The Daily Lard 9-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver finally got Marcus Thomas back onto the practice field along with Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil, albeit in limited fashion for all three. It's been a rough go for Thomas, who suffered a pec injury during training camp and recovered in time for Week 1 before straining a groin during his conditioning test. Obviously, it could take him a while to get back into playing shape - so even if he's able to play on Sunday at all, figure his playing time to be severely limited.

Meanwhile, Knowshon Moreno and D.J. Williams were full participants yesterday, and it will be interesting to see how their respective returns affect how much action Willis McGahee and Wesley Woodyard see in Green Bay. Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas remain sidelined and are unlikely to return prior to Week 7 (following Denver's bye).


According to PFF's grading from Broncos/Titans, the play of J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles was atrocious, Robert Ayers continues to shine and Von Miller already ranks as the best 4-3 OLB in the league.

In his latest mailbag, Woody says John Elway doesn't want to usurp John Fox's power as HC by forcing him to play Tim Tebow, but he strangely thinks that Elway should step all over QB coach Adam Gase's toes by coaching up all of Denver's passers more himself. It's funny, people question whether Elway can evaluate talent but they assume he can coach QBs. How does that make any sense? Oh, and Woody hilariously backs up his claims that he's a brilliant talent evaluator himself by stating that Robert Ayers has been "average at best" so far this year.

Notes from Legwold, including that Rod Smith is among 11 first-time HOF candidates.

Klis considers the Orton/Tebow situation, while Legwold says the Broncos have plenty of problems unrelated to Orton.

Captain Obvious says the Broncos should follow Green Bay's model and build a great team via the draft. Sure, piece of cake...

Video of John Fox and Kyle Orton speaking after practice and a Broncos TV report from Chris Hall. Plus, pictures and notes from practice via Kenny Legan, Gray Caldwell on Sunday's matchup in Green Bay, and Legan on the Broncos' preliminary nominees for the HOF.

Jim Nantz and Chris Simms' dad will be calling Sunday's game for CBS.

Super Bowl XXXII Losers

As for Packers/Bears, PFF's grades find that RB James Starks was terrible, Jermichael Finley showed up big in the run game, and Clay Matthews was great even sans sacks.

There's a chance RB Ryan Grant misses the game Sunday due to a bruised kidney.

It also appears that RT Bryan Bulaga will be out, replaced by Marshall Newhouse, who will be facing the Von Miller Experience. Matthews and Charles Woodson also sat out practice but are expected to play.

So far, S Morgan Burnett has done well in stepping into Nick Collins' role.

Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV thinks Starks needs to trust his vision more, plus some Packers links.

Notes from Max Henson on the Denver conference calls with Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. 


San Diego placed S Bob Sanders on IR, while the Chiefs have again switched TEs by replacing Anthony Becht with Jake O'Connell.

Several others were placed on IR: Ravens CB and old friend Domonique Foxworth, Colts defenders Melvin Bullitt and Gary Brackett, Lions LB Isaiah Ekejiuba, and Titans WR Kenny Britt, who was replaced on the roster by WR Donnie Avery.

Cleveland gave LB Chris Gocong a three-year extension, the Jets brought back DE Aaron Maybin, and the Dolphins claimed Steve Slaton off waivers from Houston.

A new book by Jeff Pearlman describes a dark retirement for Walter Payton filled with drug abuse and suicidal tendencies.

The Detroit police may halt a mobile strip club used to tailgate for Lions games.

Mike Silver focuses on the Eagles and Falcons' early struggles, while Mike Lombardi examines what the Vikings need to do to hang onto their leads.

Bucky Brooks explains how the Falcons can turn it around, while Doug Farrar says their biggest problem is protecting Matt Ryan.

More analysis from PFF: The staff discusses five questions/answers32 observations from Nate Jahnke, best and worst performers from Week 3, and their ROY race, still led by Von Miller.

Gil Brandt includes Eric Decker among his list of young breakout players so far, which bizarrely calls LeGarrette Blount, Jimmy Graham, Colt McCoy and Aaron Hernandez "once unknowns." Hopefully, he didn't come up with the title.

Andrew Brandt speculates about why the Saints' contract talks with Drew Brees are taking so long.

Jack Bechta thinks about teams tanking it for Andrew Luck and reminds us that he could always decide to stay in school another year. How hilarious would that be?


Brian Burke explains how he has updated his method for ranking teams, and the Broncos sit at 24th in overall efficiency (22nd offense, 18th defense). Meanwhile, Jack Moore revisits Bills/Pats and Lions/Vikings.

Niners/Bengals was the first 13-8 final score in the history of the NFL.

Kevin Braig of CHFF says that Paul Brown was Moneyball before Billy Beane. Plus, Adam Dobrowolski on the redemption of Tony Romo and Patrick Imig on the week's many controversial statements by former and current NFL QBs.

Wes Bunting's five most overrated NFL prospects.

Stay classy, Cleveland: some couple abandoned their foster kid at the Browns game on Sunday.

Some Norwegian soccer player scored on a header from beyond midfield.

Braves and Sawx fans, sucks to be you...

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

The Lard