Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/16/11

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Illinois' Leshoure is Fox's type of back - The Denver Post
"I feel like I've got a good chance to go within the first two rounds," Liuget said. He added: "I also feel like I'm one of the better pass rushers in the draft at my position, but I know it doesn't matter what I say; I have to prove it. But for a team like (the Broncos), I think I could help." That's true, but to have a shot at Liuget, the Broncos would need to move down in the first round or move back in the first round after making their pick at second overall.

Q&A: NFL revenue is produced by fans - The Denver Post
All of the NFL's revenue is a result of interest in the league. And all revenue roads lead to the fans in stadium seats, wearing jerseys or watching games on television. Folks on both sides of the labor talks are aware of that, but they also believe they have to do as well as they can in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. Owners of NFL teams would like to roll back expenses, including the players' salaries, and the players want more money and benefits.

Portland State has intriguing prospect - The Denver Post
A scouting contingent from the Broncos will travel to Portland, Ore., today in hopes of finding the next Antonio Gates. Julius Thomas is a 6-foot-5, 248-pound tight end prospect who spent most of his college career at Portland State playing basketball. Gates has been the San Diego Chargers' primary receiving threat from the tight end position since 2004, his second NFL season. He played power forward for the Kent State basketball team.

Too Much To Tweet: The Broncos and Jake Locker
I wouldn’t read too much into the report from NFL Network that the Broncos are planning to conduct a private workout with University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker.

NFL NEWS

Cold, Hard Football Facts.com: Our Naughty Nurse takes vital signs in Arizona
We’ll then chronicle those improvements over the summer with our annual "Fillability Index" – which measures how each team worked to fill its statistical holes from the year before. But first, a final look at the health and welfare of each team after the 2010 season. We begin at the top of the alphabet, with Arizona, an organization that has ultimately disappointed its fans in all but one of its 91 seasons of NFL play.

College Athletic Department Subsidies | The Sports Economist
ESPN has a new data tool that allows people to obtain detailed expense and revenue data for many major college athletic programs. Here is the link. Here is the disclaimer at the bottom of the table for 2010 data.

Coach B Dud's Blog: Vertical Set
The vertical pass set is ridiculous simple... walk backwards as fast as you can. Now to traditionalists they will say everything about vertical setting is wrong, the backward retreat will get you bullrushed, you have no leverage and power blah blah blah, the fact is if you coach it right it isn't true, and it is in my mind the simplest form of pass protection and I think it is superior to kick slide What is it basically?

Coach Hoover's Football Site: Triple Inside Fire Zone - Dick LeBeau
This Dick LeBeau Zone Blitz has already been talked about on Blitzology's Blog here and on Smartfootball.com here. I liked it so much that I started digging through my video library of blitzes to find a cut-up of it. It has 5 blitzers to attack vs. the middle 3 of the OL. I especially like that the blitz makes it possible to avoid the offense's two best pass protectors, the OTs.

Posters " MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
Alas, no football papers, but lots of good sports stuff, regardless...

Which Traits Predict Success? (The Importance of Grit) | Wired Science | Wired.com
Taken together, these studies suggest that our most important talent is having a talent for working hard, for practicing even when practice isn’t fun. It’s about putting in the hours when we’d rather be watching TV, or drilling ourselves with notecards filled with obscure words instead of getting quizzed by a friend. Success is never easy. That’s why talent requires grit.  [awesome article! - styg]

NFL.com news: Lions focus on football, not labor strife, at informal workouts
Vanden Bosch said his desire to be physically prepared for when there is football and to build on the camraderie the Lions established with their strong finish to the 2010 season is the motivation for the sessions. It's a refrain that undoubtedly will be heard from other players on other teams in the coming days and weeks.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Fan feedback for 50th anniversary Hall of Fame logo "
The Pro Football Hall of Fame needs your help as they begin the countdown to their 50th anniversary on Sept. 7, 2013. To commemorate the occasion, the Hall has designed four new preliminary logos and welcomes your input on the concepts. Love them or hate them, please visit the Hall’s website to share your thoughts. You may also leave your opinions on the HOF’s Facebook page or Twittter profile.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Lockout loot: Players capitalizing during downtime "
In the first week of the lockout, some of the NFL’s biggest names are finding a multitude of ways to keep the cash coming in during this age of uncertainty. Here’s a round-up of what they’re up to:

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Lombardi: Browns can’t be sold on McCoy "
So while Holmgren refers to Colt McCoy as having "huge upside," he also leaves us with gems like this when asked about having to perform due diligence with other quarterbacks: "It’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? We’ll see. I would say, don’t discount anything. …" Which all leads to one big question: Are the Browns committed to McCoy as the quarterback of the future?

2010 Packers: What the Film Revealed - NYTimes.com
Aaron Rodgers played the quarterback position as masterfully as anyone in the last five years. He’s one of a very select handful of players who get pinpoint accuracy out of a rocket arm, but what really set him apart in 2010 were his shrewd presnap reads.

Who will be impacted most by the NFL lockout? | National Football Post
Tim Tebow: Kyle Orton is expected to take the first snaps when we get back to football for the Broncos, but the offseason is still a crucial time for Tebow to work with the coaching staff—and prove his value. I will agree that a QB competition doesn’t take place in the spring (you need game situations of the preseason to grade the position), but it is still an opportunity for the former first-round pick to start the process, win over the huddle and begin to work with his receivers. This is a big season in terms of Tebow’s career in Denver and in the eyes of the entire NFL.

Indigenous Americans football squad forces Washington Post to re-name blog | ProFootballTalk
"The Redskins, who have been at the forefront in creating their own multimedia operations, have been aggressive in policing the use and misuse of their ‘brand’ by others," Paul Farhi writes. To that end, they no longer allow local sports highlight shows on television or radio to use the team name unless its authorized. Recently, they took that one step further.

NFL rookie symposium could be canceled because of lockout - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
An NFL spokesman told FOXSports.com that the annual rookie symposium won't be held unless a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the league and NFL Players Association.

Judge orders Bengals' Chad Ochocinco to pay store $11K | Cincinnati.com | cincinnati.com
"My clients informed me they had given him ample opportunity to pay it and he didn’t," Joseph Honerlaw, attorney for the clothing company, said Tuesday.

Schedule will be released in April, despite lockout | ProFootballTalk
Says NFL spokesman Greg Aiello via e-mail, "The plan is to release the schedule as we normally do in mid-April. An announcement date has not been set." Last year, the league released the 2010 schedule during the week of the draft. In past years, the schedule was released earlier in the month.

UFL pondering possibilities for pilfering NFL players during lockout | ProFootballTalk
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the UFL is considering a rule that would allow NFL players to return when the lockout ends, even if it happens during the UFL season. The UFL ultimately may permit only "a few" players to leave, since UFL rosters would be decimated by the sudden departure of a glut of NFL players.

NFL DRAFT

NFL vs. the Players Association: Is it fair to steal a boy's dream for a man's future? - KDVR
Imagine a little boy who grew up with elite talent. He's sitting in a room, gazing outside of a window, tossing a football up and down, up and down, up and down. There he sits, visualizing the day when Roger Goodell calls his name aloud at Radio City Music Hall, officially welcoming him into the National Football League fraternity with jersey and hat ceremoniously in tow.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Lombardi: Von Miller will have instant impact "
Playing the comparison game, Mayock has compared Miller to a smaller version of DeMarcus Ware, and analyst Michael Lombardi believes it’s fair to compare Miller to Matthews. "Absolutely. What separates Miller from a lot of players is the impact he’ll have the minute he steps into the NFL because of his ability to rush," Lombardi said.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Kerrigan shows why he could be first-round steal "
That being said, since Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan is rated below many of the same players at his position, whoever ends up with him in the middle to late first round could wind up with a steal of a pick. Kerrigan (6-foot-4, 274 pounds) proved that on March 11 at the Boilermakers’ pro day with a solid workout in front of 23 teams indoors on FieldTurf. Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen was on hand to work out Kerrigan. Surprise, surprise, Pat Kirwan, in his latest mock draft, has Kerrigan going to Jacksonville with the 16th pick. He might be on to something.

Why the NFLPA is off base with the draft | National Football Post
As an ex-player, I want the NFLPA to get what they deserve when it comes to the ongoing labor battle with the NFL. Players are recyclable when it comes to this league, and because of that I understand the need—and desire—to get every dollar you can before the NFL kicks you out the back door. Nothing wrong with fighting for that.

Breaking down Cam Newton | National Football Post
When you’re scouting Cam Newton, there is much more to it than just Newton the football player. In this case you also have to look at Newton the person. The reason I say this is because he will be taken high in this year’s NFL Draft and he is going to be the face of the franchise that drafts him.

NFLPA draft boycott would disrupt NFL draft tradition - Peter King - SI.com
Minutes pass. "With the second pick of the 2011 NFL Draft,'' Goodell says, "the Denver Broncos select Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle, Alabama.'' Dareus walks onstage across town, and future mates Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey hug him.

NFL.com news: Underclassmen prevalent among top five per position
Safety: *1. Rahim Moore, UCLA 2. Ahmad Black, Florida 3. Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson 4. Quinton Carter, Oklahoma * 5. Tyler Sash, Iowa

Rosenhaus will advise clients not to go to draft | ProFootballTalk
Rosenhaus also weighed in on the hot topic du jour in the NFL: He says that he will tell clients to stay away from the NFL Draft because they should stick by their fellow players during the lockout.

Suh wrong again: Disregard Fairley chatter - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
Just realized, the joke's on me. I'm slow, so I didn't get it when the joke started making the rounds a few weeks ago. Football folks were getting serious about the 2011 NFL Draft, but not so serious that they couldn't tell a knee-slapper that started something like this: A scout, a sportswriter and Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley walk into the NFL Combine at Indianapolis ...

Updated 2011 NFL mock draft - Mocking The Draft
Marcell Dareus | Defensive tackle | Alabama: The Broncos have the luxury of going several different ways with this pick. It could be defensive end Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson or cornerback Patrick Peterson of LSU. With the switch back to the 4-3, the team will need as many able bodies up front. While Dareus played in a 3-4 at Alabama, he projects fine as a one-technique tackle. With Elvis Dumervil returning, Dareus could free him up to wreak havoc.

NFL mock draft second round - Mocking The Draft
36. Denver Broncos - Rahim Moore | Free safety | UCLA

Pouncey "a star," Black slow at Florida Pro Day - CBSSports.com
He also performed very well in positional drills, according to a scout on hand for the workout. The scout characterized Pouncey as "a star" and said, "He is everything you're looking for in an interior lineman. He's a carbon copy of his brother." Mike's brother, of course, is the Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey, who earned a spot on the Pro Bowl team with a standout rookie season at center for the AFC Champions.

NFL LOCKOUT

NFL housing plan: Owners get the keys, fans get the bills - The Washington Post
It’s time to change the way we do business with the NFL. You don’t have to pick a side in the owner-player quarrel over revenues to arrive at that conclusion. If nothing else, the current labor strife has finally alerted us to some truly rapacious practices by the owners. They collect welfare, and treat it like a birthright. They use public facilities to enrich themselves, hostage-take whole cities for every subsidized dollar they can get, and then cry socialism at the suggestion they have any community responsibility. Among other things, they are profoundly ungrateful.

Sports Law Blog
So who is getting hurt? Well it now appears that because of the labor impasse the NFL will only allow those individuals who are eligible for the 2011 NFL draft to participate. However, often schools will allow their players, who for whatever reason were not selected in the previous year’s draft, to return to campus and participate in Pro Day. If a player was injured, or made it to a training camp without being drafted and didn’t make a roster, a school’s Pro Day gives them one more chance to tryout in front of NFL scouts. However, since these players were not drafted in previous years, through the NFL’s eyes they are free agents. As such, contact is now forbidden and these players will be unable to participate in their school’s Pro Day.

NFL.com news: What now? Q&A with NFL Network legal analyst Gabe Feldman
What is the most important next step in the process? "The spark would be, I think, whoever wins the initial battle. Remember, the players are going to try to get the decertification of the disclaimer of interests recognized by Judge David Doty. Then, they'll try to get Judge Doty to prevent the owners from locking them out. If all of that works in favor of the players, the owners are in a tough position, because the owners have lost their strongest weapon, which is a lockout. Then the owners have to decide what to do. Do they still try to not pay them or play them and subject themselves to (an) antitrust lawsuit, or do they just try to implement rules about free agency and franchise tags to allow player movement to begin, to allow the offseason to continue? If the owners win the initial battle, though, and Judge Doty says the Players Association still exists and their decertification is a sham and owners can lock them out, then the (NFLPA) has lost their big weapon. Whoever wins that initial fight gets a lot more leverage to bring back to bargaining."

Everything You Need to Know About the NFL Antitrust Lawsuit - Law Blog - WSJ
The owners have since then claimed that the decertification move was bogus. What’s that about and how will that be resolved? McCann explained that a move to decertify a union has to be approved by the National Labor Relations Board. In this story, the WSJ’s Matthew Futterman explains that he owners amended a complaint they filed with the NLRB in February, in which they claimed the players union wasn’t bargaining in good faith. The amended complaint alleges that the decertification is a sham. The players union denies that and said a settlement in a previous lawsuit with the NFL prohibits the league from opposing the decertification. The NLRB must conduct an investigation into the matter before deciding whether to file a complaint on behalf of the NFL with an administrative law judge, whose decision could take six months.

Fans shouldn’t root for either side in NFL lockout - Armando Salguero - MiamiHerald.com
The NFL doesn’t belong to the players, although there is no argument they are its stars. The NFL doesn’t belong to the owners, although there is no argument they are the business’ stewards and financial heads. The NFL is a public trust. It belongs to the public. It belongs to us because we’re the ones paying the freight, making the turnstiles into money-spewing entrances to stadiums for which we, the taxpayers, often paid.

Focal Point of N.F.L.-Players Lawsuit Is Lockout - NYTimes.com
Brady v. N.F.L., then, is about something much more immediate and elemental: lifting the lockout to create more leverage for players in negotiations. On Page 48 of the suit, the first item listed under Prayer For Relief asks the court to declare the lockout a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and asks the court to block it. There are mentions of the salary cap, the franchise tag, even the college draft as potential restraints of trade — and players would contend those violate antitrust law, too, if owners are forced to continue to play games. But for now the lockout is the focal point of the lawsuit.

Michael Strahan says owners have key advantage in NFL lockout - Chicago Sun-Times
"You’re panicking if you’re a guy who is living paycheck to paycheck," Strahan said. "You have to remember, every guy [in the NFL] doesn’t make millions. Then you have to remember, some of those guys making millions still live paycheck to paycheck. "If you’re an owner, you have leverage. That’s where players can get weak, when they start missing checks. That’s when it’s going to get scary for a lot of people. Trust me."

NFLLabor.com Commissioner Goodell on negotiations: "I couldn’t get back to mediation fast enough" "
"With all due respect, I couldn’t get off this show fast enough to get to mediation," Commissioner Goodell said. "We didn’t push away from the table. We were still at the table when they walked out on mediation. So for us to go back to mediation, you call me and I’ll be there. It’s a decision the mediator has to make, but we would certainly be there, and I expect we will be there."

Mark Murphy reiterates that the owners want to keep negotiating | ProFootballTalk
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he’s ready to return to the bargaining table. And he’s not alone. Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy, a member of the league’s negotiating team, made clear his desire to keep talking.

Issues of trust and transparency led to the collapse of - 03.21.11 - SI Vault
An air of uncertainty filled an upstairs conference room at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service headquarters in downtown Washington on the morning of March 2. For the first time in 13 meetings with mediator George Cohen, the 10 owners on the NFL's labor committee were sitting across the negotiating table from the players on the union's executive committee.

John Mara thinks two sides at one point were close to "tentative agreement" | ProFootballTalk
"Is splitting the difference financially all for show?" Mara said. "Is walking away from the 18-game season, which a lot of owners were very much in favor of, is that all for show? Is improving their benefits all for show? There were a lot of parts of that proposal that would have provided some significant benefits — significant improvements for the players. And they chose to walk away from it. So I’m not sure what he means by that. I felt we made a very substantial offer on that last Friday. And they chose not to offer so much as a counter — they just chose to walk away and say, ‘We are going to decertify.’

Uncharted territory for all | National Football Post
I had a chance to speak to an NFL owner on Sunday. He told me that he and the owners were very frustrated by the CBA negotiation process. He told me "it was a long two weeks and a big waste of time. We knew we may not have reached an agreement by the extended deadline but we should have kept talking in earnest. There was no need for them to walk away from the table." While setting up a workout for one of my draftees, an AFC General Manager told me yesterday that: "the owners went from being frustrated during the negotiations to now being just pissed off at the players and union leaders."

Players Try to Pick Up Legal System on the Fly - NYTimes.com
"For a player it can be frustrating at times, because now we're in the hands of the legal system," Leber said. "None of us are lawyers and we don't always understand the legalities of the dispute, so we just have to learn on the fly."

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