Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/17/11

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Tebow had a hand in the development of two QBs attending the NFL scouting combine - The Denver Post
When the NFL scouting combine starts next week in Indianapolis, quarterbacks Josh Portis and Cam Newton will be there partly because of Tim Tebow. Tebow, who played at Florida from 2006-09 before coming to the Broncos, altered the course Portis and Newton took to the NFL's April 28-30 draft.

2010 Season Review: Pregame Sound
2010 Season Review: Pregame Sound

Draft is a Foundation for Success " DenverBroncos.com
In the American Football League years before the merger Denver had little chance of signing its top draft choices, who chose to go with the established National Football League teams that had taken them. So even though Broncos history shows that Denver’s selections included eventual Hall of Famers Merlin Olsen (the 1962 draft) and Dick Butkus (1965) as the team’s first selections, Denver had little chance financially of competing for their services. After the merger was completed 1967 was the first year in which the AFL and NFL held a common draft. Since and including that 1967 draft, this year’s selection is the earliest the Broncos have ever been on the clock.

Kiszla: The winter of sports discontent - The Denver Post
When did all these beautiful people of Denver sports decide we make lousy neighbors? It's as if Champ Bailey, Carmelo Anthony and Peter Forsberg woke up one morning, peered out the window and thought the snowcapped Rocky Mountains looked as miserable as Cleveland. Our stars are fleeing town.

Bad sign? Broncos' Champ Bailey puts house up for sale as free agency nears - The Denver Post
Reale said he did not want to comment on the state of negotiations or what Bailey's decision to put his house on the market means. Bailey, who could not be reached Wednesday, has said while he wants to stay in Denver, his first priority will be to go to a team that's "in position to win and committed to win. I can't wait forever." The rebuilding Broncos likely do not qualify, at least in the near future.

Should the Falcons pursue Georgia legend Champ Bailey? | Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons will have a really good scouting report on Bailey. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has connections inside the organization. Also, former Falcons executive Brian Xanders is Denver’s general manager.

Q&A: There's no reason NFL rookies can't contribute quickly - The Denver Post
It always takes quarterbacks longer to adjust to the NFL than other rookies. And the success of a young quarterback often depends on how the team is constructed around him. Sam Bradford, a former Oklahoma star, was the NFL's offensive rookie of the year in 2010. The Rams often encased him in a two-tight end, low-risk offense. Their goal was to protect him as much as they could as he learned the ropes.

Living Healthy
On Wednesday, Knowshon Moreno faced the tough questions. What was your diet like as a kid? How fast can you run a mile? How many calories do you lose at football practice? What is your favorite vegetable and fruit? "You never really think about those things," Moreno smiled. "There were definitely some good questions and questions that I still need to kind of figure out."

CBA Update " DenverBroncos.com
The NFLPA already decertified in 1989, then returned as a union in 1993, when a contract was reached with the league that provided for free agency. That landmark CBA was renewed or restructured several times since 1993, including in 2006. The owners opted out of that most recent deal in 2008. Under the heading "Basis of the Charge," the NFL says in Monday’s filing with the NLRB that during current negotiations, the union delayed the scheduling of bargaining sessions; failed to "respond in a timely and/or meaningful manner" to owners’ contract proposals; and insisted on "disclosure of financial data to which the NFLPA has no legal right and then suspending negotiations unless and until such data is produced."

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Walkthrough: Red Zone Blues
How do you fix a broken red zone defense? The Eagles had the worst red zone defense in the NFL, not just by conventional measures -- 33 touchdowns in 43 attempts -- but according to DVOA as well. The Eagles' poor red zone performance was part of the reason that Sean McDermott was fired, and it is up to former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to fix the problem. Easier said than done. "Red zone defense" is a very general category, encompassing a lot of elements. Were the Eagles bad at stopping short-yardage runs? Fades to wide receivers? Was it a personnel problem? A scheme problem?

Steelers Decide to Play Waiting Game With Free Agents -- NFL FanHouse
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that left tackle Jonathan Scott is the only one of the Steelers' 14 potentially unrestricted free agents that the team has opened negotiations with. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Steelers are also planning to place a franchise tag on outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley which would largely ensure that he will remain a Steeler.

Brandon Banks Still Hospitalized; Tube Inserted in Chest -- NFL FanHouse
Although Banks' agent, James Gould, initially said that he expected Banks to leave the hospital within 24 hours, Banks has now been there for more than four days. The injury was initially reported as "a surface knife wound on his (left) side which will require stitches." Now, Gould is terming Banks' damage as being "knifed in the chest." Banks has had a tube inserted in his chest, to avoid the possibility of a lung collapsing.

DeAngelo Williams, Pierre Thomas Sit Idle as NFC South Holds Franchise Tags -- NFL FanHouse
The designation is the for the unrestricted free agent the team does not want to get out on the open market, or a player the team feels it can sign to a multi-year deal. Michael Vick was tagged as a franchise player by the Eagles, which means he will get a one-year deal no less than the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. There is not an unrestricted free agent in the NFC South, it seems, that a team could let walk.

ProFootballWeekly.com - AFC South 2010 season-in-review team reports
AFC South 2010 season-in-review team reports

ProFootballWeekly.com - Vikings positional analysis: Quarterbacks
Overview: The Vikings danced with the devil again, bringing back Brett Favre after his miraculous 2009 season, and lost. It ultimately cost head coach Brad Childress his job and led to Favre saying — and this time we believe it — that his career is over. The Vikings slumped to 6-10, including a 3-7 mark under Childress, as Favre struggled throughout the campaign. Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb got opportunities when the normally durable Favre broke down, but neither one stood out in what were tough situations. The Vikings face many questions with this position as they enter an offseason of uncertainty under new head coach Leslie Frazier.

Super Bowl ticket fiasco works out for 2 Packers fans | National Football Post
Tony Curro and his nephew Steve Curro bought what turned out to be counterfeit tickets from a street broker, according to Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. When they went to enter Cowboys Stadium, of course the tickets didn’t scan. That’s where the Curros typically would have been turned away, left to face the disappointment they had been swindled. Instead, they were moved into the holding area where hundreds of people who had tickets to seats in the temporary areas that were closed were waiting.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Fisher, Sloan are champions without rings
aybe it's unfair, but coaches will always be judged by their ability to win titles. Tony Dungy was run out of Tampa because of his inability to capture a Lombardi Trophy despite turning the once-rotten Buccaneers into championship contenders. Yet, after he won a ring in Indianapolis, his career was validated. Mike Shanahan won a grand total of one playoff game in his final 10 seasons as Broncos head coach, but since that had been preceded by back-to-back Super Bowl titles, the coach was given a $35 million contract last offseason by the Redskins.

Harbaugh mentions pending lockout, expresses regret Ngata deal couldn't be done | National Football Post
"There are some reasons why we can’t do it here before the lockout," Harbaugh said during a WBAL radio interview. "It’s really unfortunate. Because if it was possible to do it, I’m pretty sure we’d have it done." Why couldn't the Ravens finalize a deal for Ngata instead of making him their franchise player at a $12.5 million price tag? It's because of the 30 percent rule that states a player can't get an extension if their salary jumped over 30 percent last year over the previous season.

If Cromartie hits the market, does he have value? | National Football Post
Without question there are concerns with Cromartie. He can get lazy with his technique and his hands (we will get to some video to highlight this). Cromartie will also get too tall in his backpedal and lose leverage on the WR in man coverage situations.

Nnamdi Asomugha just got even tougher to sign | ProFootballTalk
For the $17 million the Raiders paid Asomugha in 2010, Davis explained, the team could sign 2-3 quality players. Makes sense. So what does Davis do in his first huge post Hue Jackson move of the offseason? He hands Richard Seymour a possible $30 million over the next two years, including $22 million guaranteed. On a per-year basis, Seymour just became the highest paid defensive player in the league.

Source: Richard Seymour, Oakland Raiders agree to extension - ESPN
Defensive lineman Richard Seymour has agreed to a two-year extension with the Oakland Raiders that will make him the highest-paid defensive player in football, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers makes an average of $14 million a year and while Seymour's exact numbers will not be known until he signs, the numbers will come in north of Peppers'.

Buffalo Bills free up salary space, cut ties with Marcus Stroud - ESPN
Stroud's departure was not considered a surprise after the 10-year NFL veteran struggled in making the transition in Buffalo's switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme. Stroud was scheduled to make $10 million in base salary over the final two years of his contract, including $4.5 million next season.

Kansas City Chiefs franchise AFC sacks leader Tamba Hali - ESPN
In an announcement Wednesday on the team's website, the Chiefs said they are still hopeful of reaching a long-term agreement with the outside linebacker, their first-round pick of 2006. As a non-exclusive franchise player, Hali is guaranteed a one-year contract equal to the average paid last year to the five highest-paid players at his position if he stays with Kansas City. He can still negotiate with other teams. But the Chiefs would get two first-round draft picks from any team that signed him.

Arizona Cardinals promote Mike Miller to offensive coordinator - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has completed the restructuring of his staff by promoting Mike Miller to offensive coordinator. Miller has been on Arizona's staff since Whisenhunt took over in 2007, the first two years as wide receivers coach and the last two as passing game coordinator.

NFL.com news: Free-agent DT Rogers confirms visit with Chiefs; Saints next
The Chiefs met with free-agent defensive tackle Shaun Rogers on Tuesday, The Kansas City Star reported. Rogers, who met with the Washington Redskins last week, confirmed on Twitter that he wrapped up his Kansas City visit Wednesday, then would go to New Orleans to talk with the Saints.

NFL DRAFT

Terrell McClain NFL Draft Scouting Report - Mocking The Draft
The more I watched McClain the more like liked about the kid. He is still a bit raw but possesses the athletic ability and size to develop into an effected defensive lineman. McClain showed a great motor and effort which will help with his transition to the NFL. Ideally, he would be a fit as a 3 technique that is free to shoot the gap. However, with proper coaching he might be able to develop into an adequate 2 gap defender; thanks to his thick lower half.

2011 NFL Draft's top 50 prospects heading into Scouting Combine - NFL - SI.com
An interesting side note is that no quarterback ranks among our top 10, although many mock drafts project two to be selected in the first handful of picks. More than anything else, this illustrates the dire need many franchises have at the position and, as witnessed in past drafts, the willingness to roll the dice on a lower rated prospect in the hopes of developing stability underneath center.

Opinions differ on Panthers’ best bet at No. 1 overall | ProFootballTalk
"I think he’s going to be a complete player," said McShay of Bowers. "I’m not saying he’s going to be Julius Peppers. But he has that type of physical ability and potential to be a big, powerful defensive end that can get after the quarterback and become a huge difference maker." McShay added that he’s "nervous" about Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, another popular mock draft pick for the Panthers. McShay noted that Fairley was full-time player for only one year in college, adding that he "saw (Fairley) take some plays off on tape that Da’Quan Bowers doesn’t take off.

Top quarterbacks in the Class of 2012 | National Football Post
Now, this list is a very preliminary one, as prospects will rise and fall based off of their performances in summer camps and, of course, their play during their senior seasons. But, for now, let’s take a look at the most intriguing players at the quarterback position.

WR DeAndre Brown: The definition of a "boom" or "bust" prospect | National Football Post
DeAndre Brown is a former big-time, five-star recruit coming out of high school and is arguably the biggest recruit ever to land at Southern Miss. He immediately made his presence felt on the field in 2008 as the 6-6, 240-pound physical specimen hauled in 67 receptions for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Scouting Running Backs | National Football Post
About six years ago, I did a study on the effect rookie running backs and receivers had on their teams as rookies. What I found out was there are many more running backs that have an impact as a rookie as compared to receivers. Except for a few freaks of nature such as Larry Fitzgerald, on average it’s usually the receiver’s third year before he is a consistently good contributor but there are many first and second-year running backs that are consistently productive. Why?

Draft Strategy: Positional Value - Mocking The Draft
The way I define positional value is to Madden-ize a team. Take your team, make every single player have a rating of 99 (that's basically all star status) and have the particular position you are looking at to be extremely crappy and then look at your chances of winning. Another way to define it is how much the player who is great at the position helps you win games.

Five junior prospects that need to stand out at the Combine | National Football Post
With the NFL Combine quickly approaching, the NFP takes a look at five junior prospects that will have a lot of money riding on the line based on their one workout at this year’s Combine.

DeQuin Evans on the mend following labrum, rotator cuff surgery | National Football Post
"I did the unselfish thing, I didn’t do the smartest thing," he said. "I should have been on the doctors and trainers, but I need to understand it's a business and they have a lot of guys to worry about. The first MRI just showed a swollen AC joint and and irritated rotator cuff. It couldn't see the ligaments and tendons. They told me to wait until after the season. So, that's what I did." Mentored by former Kentucky defensive tackle Corey Peters, the Atlanta Falcons' third-round pick last spring, Evans said he's a hard worker who's always striving to improve.

NFL's measuring stick: the 40-yard dash | National Football Post
There are other drills at the NFL Combine: the 3-cone, vertical, short shuttle, broad jump, etc. But none of them compare to what you can do as a prospect in the 40-yard dash. Set the hand down, get a good jump and finish strong—all the way through the line. Every scout will have their own stopwatch and keep their own times, along with the official (electronic) results from the league.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Draft Dose: Heisman winners
As we debate where Auburn standout QB Cam Newton, 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, should go in the 2011 NFL draft, the fourth installment of the Draft Dose series looks back at where previous Heisman winners were drafted and how they fared in the NFL. The results are decidedly mixed:

NFL LOCKOUT

Letters pour in as NFL labor words heat up - The Denver Post
"As former players, it is crystal clear that the vast popularity and financial success of football means that a lock out cannot be in the interest of anybody involved, particularly the fans who support the game," Youngblood and Smith wrote. "We understand the need for both sides to create pressure, but also know that at times it is important to decrease tenor and tone in order for the right deal to be made in a non-emotional atmosphere." They noted that the players' union already "pledged to not strike." "By making the parallel commitment," they wrote, "the owners would create the breathing room for a deal to be struck." That exact wording also was used in a Feb. 7 letter from Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Mark Funkhouser to Clark Hunt, the owner and chief executive officer of that city's NFL team, the Chiefs. Indeed, Funkhouser's two-paragraph letter to Hunt uses phrases throughout that echo the letter to Goodell from Youngblood and Smith.

Sports coalition lets NFL know: Joe Fan watching labor war - The Denver Post
As he worries about paying his mortgage and juggles finances to pay this month's utility bill, Joe Fan wonders why the owners and players can't find a civil way to divide an $8 billion pie. What else can Joe Fan do? As it turns out, Joe Fan has an organized, vocal ally on his side.

Jerry Richardson Remains Trusted Figurehead for NFL Owners -- NFL FanHouse
The news this week suggests Richardson had another "moment." There were reports he belittled the quarterback Peyton Manning in the pre-Super Bowl session. Here is the news. The Charlotte Observer ran a story today that said the owners are still behind Richardson as their guy in the labor talks. The owners have lawyers, but they rely on Richardson as a sort of point man for them.

Take It From Marvin Miller: NFL Owners, Players in Trouble -- NFL FanHouse
"If the (NFL players') union doesn't react better, it's going to unfold with the owners getting bolder and bolder," said Marvin Miller, 93, who knows what he's talking about. "The owners already are saying and doing what they want, and nobody is calling them to task. They are making these stupid demands. And I say 'stupid,' because even if they think they can get away with all of this, the risks that they're running of disrupting a very financially successful industry is crazy." Miller was the legendary head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, which has been the model for labor unions everywhere since his leadership from 1966-82.

NFLPA Could Deal Directly With Sponsors in Event of Lockout -- NFL FanHouse
The expiration of the current agreement would mean the expiration of the rights of corporate sponsors such as Gatorade, Verizon and Pepsi to use players in national ad campaigns under their contracts with the league. As a result, the players' union is talking to some of those sponsors about contingency deals in which the players would sell those rights directly to sponsors. It would provide players a potential source of revenue during a lockout, but the head of the NFLPA's for-profit wing contends that the contingency deals would be in the sponsors' best interests as well.

NFL labor pains, part 10: an issue of trust | National Football Post
The primary roadblock to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between NFL owners and players reared its ugly head again this week. The overwhelming problem in these negotiations has not been an additional $1 billion cost credits; an 18 game season; a rookie wage scale, etc. The issue holding up labor peace in the NFL is simple: trust. The NFL owners do not trust the NFLPA leadership and their actions have shown so; the NFLPA leaders are becoming increasingly wary of the tactics and tone of NFL owners. Without trust and comfort in a relationship, no deal is possible, and right now trust is lacking as much as it has for two years.

Ryan Clark rips the owners' 'greed' | National Football Post
What’s your incentive to come to work? And essentially that’s what the owners have done. When you make deals with networks that say we’re going to pay you even if you don’t play. So what’s my incentive to play when if I’m not playing, I cut my biggest overhead out which is my players, and I’m still going to make my money. So you tell me if there’s any rush for them to feel like they have to have football.

Domonique Foxworth: 'It's hard to be optimistic' | National Football Post
"It's hard to be optimistic, honestly," Foxworth told the National Football Post in a telephone interview. "I'm going to do whatever I can do and that's all I can control. This game is so important to so many people. That's what makes this situation even more frustrating is there are a lot of good people being hurt. "I believe the majority of the people on their side are interested in having a season, but a minority of them are taking the league hostage and taking the fans hostage to get what they want. A lot of small market teams are willing to sacrifice the season. All the fans want is football. It's unfortunate."

As a federal prosecutor, DeMaurice Smith - 02.21.11 - SI Vault
mith reaches into his papers and pulls out a program from a 1991 union meeting. Former executive director Gene Upshaw, preparing to speak to player reps, wrote some introductory remarks in cursive on the back of the program. Smith begins reading to himself, then stops halfway through and recites: The owners will always take short-term loss for long-term gain.

One week after walkout, silence | ProFootballTalk
Battista also reports that the talks broke down after the league concluded that the union had backtracked on a willingness to reduce its cut of the post-$1-billion-off-the-top revenue from 59.6 cents per dollar to 52. The owners had proposed cutting the number to 48 percent. When the league inquired as to possibilities for bridging the gap, the union said that the 52-cent model was merely an illustration, not a proposal.

League finally provides its version of the union’s 50-50 proposal, sort of | ProFootballTalk
Aiello’s statement omits one key fact — whether the proposal to take 50 cents of every dollar generated was an opening offer from the union oe a bottom line/take-it-or-leave-it position. The distinction is critical. If the union said, "We’ll take 50 cents on every dollar and not a penny less," then it made sense for the NFL to abandon the process. If the union couched its proposal as an opener, then it was more than reasonable for the union to essentially say, "We’ll start the bidding by taking what we currently get." As an opener, an offer to take 50 cents of every dollar implied that the union will move toward a position entailing less money than the players currently get.

Three CBA problems, three proposed solutions | ProFootballTalk
First, the parties can’t work out a system for sharing revenue without the league giving the union more information about the profits that the teams are — or aren’t — earning. From the NFL’s perspective, the gesture becomes meaningless if the union will be inclined to second-guess the numbers provided, if the books were to be opened.

Union doesn’t agree that expiration of CBA ends Judge Doty’s role | ProFootballTalk
The current labor deal actually was the settlement agreement of the antitrust lawsuit filed by the players after the failed 1987 strike and decertification of the union. With the league sufficiently chagrined by Doty’s rulings to try to have him removed for leaning too far toward the players’ interests, it’s no surprise that the league believes/hopes that with the agreement expiring they’ll be able to finally get him off the case. But the union easily can claim that the settlement agreement governs the relationship between the parties not until any one version of the agreement expires, but until the two sides agree that the settlement agreement no longer governs the relationship.

Curran: NFLPA's 50-50 offer isn't what it seems
he NFLPA is looking pretty good. The owners? Demonized. The truth? Not as cut and dried as the NFLPA will have you believe. The 50-50 split is, in essence, what the players already enjoy. What about the 60 percent that players supposedly were already taking? Isn't the 50 percent a 10 percent giveback? Actually, the NFLPA has moved the goalposts on everyone. And - because of the complexity of the negotiations - it's hard for fans and the media to realize that.

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