Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/18/11

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Broncos ditch 3-4 defensive front, return to 4-3 - The Denver Post
New coach John Fox confirmed the change during an interview with The Denver Post this week, saying: "We're going to be a multiple-front defense, but I think we'll make the commitment to the 4-3. The transition from the 3-4 to 4-3 is much easier than going from the 4-3 to 3-4, I will say that. So we feel pretty confident about that switch."

Team Reports | NFL at CBSSports.com
The Broncos have been preparing for the combine like a college student crams for an important final. The team not only has had to get its own players evaluated in recent weeks after John Fox's hiring and the addition of his staff, but the process of going through potential free agents and meeting with area scouts to fill out a preliminary draft board in preparation for the combine all were on the docket. Denver's staff did meet as a whole for the first time at the Senior Bowl and have been entrenched in Dove Valley offices since, trying to formulate the franchise's plan for restocking the roster ever since.

Team Reports | NFL at CBSSports.com
At the same time, Accorsi, through that frequent contact with Elway, was able to gauge the latter's preparedness for his new job, the type of position that Elway had previously held only within the confines of the Arena League with the Colorado Crush. "I was really impressed with his grasp," Accorsi said. "I've been around players that did have a feel for what went on upstairs and some that didn't. ... John was one of those guys where all of the time he was playing he noticed what was going on around him. And he just had a great sense of things."

Team Reports | NFL at CBSSports.com

Defensive tackle Justin Bannan signed with Denver in free agency last offseason, which interrupted his normal routine to some degree while he got acclimated to new surroundings. One of the items he skipped was a semi-regular routine he's done since he was five years old - practicing martial arts at a dojo near his hometown of Fair Oaks, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento. Bannan plans on resuming that training in the foothills this summer to rekindle his relationship with his lifetime martial-arts teacher, who's now 78. "It's something your dad drags you to and you don't know what you're doing," Bannan said of his initial experiences as a small child, kicking away. "I know what I'm doing now. When you're five, you're just a little kid running around. Now I know how to train."

Paige: Broncos need to re-sign Champ Bailey - The Denver Post
Approximately 2,800 houses are for sale in Littleton. In this market, it may take awhile for Champ to sell his. Besides, why would he want to leave the pleasant southwestern suburb that's the location of Fat City amusement center and Alfred Packer's grave?

Q&A: Owners seeing dollar signs in increasing number of regular-season games - The Denver Post
The league sells advertising for regular-season broadcasts, and the revenue is split between the league and the franchises.The dollars involved in the preseason local deals are well short of what the teams split 32 ways for their regular-season network, cable and satellite broadcast deals. Moving forward, the league also sees mobile devices and the Internet as revenue frontiers in the regular season. There is the feeling that the broadcast partners would have more ad revenue overall with a longer regular season, so what the NFL could then charge for rights fees would also increase in future years.

Elway says Broncos want to re-sign Bailey - The Denver Post
There may be a Harvey Steinberg factor in the Champ Bailey negotiations. Harvey is the attorney representing Perrish Cox, who started nine games for the Broncos as a rookie cornerback last season, but was arrested on two felony sexual assault charges in December.

Elway Wants Bailey Back, But Will That Be Enough? " MaxDenver
"Do I look like I should be for sale? That’s not gonna happen," Bailey said. "I’m going to get what I can get, but really the determining factor is going to be is how big of chance of winning will I have. That’s definitely going to play a bigger part than the money part."

Late Selections as Vital as Early Ones " DenverBroncos.com
1983 Karl Mecklenburg became a Ring of Fame member and starred on three Super Bowl teams with his brilliant play, but he was the 310th player selected in the 1983 draft. I remember that we flew all the draftees out to talk with the press, and I watched this carefully-no member of the press approached Mecklenburg until I asked out local Associated Press rep to ask him a few questions, as a favor to me, to not hurt Meck’s feelings. Unsung and unknown coming in, but a great player.

Sources: Denver Broncos tried to trade OL Ryan Harris in 2010 - KDVR
"From what I know, of those teams, the Bears had the strongest possibility of acquiring Ryan at the time," said the source. During the 2010 season, Harris received inconsistent playing time after injuring his ankle in the preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings. The sprain caused him to miss the first three games of the season and was partly related to his benching against the New York Jets and the Raiders on Oct 17. and Oct. 24, respectively.

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

Richard Seymour's Signing Gives Raiders Flexibility in Keeping Core Together -- NFL FanHouse
That's why heading off Seymour's free agency was critical for the Raiders, who are trying keep their core group together in a bid to return to the playoffs next season for the first time in eight years. With an 8-8 finish, the Raiders snapped a string of seven consecutive losing seasons but fell short of their first postseason trip since 2002, one of the reasons Hue Jackson is now the head coach in place of the ousted Tom Cable. Though Seymour is in the fold, the Raiders still have 25 potential free agents, including star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and tight end Zach Miller, the team's leading receiver.

Rob Ryan Introduced to Dallas Media: 'I'm Here to Do a Great (Expletive) Job' -- NFL FanHouse
"Anybody can talk the talk, but I can walk it. I'm just gonna be myself. I don't know if I got I swag or not. I'm sure I do. I'm just gonna be me and that's usually been good enough.

Eagles positioned to add Asomugha
The Eagles, though heavily committed to Asante Samuel, may be willing to pursue another star cornerback: Nnamdi Asomugha. The team isn't ruling it out, at least not for salary cap reasons. "If we went or didn't go in any particular direction it wouldn't be because of the balance of the cap at that particular position," Eagles president Joe Banner said Tuesday

Irsay - Manning Could Get 5-Year or 6-Year Deal - NYTimes.com
"I think six years is certainly a possibility, five or six years," Irsay said. "There's not a definitive number that I'm stuck on. You don't know how much longer he can play. You hope that it's five years, maybe six years. Until you get longer down the road, it's really uncertain."

ProFootballWeekly.com - NFC North 2010 season-in-review team reports
NFC North 2010 season-in-review team reports

ProFootballWeekly.com - Naanee's fate likely sealed in San Diego
WR Legedu Naanee wasn't exactly on the top of the Chargers' free-agent priority list entering the offseason, but he might have just fallen to the bottom of it after last week's run-in with the law. The 27-year-old, who was arrested and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest in Indianapolis on Feb. 12, has not been able to stay healthy during his four-year pro career, and when given a golden opportunity at playing time in 2010, he finished with 23 catches and one touchdown on the season, missing six contests.

Open season on the Hall of Fame | National Football Post
I believe it would enhance the process to add more voices, maybe twice as many as are currently in the room. There are several long-time NFL writers not on the board whose wisdom could benefit the process. And there are broadcasters who could raise the level of discussion, some of whom are former players or coaches. I’m thinking about men like Bill Cowher, Matt Millen, Al Michaels and Ron Jaworski.

Ranking the NFL Stadiums | National Football Post
Bonus points for originality: Invesco Field features a plaque located outside of the visitor’s locker room that is meant to intimidate opponents by informing them of the dangers of being in the thin Rocky Mountain air. You can’t find stuff like that in Atlanta.

Chad Ochocinco still upset with media’s treatment of Palmer | ProFootballTalk
"I love the media, I want out few years back im disgruntled n a distraction, I was sick of losing, Carson is tired of losing its still my fault?" Ochocinco asked. "Double standard meet Chad. Chad meet double standard. I’ll let you two mingle.#childplease"

Snyder’s control costs Kornheiser credibility | ProFootballTalk
Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s ownership of D.C. radio station WTEM continues to get him favorable coverage from the station’s high-profile talk show host, Tony Kornheiser. And Kornheiser’s refusal to talk about issues that could cast Snyder in a negative light is continuing to result in criticism of Kornheiser.

One week in, seven franchise tags applied | ProFootballTalk
The seven players receiving the franchise tag to date are: Patriots guard Logan Mankins, Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Jets linebacker David Harris, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali.

NFL Videos: Front-Office View
Michael Lombardi provides insight on which players will be franchised (and which players will move) ... with Steve Smith, Nnamdi Asomugha and LaMarr Woodley.

Packers-Chiefs Super Bowl Video Found at Last - WSJ.com
In a bizarre confluence of events, neither network preserved a tape. All that survived of this broadcast is sideline footage shot by NFL Films and roughly 30 seconds of footage CBS included in a pre-game show for Super Bowl XXV. Somehow, an historic football game that was seen by 26.8 million people had, for all intents and purposes, vanished.

FanHouse Roundtable: NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat -- NFL FanHouse
The aftermath of Week 17 didn't see quite the head coaching wipe out that was speculated. This after Brad Childress, Mike Singletary and Wade Phillips all got their walking papers well before season's close.

NFL DRAFT

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Cover-2: DTs of the 2011 Draft, Part 1
The defensive line is the real strength of the 2011 draft class. Based on player performance and team needs, it's possible that up to 10 defensive linemen could be taken in the first round, with seven (in my estimation) as near-certainties. We never know who's going to get injured, arrested, or refuse to work out for whatever reason, but based on game tape alone, this is the year for NFL teams in need of defensive line help.

NFL.com news: Teams' biggest challenge is keeping combine in perspective
he real value of the combine is to get to know the players on a personal level, as well as professionally. Understanding what type of individual you are bringing into your locker room is as important in today's game as knowing what kind of physical talent the player might possess. One bad apple can spoil an entire team, so using the combine to eliminate self-indulgent players is as important as any 40-time. Winning in the NFL requires a total team commitment. When nobody cares about the credit, but everyone cares about winning, then the right culture has been created. Many teams use the combine as a tool to dig deep inside the players' personality, ranging from one-on-one interviews to physiological testing. Measuring a player's heart has always been the hardest thing for any scout, therefore these new ways of testing emotional stability, as well as work habits, can help teams avoid big mistakes.

NFL.com news: Players' union confirms prospects will not boycott combine
The NFL Players Association officially announced that draft prospects will not boycott next week's NFL Scouting Combine, via a tweet from union spokesman George Atallah on Thursday. "Players will be at the combine," Atallah wrote on Twitter. "Young men have an opportunity of a lifetime. They are not locked out...yet."

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Shiancoe gives a 3-cone drill tutorial "
" Trent Green sets off Bengals edition of blame game NFL Network broadcasting the Combine exclusively " Combine Shiancoe gives a 3-cone drill tutorial NFL.com Staff By NFL.com Staff | Published: February 17th, 2011 | Tags: Visanthe Shiancoe, 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, Tim Tebow Unlock HQ Video HQ video delivered by Akamai Everyone knows about the 40 and can figure out the bench press, but what exactly is the 3-cone drill and why is it so important? Eight-year veteran TE Visanthe Shiancoe of the Vikings stopped by the NFL Network to give a demonstration.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Mayock breaks down ‘gauntlet’ drill "
" Brooks: Combine vital for Castonzo, Boling Mayock: Top QB prospects have holes " Combine Mayock breaks down ‘gauntlet’ drill NFL.com Staff By NFL.com Staff | Published: February 17th, 2011 | Tags: Mike Mayock, 2011 NFL Scouting Combine Unlock HQ Video HQ video delivered by Akamai NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock examines the importance of the "gauntlet" drill for wide receivers and tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Pro days are on the horizon for prospects "
With the NFL Scouting Combine right around the corner (starting Feb. 24 on NFL Network), more than 300 prospects will descend upon Indianapolis to impress coaches, scouts and team executives. But that’s only the beginning of their journey, hopefully, to the NFL.

Top values after first round | National Football Post
Cameron Heyward: Ohio State He possesses a naturally strong anchor, finds the football well and can defeat blocks in the run game. A real value if he can be had as a potential five-technique come the second round.

Expect a lot of defensive ends taken in deep first round | ProFootballTalk
Mayock also says he believes this class has a deeper first round than in recent years. That’s an impressive statement considering how deep last year’s draft was as a whole, but Mayock believes this one loaded with more true first-rounders. (Mayock’s opinion was in direct contrast to ESPN’s Todd McShay, who said Wednesday he only had only 23-24 first-round grades. So McShay saw this year as a shallow first round. Hmm.)

Patrick Peterson move to FS? Very unlikely - CBSSports.com
Peterson could make the switch to safety. He certainly has the bulk at 6-1, 212 pounds to make the move and has proven to be a reliable open field tackler who takes excellent angles in pursuit. A natural ballhawk, his secure hands and open field running ability make him a threat to take back any interception for a score -- something he might be in a better position to do if operating down the middle of the field rather than simply one sideline. However, I'm a believer in the Keep-It-Simple, Stupid philosophy. Patrick Peterson rates as one of the most effective collegiate corners and most impressive NFL corner prospects I've graded in over ten years in this profession. I don't doubt that he could be a very successful safety; I just don't see the point in moving him when I feel strongly that he can be quality cornerback.

Pre-Indy buzz- Baldin, Smith, House running well - CBSSports.com
That said, each year in the week leading up to the Combine there is a buzz in the scouting community of prospects who are already turning heads in the pre-Combine preparation. This year three players generating quite a lot of buzz are Pittsburgh wide receiver Jon Baldin , Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and New Mexico State cornerback Davon House . The 6-5, 230 pound Baldwin is reportedly running in the 4.4s and could push the 40" mark in the vertical jump. Results such as this could push Baldin into the first round.

NFL LOCKOUT

NFL Labor Talks Hinge on Growth Issue - WSJ.com
To hit these revenue jumps, the NFL has had an enviable (and arguably serendipitous) run of good luck. Ticket revenues doubled from 1997 to 2007. Television and satellite rights fees blew through the roof, and as the cost of new stadiums grew, taxpayers stepped in to provide nearly $500 million a year, on average, from 1993 to 2005. Today, ticket revenues have been essentially flat for the past three seasons and given the economy, owners sense they've hit a ceiling (the average ticket costs about $76). With governments at every level facing deficits, the subsidy well is all but dry. (Just one project, Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium renovation, has received taxpayer support since 2006).

NFLLabor.com Bob Batterman on CBA negotiations: "It is usually deadline bargaining" "
They have 100 percent of revenue information and they audit it annually. They have, obviously, 60 percent of our expense is player cost, so they have every tidbit of information about player cost. They also have total information about all of the other expense items for which we get credit under the salary cap system. With regard to the credits we have asked them to give us additionally, we’ve said you can have full audit rights as to those. Basically, the only thing left is profitability, which no league has ever been able to get a union to deal with in a legitimate context. If it shows the Green Bay Packers are making $9 million a year and they used to make $34 million a year, it shows they are making fewer profits and less money, but what does it show in terms of whether $9 million is too much, too little or just the right number? It doesn’t show anything.

Packers shareholders and a lockout - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
The second part of this question is less administrative and more philosophical. We know why the NFL's 31 individual owners would call for a lockout: To keep more revenue for themselves. But neither Murphy nor the Packers' Executive Committee would benefit financially from a change in the NFL's revenue distribution structure. So what is Murphy's motivation to go along with a lockout? Ultimately, the Packers' existence is based on the success of the entire league. The Packers earn some local revenue through Lambeau Field, but like every other team, their largest source of income is the share they receive from the NFL's television contracts. The future of the Packers depends on the NFL maintaining that structure, and the future of that structure requires the NFL remaining a profitable business.

A positive move: Mediation - The Boston Globe
News of mediation could be a positive sign after several months of infrequent negotiations. It also comes only days after the NFL filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NFLPA with the National Labor Relations Board. Monday’s filing said the union "consistently has failed to confer in good faith’’ during negotiations for a new contract and the union’s "conduct amounts to surface bargaining and an anticipatory refusal to bargain.’’

NFLPA wants Minneapolis judge to unseal league records - TwinCities.com
But NFLPA lawyers will argue to Doty that the protective order is too broad to enforce in U.S. District Court and "will prevent most of the NFL players from having access to important information, will interfere with the efficient administration of justice and will undermine whatever interest the public at-large may have in these proceedings." The union did not identify which documents it sought to unseal but assured Doty that it would not reveal confidential information. Doty ordered the NFL to respond by Tuesday.

In event of NFL lockout, assistant coaches could suffer significant losses
"Every team has their own clauses in the contracts. Many of them are similar, but there are some differences," said Larry Kennan, executive director of the NFL Coaches Association. "Most treat the coaches pretty fairly. It might be three to six months they'll go into the lockout before they start cutting pay. Some, though, if there's a lockout in March . . . will start losing pay immediately but they'll still be expected to work full-time. Other teams are saying if there are no games missed, the coaches will be reimbursed. There's nothing really we can do about it. "Of 32 teams, 20, 21 really treat their coaches fair and with respect. There are about 10 or 12 that do not."

Sally Jenkins - NFL owners want guarantees no other business provides
The cost argument really should be an internal quarrel between the owners. If some of them aren't making enough money, or are even losing money - if some of them built sports palaces and some didn't - whose fault is that? Maybe they don't need a better collective bargaining agreement. Maybe they need a budget.

John Harbaugh has plans "B" through "Z" for lockout | ProFootballTalk
Harbaugh explained that the worst-case scenario entails a three-week, post-lockout period to get ready for the regular season, and that the focus of the truncated training camp will be installing game plans for the first four opponents. He also said that, during an offseason lockout, the coaches will focus on preparing game plans for all 14 opponents.

Lockout will create tension among teammates over offseason workouts | ProFootballTalk
"You’re not going to see Josh Freeman and our receiving corps down at the University of Tampa soccer field," Faine told Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times (via JoeBucsFan.com). "They might go out there and run some routes and throw. But you’re talking about getting an entire receiving corps together being able to work against an entire defensive backs corps. It’s just not going to happen." It’s hard to tell whether Faine was offering a prediction or making a guarantee. Our guess is the latter, since Faine seems to realize the leverage that the players will build as the time for offseason workouts ticks away.

Union call focused mostly on COBRA | ProFootballTalk
A league source tells PFT that today’s conference call was primarily about the federal COBRA law that will give players the ability to keep their insurance by paying their full premiums for up to 18 months.

NFL labor, CBA negotiations ultimately will result in fair deal - Don Banks - SI.com
But I spent considerable time this week talking to sources on both sides of the labor front, asking what comes after the posturing and the hard-line rhetoric begins to die down and the real negotiating begins. What will eventually come forth in the way of agreement between NFL owners and the league's players union, even though the two sides haven't really begun to talk to one another in a meaningful way?

NFL labor's biggest hurdle is Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith - NFL - SI.com
"Sports tend to make otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people turn into blithering gooneybirds," Roberts told a gathering of the nation's newspaper sports editors at a labor law workshop sponsored by the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center in Indianapolis. "People do the dumbest things when sports are involved." Such as threatening to shut down the immensely popular NFL when television ratings are setting records and revenues are soaring? Roberts has seen it before, and foresees the outcome like the cliché ending to a b-grade movie.

Ralph Wilson Faces Labor Battles Head-On -- NFL FanHouse
"They passed out a sheet that contained financial information,'' Wilson recalled of the owners meeting in March 2006 when that CBA was sanctioned. "It was not what I thought we were supposed to get. I thought there would be more discussion. I voted against it because I didn't understand the financial figures put out. And what I did understand, I didn't like.''

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