Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/17/11

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Woody's Mailbag: CU, Boyle got no breaks from NCAA committee - The Denver Post
Yes, many thousands of people may turn on the NFL, but tens of millions won't. The NFL is the biggest game in town. People said the same thing when Major League Baseball had a strike, and the game has come back stronger than before. The NHL went an entire season without play. Some people turned on the game, but it's no more or less popular than it was before.

Special teams offer special ticket to NFL career - The Denver Post
You've been a star. You've been all-conference, all-district, all-everything for as long as you can remember. You've scored touchdowns, made game-saving tackles and scooped up fumbles. And then the NFL comes calling. "You know they're going to start talking special teams with you," said Connecticut fullback Anthony Sherman, who's awaiting the April 28-30 draft. "And that's just fine."

Q&A: Unlike Seahawks' Aaron Curry, Texas A&M's Von Miller won't struggle in NFL - The Denver Post
Q: A couple of years ago, Aaron Curry was a can't-miss linebacker coming out of Wake Forest. Since being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, Curry hasn't done squat. What makes Texas A&M's Von Miller different from Curry? A: You have hit on the ulcer-inducing part of the NFL draft for those in the league who make their living trying to figure it out.

A Four-Down Talent
It's not uncommon to hear players vow they will do whatever it takes to help their team succeed. What's rare is when a player has the resume to back it up. Randall Cobb was all over the field at Kentucky, playing wide receiver, running back, quarterback, punt returner, kickoff returner and even holder on field goal attempts.

Hidden Benefits of the Draft " DenverBroncos.com
This is the week in which wide receivers are being reviewed in advance of the 2010 National Football League draft. In taking a look at the Denver Broncos’ 51-year history of the position, most of the team’s success at wide receiver has come from trades and free agency.

NFL NEWS

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | NFL Considers Moving Kickoffs to 35, Touchbacks to 25
This move would also mean that kickoffs in general would become more like punts, with kickers practicing more pop-up style kicks in hopes of pinning the other team behind the 25 without allowing a long return. It would be a huge transformation of the way the NFL plays special teams.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Best Cornerback Charting Stats 2010
These tables rank all cornerbacks with at least 40 charted passes. (Interestingly, the number of cornerbacks who hit this minimum has gone up from 70 in 2009 to 83 in 2010.) I've removed passes marked as Hail Mary, Hit in Motion, Tipped at Line, or Thrown Away. I've also removed wide receiver screens, which aren't really a good way to measure cornerback coverage because a cornerback in man coverage is going to (or at least, is supposed to) immediately get blocked out of the play by another wide receiver.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Proposed rule changes marginalize special teams "
The proposed rules changes for special teams under review by the competition committee would destroy a huge part of the strategy involved in the game. Sometimes, special teams is where teams excel. The proposed rules would eliminate advantages for teams whose strengths are on special teams and help other teams cover their weaknesses.

2010 Vikings: What the Film Revealed - NYTimes.com
The Vikings are going to miss Brett Favre terribly. He became an easy target for outsiders to blame for the team’s 2010 season ( 6-10), but in reality his arm strength and quick deliveries masked considerable deficiencies at offensive line and wide receiver. Center John Sullivan was The Weak Link up front, although offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt made a good run at that title. Pound for pound, McKinnie may be the softest player in football. As for Loadholt, he seems not to realize that he’s 6 feet 8 inches and 343 pounds.

Bidwills will be Bidwills | National Football Post
The NFL lockout will hit the bottom line for those working for the Arizona Cardinals. Front office workers and coaches will lose 35 percent of their salary beginning April 11, 30 days after the start of the lockout, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. And some people wonder how the Bidwill family earned its reputation.

DirecTV May Lose Sales of More Than $600 Million in NFL Spat - Bloomberg
DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, which allows viewers to watch every NFL game, generated between $600 million and $750 million in subscription revenue last season, said Craig Moffett of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. The company would have added another $44 million in new Sunday Ticket subscribers this year if it got the same number as last year, he said.

Scoring plays may be reviewed by replay assistant, not coaches’ challenge | ProFootballTalk
The NFL’s Competition Committee revealed today that it is recommending that NFL owners adopt a change in instant replay, so that any scoring play — touchdown, field goal, extra point or safety — is automatically reviewed upstairs by the replay assistant. If the replay assistant thinks the call on the field was questionable, he will signal to the referee to review the score.

Owners should override Competition Committee on Calvin Johnson rule | ProFootballTalk
We see two potential approaches. First, the owners should adopt a rule that recognizes a catch as a valid completion if the receiver lands with both feet on the ground, or a knee, leg, butt, torso, elbow, shoulder, or head touching the turf, regardless of what happens as the rest of his body hits the deck. Alternatively, and preferably, the owners should go back to the rule that applied before Bert Emanuel had possession in both hands but the ball touched the ground and the league thereafter decided that under certain circumstances the ball would be allowed to touch the ground as long as it didn’t move.

USADA study says Americans find PEDs use most serious problem in sports - ESPN
The study released Tuesday found that 75 percent of adults surveyed agreed that athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs is a violation of ethics in sports. They ranked the use of PEDs as the most serious problem in sports, followed by the focus on money and criminal behavior of well-known athletes.

NFLLabor.com Transcript of conference call with Rich McKay & Ray Anderson "
Following is a transcript of today’s conference call with NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson:

Ochocinco trying out for MLS team | Philadelphia Daily News | 03/17/2011
Chad Ochocinco will try to play a different kind of football during the NFL lockout. Never short on publicity-grabbing ideas, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver is set for a 4-day tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer, starting Tuesday.

NFL DRAFT

Draft is fair game if labor dispute continues - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
That whole my-team-just-got-so-much-better fantasy that people buy into during the draft? If the lockout continues and the two sides don’t negotiate an agreement, you can pretty much press pause on that daydream. Granted, many NFL fans don’t like their fantasies disrupted until the last possible minute. But with a lockout in place, draft coverage will already have been compromised. The only trades allowed will be those exclusively involving picks, as active players such as Carson Palmer(notes), Donovan McNabb(notes) and Albert Haynesworth(notes) can’t be moved. Boring.

Da'Quan Bowers will meet with 7 of top 8 teams in NFL draft, source says - ESPN
According to the source, Bowers will meet with Carolina (which picks No. 1 overall), Denver (No. 2), Buffalo (No. 3), Cincinnati (No. 4), Arizona (No. 5), Cleveland (No. 6) and Tennessee (No. 8).

NFL.com news: Texas A&M LB Miller has seven workouts scheduled
Miller, the consensus top player at his position in this year's draft, is scheduled to travel to meet with the Buffalo Bills (No. 3), Arizona Cardinals (No. 5), Cleveland Browns (No. 6), San Francisco 49ers (No. 7), Tennessee Titans (No. 8) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 9). He already has worked out for Denver Broncos, who possess the No. 2 pick, but most teams are fine with his NFL Combine, Senior Bowl and pro day workouts, according to sources.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Draft Dose: Evaluating the draft chart
Ever since Jimmy Johnson's "draft chart" became public knowledge, fans at home have looked to play GM from their couch, and evaluate their club's trades during draft weekend. The chart gives point values for every pick in the seven rounds of the draft, so that when trades are made, there is an idea of what each pick is worth. Obviously there are mitigating factors when the player a GM covets is available at a certain pick, but for the most part this chart can accurately guide trade parameters. In the 16th installment of the Draft Dose series, we take a look back at some major Draft Day trades, and put the chart to the test to see if the team that gets more draft-day value really comes out on top in the long run.

Hampton DL Kenrick Ellis on radar of Steelers, Eagles, Broncos, Patriots, Packers | National Football Post
Massive Hampton defensive lineman Kenric Ellis is drawing serious interest from several NFL teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.

Mock Draft 3.0 | National Football Post
2. Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Peterson is a big-time talent and in my view one of the best prospects in the entire draft. He possesses more upside than any of the other pass rushers or defensive linemen in the draft and will be able to start in the Denver secondary early in his NFL career.

Blaine Gabbert has much to prove at Missouri pro day - Don Banks - SI.com
When Blaine Gabbert takes the field Thursday for his much-anticipated pro day at the University of Missouri, the ex-Tigers quarterback is probably going to be wearing some version of the No. 11 jersey he helped make popular during his collegiate career. But it might as well be a question mark on his shirt as far as the NFL is concerned.

Draftniks are head over heels for Blaine Gabbert. Why? - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports
The declarations and whims of NFL draft scouts are an ancient mystery to college football fans, especially when it comes to quarterbacks. How, exactly, did a brainy overachiever who racked up big stats against a succession of second-rate Mountain West defenses ever get to be the No. 1 overall pick?

Looking further at the "Panthers will select Cam Newton" story | ProFootballTalk
"The Carolina Panthers will select Cam Newton with the first pick in the NFL draft, or are working hard to convince the football world they plan to." We don’t want to call the article a "report" or a "column" because it’s a little unclear what it is. We can deduce that there is a lot of Newton-to-Carolina information floating around, and Sorensen isn’t quite sure just yet what to make of it.

Kelvin Sheppard NFL Draft Scouting Report - Mocking The Draft
Final word: Some evaluators are high on Sheppard but I am not among that group. Sheppard didn't show me enough for me to feel he can contribute in the NFL. His poor instincts are a real problem as he is rarely around the football. If I am drafting a linebacker, I want him to be able to make his presence felt but Sheppard just didn't stand out to me. He appeared to play with a lack of urgency and explosion. I wouldn't use a pick on Sheppard prior to the 5th or 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Teams in Need of a QB may Need to Trade Back into 1st Round - Mocking The Draft
The 2011 NFL draft is shaping up to be very interesting. As of now, the labor situation figures to give the draft a different feel and potentially alter strategies. If things are not resolved the only draft day trades we will see will be involving picks. With that being said, I want to talk about the strategy of trading back into the first round to select a quarterback. In recent years, we have seen the Broncos and Browns trade back into the first round to select Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn. The prospects and landscape of this draft gives me the feeling that we could see a team trade back into the first round to select a quarterback.

Losing a second chance - CBSSports.com
Today, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was the benefit of the NFL lockout. The Associated Press reported that retired receiver Isaac Bruce stepped in to catch passes from Ponder due to a lack of senior Seminoles' receivers and the prohibition of current NFL wideouts from working out in the view of team scouts and coaches.

Liuget stars, Wilson struggles at Illini Pro Day - CBSSports.com
Having been given a 3rd round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee and posting a rather ho-hum workout at the Combine, Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget was a player some scouts perceived to be a little bit overrated, considering the fact that he's been featured in many first round mock drafts.

NFL LOCKOUT

NFL to judge: Don't unseal TV contract case info - NFL - SI.com
The league filed its response and included redacted versions of exhibits cited in Doty's decision totaling more than 800 pages. Much of the information was blacked out to protect information the NFL considers sensitive, harmful to future negotiations if revealed and damaging to business relations. "Unsealing these documents would reveal to entities with whom we have, may have, or seek to have commercial relationships our internal thought processes relating to television programming and digital rights," Brian Rolapp, chief operating officer for NFL Media, wrote in his declaration of support filed with the league's request.

Goodell Says Union Liked Some Safety Proposals - NYTimes.com
"We made a serious offer to them just a little bit before 12 o’clock," Goodell said of Friday’s final negotiating session. "We put a lot of energy into it. It was responding to issues raised not just in mediation but beyond. And we were expecting for them to engage on that."

ProFootballWeekly.com - As hard as they might try, neither side 'winning' labor situation
Over the past couple weeks, Charlie Sheen has redefined the word "winning." He even made up a term — bi-winning. Since the NFL labor talks broke down last Friday, leading to the decertification of the NFLPA and a lockout — the league's first work stoppage since 1987 — the two sides have done their best to convince fans they are "winning."

With NFL fields shuttered, players left to train on their own - USATODAY.com
"It's going to be players who out-prepare everyone during the lockout who get a real jump," said San Diego-based strength trainer Todd Durkin, who owns Fitness Quest 10 where Rodgers and Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees train. A lockout is out of his hands, but at least Rodgers won control of the workout music play-list, a perk Brees owned last offseason.

Welcome to Courtroom Football, part two | National Football Post
I remember when Smith was elected as a surprise candidate. While finalists such as Trace Armstrong and Troy Vincent -- who has now switched to the other side in working for the NFL -- played on the "former player" angle, Smith used an impressive Powerpoint presentation to detail his connections in Washington on Capitol Hill and otherwise and campaigned as someone who was not going to be "chummy" with the Commissioner or owners. He has lived up to that billing.

NFLPA* shouldn’t dismiss NLRB charge | ProFootballTalk
"We’re not a union anymore," Mawae said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. "So any case before the NLRB is trumped by our decertification. So it doesn’t matter." The NLRB disagrees.

NFLPA* should drop any efforts to attack NFL’s antitrust exemption for broadcasting | ProFootballTalk
It’s a dangerous game for Smith and the players. Losing the exemption would dramatically change the manner in which the NFL markets TV rights, allowing men like Jerry Jones to pull a Notre Dame, selling the rights to all of the Cowboys’ home games to one network, at a rate much higher than most other teams could get. Though the total dollars for all TV contracts would possibly stay the same, it would be much harder to persuade Jones and other owners of popular teams to agree to share the revenue that they generate from their own broadcasting contracts.

NFL Lockout: Like Blockade, War, Insurrection, Epidemic - voiceofsandiego.org: The Clipboard
In my last post, the Chargers said they won't have to pay the city of San Diego rent in a lockout. Next, we'll we turn our attention to whether that's positive or negative for the city's bottom line (it's not as simple as you might think).

In Lockout, a Close Eye Falls on the NFL Network - NYTimes.com
Quenzel, a former ESPN executive, added: "The only thing asked of us is to cover both sides straight and get our facts right. If people don’t look back and say that the NFL Network didn’t give us balanced coverage, it’ll be two labor agreements before we get over that. That would be bad business."

Coaches' salaries slashed in NFL lockout cost-cutting - USATODAY.com
Many NFL head coaches and their assistants are upset and frightened because they face serious potentially daunting financial repercussions — plus threats of retribution if they reveal internal policy — after some teams instituted salary reductions following last week's lockout.

NFL.com news: Hi-ho, hi-ho! Back to work NFL players go on their own
Work, work, work. Even during a lockout. Right about now, many NFL players normally would be preparing for offseason workouts at their teams' facilities. Nothing more complicated than lifting weights, running, stretching, massages. But this hardly is a normal year, and with the league having locked out the players, those practice venues are off limits. And if March isn't the most critical time for pro football -- we're still nearly six months before the 2011 season is slated to kick off -- as the labor stoppage continues, the need for teammates to gather together will grow.

What they're saying: NFL lockout, Day 5 - NFL - Sporting News
On Day 5 of the NFL lockout, here is what coaches, players and executives are saying around the league:

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