Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 1/26/11

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New defensive coordinator Allen believes Broncos will improve - The Denver Post
The Broncos' newest defensive coordinator already has been fitted with orange-colored glasses as he gets down to the business of repairing what has gone so wrong over most of the last four seasons. Allen is the sixth man to occupy the position in six years.

Elway shows a proactive side with presence at Senior Bowl - The Denver Post
Hiring Fox has certainly earned the Broncos some kudos around the league. The proof of that could be seen in the sheer number of people who approached Fox here Tuesday afternoon to offer both him and the team their congratulations. Elway was in the middle of that coaching search. And while wins and losses, as well as how the Broncos go about their business, will be the ultimate judge of Fox's tenure with the Broncos, several personnel people in the league said Tuesday they believed Elway showed some business maturity in hiring Fox

Broncos fan gets surprise call from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell | All Things Broncos
"He said he got my email and wanted to first off thank me for sending my concerns to him, and wanted to let me know they are always concerned about the fans and wouldn’t be in position where it was if it wasn’t for the fans," Owen said. "It was the standard stuff we’ve heard from the league, but he added some personal stuff to it."

Q&A: "Quality control" coach is entry-level position in NFL - The Denver Post
They do have some on-field duties in practices, often they work with one or more position coaches to gain experience as they prepare to become position coaches themselves. Callahan, for example, was the Broncos' running backs coach for the final month of the season after Eric Studesville was promoted to interim coach.

NFL

Chad Ochocinco of Cincinnati Bengals says he's changing last name to Johnson - ESPN
"I don't have a choice right now," Ochocinco told ESPN's Trey Wingo. "I've done enough with the Ocho thing."

Al Saunders hired as Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator - ESPN
Saunders is already familiar with the top two quarterbacks on Oakland's roster. He was offensive coordinator for two years in Washington with Jason Campbell and was the coordinator in St. Louis in 2008 when Bruce Gradkowski spent time with the Rams. While Saunders is on board as the coordinator, Jackson will retain the primary play-calling duties in Oakland next season. Jackson helped oversee a vast improvement on offense this past year, as the Raiders finished sixth in the league in scoring with 410 points -- more than doubling their total from 2009.

Injured Nick Barnett, Jermichael Finley want place in Green Bay Packers photo - ESPN
Another potential concern for the injured players is the team photo takes place during Tuesday's media day, and the Packers' injured players aren't scheduled to join the team until Thursday. If the team were to bring injured players to the Dallas area earlier in the week, the players would end up missing nearly a week of their injury rehabilitation.

NFL.com news: Searchers recover body from river, believe it's Reed's brother
The recovery ends a seven-day search that utilized sonar and dragging operations as crews scoured the river and fought its rough currents for eight to 10 miles down river.

Super Bowl XLV: 18-game season could work - ESPN
If the total compensation is equal to or greater than what a player would have earned playing an additional year or two or three, then I think this proposal has a real chance. A player could maximize his physical abilities and then tackle the next phase of his life earlier. Nothing wrong with that.

Time to revamp the AP voting process | ProFootballTalk
Currently, the AP awards are determined by a 50-person panel, all of whom come from the media. Each person has one vote for each award. As to the All-Pro team, each voter casts one ballot per position on the field (e.g., one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers).

Dungy supports changes to completion rules, full-time officials | ProFootballTalk
We addressed among other things the issue of officiating in the conference title games, as it relates to the Sam Shields interception and the Heath Miller non-completion. Dungy shared his views regarding the rule regarding catches made by players who are going to the ground, a rule that originated after his Bucs fell victim to the former ball-can’t-touch-the-ground rule during the 1999 NFC title game.

Pryce leaning toward retirement - Jets Blog - ESPN New York
"That’s going to be the biggest thing. Can I go into the offseason and do the things that I want to?" Pryce, 35, said. "Can I commit to that kind of time and that kind of energy? Can I do that? If I can find a way to go through the offseason the way I want to (I’ll play). If come two weeks from now, I’m (thinking) ‘No, screw it’ then I won’t (play)."

Should Teams Be 'Penalized' for Challenging Bad Calls? - NYTimes.com
So is it fair for teams to be "penalized" for using and being successful with coaches’ challenges? On two recent occasions — one involving Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin in a divisional round game against Baltimore and the other involving the Jets’ Rex Ryan in the A.F.C. championship game against Pittsburgh — teams were forced to decide whether a possible bad call early in a game was worth trying to overturn.

NFL DRAFT

Brooks Reed, Titus Young shine on Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice - NFL - SI.com
Patrick Peterson has been at the Senior Bowl since Monday, and though he's not participating in practice, the junior cornerback from LSU has been a very busy man. Peterson has completed almost a half dozen individual interviews with teams on hand, most recently sitting down with John Elway and John Fox of the Denver Broncos, the team that owns the second pick in the draft.

Senior Bowl practice notes: Day 2 | National Football Post
I thought coming into the Senior Bowl week that California DL Cameron Jordan was the best senior prospect in the nation, and after a solid performance yesterday, the man took his game to another level today. Jordan was downright dominant at times as a pass rusher using his impressive initial burst, his violent/long arms and relentless motor to consistently slip blocks on contact and work his way into the backfield.

Breaking down the X's and O's of the Senior Bowl | National Football Post
With all of the talk down here at the Senior Bowl surrounding the prospects on the field, let’s take some time to breakdown some X’s and O’s. What type of route schemes, coverages, etc. are we seeing on the practice field? This isn’t exotic, creative football that we would watch on Sundays from a Sean Payton or a Rex Ryan—but it all serves a purpose during a college all-star week.

LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson to meet with Panthers tonight | National Football Post
"I believe I can bring a lot to the table," Peterson said during an interview at the Renaissance Riverview Hotel in downtown Mobile. "I can bring shutting down the offense's No. 1 receiver. I can take away one side of the football field. I have a tremendous amount of focus and confidence in myself to be the best on the field. "My goal is to be No. 1, that's the ultimate goal. I have to work extremely hard each and every day. It's an open game right now We'll have to see what the NFL draft has to bring."

Senior Bowl practice notes: South squad, Day 2 | National Football Post
Speaking of Baylor linemen, defensive tackle Phil Taylor can absolutely be a one-man wrecking crew when the guy plays with proper leverage. At the start of practice he came out of his stance too high, lost the leverage battle and was stonewalled at the point by a smaller offensive lineman. However, after that point he did a much better job staying low off the ball and absolutely overwhelmed opposing blockers through contact.

Breaking down the top safeties at the Senior Bowl | National Football Post
2. DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson The former Tiger is going to be a strong safety at the NFL level. I do see him as the type of player that can align over the TE in a Cover 1 scheme and as a Cover 2 safety—coming off of the top of the numbers. McDaniel has some size (6-0, 213) and did show some range from the middle of the field yesterday that extended outside of the numbers. I would draft a safety like McDaniel, let him compete with the veterans in camp and know you are getting a player who will have an immediate impact on special teams.

Q. and A. With Running Back DeMarco Murray - NYTimes.com
I just had the mind-set going in that I wanted to play my first year and I wanted to play all four years when I got there – and I wanted to contribute on special teams. I knew I wasn’t the biggest guy, but I knew that I had a big heart and if I was given an opportunity I was going to shine no matter what. So I just worked really hard.

Senior Bowl, Day 2: New Beginnings and Reunions - NYTimes.com
D.J. Williams, Arkansas: Williams is extremely athletic, and plays more like a receiver than a tight end. He fluidly adjusts to the ball and makes difficult receptions appear routine. He’s also very tough and not afraid to run routes over the middle. His ability to block remains a question mark.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Miller time takes over South practice "
As one of the few natural 3-4 outside linebackers in this draft, he has solidified his status as a potential top-10 pick with a great performance this week during the South team’s practice.

ROCKOUT WITH YOUR MOCKOUT LOCKOUT

Lockout will unlock a new universe of cheating | ProFootballTalk
One of the key components will be the presence of a strong, trusting relationship between the coach and the starting quarterback, who undoubtedly will be relied upon to organize the unorganized practices, and to discreetly report back to the coaching staff regarding progress. In this regard, teams like the Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Colts, Chargers, Giants, Packers, Falcons, and Saints likely will have an edge. In other cities, coaches will have to identify other team leaders who can be trusted to organize the practices, to preside over them, and to communicate with the coaching staff on a double-secret basis.

Eric Crawford | Greed can't be part of NFL's plan | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal
The past season has been a television tour de force. In every week of the NFL regular season, the top-rated show in all of television was an NFL game. Eight of the 10 most-watched programs of 2010 were NFL games, as were 27 of the top 50.

Big games: But then what? - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
But for everyone involved in this dispute, here's something to keep in mind if there is a lockout, especially in cities such as Pittsburgh: Upset fans will be the least of their worries. Taxpayers underwriting the mortgage on a facility producing no revenue will be one honked-off crowd.

NFLPA officials meet with Senior Bowl players - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
They want to know, 'Is there going to be a lockout? Is there going to be football? And we have to tell them, 'We don't know.' So, the tough part is not being able to give them tons of answers, but at least we can inform them that they've got guys in the league right now that have stayed strong together to get the game to where it is right now.

It would be foolish for NFL to close its doors at the height of its power | Tim Liotta | NFL | San Francisco Examiner
The passion fans have for a sport is not a given. It can blow up in football’s face. Just ask the sports of horse racing in the 1950s, boxing in the 1970s and 1980s, the NBA today. When the light bulb of passion flickers, there will be something right there ready to jump in — just ask the Rolling Stones, Larry Holmes, Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hakeem Olajuwon or Graeme McDowell. And sometimes it’s impossible for the original owner to get back.

Will the union break in March, not September? | ProFootballTalk
onventional wisdom in NFL circles is and has been that, once players miss a paycheck of two in September, they’ll collapse. But the money doesn’t ordinarily begin to flow in September. For those players whose contracts have expired, signing bonuses and roster bonuses are paid in early March, as part of the free-agency frenzy that sees millions of dollars change hands in a short period of time.

American sports: In a league of its own | The Economist
[Ed.Note- This article is quite old (several years, in fact) but it offers up some points about the way the league does business that should provide some clarity about where the league is today. -styg]

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