Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/10/11

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If the Broncos plan to trade down, they need a QB to rise on the draft board - The Denver Post
If the Broncos really want to turn the No. 2 pick in this year's NFL draft into more picks, they need a quarterback to rise on the draft board. Not for the Broncos, necessarily, but for somebody else to want a quarterback badly enough to trade up to get him.

Q&A: Expansion of the NFL regular season is all about money - The Denver Post
Players have concerns about the extra pounding they would take. But make no mistake, the NFL's push for more regular-season games is all about money. And money is part of the players' opposition too. Players are paid their base salaries during the 17 weeks of the regular season, which includes a bye for each team. Each player gets one-17th of his base salary each week. Stipends are paid for offseason workouts and training camp.

Focus on Auburn's Fairley as the NFL draft's No. 1 pick - The Denver Post
The Broncos have the No. 2 pick in the April 28-30 draft. That puts Fairley as a 298-pound blip on their radar. The Carolina Panthers, who have the No. 1 pick, are deep into their investigation of Fairley on and off the field. A wild card may be the Tennessee Titans, who have the No. 8 pick and are interested in Fairley's position coach at Auburn — Tracy Rocker — for their defensive line coaching job.

Q&A: Fox comfortable with McCoy calling plays for Broncos - The Denver Post
"Yeah, we talked about it quite a bit," Elway said. "It really doesn't come down to the system, but rather the attitude on offense. That's what we're talking about, the aggressive type offense, what we want to do on offense to win football games, not to just sit back and try to win them on defense. "We've had many discussions on that. As long as we get it done and stay aggressive. I think we're on the same page there."

Still Growing
Even after producing the league's No. 10 yards per punt average in 2010, Colquitt knows he still has room for improvement. Heading into his third NFL season, Colquitt is as comfortable as ever and perhaps even more motivated to reward the Broncos for entrusting him with their punting duties.

Ultimate Power Rankings: Bring on the hate mail - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
9. Denver Broncos: Passion, passion and more passion. Denver lives for the Broncos. And they've won two titles in the past 20 years. They do have to pick it up if they want to stay here the next time we do these. Is Tim Tebow the savior for the franchise? Or is bringing back hero John Elway what will get the glory days back?

 

Broncos preparing employees for NFL lockout - The Denver Post
"Specifics of our operations in the event that a collective bargaining agreement isn't reached by March 4 are internal and have been communicated clearly to every employee," said Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth. "We're moving forward with our preparations for the 2011 season and are hopeful that the labor situation is resolved as soon as possible."

Mistakes by the lake? Cleveland fans have the toughest act in sports - The Denver Post
So who's to blame for the Cleveland curse? Take your pick: There's Elway, who drove a stake through Clevelanders hearts with The Drive in the 1986 AFC Championship.

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

LA stadium panel has many links to developer - ESPN Los Angeles
The seasoned local business leaders picked by the mayor to analyze plans for a downtown NFL stadium on the public's behalf seem to have one thing in common: deep financial, political and civic ties with the company promoting the venue.

Ndamukong Suh, Charles Woodson Earn Million-Dollar Pay Raises -- NFL FanHouse
Suh was scheduled to make $405,000 in base salary in 2011, but now he'll make $1.405 million. Considering that Suh was the best rookie in the NFL in 2010, a base salary of $1.405 million would be a bargain -- except that highly drafted rookies like Suh make most of their money in bonuses, not base salary.

DeAngelo Williams Tops List of Panthers' Potential Free Agents Likely Staying -- NFL FanHouse
If the "franchise tag" still exists when the new CBA is announced, Carolina should still have its centerpiece offensive player, DeAngelo Williams. He is their record-setting running back and if the club has to it will slap a franchise tag on him, providing that is an option when the CBA is signed.

NFL.com news: Vikings propose using lotto funds to help pay for new stadium
Costs for a new stadium could approach $900 million, depending on a roof and other amenities. That would mean roughly $40 million-$60 million a year in public funds would be needed to help pay for the project, a percentage of which the Vikings say could be gained from the lottery game.

Lions' late win over Buccaneers paved way to Packers Super Bowl - Peter King - SI.com
Ran into Lions PR man Bill Keenist leaving Dallas Monday, and he made this point: If not for the late-game ridiculousness in games of Dec. 19 in New Jersey and Tampa, the Packers would not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy today

ProFootballWeekly.com - Court sides with NFL in StarCaps case
A court ruling in Minnesota might mean suspensions could be on the way for three NFL players. The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the ruling of a lower court in the state, according to NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello, which could mean that Vikings DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, along with Saints DE Will Smith, will face suspension for failing a drug test in December 2008.

AFL has novel solution for preseason games | ProFootballTalk
At least one AFL team will stage a preseason game featuring free admission. The Tampa Bay Storm will host the Orlando Predators on March 3, and fans will be able to attend at no cost.

Jon Bon Jovi hopes to one day join NFL owners club - ESPN
"But I think the bigger deal for Bon Jovi is he gets to be part of a special club, maybe not as a majority owner but the [15 percent] stake is significant money. Would it be cool for him to sit around an NFL draft meeting or enjoy access others only dream of? Absolutely. Is it a first-step opportunity that could grow into something more significant? Maybe."

Browns start major housecleaning | National Football Post
Six veterans were released, the most significant being defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who was on the hook for a base salary of $5.5 million in 2011, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That was somewhat surprising because new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron worked with Rogers previously in Detroit

Bills announce uniform changes without revealing uniform changes | ProFootballTalk
The playoff drought lives on in Buffalo, but the Bills’ uniform as we know it is about to become extinct. The Bills announced Wednesday they will change their uniform prior to the 2011 season.

NFL NEWS: SUPER BOWL FALLOUT

Super Bowl Insults the Masses -- NFL FanHouse
Maybe I am naïve to believe that this game that grew into a business should position itself above the fray of the almighty dollar and represent who represents them. But after this past Super Bowl became the most-watched television show in the history of television those same people that made this possible have to sit around and wonder if there will even be a Super Bowl next year. It doesn't matter how the NFL's slick PR department wants to spin this, it's just not right. It's bad enough that the biggest sporting event in the world that is made possible by the commoner isn't intended for the common man.

Fire chief: Seat contractors walked off job hours before Super Bowl
Suprina claims that his crew lost four days of work because of the winter storm that paralyzed the city, but he says his team did not walk off the job. He said that Cluck "needs to get his facts straight." WFAA reports that issues with the temporary seating were brought up as early as three weeks ago.

Super Bowl Seating Problem Becomes N.F.L. Public Relations Problem - NYTimes.com
Maybe you thought that Volkswagen Super Bowl ad with the child desperately trying to use the Force was only cute, but it was actually a glimpse into the N.F.L.’s public relations strategy. Sweetness and light are passé. The Dark Side is where to be.

Greed Is Root Cause of Super Bowl Seating Debacle - NYTimes.com
OK, so far its generosity is limited to quelling a public relations debacle sparked by the all-consuming greed exhibited at the Jerry Jones Super Bowl. Imagine, though, if the league bargained with players as it did with the 400 fans whose seats were pulled out from under them at the game.

ProFootballWeekly.com - One displaced fan's Super Bowl nightmare
The problems started before they even got into the stadium. Cerkleski bought three ticket packages — for $7,300 apiece, mind you — that included lodging, transportation to and from the game, an ESPN-sponsored pre-party at the stadium and tickets for the game. Good tickets, too: Section 215A, parallel with the endzone on the Steelers' sideline. Or so she thought.

Class action includes Cowboys PSL owners | ProFootballTalk
The case seeks financial damages under four legal theories: breach of contract; breach of the "covenant of good faith and fair dealing" (that’s legalese for an implied promise that one side to a transaction won’t try to unfairly screw the other side); fraud, deceit, and concealment, arising from the admitted failure to advise the 400 ticket holders of the possible unavailability of their seats and from the alleged failure to inform the Cowboys season-ticket holders that they’d be getting lesser accommodations than those to which they were accustomed; and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

NFL NEWS: STRATEGY AND STATS

Researchers Propose Football Overtime Rules that Take Out Coin Flip, Add Bidding—and Fairness
Steven Brams, a professor in New York University’s Wilf Family Department of Politics, and James Jorasch, founder of Science House, an organization that brings together science and business, have devised a rule that is more equitable than both the old and new overtime rules, because it takes the randomness out of which team gains the initial possession and neutralizes the advantage of being the team to receive the ball. Brams and Jorasch’s overtime rule rests on an on-field bidding process in which the kicking team kicks off from a more advantageous position—farther from its goal line so its opponent needs to cover more yardage to score.

Teaching a quarterback where to throw the football | Smart Football
Of course, what I really recommend are progression reads where the coverage keys what progression is used. It’s possible to have progressions with all five receivers in the progression, but it’s not likely or common for the quarterback to hit number four or five in the progression. Instead it makes more sense to give him multiple 1-2-3 reads, either keying off the movement of a particular defender or reading the general coverage structure.

Advanced NFL Stats: Change
American 'gridiron' football isn't a static, unchanging sport. It's been remade many times in many different ways. There used to be no passing, 3 downs to make 5 yards, various point values for scoring plays, blockers were allowed to lock arms, and the game lasted 70 minutes. Today's sport would be unrecognizable to players and fans at the beginning of the previous century.

Eliminating "daylight" from the axiom "run to daylight" | Smart Football
The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter what front we present to the offense — all gaps must be filled with color. A motto that I picked up from CoachHuey.com is to "play defense, not defenses." It’s more important that we play well as team than to present a ton of different defensive looks to the offense. [Ed.note--worth reading to start familiarizing yourself with 4-3 concepts again. -styg]

Running and throwing the fade route against press coverage | Smart Football
The first problem is the name, "fade." This conjures up the idea that the receiver’s job is to release off the ball and immediately start "fading" to the sideline, where the quarterback has to throw it to an increasingly vanishing spot between the defender and the sideline. This is wrong.

NFL DRAFT

Making moves in Mobile | National Football Post
One thing that’s a little weird is that while you’re bonding with your teammates, you’re also constantly competing with them to prove you’re better. We all know that the reason we’re at the game is to prove we’re the best and while we’re rooting for each other, I also knew that every time one of my teammates made a play, I had to go out and make a better one.

Draft may be deep in 3-4 ends, but is risk worth it? - NFL - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com
It probably won't affect their respective draft stocks, with both players expected to still be top 10 choices, but there are some scouts concerned about the abilities of Fairley and Dareus to adapt to some of the more cerebral aspects of assimilating NFL defenses. While it could be a surprisingly strong draft class for 3-4 ends, one personnel director who is not here for the Super Bowl weighed in on the problems in recent lotteries of locating outside "edge" rushers for the scheme.

Rang's big board: Top 32 plus 10 - NFL - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com
2. Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson* Hard to believe, but even though he led the nation with 15.5 sacks he's more impressive against run than pass.

The Shutdown 40: No. 39 - Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee - Shutdown Corner - NFL  - Yahoo! Sports
The rise of spread offenses in the NCAA has given birth to a new generation of tight ends who may have been possession receivers in previous eras. They can run, but they can't block, and they're more about getting downfield or taking stick screens upfield than chipping off the line and running the perfect slant or cross. Stocker is not that kind of flashy player, but he is absolutely the type of tight end you want if you're looking for the do-it-all traditionalist.

NFL LOCKOUT

Looking at NFL proposing 18-game schedule - baltimoresun.com
Yes, the league has known for years that fans hate preseason games. It knows fans hate paying regular-season ticket prices to see watered-down games played mostly by second-stringers and soon-to-be training camp washouts. It's the biggest ripoff in sports. And everybody knows it. So now the league — strictly out of the goodness of its heart, you understand — wants to do something about it.

Dave Hollander: NFL Owners vs. NFL Players 2011: The Owners Will Win
Players are fungible. It's the game that matters. We don't really miss the players when they're gone, but we would miss the game if it was never played again.

Brian Frederick: Memo to the Political Blogosphere About the NFL Lockout
The likelihood of formal congressional involvement in the dispute grows stronger by the day. Which is why the NFL spent $2.5 million lobbying Congress last cycle. The NFLPA spent about a quarter of that and sent some players to the Hill to try to make their case. SportsFans.org has met with the staffs of several lawmakers -- and the White House -- raising awareness about the investments we've already made in the game and how a work stoppage would be harmful in other ways.

Rick Snider: Not just matter of time | Rick Snider | NFL | Washington Examiner
Teams will lay off employees, as if they couldn't truly afford to maintain the payroll. They just don't want to do it. It might shave a few dollars off the mega-millions they'll still make. Goodell can work for $1 because he's already rich, but middle-class staffers will struggle not to lose their homes when they miss several months of paychecks. The NFL talks of losing $1 billion in revenue, but it doesn't say how many billions of dollars it still will make. In the end, it's just a little less gold atop a mountainous pile.

NFL.com news: NFL, union meet in D.C., cancel Thursday's bargaining session
A second day of negotiations in Washington between the NFL and NFL Players Association has been canceled, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The sides, working to reach agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement by March 3, when the current CBA expires, canceled Thursday's planned talks after an extended session Wednesday.

Gabriel A. Feldman: NFL Lockout: The Legal Issues Behind the NFL-CBA Negotiations
Are there any other risks to decertification? Yes. Players will also lose all of benefits contained in the CBA. This includes pensions, insurance benefits and medical benefits. Other benefits of the union, such as control over agent certification and group licensing rights, could also come under attack.

NFL Labor pains, part 8: the game of Tag | National Football Post
There need to be adjustments for both sides in application to ensure more participation in training camp by tagged players, since many do not show up until the meaningful checks start coming in September. Since the money is guaranteed anyway at the time of signing, the player should receive a percentage of the Tag amount, perhaps 10%, at the start of training camp if his tender is signed by then. In return, the union should accept penalties that tagged players will not the 10% unless they report to training camp and all mandatory team activities.

Labor unrest in NFL putting London game in jeopardy - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Parsons said there wasn't a specific drop-dead date in which the NFL would have to abandon plans for a London return. Handling the logistics involved will be smoother than in previous years because the NFL has held London games for four consecutive seasons. Wembley Stadium has traditionally hosted the contest in late October, but that time frame isn't a lock for 2011 because of the CBA situation.

SOME INTERESTING READS

Breaking down Boise: How the Broncos use leverage, numbers and grass to gash the opposition | Smart Football
Well, apparently Boise was the Seinfeld of college football — their lack of identity is their identity. Although I may not have understood it then, the method behind this apparent lack of cohesion became much clearer to me after hours of study. [Ed.Note -- This is an older article, and not about the Denver Broncos, but the Boise State Broncos, but it is such an amazing read, I just had to share. -styg]

Alastair Campbell on Leadership and Winning | FiveBooks | The Browser
I think that sometimes fear of losing, fear of defeat, whether in sport, in politics, in business, is what forces you to go really deep into yourself and find the reserves that you need. In a boxing match, sometimes you can see where the guy who is losing summons up reserves of energy and skill and power, and he overturns the other. It doesn’t always happen but it happens quite a lot. And that then is about a stronger mentality.

The Volokh Conspiracy " People Believe What Resonates With Their Beliefs: An Interesting Experiment

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