meters; from CBS Eye: Coach Killers and weekly awards (Tim Tebow).

Tim Tebow is Bill Barnwell's most fabulous player from Broncos/Vikings.

Doug Farrar isn't sure that his friend Jim Schwartz has control over his own Lions players.

Luke O'Brien wonders if "red-meat" American football fans could handle a foreign investor (new Jags owner Shahid Khan is an American citizen) buying their NFL team. Yeah, probably not.

In their weekly columns, Albert Breer says USC QB Matt Barkley and LT Matt Kalil are thinking about staying in school for another season, while Jason Cole says DeSean Jackson is scaring away potential new employers with his shenanigans.

Eric Edholm looks ahead to Week 14 and observes that everything is lining up for the Broncos.

Matt Bowen examines the NFC's wild card contenders.


DYAR and DVOA via Football Outsiders.

KSK captionizes Week 13.

Bucky Brooks checks in on the QBs from the Big Ten title game, plus his top offensive and defensive line prospects. Greg Gabriel scouts A&M QB Ryan Tannehill and Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackman.

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

The Lard