Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/24/11

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Elway could play role with Tebow, but Broncos' assistants will do more - The Denver Post
For the Broncos to succeed, Elway believes their quarterback has to play well "from the pocket." The Broncos have offensive coaches — Mike McCoy (offensive coordinator) and Adam Gase (quarterbacks coach) — who will work with Tebow and the other quarterbacks day to day. Elway will offer opinions, and may even join the quarterbacks on the practice field from time to time. But the bulk of the work with the quarterbacks on their mechanics and their decision-making will be done by McCoy and Gase. In the event of a lockout, the team can have no contact with players until an agreement is reached. So, Tebow and others would not be allowed to use the team's facilities to work out.

1-on-1 with Champ Bailey
Broncos TV's Chris Hall talks to cornerback Champ Bailey about signing a new deal and staying in Denver.

Broncos look for help on defensive front seven - The Denver Post
And under coach John Fox, the Panthers employed more physical tight ends across the board as blockers when Carolina ran the ball as well as receiver who could get off the line of scrimmage and into the pattern. The Broncos didn't get a receiving touchdown from a tight end this past season.

Denver's new D-coordinator on rapid rise - The Denver Post
Allen was promoted to New Orleans' defensive backs coach in 2008. The Saints won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season, helped by cornerback Tracy Porter's pick-six interception against Colts star Peyton Manning. "In our league, it's very interesting how the circle is so small," Payton said Wednesday. "A guy like (Philadelphia coach) Andy Reid, all of us get wind of who is doing well. I get a call from Andy, who's on vacation in Antigua. Two days later Foxy calls me and suddenly I'm going: 'I might be losing Dennis Allen.' I hadn't been thinking about it."

Search for quick fix on Broncos' defense starts - The Denver Post
"John Fox has run an extremely fast 4-3 defense where there is a lot of disruption, a lot of speed," Xanders said. "We're moving to that from a very traditional 3-4. That means there is a whole different set of parameters of the players we're looking for in the defense's front seven. What the linemen and the linebackers were doing before are not what they're going to do now." So the Broncos regraded the defensive line and linebacker prospects they scouted throughout the fall, fitting them into the new defensive scheme. They did the same thing on the pro personnel side, restacking prospective free agents.

So long, Carmelo Anthony, hello Sports Fans Bill of Rights - The Denver Post
With that sentiment in mind, let me present my Sports Fans Bill of Rights: I. Fans are entitled to a complete and faithful effort by professional athletes. If, as usually happens in the NBA, players coast for three-quarters before kicking into high gear in the fourth quarter, fans are entitled to a refund of three-quarters of their ticket price.

Impact Of Bailey Signing On Denver's Draft - ESPN Video - ESPN
Adam Schefter feels Denver needs to improve its front seven

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

Method Men: How NFL Players Memorize Dizzying Playbooks -- NFL FanHouse
It's no secret that quarterbacks carry the most responsibility to know a playbook inside and out. That's why moving frequently from one offensive system to another can doom the career of so many young quarterbacks. "It's not that they can't learn the playbook," Dilfer emphasized. "It's not an intellectual capacity issue. It's the ability to learn it and play without thinking. A cluttered mind slows an athletic body."

It's Time For Ex-NFL Players to Be Scared, Very Scared -- NFL FanHouse
Andre Waters. Shane Dronett. Now Dave Duerson. This is at least the third suicide involving a former NFL player within the last five years, which qualifies as an epidemic, which means this is the continuation of a horror story with no end in sight.

Advanced NFL Stats: Tables vs. Graphs
I'm not sure about everyone else, but I've got a very visual brain. I'm one of those guys at work who can't have a conversation without going to the whiteboard, if only to organize my own thoughts. I don't think I'm alone, either. Many theorists believe one reason humans became such smart monkeys is that we co-opted the huge visual-spatial part of our brains to use for abstract thought. The concept of time is one example. We think and talk of time, a concept virtually without its own terminology, in terms of space and motion: Time goes by...Our best days are ahead of us...I'm looking forward to next season. The blathering talking heads on CNBC can't go 20 seconds without convulsively saying the phrase going forward whenever referring to the future.

NFL.com news: Committee discussing concussion guidelines, catch rules
Committee members spent most of Thursday afternoon meeting in Indianapolis, site of the league's annual scouting combine, and discussed everything from player safety to what constitutes a catch. No formal proposals have been made, and none might be forthcoming until the committee's next scheduled meeting in Florida.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Penance for Pittsburgh as mayor shovels sidewalk "
Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl put a little back into it yesterday while shoveling the walkway of the childhood parish of Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Ravenstahl cleared the walk of St. Rosalia’s for losing a Super Bowl bet with Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt. The mayor also flew a Packers flag outside of the City-County Building today as part of the wager, along with sending notable Pittsburgh area cuisine to Feeding America in Eastern Wisconsin.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Ryan, Tannenbaum hit the set of ‘CSI’ "
Watch out craft services. Rex Ryan has landed in LA to shoot an episode of "CSI: New York" with Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. The plot points have yet to be revealed, but with Ryan involved it’s bound to be personal.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Bengals would be foolish not to trade Palmer
Let's face it: The Bengals are a team going nowhere fast. They are coming off a 4-12 campaign in which they dropped 10 straight contests, and they play in a division with two clubs that are playoff staples, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. While it is obvious that what Cincy is doing is not working, the organization refused to make a change at head coach, and it continues to lag far behind not only in facilities but also in establishing a solid front office and scouting department. It is light-years away from being a consistent contender.

ProFootballWeekly.com - NFL pushes for legislation on youth concussions
In continuing its trend of closely monitoring concussions, the NFL is urging all 50 states and the District of Columbia to pass legislation that would help cut down on concussions suffered by youth football players. The NFL backs a bill pending in Congress, but the state level is where the league sees its chance to get legislation passed.

Jeremy Shockey schedules a physical | ProFootballTalk
A day after he was cut by the Saints, Jeremy Shockey says he’s drawing interest elsewhere. Shockey told ESPN today that he has a physical scheduled for tomorrow with a team that’s interested in his services. Curiously, he didn’t name the team.

League will unveil new concussion assessment tool in Indy | ProFootballTalk
"The new tool, to be used on sidelines, combines a symptom checklist, a limited neurologic examination including a cognitive evaluation, and a balance assessment," the league said in a release. "It uses as a foundation many components of the sideline tool developed by the Concussion in Sport group that most recently met in Zurich in ’08. It was developed by the NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, with input from the NFL team physicians and athletic trainers and their professional societies."

When It Comes to Holding the Ball, Joe Flacco Tops Ben Roethlisberger -- NFL FanHouse
Roethlisberger may be known for extending plays (and racking up high sack totals), but Baltimore's Joe Flacco was actually the king of holding the ball too long in 2010. In logging the time of each and every sack in the NFL in 2010, Flacco's 25 sacks of 3.1 seconds or more were five more than anyone else in the league. I chose three seconds as the demarcation line because it's a pretty fair cutoff point for where a sack can no longer be blamed on a quarterback's blockers. The median sack time in the NFL last year was 2.7 seconds, just as it was in 2009. Obviously a line should be able to hold a three-man rush back longer than a eight-man all-out blitz, but for practical purposes, three seconds is the point where a quarterback should generally know that he has to get rid of the ball.

Under new concussion guidelines, players will be removed from field area, excused from media availability | ProFootballTalk
We’re told that any player who is diagnosed with a concussion must be declared as having a concussion and removed from the playing area. In other words, teams won’t be able to label a guy who has had a concussion as having a "neck" injury (like Steelers receiver Hines Ward against the Patriots) and permit him to hang around the bench area as if he possibly could return to the game. Instead, he’ll be taken to the locker room, and that’s where he’ll stay.

David Harris signs franchise tender | ProFootballTalk
Although the players’ union contends that teams can’t apply franchise tags for 2011 under the current labor deal, individual players have the ability to accept the one-year tender offer, since it very well may be a good deal for them personally — and possibly a far better deal than they’re likely to get after a work stoppage. Harris, Woodley and Kalil have all been in the NFL four years, and they face the uncertainty of a new CBA potentially requiring players to have five years of experience to become unrestricted free agents. Signing a guaranteed contract for 2011 now eliminates any uncertainty.

With one day to go, 12 franchise tags have been applied | ProFootballTalk
The deadline for applying franchise and transition tenders expires at 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. A full 13 days into the two-week period, a dozen teams have applied the franchise tag. The franchise players for 2011 are: Jets linebacker David Harris, Patriots guard Logan Mankins, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, Browns kicker Phil Dawson, Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, and Panthers center Ryan Kalil, Falcons.

Panthers to restrict DeAngelo Williams, Charles Johnson | ProFootballTalk
As Silva pointed out 10 days ago, the next frontier in the free agency fight will arise in the realm of restricted free agency. Since the rules of the uncapped year still apply, teams could apply restricted free agency tenders to players with four or five years of service, even though those players would be unrestricted free agents in capped years under the current labor deal. Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Panthers will apply restricted free agency tenders to Williams and Johnson.

NFL DRAFT: COMBINE

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Pick Six: Top workout warriors at combine "
Kirwan said that teams continue to fall in love with a player’s measurables, which I have to figure is a lot like dating an actress. Sure, it seems like a good idea, but there is a reason why Jennifer Aniston is still single, fellas. With that in mind, we look over the top six workout warriors from the combine, who failed to make the impact many thought that they would in the NFL. Keep that in mind before you wonder where Vernon Davis is, because not only did he excel at the combine, he’s doing well in the NFL. This is for the guys who worked out hard, but just didn’t work out in the NFL.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Draft Dose: Workout warriors
The classic case is DE Mike Mamula, whose stock soared after a jaw-dropping Combine workout, where he bench-pressed as many times as some offensive linemen and ran a faster 40-time than some linebackers. The Eagles traded up in the draft to grab Mamula, and the expectations were sky-high for the rookie. Mamula ended up playing five solid but unspectacular seasons before retiring because of injuries. In the seventh installment of the Draft Dose series we look at some notable players who stood out at the Combine in recent years.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Combine training facilities have become big business
Former Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers wakes up at 6:30 every morning, grabs some fruit and heads out the door to Athletes' Performance Institute, an award-winning facility in Los Angeles. He is in physical therapy by 8 a.m., and begins his workout at 9. After the main part of the workout, Bowers moves into positional work with former NFL great Willie McGinest. This is followed by a meal prepared by a nutrition staff, as well as supplementary diet pills and booster drinks. All in a day's work.

The Combine trap | National Football Post
Every year it happens. Some of the nation’s top prospects begin to fall after the NFL Combine because athletically they are not among the tops in their group. Therefore, today we look at a group of guys who might not be the most gifted of straight-line athletes and could end up seeing their stock drop a bit because of their performance this week at the Combine, causing them to fall past where their actual tape would lead you to believe.

Why the combine carries weight for Von Miller | National Football Post
Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller is one of the top overall prospects in this year’s draft. A 3-4 rush linebacker that will make an immediate impact on Sundays. A top ten pick? No question, but don’t let discount the importance of the NFL combine this week for Miller. I watched him practice at the Senior Bowl. Very fluid and athletic. It doesn’t take a pro scout to tell you that. Was impressive in one-on-one pass rush, closed to the football and showed a natural ability to drop into coverage—like you would see from the strong safety position. He stood out and there was a certain buzz about his game down in Mobile. Fair to say that his draft stock was rising.

Ricardo Lockette plans to break Combine 40 record | ProFootballTalk
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound prospect is a former National Champion in the 100 meters, and ran track throughout his college career. He put on record a 4.35 forty at Fort Valley State, although Lockette’s plan is to run at least a tenth of a second faster in Indianapolis. "I’m shooting for the mid-4.2s," Lockette told PFT Wednesday. "Hopefully, I can get the record."

Putting the Combine in perspective | ProFootballTalk
As the annual Scouting Combine opens in Indianapolis, I’m compelled to share my thoughts on the process of running and jumping and doing a lot of other things not in pads. It’s not football. For those of you who have discovered PFT in the past year, here’s the assessment a league insider provided to us years ago: "A player runs 40 yards in a straight line during a football game only in two situations: when something really good is happening, and when something really bad is happening."

Who'll Run Fastest? My position by position take - CBSSports.com
As I've noted previously, the most important element of the Scouting Combine to NFL teams lies with the medical testing and interviews. The most entertaining part of the Combine, however, is of course, the athletic drills. The 40-yard dash, in particularly, has taken on a life of its own as the Combine's preeminent drill. Ask five NFL scouts to predict who will be the fastest player in Indianapolis this year and you might get five different names. Rather than just identify one or five prospects who could turn in blazing times, I thought I'd give you my pick for each position.

NFL DRAFT: GENERAL

Combine Countdown -- Illinois ILB Martez Wilson - CBSSports.com
Wilson is NFLDraftScout.com's top rated inside linebacker for the 2011 draft. A highly touted prep star, he signed with Illinois with much fanfare, but until the 2010 season had been considered a bit of a disappointment. Wilson's production shot up in his junior season, however. He went from recording 73 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in his first starting season to 112 stops, 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also contributed three forced fumbles, an interception and a blocked kick, earning First-Team All-Big Ten accolades.

Christian Ballard NFL Draft Scouting Report - Mocking The Draft
Ballard is an intriguing prospect with a ton of upside. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he can penetrate the pocket and create pressure. When watching him play, I feel that his best position might be as a 3 technique. I don't see him as a great fit as a 5 technique due to his struggles playing 2 gap football. The potential is present but some technique refining is required for him to be really effective.

Fairley finds place to prepare for NFL combine in Stafford | Houston Texans Football | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
Fairley (6-4, 298) is a Mobile, Ala., native who entered the draft as an underclassman. He’s projected to be the first or second pick. Scouts say he is so talented that he can play any position in the defensive line, whether it’s a 4-3 or a 3-4. "And that’s what I’ll do," he said. "I’ll play wherever a team needs for me to play. That’s the kind of attitude I plan to show them. I can’t wait to work out at the combine. I want to do whatever they want me to do to show them what I can do. This is what I’ve been preparing for."

Warren Moon admits Cam Newton puts "cart before the horse" | ProFootballTalk
"[T]hose types of statements are a little bit putting the cart before the horse," Moon told Bill Pidto of Sirius Mad Dog Radio, "but this kid has the ability to be that and he’s kinda done that on the college level with what he did in just one year at the University of Auburn. But he’s got to start all over again going into the National Football League. He just really thinks in terms of being great all the time and sometimes, like I said, he gets the cart before the horse and he’s got to just slow down a little bit. But he really feels like he’s going to be a great, great player and that’s what he trains to be."

NFL scouting director on Colin McCarthy: 'He's a tough kid' | National Football Post
University Miami inside linebacker Colin McCarthy draws high marks from the NFL for his toughness and productivity. Ranked second at his position on the National Football Post draft board, McCarthy recorded 95 tackles as a junior and 105 tackles as a senior with nine tackles for losses. He finished his career with 308 tackles, 34 for losses and was twice named all-conference. McCarthy is regarded as an old-school linebacker who plays with sound instincts, but is relatively undersized.

NFL scout: Tough call for Panthers at No. 1 | National Football Post
"I think maybe the hard part for Carolina is sitting at the No. 1 spot where usually a Sam Bradford type goes. Quarterbacks normally go first. This year, there’s some questions about Cam because of the offense he plays in. I’ve seen the kid play. He's a football player. He’s built like Ben Roethlisberger. He brings his team back and he’s tough to bring down. If they want to go that route, he’s obviously a qualified player for that spot. "With the defensive linemen, it’s pick your poison. Which guy do you want? In a way, it’s tough. There’s not a clear-cut guy. That might make it a little more stressful for them. If they do their homework and get the right guy, it’s not going to matter. Whoever they pick can help them."

2011 NFL Mock Draft has Da'Quan Bowers at No. 1 to Panthers - Don Banks - SI.com
With the Broncos re-signing veteran cornerback Champ Bailey to a new four-year deal this week, Denver's chances of making LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson the No. 2 pick seem dramatically reduced. I wouldn't rule out the Broncos selecting Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller -- one of the two best players in this draft according to some NFL scouts -- but it seems more like a John Fox pick to think defensive line first. That makes the choice between Fairley and Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. The ex-Crimson Tide star is the safer pick, but Fairley has the greater upside.

NFL LOCKOUT

Peeking inside the Mediations | National Football Post
Cohen is playing several roles here: mediator, referee, friend, counselor, psychologist, parent, principal, teacher, yogi, Zen master, etc. Cohen may be using three rooms: one for each side to caucus internally and one to bring the parties together from time to time. He is there to focus the parties on those issues and more importantly, focus them on where there may be common ground.

NFL lockout preparations continue, black cloud hovers over annual college prospects workout
Both sides of the labor war will be briefed on the state of the labor negotiations over the next two days after the NFL and NFLPA end their voluntary, seven-day federal mediation session Thursday afternoon. The negotiating teams for both sides have been meeting with mediator George Cohen at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building in Washington since last Friday. They've met for a total of about 45 hours, and Thursday is the last day they are scheduled to talk. There has been little news leaking out of the mediation sessions as the two sides - somewhat remarkably - have honored a self-imposed gag order. That could change, though, as they begin briefing their constituents on the progress and plans for a lockout, which could begin as soon as the current collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3.

NFL strife may hurt Foxboro - The Sun Chronicle Online - News
Scollins combed through the 2001 lease under which the Kraft Group pays the town a cut of event ticket sales in lieu of real estate taxes. That lease established a minimum annual rent payment of $1 million to the town. Adjusted for inflation as required by the lease, the town's minimum payment from the Kraft Group now stands at $1.23 million. But that's still some $500,000 less than the town's six-year annual average of $1.86 million in stadium revenue - and $1.1 million less than the $2.33 million the town netted in stadium revenue in 2008, a peak year for stadium events. In effect, if the New England Patriots cannot play next season, that lockout by the NFL "would basically wipe out Foxboro's capital budget," Scollins said.

NFL, union will hold 7th consecutive day of talks - KansasCity.com
The Chiefs’ Mike Vrabel and Brian Waters have joined the union at the NFL labor talks. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and most of his negotiating group — which included two other players — left Wednesday’s session at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service around 5:30 p.m. That was less than an hour after Smith and a dozen members of the union’s team returned from a 1 1/2 -hour break. It wasn’t clear what, if any, significance the break holds, although it was the first time since the mediation began Friday that either side left the building en masse in the middle of a day.

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