Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/15/11

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Q&A: Oregon State's Paea worth a look - The Denver Post
The 36th pick is right in that area where Paea is rated in what is a deep draft among defensive linemen. Broncos coach John Fox has called it one of the best drafts for offensive and defensive linemen. It's possible more than 20 players taken in the opening round could be defensive players. To take Paea at 36th overall, the Broncos would certainly need to have graded him among their best interior defensive linemen, a group that will include Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Auburn's Nick Fairley.

Pat Bowlen sends letter to Broncos fans about NFL labor dispute | All Things Broncos — Denver Broncos news, stats, analysis — Denver Post
Bowlen’s letter left out the reality that the labor dispute between owners and players is not at the bargaining table, but in litigation. Nor did the letter mention the update Monday that the NFL Players Association court injunction to block the owners from a lockout won’t be heard until April 6. Essentially, that means the NFL is in a standstill for the next 23 days.

Elway, Fox, Xanders not at LSU Pro Day | All Things Broncos — Denver Broncos news, stats, analysis — Denver Post
Which may mean something considering the Broncos have the No. 2 draft pick and Elway, Fox and Xanders watched the Pro Day workouts of Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, Auburn’s Nick Fairley and Texas A&M’s Von Miller. Or it could mean nothing considering the Broncos’ brass of Josh McDaniels and Xanders didn’t attend Tim Tebow’s Pro Day workout at Florida last year.

NFL NEWS

Michel de Montaigne on bloggers versus journalists versus aggregators versus SEO | Smart Football
It is more of a job to interpret the interpretations than to interpret the things, and there are more books about books than about any other subject: we do nothing but comment upon one another. The world is swarming with commentaries; of authors there is great scarcity.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Keeping the Defense Off the Field
Conventional wisdom holds that offenses affect the performance of their defense through their ability to extend drives, and allow the defense additional time to rest. This conventional wisdom does not seem to be supported by the data. As shown here, the number of plays an offense runs per drive has very little impact on the performance of the defense. One simple explanation for this result is that a team's defensive players aren't the only ones that rest while their offense drives down the field. The opposing offense gets to rest too. The net impact, as shown here, is negligible.

Scout.com: NFL teams avoiding player photos on websites
One of the first byproducts of the work stoppage in the NFL apparently has to do with the images of players. While showing photos of players is a staple of NFL websites, as of Saturday morning, photos of players have been removed from many team sites.

Remembering Tom Boisture, Who Helped Build Champions - NYTimes.com
With the draft the only sure thing remaining on the N.F.L. calendar, a few remarks about one of its better practitioners: Tom Boisture, the Giants’ longtime personnel director, who died Friday at age 79.

Vikings Stadium Push Is Rural-Urban Struggle - NYTimes.com
Such is the political reality facing the Vikings and their political allies. The team wants taxpayers to pay more than half the cost for a new stadium to replace the 29-year-old Metrodome, which Vikings executives say is not profitable enough compared to other NFL facilities. But few Minnesota lawmakers — especially those from places like Roseau — can sell their own communities on helping to foot the bill for a stadium expected to cost nearly $1 billion.

In N.F.L. Lockout, Loopholes Replace Regulations - NYTimes.com
"There are a lot of loopholes now," said Gil Brandt, a former Dallas Cowboys executive who is now an N.F.L. radio analyst. "I’d like to think the kind of guys this league has wouldn’t take advantage of those loopholes." The N.F.L. has long prided itself on its drug-testing programs, avoiding many of the controversies that have dogged professional sports like baseball. But now, players can use previously banned substances and not be subject to suspensions when they return to play.

Hockey Joins Football in Soul-Searching on Head Injuries - NYTimes.com
Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie, has been a lawyer, a broadcaster, an author, among other things, and is now a member of the Canadian Parliament. He has always been a thoughtful commentator on Canada’s primary sport passion. In the article, he writes about football, too. The two sports are in the same boat — some would say without a paddle.

House Rep. John Conyers to target NFL's TV antitrust exemption - NFL - SI.com
A senior House Democrat on Monday sought to eliminate the NFL's antitrust exemption for broadcasting contracts, the opening salvo from Congress in response to owners' lockout of players in America's most popular sport.

Sources: Panthers' owner Richardson wants to protect staffers' jobs - CharlotteObserver.com
But in some respects, the Carolina Panthers are positioned well for the lockout - from both football and financial perspectives - to the extent that any team can be. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson referred to the breakdown in labor talks as "a bump in the road," and has taken an active role re-assuring his employees they will be fine.

NFP Sunday Blitz | National Football Post
Don’t be surprised to see Kevin Kolb in a Seahawks uniform. If the team continues to have a hard time re-signing Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle could try to strike a deal with the Eagles. Kolb would be a good fit in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense.

Harbaugh on Foxworth: 'He should be full speed right away out of the gates' | National Football Post
"He will be back, he probably could play right now," Harbaugh said during a conference call with season ticket holders. "He’s spending a lot of time on some of the union stuff, but I know he’s also working out, he’s training, he’s doing great. "I don’t think we’re going to see too many side effects of him coming back early on. He should be full speed right out of the gates." Foxworth hurt his knee during a non-contact drill in Westminster the day before the first official practice of training camp.

Calvin Johnson play will not lead to rule change | National Football Post
The Calvin Johnson catch that wasn’t a catch – you know the one with 24 seconds remaining in the Week 1 meeting between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field – will not spark a rule change in the NFL. Newsday’s Bob Glauber reported that news today, surprising some people who thought the league would rework a rule that seemed to go against much of what you think when you’re watching the game. The overturned touchdown turned out to be the difference between the Bears making the playoffs at 11-5 and missing the playoffs at 10-6.

Subtle jab directed at Carson by Brown | Bengals Blog
Since the lockout prohibits teams from talking to players or engaging in active conversations about contracts or trades, Brown said he didn’t want to address specific players but did have one interesting comment. "I’m not looking to send messages through the media or to the player or the public about a player," Brown said.

NFL general managers must keep a log of all contact with agents - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Not only is communication between the two parties about current NFL players now against league rules, two sources have told FOXSports.com that the league is requiring general managers to keep a log of every conversation held with an agent. The two parties are allowed to discuss college prospects in this year's draft. The same goes for personal business if a player agent also represents a general manager or head coach.

Bruce and Kevin Matthews will limit talk - AFC South Blog - ESPN
"How was work today, son?" "Well dad, though you are a Hall of Famer in my field, I’ve been told I can’t talk to you about it. How was work for you?" "Well, son, though I am your direct supervisor, I’ve been told I can’t talk to you about things at the office." "How’s your bracket looking?"

NFL labor: Next season would be played without salary cap if lockout is lifted - The Washington Post
If that injunction request by the players is granted, the sport would reopen for business and the league would have to put work rules in place. Sources from throughout the sport on both sides of the dispute said over the weekend that the system the league would enact at that point would be very likely to be the same system that was in effect last season, when there was no salary cap in the final year of the just-expired labor agreement between the NFL and the players’ union.

NFL DRAFT

Rising Above the Competition - CBSSports.com
Since 2000, 2.6 players from non-BCS schools (including all lower divisions) have snuck into the first, including four in last year's draft: RB Ryan Matthews (Fresno State, #12, San Diego), OG Mike Iupati (Idaho, #17, San Francisco), CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State, #29, New York Jets), DE/OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU, #31, Indianapolis). This year, however, may more closely resemble the 2009 class, where only one player from the "have-nots" of college football made it into the initial stanza (DE/OLB Larry English, Northern Illinois, #16, San Diego). Even in that year, however, six non-BCS conference prospects were selected in the second round: very close to the 6.3 average for 2001-2010 period.

Mason Foster NFL Draft Scouting Report - Mocking The Draft
Final word: After watching several games, I fell in love with Foster's abilities and performance. He showed to be a real playmaker that is always around the football. His tenacity and instincts routinely put him in place to make a play on the football. He is not going to bring you much of a pass rush but has the coverage skills to be a 3 down linebacker. I will also argue that he is capable of being a 4 down linebacker meaning he could have an impact on special teams. Foster is a guy I would feel comfortable selecting in the early to mid 2nd round and plugging him in to start from day 1.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Wide Receivers
We will devote a week to each group, looking back at some of the Broncos' previous picks at the position and showcasing some of the top prospects through top stories, blogs and Broncos TV videos. Third in the nine-part series: wide receivers.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Draft Dose: Evolution of the NFL draft
Last year, the NFL reworked the format of the NFL draft, moving the first round to Thursday, the second and third rounds to Friday, and the last four rounds to Saturday. Stretching its annual selection meeting to three days was not the first change the NFL has made. The league has come a long way since 1936, when teams gathered in a Philadelphia hotel to make their selections. In the 15th installment of the Draft Dose series, we take a look back at how the event has evolved:

ProFootballWeekly.com - Prince Amukamara's draft diary, Part 4
Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara is talking to Pro Football Weekly's Andrew Struckmeyer for a weekly diary leading up to the draft. In his latest entry, he talks about Nebraska's pro day, visits he has set up with teams and proving his critics wrong at the Combine.

Pro day risers | National Football Post
CB Ramon Broadway: Arkansas Despite being undersized at only 5-8, Broadway weighed in at a solid 190 pounds and ran in the low 4.4 range. He posted an impressive 41-inch vertical, pounded out 17-reps on the bench and all this after missing the second half of the season with a dislocated ankle. He is undersized and a bit raw. However, on tape I liked how physical he could be off the line and the fact that he wasn’t afraid to play on an island vs. the best receivers in the SEC. Looks like a borderline late round pick to me as a potential sub package corner.

Draft prospects worth fighting for | National Football Post
RB Kendall Hunter: Oklahoma State At only 5-7, Hunter packs almost 200 pounds into his thickly built frame and a lot of it sits right in his base and lower half. He runs with a low pad level, is sudden/instinctive in tight areas and looks like a guy capable of running between the tackles or from the gun. He can also catch the football out of the backfield, help out in blitz pick up and looks like a potential productive 3rd down type option in the NFL.

Patrick Peterson to visit Broncos, Panthers, Cardinals, Bengals and Bills | National Football Post
LSU blue-chip cornerback Patrick Peterson is scheduled to visit the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills. Peterson also has a private workout Wednesday for the Cleveland Browns.

Sources: Who's rising and falling on draft boards? | National Football Post
Baylor nose guard Phil Taylor is moving up quickly on draft boards. He's a destructive inside presence with unique size. True nose guards are rare. One NFL general manager at the Senior Bowl said, "If this kid checks out off the field, he can go in the top 10 picks of the draft."

Patrick Peterson wants to attend the NFL draft in New York | National Football Post
An agent who represents one of the top draft picks said that he had no plans to instruct his client to not attend the draft, saying it will be entirely up to the player if he wants to go to Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Is J.J. Watt the next Adam Carriker? - Mocking The Draft
One scout referenced Rams first round bust Adam Carriker when talking to Bunting about Watt. It's easy to see why considering both were high effort power defensive ends without a lot of great moves. Sometimes those kinds of players just don't translate that great to the NFL.

Players not attending NFL Draft a good thing - Mocking The Draft
Everyone will make a big deal about this, but it doesn't matter. There is no discernible reason a player needs to be at the draft. It's a luxury, not a necessity. Just think what we're going to miss out on. Players getting their picture taken with Roger Goodell. Some player sitting in the green room longer than he should. ESPN conducting a bad interview with the player saying answers we'll already know.

NFL LOCKOUT

Dolphins message to season-ticket holders hints at coordination by league | ProFootballTalk
It’s obvious by now that the NFL has launched a massive, team-by-team P.R. effort aimed at trying to persuade fans that the league’s current mess should be blamed on the players. The message sent by the Miami Dolphins hints at something that was surely part of the process — the dissemination of coordinated talking points by the league.

Owners vs. Players in Football’s Labor Dispute : The New Yorker
With the possible exception of the members of OPEC, N.F.L. owners have pretty much the coziest business arrangement imaginable: they’re effectively members of a cartel—able to limit competition, enhance bargaining power, and hold down costs. Instead of competing against each other for TV money, the owners share it, reducing risk and guaranteeing steady revenue regardless of how well they run their teams. The result of all this was nicely summed up by Richard Walden, head of sports finance at JPMorgan Chase, who said, "I’ve never seen an N.F.L. team lose money."

Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand - Chicago Tribune
In trying to absorb the avoidable antitrust lawsuit filed Friday under Tom Brady vs. the NFL that preceded the league's first work stoppage in 24 years, one thought won't go away. Maybe it's time the NFL players considered putting their names behind another signal-caller. And I don't mean Brady's fellow plaintiffs Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. If DeMaurice Smith, the leader of the now-decertified NFL Players Association, showed as much interest in making a deal as he seemed to have in making history, perhaps we would be debating who got the best of whom in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Sports Law Blog
Up until now, the general scholarly consensus has been that players’ unions are quite hesitant to decertify during a labor dispute given the potential rights they risk losing (such as previously negotiated insurance and pension benefits), and as a result decertification is only a weapon of last resort. In the current NFL labor dispute, however, that wasn’t the case.

NFL lockout could affect plans for new Vikings stadium | Minnesota Public Radio News
Lawmakers say the breakdown of talks between the NFL and its players could affect plans for a new stadium in Minnesota. But Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said today there wasn't much progress on the stadium to slow down at this point.

NFL Lockout May Last through Summer
Though there are still six months between now and when the NFL season is supposed to begin, some are predicting the lockout between the owners and players may last through summer. An April 6 hearing will take place in Minneapolis as the federal anti-trust lawsuit filed against the NFL begins.

Mike Preston: There are far-bigger worries than NFL lockout - baltimoresun.com
Because right now, neither side is feeling the effects. When those first game checks aren't mailed out and the players can't make payments on their new Escalades and Hummers, that's when they will want to negotiate. When the owners can't make rent payments on those stadium leases, that's when they'll come back to the bargaining table. Until then, I don't care.

Sources: NFLPA tells players to boycott draft - ESPN
If the draftees do not attend, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the name of the first player selected, the player will not walk onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall as has been the custom. And the player will not be there to do interviews with ESPN or NFL Network. The draft will go on, but not in the manner in which it has been conducted before. "As of right now, this is 100 percent happening," one source familiar with the NFL Players Association's thinking said earlier Monday. "This is going down."

The Associated Press: Lead negotiator says NFL proposed 10-year CBA
Had enough of the he-said, he-said rancor between the NFL and players? Don't expect it to go away anytime soon. The outcome of the league's first work stoppage since 1987 could be decided in court; the first hearing on the players' request for an injunction to block the owners' lockout was scheduled for April 6. In the meantime, there probably will be more of the same as Monday, when Kevin Mawae — president of the NFL Players Association, the now-dissolved union — accused the league of spreading "complete falsehoods and complete lies."

Drew Brees: NFL owners had 'no real intent' to reach deal - USATODAY.com
"We're going to let the process take its course," Brees said during a conference call Monday that included fellow NFLPA executive committee members. "But any realistic proposal — or if they'd like to provide those 10 years of audited financials to a third party that we can get some answers on to reach a fair deal — I'm sure we'd be open to that."

Trading charges remains the only game in town - Chicago Sun-Times
Mawae lamented that he was at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for 16 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday but only sat across from the owners for 30 minutes. Then, on Thursday, the players never were called back to the building after a lunch break and that they received an offer Friday afternoon.

NFLPA calls out trick play - BostonHerald.com
Words. That is all NFL fans are getting now. Words upon words. Some have meaning. Many are filled with half-truth. Some are, quite frankly, ridiculous and consist of nothing even close to the truth. Yesterday was another day jammed with all of that. After a weekend PR blitz by the NFL, the NFL Players Association yesterday held a national conference call with Drew Brees, Kevin Mawae and Jeff Saturday that tried to counter the league’s assault on both the senses and common sense.

NFLLabor.com Congressmen to DeMaurice Smith: "We strongly encourage you to meet with George Martin of NFL Alumni Association" "
"We have no formal relationship with the new executive director of the NFLPA," said Martin, who played 14 seasons for the New York Giants (1975-88). "And that is disconcerting to me as the head of the NFL Alumni Association and it’s disappointing to the vast number of members we have in our ranks. We feel at the very least we should have an open and honest dialogue with the organization that we helped build as active ballplayers. Myself being a former president of the NFLPA, it is disappointing to me that I don’t have open access to DeMaurice Smith to begin to talk about those things that impacts us as former ballplayers. It is more than a year now and we don’t have that opportunity and it is extremely disconcerting."

Report: NFLPA* source says there’s "no chance" of negotiations before April 6 | ProFootballTalk
With a 23-day window before Judge Susan Nelson takes up the players’ motion for preliminary injunction in the Brady antitrust lawsuit, an NFLPA* source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN that there’s "no chance" negotiations will occur between now and April 6. With all due respect to Schefter and his source, Schefter’s source is an idiot.

Jay Feely says "we’re always willing to negotiate" | ProFootballTalk
"I don’t know the exact legal ramifications for how and when we would have to negotiate and continue to negotiate, we’re always willing to negotiate so, we have no desire to be stagnant in a litigation system and our desire is to play football," Feely said. So who’s really calling the shots? The players, or the unnamed source who sufficiently persuaded Schefter to put his own reputation on the line by declaring that there will be no talks for the next three weeks, after nearly three weeks of continuous discussions?

Jeff Pash interview transcript | ProFootballTalk
JP: I told my wife, who has an antiques business here in town, that she better step it up and sell a lot more antiques this year. And I can tell you it’s not a P.R. maneuver. It’s real, and the longer it goes on, the more real it’ll be. It seems like it was the right thing to do because there are people all over the league who are going to be affected by this at the clubs and our office. And my job was to try and get an agreement and I haven’t accomplished that yet so it seems like it was the right thing to do.

Players begin P.R. push | ProFootballTalk
From Friday through Sunday, nearly all of the P.R. spin regarding the NFL’s labor dispute was being spun by the league, primarily through a coordinated campaign that apparently included talking points on which the Giants and Dolphins relied, nearly verbatim. On Monday, the players commenced the process of pushing back.

Feely: Owners’ delay in making offer hurt progress | ProFootballTalk
He stressed that players wanted to meet with owners more last week. In two days in Washington, Feely estimates he sat across from the owners for roughly 30 minutes. Feely also indicated more progress was made than the NFLPA seemed to indicate on their media conference call Monday. (More on that soon.) Feely compared the NFL’s strategy of waiting until the last minute to present their offer to how contract negotiations often go between teams and players.

NFL becomes victim of its own success | ProFootballTalk
The question for the league and its players — who share responsibility for this lockout no matter what they say — is whether fan anger could possibly turn to ambivalence. They don’t think it will happen. The league and players say they care about fans, but it’s a half truth at best. They care about the bottom line. They are counting on fans not really punishing them unless part of the season is missed, if then.

The hot potato gets passed to Judge Susan Nelson | ProFootballTalk
Kaplan believes that the players will file a motion to shift the Brady case to Judge Doty. This assumes, of course, that Judge Nelson won’t find a way to pass the potato back to the clerk’s office for another random reassignment to a shrinking pool of judges not named Doty.

Making sense of the financial divide between the two sides | ProFootballTalk
So the league didn’t really offer to "split the difference." The league went to the midpoint of the $20 million gap, cutting the total difference from $640 million per year to $320 million. But with no offer to provide the players with any portion of the revenue that exceeds the projected growth, the offer was something closer to the league’s prior position than the players’ prior proposal.

ProFootballWeekly.com - NFL owners to blame for the lockout
It is impossible to count the number of NFL fans and nonfans alike asking the questions: Which side is to blame for the National Football League's current labor impasse, and who's right and who's wrong? It's equally difficult to quantify the number of media and fans alike rushing to offer their opinions based on half-truths and leaked innuendo with little or no regard for the very few facts we actually have in hand. Only the members of the NFL Management Council's negotiating team, the NFL Players Association's negotiating team and the mediators who have sat with them during every single conversation and negotiation can say for sure, and that number is probably close to zero.

NFL wants Congress out of labor dispute, except when it helps the NFL | ProFootballTalk
This hour’s target is the league, which has long resisted any suggestion that Congress be involved in the current dispute between the NFL and the NFLPA*. On January 21, 2011, for example, the league posted at its labor propaganda website a blurb declaring that 99 percent of all fans oppose Congressional involvement in the labor dispute.

Welcome to Courtroom Football | National Football Post
According to the previous CBA’s Stipulation and Settlement Agreement (SSA), embedded in the CBA, the NFL waived its right to challenge decertification as a "sham". However – stay with me here – that waiver applies "after the expiration of the CBA". Although it has now expired, they filed the unfair labor practice with the NLRB weeks ago. It will be interesting to see which trumps which – the NLRB or the prior CBA’s SSA -- in determining whether this was a legitimate decertification.

Decertification Part II: So what now? | National Football Post
But we will also see proceedings in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which despite being comprised mainly of Obama appointees, may not look favorably on a union surrendering its hard-earned collective bargaining rights so freely, especially now with collective bargaining under attack in so many places, just to gain an advantage, as a matter of public policy. A pending unfair labor practice claim brought by the owners may also inhibit decertification by the players.

NFL lockout is bad, but resolution closer than it appears - Peter King - SI.com
There's a business side to this, and there's a personal side, and the league failed to understand the personal anger the players had about being ignored or belittled, or both, as the clock wound down Thursday and Friday. Argue if you want about that being an act or immature or whatever, but I can tell you -- it was there. For days. I felt it hourly standing on the sidewalk outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service at the corner of 21st and K streets. How did league people not feel it upstairs in the meeting rooms?

Report: Owners covered financially for '11 - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
As NFL team owners and the players union dig in for a potentially lengthy legal battle, league officials said owners have already set aside enough money to cover them in case the 2011 season is canceled, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

NFL.com news: Confidence men: Both sides expect football to be played in 2011
Despite the nasty rhetoric of last week, no one would paint the doomsday scenario of no football come September. Instead, we hear Chargers president Dean Spanos say, "We will get through this. There will be a new agreement and we're looking forward to playing football this season."

Owners-players sniping continues - The Denver Post
The sniping continued Monday — after a weekend of statements from team owners blaming the players for pushing away from the negotiating table — when the just-decertified NFL Players Association conducted a media conference call to tell its side of the story, and to re-emphasize it saw a lockout coming all along. "We're not going to allow the league to let 36 hours of a media PR blitz erase what has been planned and prepared for almost three years now," said George Atallah, spokesman for the NFLPA, which dissolved as a union Friday and is now a trade association.

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