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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/1/11

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Q&A: Don't be surprised if the Broncos draft LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson - The Denver Post
During the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, the Broncos made it clear they value the cornerback position. I asked John Elway, the team's executive vice president of football operations, whether he agreed with the usual sentiment that quarterback, left tackle and edge pass rusher are the foundation positions for an NFL team. "I would agree with that," Elway said, "but I would put corner in there, tied with pass rusher. You can create a pass rush with pressure up front or you can create it by having the corners to be able to blitz and do some things to get into the rush."

Spread-offense QBs: great in college, not so much in NFL - The Denver Post
Playing in the spread offense helped Tebow and Newton win big in college. But Tebow fell near the end of the first round of the 2010 draft before Denver moved up to get the former Florida star and Newton's stock is equally unpredictable this year. "They have to learn how to play from under center," Broncos coach John Fox said at the NFL scouting combine. "It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's a big deal."

By the Numbers: 24 "
The team has just completed 50 years of play, a milestone in any franchise history, and over that time a lot of players have made contributions, large and small, to what the Broncos are. It’s like family members, some more accomplished than others but when you are in a family, you are in for keeps. So too for the Broncos. Once a Broncos, always a Bronco.

Much Ado About Nothing "
Why is it necessary, in the month of February or March, to have an in-depth discussion about who might or might not start at quarterback, or any other position, in August or September? I’m not naïve. I know people want to talk about football all year long. Maybe it’s just me but this got completely blown out of proportion. We’ll know the Broncos starting quarterback when the time comes for the players themselves to decide it. And that time is not now.


Cold, Hard Football Super Bowl coaches love Quality Stats!
Yet it's funny that the numbers we value remain in the shadows of wider football analysis. In fact, we'd argue that the sport of American football could not be more misunderstood statistically by the pigskin public, even by those you would expect to know better. This country is obsessed with football. It's bigger than sport. It's a defining aspect of a unique American culture. But even then, so few are in tune with what matters statistically on the football field.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Wisdom of Crowds Review: QBs and WRs
This week, our Wisdom of Crowds review finishes on quarterbacks and examines the seven wide receivers we ran projections for before the 2010 season. Spoiler alert: The Randy Moss one looks bad for everyone involved.

Falcons' Claims About Financial Impact of New Stadium Disputed by Economists
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did a story Sunday talking about the impact economically of a new, open-air stadium for the Falcons. The newspaper came to the same conclusions as many people. The stadium would be a big benefit to the Falcons, but not such a big financial benefit to the city or taxpayers. The reporters talked to local and national economists and they agreed that a $700 million stadium is not going to create this mecca of jobs and an economic gold mine. There would certainly be a benefit to the thousands of construction workers out of jobs with the recession, as well as a boost to civic pride.

Saints embrace evaluation technology - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
When it comes to dissecting the seemingly endless stream of empirical data that separates future NFL stars from expensive draft busts, Loomis, the New Orleans Saints general manager, has gone almost entirely digital. From his smartphone, a digital tablet, the web or a desktop application on a computer that is flashed across a 60-inch television panel, Loomis, coach Sean Payton and the entire Saints coaching staff and personnel department have seen their traditional draft-day "big board" digitized into a virtual personnel management, player evaluation and game-preparation system.

Labor and draft board uncertainty rule the day at the NFL's annual combine - Peter King -
I wanted to find a team over the weekend to examine, to see how this weird offseason would be navigated. But as I asked coaches and GMs to talk frankly about what's ahead, I got some variation of what Andy Reid told me walking out of the NFL's meeting with coaches and general managers explaining the rules of Lockoutball Thursday evening. He zipped his thump and index finger from one side of his mouth to another while saying, in his best Sergeant Schultz from the Hogan Heroes show, "I know nothing!''

Oakland Raiders didn't include signing bonuses with 5 big signings - NFL -
"When you're signing these players to contracts the way we signed them, these contracts are all for the future," senior executive John Herrera said Monday. "These guys will have to come in and play and earn their money before they get paid. The Raiders have not paid out a dime at this point in time." The Raiders have been one of the most aggressive teams so far this offseason as most clubs wait until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached before making moves. The current CBA expires Thursday. - AFC West free-agent preview
Re-signing veteran CB Champ Bailey was the first major personnel move made by executive vice president of football operations John Elway, but the team still has a long way to go in its quest to restore the integrity of the organization. Harris was an All-Pro right tackle in 2008 but has been unable to put together a complete season since then.

Redskins make Clinton Portis release official | ProFootballTalk
The move doesn’t come as a surprise, and was at least a year overdue — no matter how much money he was guaranteed last year. Portis thanked Mike Shanahan and Dan Snyder in a statement released by the team, then reflected on his run. "Being a Redskin was a special part of my life. Coming and being in that organization, I turned from a kid having fun to a man carrying responsibilities. I tried to put the world on my shoulders for Coach Gibbs and the Redskins fans," Portis said.

Dolphins’ coaches work with Chad Henne in apparent violation of NFL rules | ProFootballTalk
But as the Herald‘s Armando Salguero points out, NFL rules don’t allow Henne to work with Daboll, Dorrell or anyone else on the Dolphins’ coaching staff. This is the same rule that prohibited Rams quarterback Sam Bradford from working with new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Jaguars Announce Refund Plan in the Event of a Lockout |
The season tickets are purchased based on 10 home games, and if fewer than 10 are played, ticket owners will be refunded with a credit equal to a tenth the cost of their season tickets. For those paying via monthly installments or the 30/30 plan, the first step will be to reduce monthly payments until the credit is met. If the credit amount exceeds the payment amount, the overage will be refunded via check.

Federal court requires NFL to give Super Bowl class-action members more time to ponder offers | ProFootballTalk
Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn required not only more time but also more information, so that the fans can decide whether to accept the settlement offers or to remain in the class action. The league and the Cowboys had opposed the request for more time and information.

NFL DRAFT: COMBINE - No Combine test for team chemistry
"The intangibles that go into football are incredible: it's called chemistry," Addazio told PFW. "It's maximizing individual talent, but it's also maximizing talent together. Coach (Urban) Meyer used to have a saying: talent will get you seven wins, and then there's other components that bring you eight, nine, 10, 11."

Can QBs from the spread offense adapt to the NFL? | National Football Post
Now that the quarterbacks (minus Blaine Gabbert) have worked out in Indianapolis at the NFL combine, the questions—and the debates—will begin on the spread offense at the college level. Think of the top prospects on this year’s draft boards: Newton, Gabbert, Mallett, etc. For the most part, they played in a variations of the spread attack. These aren’t "pro style" quarterbacks.

NFL combine notes: LB breakdown | National Football Post
Some notes looking over the 2011 linebacker group from day three at the NFL combine.

Charles Clay on radar of Jets, Dolphins, Broncos and Jets | National Football Post
Versatile Tulsa running back Charles Clay is an interesting prospect who has been making the rounds at the NFL scouting combine. Clay met with the Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets along with several other teams, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Radio host says a tape exists that implicates Cam Newton in pay-for-play scheme | National Football Post
The host of a Huntsville, Ala., sports talk radio show says he has heard audio tapes, allegedly in the possession of former Mississippi State players John Bond and Bill Bell, that implicate the dual-threat signal-caller in his father, Cecil’s, pay-for-play scheme that was investigated by the NCAA.

Meeting with a priest? Welcome to the NFL combine | National Football Post
I then met with a team that caught me off guard. However, it wasn’t a coach, scout or GM asking me about my past. There wasn’t a coverage thrown up on the board with schemes I couldn’t break down, etc. In this suite, I met with a priest.

Teams haven’t talked to Patrick Peterson about moving to safety | ProFootballTalk
LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson may be the prospect in this year’s draft class with the fewest amount of flaws. There is no consensus about the top pick of he draft. Folks don’t even agree who is the best defensive end, defensive tackle, or quarterback. The one guy everyone seems to love is Peterson. He looks to be as safe a future Pro Bowler as you can find in this draft.

Beware: "manufactured" speed doesn't translate -
The Combine always produces some eye-popping test results. Some times, these results match the tape. Other times, however, they are the result of great training and so-called "workout warriors" whose speed, strength or explosiveness in workouts does not translate well onto the field. Former Boston College pass rusher Mike Mamula is, of course, the most famous example of this phenomenon.

Could five QBs wind up in the first round? -
We all know the value of quarterbacks raises as the draft gets closer. We also all know that significantly altering a player's grade based on Combine performance is a quick way to get a scouting staff fired. That said, there is an increasing belief among NFL teams that as many as five quarterbacks could wind up in the first round, following strong performances from Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder at the Combine.


Politicians should stay out of labor fight, for now | ProFootballTalk
If/when the NFL imposes a lockout, then all bets are off. We agree with Senator Rockefeller’s assessment that "Congress, acting in the public interest, has to keep the NFL on track because of the great benefits given to the league by federal law and taxpayer funds and because of its impact on the nation’s economy." But none of that becomes relevant until the league shuts down.

Winston wonders if NFL is maxing out revenue on Thursday nights | ProFootballTalk
"If you are the NFL and we are looking for new revenue, why don’t we bid out the Thursday night game?" Winston asked. "Thursday is supposed to be the most popular night for everyone to watch TV. They have a game that has become more and more popular. "Maybe some of these other networks would like to get into NFL football. I guarantee that game would bring in more than $500 million alone just from playing half a season."

Report: League will lock players out even if union decertifies | ProFootballTalk
For fans, the union’s strategy is far more appealing. But it won’t be that easy, especially since the owners reportedly plan to try to impose a lockout even if the players decertify, according to Daniel Kaplan and Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. At that point, it wouldn’t be a lockout. It would be the NFL going out of business.

Some players are a little too broke to handle a lockout - Shutdown Corner - NFL  - Yahoo! Sports
Thanks to a first-round contract that reportedly guarantees him $14 million, as well as the guidance of a trustworthy management team, the former Michigan Wolverine is set up for long-term wealth despite short-term hurdles. This makes him attractive to the needy and the greedy seeking some liquid – including his own teammates. By Graham’s count, at least two fellow Eagles have asked him for substantial loans to get them through the lockout.

NFL labor frequently asked questions: Sides are dug in for long haul |
It could wipe out preseason games in August and even some regular-season games in September. In a worst-case scenario, it would wipe out the entire season, though that seems unlikely.

NFL could weather 2-year work stoppage according to S&P - Feb. 28, 2011
National Football League owners will continue to generate much of their revenue in 2011, even if next season's games are cancelled due to a labor dispute, according to a note Monday by rating agency Standard & Poor's. In fact, some teams may be able to survive two years without any games being played, according to S&P, which said it has confidential debt ratings on various stadium bonds for facilities used by NFL teams and also tracks teams' finances.

N.F.L. Owners and Union Remain Far Apart -
With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of the day Thursday, the N.F.L. faces the most significant threat to labor peace in more than two decades. Will games be missed in September? Maybe. Does anybody know exactly how this is going to play out? No. With so many variables and moves to be made in the coming days, not even the people at the negotiating table know where it will end up by Friday.

TV money gives NFL owners the upper hand | Glenn Dickey | NFL | San Francisco Examiner
It is not surprising that networks would side with owners because they negotiate with the NFL commissioner, currently Roger Goodell, and league commissioners in any sport represent owners, not players. The NFL is a very reliable product for networks, especially the Sunday games when viewership is otherwise low. During the season, the weekly ratings are usually topped by an NFL game, and sometimes, the Sunday and Monday night games earn huge numbers.

Sports Law Blog
Thus, while the NCAA does not make such contact illegal, agents are not allowed to contact freshman, sophomores, or juniors under NFLPA guidelines. Without these regulations it is entirely likely that we will see agents reaching out to those highly desirable underclassmen if decertification comes to pass. Furthermore, it is also entirely possible that after the dust settles the "Junior Rule" does not return.