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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/27/11

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Broncos revamping how they prepare for the draft - The Denver Post
When the Broncos' 2009 draft was completed, McDaniels said the compressed time frame had impacted the team's performance in the draft. The Broncos are wrestling with those issues again. They have to revamp how their personnel department grades players and how those players are stacked on the draft board as the April 28-30 event approaches. "That was a lot of conversion, watching a lot of the guys and trying to put them in the right column," Xanders said. "We needed to make sure everybody was clear in how we were going to rank players on the board and how we were going to fit those players into our team." "Those are the kinds of things we've been putting into place," said John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations. "We've been going hard to get it all in place."

Elway: dominant, not good, will be standard - The Denver Post
"We were talking about this . . . if you're dominant on one side of the ball and good on the other side, you can win it," Elway said. "You can be good on both sides, but I'm not sure you can win it with just good on both sides. You have to be dominant on one side and good on the other, no matter what side that is." Elway said the team is trying to lift itself throughout its depth chart, but to win the Super Bowl it will have to find a personality, an identity on the field. And there is certainly plenty of room for improvement on both sides of the ball.

Q&A: Broncos should consider drafting A&M's Von Miller - The Denver Post
If you're building an NFL team, you start with a quarterback, a left tackle on offense and an edge pass rusher. That's how important pass rushers are in today's NFL. "I'd say that's true," said John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations. "A quarterback, far and away, is the most important. (Then) a left tackle and then a pass rusher, maybe a top corner, tied with pass rusher."

A Must-See
A handful of players expected to litter the top of teams' draft boards stepped to the podium, including Cam Newton, Da'Quan Bowers, Von Miller, Robert Quinn, Julio Jones, Marvin Austin and Marcell Dareus. The biggest crowd of the day -- by far -- was for the Auburn signal caller Newton.

2011 Scouting Combine: Dareus
Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus talks about the depth in his position group and preparing for this year's draft.

2011 Scouting Combine: Bowers

Scouting combine is now can't-miss event for Broncos - The Denver Post
Film of Elway throwing the ball at Stanford was enough for the Colts to select the future Hall of Fame quarterback with their No. 1 pick. Good choice. Rotten execution. Elway's unwillingness to play for Colts coach Frank Kush led to the famous trade with the Broncos. By 1990, the scouting combine had been moved to centrally located downtown Indianapolis, where ESPN reporter John Clayton, then working for The News Tribune of Ta-coma, Wash., said he was one of about 11 media members who covered the event.

Hawaii's Green worth a look for Broncos - The Denver Post
New Broncos coach John Fox wants a far more productive running game than the Broncos have shown in the last two seasons, so expect the team to be on the lookout for some bigger backs. Fox and executive vice president of football operations John Elway have made no secret that they want a more physical and balanced offense. That you don't run to just run, but rather you use the ground game to your advantage. And there is a back at the scouting combine who has quietly gone about his business and should at least garner a look from the Broncos.

Klis: Trick is finding right time to panic - The Denver Post
"Solidarity into September" should be the players' mantra. Better believe the owners will test that bond. One agent said during the meeting intermission that during the Cohen mediation sessions, the union made one proposal, and the owner-absent management committee said no. The union made another proposal, and management said no. When did Jerry Reinsdorf, the hawkish Chicago White Sox owner during the dastardly baseball work stoppage of 1994-95, take charge of NFL labor negotiations? Actually, Reinsdorf is heading the owners' labor committee. Only now he's named Jerry Richardson, owner of Broncos coach John Fox's former team, the Carolina Panthers. "Richardson is an odd pick to be one of the two they have to represent the owners," Spencer said. "He's a hothead. There are a lot of others in the league who are not. But they picked him. That says something about their tactics."

Meet the Broncos’ No. 2 draft pick | All Things Broncos — Denver Broncos news, stats, analysis — Denver Post
"I would describe myself as a nice guy," Dareus said. Apparently, he likes to help up the guys he pancakes. He’s 6-foot-3 1/2, 319 pounds of nice guy. I don’t think the Broncos take him unless they trade back. He’s a 3-4 nose and Broncos are moving to the 4-3. Blogs " Blog Archive Broncos’ public stance on QBs begs questions "
Could it be that Fox is trying to do as much as he can to enhance Orton’s trade value? Or, as some around the league suspect, does Fox not feel all that confident in turning the reins over to Tim Tebow, whom he inherited from previous coach Josh McDaniels? If the latter is true, that won’t go over very well with a large portion of Broncos fans who adore Tebow the way the University of Florida faithful did when he was a Gator. Tebow’s dynamic skills as a runner and passer are probably the biggest reasons that Denver fans are hopeful for a turnaround.


10 wins, bad reputation make Todd Haley more talkative | ProFootballTalk
Haley seems to realize that he has developed a reputation, deserved or not, of being a bit of a workplace bully, and he likewise seems to be spending as much time as he can in the offseason trying to change the way he’s perceived. The fact that he’s coming off a 10-win season also seems to make him far more willing to talk than he was after a four-victory effort in his first year as a head coach. And he’s definitely talking. From the podium during Friday’s media availability at the Scouting Combine, Haley provided a Shakespearean six-minute monologue in response to a simple question — who’ll call the plays?

Sources: Two agents ejected from restricted area at Scouting Combine on Friday | ProFootballTalk
Notwithstanding the denials, the fact that the information came to us at two different times on Saturday from two different and disconnected sources is intriguing. We won’t name names unless and until a witness will go on the record. The agent business entails a high degree of competition and plenty of folks looking for negative things that can be used against their competitors, and they often attempt to manipulate the media in an effort to advance their agendas.

Giants GM Reese opens up about pass rushers - Mocking The Draft
In regard to the 2011 NFL Draft, Reese specifically mentioned Auburn's Nick Fairley, Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers as being stand out players. "I think there's a couple guys at the top that really jump out as dominant players," Reese said. "It's hard to find big guys who can play the run and push the pocket and get in the quarterback's face."


Marcell Dareus, Da'Quan Bowers Battling for Top Defensive Lineman Honors -- NFL FanHouse
Alabama's Marcell Dareus (photo above) is battling with Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers (photo below right) and Auburn's Nick Fairley for the title of best defensive lineman in this draft class. He likes to compare his game to that of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who has gone on record as labeling Dareus the best three-technique lineman in the draft.

NFL Scouting Combine buzz and analysis - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
There is no doubt in my mind the Broncos will take the best defensive lineman available with the second overall pick. On Tim Tebow, Xanders said "every player will create their own role." Personally, after speaking with Elway at the Super Bowl and Xanders this week, I don't think Tebow has much of a future in Denver.

These five prospects performed well Saturday at Combine workouts - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Virgil Green/TE/Nevada — Green, who has excellent size for a tight end (6’3 3/8", 249), looked extremely athletic during his workout, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell told Green, who is known in scouting circles as a very fluid athlete, posted a solid 40-yard dash time (4.64) and an amazing vertical jump (42" ½). Personnel sources equate the vertical jump with lower body explosion. Green was thought to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick coming into the Combine, but Saturday’s workout might have pushed him up a bit. Blogs " Blog Archive Peppers Part II? Bowers might be it "
Bowers linked his explosive 2010 season to a maturation process and refuted criticism that he’s a "one-hit wonder" after wreaking havoc on opposing offenses with 15.5 sacks. He had just four total sacks in his two previous seasons. Blogs " Blog Archive Forget the 40: Splits are where it’s at for scouts "
While the rest of the line drills at the NFL Scouting Combine are more transferable in evaluating prospects (and keep in mind this is all a small slice of the overall picture), what teams are looking at during the 40 are the 10- and 20-yard splits. These splits — particularly at 10 yards — help indicate a player’s power and explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. These numbers are unofficial and will vary from team to team, but here’s a look at the 10-second splits of the offensive linemen who ran Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium:

A Spectacle of Muscle, Somewhat Muted -
Rule 1 of the N.F.L. scouting combine: don’t talk about anything. Don’t mention specific college prospects. Don’t discuss potential free agents. The labor situation? Coaches are more willing to recite their credit-card numbers than talk about it. A combination trade show, debutante ball and the world’s most overanalyzed livestock auction, the combine allows coaches, players and reporters a chance to interact cautiously and awkwardly, like predators, prey and scavengers drinking from the same Serengeti watering hole. - Saturday Combine notebook
When Scott Pioli arrived in Kansas City in 2009, there were plenty of things wrong with the Chiefs. But there was something in particular that both he and head coach Todd Haley singled out as they attempted to turn the franchise around. "We needed to upgrade our team speed, because I know when we first got there, it was certainly the slowest football team that I had been a part of - not just on offense, not just on defense, but with special teams as well, because there's always that trickle-down effect," the team's general manager said on Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "If you're constantly moving slower than the other team, it's gonna be a problem. So adding speed was important."

Confident Marvin Austin opens up about suspension, ability - Mocking The Draft
Considered a preseaon top 10 pick, Austin opened up to the media at the NFL Combine on Saturday about his ability and his suspension. Austin was quick with a comeback when asked if he'd be in the conversation with Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Auburn's Nick Fairley as the top defensive tackle in the draft. "I feel If I was able to play, there wouldn't be a conversation," Austin said.

Ohio State DL Heyward healing but won't work out -
The 6-5, 294 pound Heyward projects best as a five technique defensive end in the 3-4 alignment. He does not possess the burst off the edge to consistently get pressure on the quarterback, making his strength and ability to tie up blockers all the more paramount to his success in the NFL. Heyward injured his elbow in the Buckeyes' Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas, missing the Senior Bowl to undergo a UCL reconstruction.

Bowers missing opportunity by not working out -
Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will not win himself fans among scouts with his decision to not work out at the Combine despite the fact that he characterized himself as "100%" and "willing to compete with anyone, any where" in his Q/A session with the media.

Quinn's answers could push him ahead of Bowers -
Talent evaluators who have done the tape on defensive ends Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers know that the former Tar Heel is the more explosive of the two pass rushers. That fact is the primary reason why Quinn could leapfrog Bowers as the draft's top defensive end and potentially even the No. 1 pick in the draft. There are two primary areas of concern with Quinn -- each of which he addressed in today's interview at the Combine.

NFL LOCKOUT news: Lockout block? Union seeks to decertify before CBA expires
At this point there are four likely scenarios that would take place March 4: a new deal is struck, the sides opt to extend the negotiating period, the union decertifies or the owners vote for a lockout. In order for the NFL and NFLPA to agree to extend the negotiating window, the league would have to propose it to the union, the union would have to agree, and Judge Doty would have to ratify the extension.

NFLPA cautions that decertification is not a lock | ProFootballTalk
Breer points out one the motivation for the timing of the move. Judge David Doty’s jurisdiction over the case ends on March 3. Breer says that the union would have to wait six months to decertify if they don’t before March 4.

Decertification talk is simply part of the leverage play | ProFootballTalk
With five days until the current labor deal expires, the league’s leverage remains the launching of a lockout if a deal isn’t done by March 4. And the union’s only leverage — for now — arises from decertification, a strategy that if successful would block a lockout and guarantee the continuation of football while the two sides settle their differences in court. The union can’t waver now on its plan to decertify, just as the league can’t waver now on its plan to lock the players out. Put simply, the concept of nuclear deterrence doesn’t work unless the two sides have big-ass missiles pointed at each other.

NFL Players Association intends to 'decertify' before collective bargaining agreement expires
The owners would undoubtedly attempt to block the union from decertifying, since it would open the league up to antitrust suits from individual players. The league laid the groundwork for that challenge in an unfair labor practice charge it filed against the NFLPA with the National Labor Relations Board on Valentine's Day when it called the union's plans to decertify a "sham" and a "ploy."

Sources: NFLPA plans to decertify before CBA expires Thursday - ESPN
Absent a last-minute agreement that no one around football expects, the NFL Players Association plans to decertify by Thursday in an effort to pre-empt an owners-generated lockout, according to multiple league and union sources. The collective bargaining agreement says the NFLPA in effect must wait six months to decertify if it does it after the collective bargaining agreement expires. It expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday night. If the union decertifies, it is no longer a union, and the National Labor Relations Board loses its hold over the NFLPA. The owners are expected to claim the decertification is a sham and challenge it in the NLRB.

NFL lockout would trace to George Steinbrenner - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
With his free-spending ways and win-at-any-cost mindset, George Steinbrenner is seen by many as a contributor to the financial excesses and problems that often plague major league sports. While no one is blaming the late New York Yankees' owner for the contract deadlock between the National Football League and the players' union, there's a connection between his former Cleveland shipping company and the lockout the NFL is threatening to impose on the union this week.

NFL poised for a labor confrontation as deadline for lockout looms
By Friday, it's possible that the league's franchise owners will have locked out the players to plunge the NFL into its first work stoppage since strikes by the players in 1982 and '87. Or that the two sides will be involved in litigation with the owners preparing to defend themselves against an antitrust lawsuit by the players after the players decertify the union. Or perhaps even both, although legal experts call the combination of antitrust litigation and a lockout unlikely.

Clock ticking, lockout looming for NFL | |
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith briefed agents on Friday, telling them huge differences remain on three key issues: division of revenue, an 18-game regular season and a rookie wage scale. Smith said teams can have contact with draft prospects, but that would stop after the draft is held April 28-30.