Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 4/14/11

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John Lynch: Ex-Bronco opens up on big hits, Tim Tebow and Nick Fairley - The Denver Post
I mean, you can play with Hall of Famers in your defensive backfield, but if you don't have talent up front, you can't stop people. I think the Broncos have been putting a band aid on this issue for a long time. It's something that needs to be addressed. Taking (Auburn defensive lineman) Nick Fairley would be my gut instinct. I know there are some character issues - people say the guy takes plays off - but he just took over that national championship game against Oregon. Just took it over. I played with a guy like that in Tampa - Warren Sapp - and guys like that don't come around very often.

Broncos' top two candidates for first-round pick visit on same day - The Denver Post
Dareus, a 319-pound defensive tackle from Alabama, and Peterson, a 219-pound cornerback/returner from LSU who ran a 4.27-second 40-yard dash, are among the candidates for the Broncos' No. 2 pick in the draft that will be held April 28-30. "We've got to hit on it," said John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations. "We've got to find somebody who's going to be a good player for us for a long time. And then hopefully we don't ever pick there again."

Broncos get look at Marcell Dareus and Patrick Peterson at Dove Valley - The Denver Post
It's possible the Denver Broncos' next star player was roaming the team's Dove Valley facility Wednesday. Marcell Dareus, a defensive tackle from Alabama, and LSU cornerback-returner Patrick Peterson were brought in for their pre-draft visits. Dareus and Peterson are among the candidates for the Broncos' No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft that will be held April 28-30.

Q&A: Josh McDaniels' pricy players didn't pan out, except for WR Brandon Lloyd - The Denver Post
Tom, the Broncos spent plenty of money in free agency during McDaniels' tenure, particularly in the defensive line. But they didn't get their expected return from many of those expenditures. In fact they didn't get the return from most of their expenditures. The one player who was the biggest success story was wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. But it took Lloyd over a year to find success.

Taiwan Jones' speed will be on display at NFL pro day - The Denver Post
With just two weeks before the draft, there is at least one pro day remaining of particular interest in the NFL. Today at Los Medanos Community College in Pittsburg, Calif., Taiwan Jones will work out for the assembled NFL masses, and the running back/kick returner figures to have a nice audience. Jones, because he went to Eastern Washington, has been portrayed as a sleeper in this year's draft.

Inspired By His Upbringing
D. J. Williams is a funny guy. At the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, he cracked jokes about wanting to run a fast 40-yard dash to show NFL teams that "big boy can roll a little bit." When he talked about what he learned from his mentor at Arkansas, Peyton Hillis, he cracked on the running back's penchant for plenty of hair gel.

Inspired By His Upbringing
D. J. Williams is a funny guy. At the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, he cracked jokes about wanting to run a fast 40-yard dash to show NFL teams that "big boy can roll a little bit." When he talked about what he learned from his mentor at Arkansas, Peyton Hillis, he cracked on the running back's penchant for plenty of hair gel.

NFL NEWS

Raiders deny Al Davis health rumors | National Football Post
The Oakland Raiders have denied rumors that owner Al Davis is in poor health and was hospitalized over the weekend, dismissing them to CSN California. "No, he's not in the hospital," Raiders chief executive Amy Trask said. "He's preparing for the draft and he's working, as always.The rumors are untrue."

Lions going prime time | National Football Post
The Detroit Lions have made a breakthrough. No, we don’t have any guarantee quarterback Matthew Stafford will stay on the field for more than half of the 2011 season. But the Lions, who have spent most of the last decade in the cellar of the NFC North/Central, are going prime time. Sort of. The Lions have been selected to host the New England Patriots on Saturday, Aug. 27 in a preseason game that will be nationally broadcast on CBS.

Raunchy radio interview got 49ers color analyst fired | National Football Post
Gary Plummer says despite raunchy comments he made in February on a radio station in San Jose, Calif., he was fired by the San Francisco 49ers for critical comments about the franchise. Deadspin.com tracked down an interview Plummer did on KSJO in February in which he recounted his sexual conquests. Although the interview has been taken down from the station’s Web site, it’s available at Deadspin and elsewhere on the Internet and it was out long enough for the 49ers to hear. Be warned, it's graphic and not suitable for the workplace.

ProFootballWeekly.com - 'Madden NFL 12' release delayed three weeks
The later date will allow EA Sports extra time to critique the rosters if and when free agency begins. The game will be released regardless of whether or not there is an NFL season.

NFL.com news: No quit in him: Leinart looking for starting QB opportunity
The former USC quarterback, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 and helped the Trojans to successive national championships, told the Daily Trojan in a story published Monday that he has a lot more football in him despite not throwing a pass as the Houston Texans' third-string quarterback last season. That was quite a comedown for a player taken 10th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

NFL.com news: Harbaugh: Alex Smith has thick-enough skin to return to 49ers
New 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who had several meetings with Smith before the NFL-imposed lockout started March 12, has implied from the beginning that he wants Smith back next season.

NFL.com news: Munchak, Titans enter draft needing to answer QB question
The Titans have the No. 8 overall pick and, once the lockout ends, only third-stringer Rusty Smith at quarterback on the roster. Vince Young will be jettisoned, either by trade or outright release, once a collective bargaining agreement is reached and teams again can make roster moves. Another former starter, Kerry Collins, will be a free agent, although he could return to Tennessee.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Phil Simms: "The Stat Guys Are Idiots"
The stat guys are idiots. I mean it very strongly … Believe what your eye tells you. I have never looked at one QB ever on tape through all the years and then when it’s done, I have never even thought, ‘what were his numbers?’ I never have.

Cold, Hard Football Facts.com: Indy desperate for healing touch of a Naughty Nurse
Leave it to Peyton Manning to choke away a lead with less than a minute to go in a playoff game. He has always been terrible at covering kickoffs. The 2010 Indianapolis Colts continued their recent trend of overcoming scores of injuries, only to lose yet another lead in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. In 2010, they became the first team in playoff history to take the lead in a game with less than a minute to play, and still lose.

Sports Law Blog
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a group of 21 law and economics professors and practitioners have submitted a letter to the United States Department of Justice, urging the DoJ to launch a formal antitrust investigation of the Bowl Championship Series. The letter (which is available here) argues that the BCS violates antitrust law both by unfairly restricting schools in the so-called non-automatically qualifying conferences from competing in the BCS National Championship Game and other BCS sponsored bowl games, as well as by disproportionately distributing its revenue in favor of the six automatically qualifying conferences. Signatories to the letter include economists Andrew Zimbalist (Smith College) and Richard Thaler (Univ. of Chicago), as well as law professors Roger Abrams (Northeastern Univ.) and Raymond Yasser (Univ. of Tulsa).

NFL DRAFT

Did Cam Newton play in a "one read" passing offense at Auburn? | Smart Football
Gus, going back to Tulsa, uses progression reads, meaning his quarterbacks read the first receiver, to the second receiver, to the third receiver, and so on. That means that there’s no way Cam was given a "single read" — a single receiver to look at — or did Malzahn literally tell him to only look at one guy and to ignore everyone else? No to the first but, at least sometimes, yes to the second. This is because if there was one read it was not a single receiver, but a single defender.

When he talks, NFL listens | NFL - The News Tribune
Rob Rang pulled no punches with his very first scouting report on a football prospect, calling him "short, fat, slow and lazy." Sure, it was harsh, but Rang had inside knowledge of the player: a Tacoma freshman named Rob Rang. Some 20 years later, Rang is putting his eye for talent evaluation to profitable use: The Mount Tahoma High School teacher has become one of the nation’s prominent media evaluators of college prospects heading into the NFL draft.

Report: Bad knee eliminates Mark Ingram from two draft boards | ProFootballTalk
But there have been rumors that the long-term stability of Ingram’s knee is tenuous. And NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi reported something that may substantiate that speculation on Wednesday evening’s Path to the Draft. "I’ve had two teams tell me the knee is very bad," said Lombardi. "He won’t be on their boards. These are teams that need running backs."

Breaking down Ryan Mallet vs. Cover 2 | National Football Post
Let’s talk Ryan Mallett. The former Arkansas’ QB has a legit NFL arm and what I consider first round talent when discussing the drop back passing game. Sure there are some questions about his game (mobility vs. pressure in the pocket, decision making with the football, etc.), but Mallett can test the top of any secondary.

Want to hang out with Tom Brady during the draft? | National Football Post
Brady, his three Super Bowl rings and long, flowing hair have teamed up with the folks at Under Armour for a facebook contest in which 12 Grand Prize winners will get to hang out with the New England signal-caller on April 29 in New York City for an NFL draft chat.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Drafting on 'buzz' often leads to mistakes
Every year, there are late risers who climb draft boards after working out well in shorts. Some awaken evaluators to strong tape and deserve to climb. Others rise for the wrong reasons, often because of impressive workouts, interviews or pedigree. The key to successful drafting is assigning the proper value based on talent. Following are some players who are considerably overvalued on some NFL draft boards and might struggle to produce to the level at which they are drafted.

Versatile DE Jordan offers a mouthful - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
Cameron Jordan took a forkful of fresh calamari and warm white beans, devouring it like a helpless Pac-10 quarterback being pummeled on an outside speed rush. The former Cal defensive end smiled broadly as he swallowed the exquisitely prepared appetizer at a bustling restaurant last Wednesday night. Appropriately, the calamari was grilled – a condition to which Jordan, a first-round prospect in the 2011 NFL draft, can relate.

Jaiquawn Jarrett NFL Draft scouting report - Mocking The Draft
Final word: Playing for a Mid-American Conference school, Jarrett may have to refine his game for the NFL. His style agains the run in the MAC is well enough, but may not work at the next level. Where Jarrett is best-suited is a cover-2 scheme that doesn't rely on him to be the best player on the defense.

NFL LOCKOUT

Goodell, "some of the owners" to attend mediation | ProFootballTalk
We pointed out earlier that the court-ordered mediation process has no chance of succeeding without the involvement of the owners. Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that Commissioner Roger Goodell and "some of the owners" will participate in the negotiations that commence on Thursday.

Courtroom football: mediation phase | National Football Post
Mediation Part II begins in earnest tomorrow as the key player in the NFL in 2011, Judge Susan Nelson, has ordered such talks to occur. After Nelson "urged" the two sides to talk last week after the hearing on whether to lift the lockout, she found out what NFL fans have known for two years about these two sides: these guys do not agree on the meaning of the word "talk".

NFL.com news: Judge meets with NFL counsel; mediation to start Thursday
NFL officials met with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan for five hours Wednesday in federal court, preparing for the beginning of formal mediation with the players the next day. NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, senior vice presidents Dennis Curran (labor litigation) and Peter Ruocco (labor relations), outside counsel Bob Batterman, and local counsel Dan Connolly and Aaron Van Oort made up the league's six-man team. The group entered Boylan's chambers at 8:45 a.m. CT, and Connolly and Van Oort left approximately 30 minutes after arriving.

NFL labor plan could take $300M away from rookies - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
The league's offer would free more than $1.2 billion by 2016 and slow the growth rate of guaranteed payments to first-rounders, which the documents show increased by 233 percent since 2000. All contracts for first-round picks would become fixed at five years.

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