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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/18/11


Wofford has big fan in Denver as John Fox renews friendships - The Denver Post
"He's just a regular, salt-of-the-earth guy," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "I'll never forget, my son was 3 — he's 8 now — but I had to run down the hall real quick and I came back two minutes later and here's this big man wrestling with my son. My son is punching this guy, laughing. It was John Fox."

A Record from a Golden Age "
Sometimes I feel like choosing a blog topic just because it gives me a chance to write and you a chance to read about an obscure moment that one does not remember, but which has significance nonetheless. That’s the route this one is taking.

Team Reports | NFL at
The Broncos took their case to the people in the wake of the failed CBA negotiations. Team owner Pat Bowlen, co-chair of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, drafted a letter to fans, apologizing for the breakdown that led to the current lockout and looming court showdown. Bowlen's right-hand man, chief operating officer Joe Ellis, not only went the conventional route by talking to local media, he did a one-on-one interview with Mile High Report, the top fan website covering the franchise.

Draft Thoughts: DB’s and WR’s "
I am torn about what the Broncos might want to do in the defensive secondary. On the one hand, the cornerback position went from potentially being a huge need to not nearly so when the Broncos re-signed Champ Bailey. That was huge. There would have been no way to replace a player of Bailey’s ability, especially if the Broncos would have tried to replace him with someone less experienced.


Advanced NFL Stats: Top Ten Most Exciting Games of 2010: Lions at Bears
Known mostly as the game Gene Steratore and his officiating crew redefined what a catch is, changing the outcome of the entire game and delivering the first big controversy of the regular season, week one’s contest between the Bears and Lions was a division showdown pitting rivals with striking similarities: Two young, hugely-expensive franchise quarterbacks attempting to break through after a poor first season; two dominant defensive lines; two suspect-to-atrocious offensive lines.

Charlie Weis’s Offense: The Sequel | Smart Football
Charlie Weis, he of the "decided schematic advantage," is back coaching an offense in college football, this time with Florida. Spencer Hall does a good job explaining Weis’s offense and what Gator fans might expect — or at least as good of an explanation as is possible considering the contradictions: Weis considers himself pro-style, yet once tried to unveil a spread option look to start a season before promptly abandoning it; at Notre Dame his offense’s achilles heel was his teams’ inability to run the ball, and yet when he went back to the NFL his team lead the league in rushing.

Lewis knows Palmer's done with Bengals
According to one GM whose team could use a quarterback, the Bengals know Carson Palmer won't play for them again. But he also believes Palmer won't be dealt -- if he's dealt at all -- for nearly a year.

2010 Bears: What the Film Revealed -
Give a world of credit to Mike Martz and Jay Cutler for surviving, let alone thriving, with such a poor offensive line. Center Olin Kreutz, 33, lost much of his power and mobility, LG Chris Williams struggled in pass protection and rookie RT J’Marcus Webb often invoked thoughts of a beached whale. Yet thanks largely to more balanced play-calling and perhaps a dose or two of sheer moxie, Cutler managed to get more comfortable as the season wore on.

Former NFL Player Says Rules Proposals Off-Target -
"Generally what they've done is try to blame players for how violent the game has become," former NFL player Sean Morey told The Associated Press on Thursday, when the dissolved union's board of directors began its annual meetings. "They had ample opportunity to look at the science and make practical changes and give coaches an opportunity to coach players, and give the players realistic expectations of how they should change the way they hit. And they didn't," Morey added. - Holmgren likes versatility of Hillis, Hardesty
If the Browns enter 2011 with Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty as their top running backs, team president Mike Holmgren would have no problem with that scenario. "I could get real excited about that," Holmgren told Cleveland reporters on March 14. "That's a good combination for this reason — I think they both have excellent ball skills, catching the ball and running skills. So you don't have to have one guy as the runner, one guy as the catcher, one guy as the blocker, you don't have to do that.

Does the NFL's proposed kickoff rule hurt the game? | National Football Post
Hope of limiting injuries: I get this, because I have experienced concussions covering kicks during my career—and they aren’t something to joke around with. During last season, I detailed my own post-career symptoms with concussions at the Chicago Tribune, but that doesn’t mean we should alter the game. I want players to get through Sundays without feeling the impact of a helmet-to-helmet collision, however that is part of the job when playing special teams.

Reaction to new rule proposals | National Football Post
Some thoughts on the competition committee’s recommendations to the NFL: *If you really want to stop illegal hits, the way to do it is with suspensions. Fines aren’t going to work. So the league is going to be justified in sitting down repeat offenders like Pittsburgh's James Harrison.

Kevin Turner's rugged road - AFC East Blog - ESPN
Now his son was headed to the National Football League. He loaded up his maroon 1991 Ford Bronco and, with Guns N' Roses blaring, headed off to Massachusetts, where he began an eight-year, $8 million NFL career, met his future wife and scored some touchdowns. Yet if he knew then what he knows today, he'd be torn about pulling out of Prattville. "If they would have come to me and said, 'I've seen the future. This is what happens.' Of course, I would stop playing immediately," Turner said. "But, as we all know, nobody can see the future. For me, it just falls into a long line of bad decisions."

NFL players reach deal for workouts - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
NFL players now have an official avenue to conduct workouts under professional trainers during the current work stoppage. With players locked out from reporting to NFL teams, the NFL Players Association and Athletes' Performance have agreed to a deal that will allow for monitored group and/or individual sessions. This could prove especially helpful for players like quarterbacks and wide receivers who want to work on their timing in the passing game or position groups hoping to stay close during the work stoppage.

Bulger, Palmer, Newton as QB options - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Kurt Warner offered a few thoughts on Marc Bulger, Carson Palmer and Cam Newton as potential quarterback candidates for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, courtesy of The Fan 1060 in Phoenix.

Oakland Raider arrested on firearms charge - WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida
Lehigh Acres resident Mario Henderson was arrested after a traffic stop in downtown Fort Myers early Thursday morning, according to Fort Myers Police reports.

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara stopped by the NFL Network studios Thursday, and we took some time to get to know him as he prepares for the 2011 NFL Draft. Blogs " Blog Archive Getting to know… Alabama’s Dareus "
Alabama DT Marcell Dareus stopped by the NFL Network studios Thursday, and we took some time to get to know him as he prepares for the 2011 NFL Draft. - Low Wonderlic scores ding elite NFL prospects
Peterson was one of four prospects who recorded a dreaded single-digit score, which NFL teams often equate with getting their name right, tying with South Carolina's Chris Culliver for the lowest mark among all defensive backs as both correctly answered only nine questions on the 12-minute, 50-question test. Green registered the lowest score of all receivers, answering 10 questions correctly.

Source on Da'Quan Bowers: 'Knee is great' | National Football Post
Clemson blue-chip defensive end Da'Quan Bowers' "knee is great," according to a league source with knowledge of the situation. Per the source, Bowers has recovered from his surgery to repair a partially torn lateral meniscus from January and is set to perform at his April 1 Pro Day campus workout. "All is good," the source said. "Is and has been training without limitation for a long time now."

Mikel Leshoure: 'In the NFL now days you need a tandem' | National Football Post
Representatives from 30 NFL teams were present and Leshoure spent 10 minutes chatting with Chicago Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer before doing positional drills. It was interesting to watch and clearly Spencer was there to evaluate Leshoure, who was the only running back present. It’s curious because the Bears have Matt Forte, who is coming off his best season as a pro, and Chester Taylor, who they signed to a $12.5 million, four-year contract last year. Taylor didn’t perform well, but the thinking is the team will still try to get a return on its investment.

52-reps on the bench, OH MY! | National Football Post
Blaine Sumner is a 6-1, 335 pound nose tackle prospect from Colorado School of the Mines. He’s a three-year starter who accounted for over 30 tackles as a senior, 6.5 tackles for loss and a half sack. However, Sumner is a making a lot of noise this pro day season because of impressive numbers off the field. The girthy nose tackle pumped out 52-reps on the bench at the Air Force pro day, breaking the all time Combine record of 49 which was just recently set by Oregon State’s Stephen Paea.

Sources: Brooks Reed moving up draft boards | National Football Post
University of Arizona outside linebacker-defensive end Brooks Reed is rising on NFL draft boards, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation. Initially regarded as a second-round draft selection, he's now entering the first-round conversation and has been linked to the Green Bay Packers' 32nd overall selection in recent mock drafts.

Blaine Gabbert garners praise for pro day performance - Mocking The Draft
"His arm strength is more than enough," Mayock said. "His footwork was cleaner than I expected. … It was a better throwing mechanics workout than what Matt Ryan had. It was just as good as Sam Bradford had. Bottom line, he's the first quarterback off the board and I wouldn't be surprised if Carolina took him No. 1," Mayock said.

Strong Pro Day from Gabbert could push him to 1 -
A strong throwing session from Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert could push him to the No. 1 overall pick.

Pass rusher Aldon Smith earns mixed reviews -
While the vast majority of the NFL (and certainly media) attention was spent on quarterback Blaine Gabbert at Missouri's Pro Day, another potential first round pick -- defensive end Aldon Smith -- was among the other former Tigers who also worked out for scouts Thursday. Like a lot of prospects in the 2011 draft, there is a wide range of opinion regarding Smith. Two sources (who each admitted to me that they attended Thursday's workout more to watch Smith than Gabbert) demonstrated just how different those thoughts could be.


How to run a business, Communist Party-style - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
Some of you may not believe this, given my UC Berkeley education, lefty political orientation and recently expressed views on the NFL labor standoff, but I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party. However, I can think of 32 extremely wealthy individuals for whom such a statement might increasingly appear to be a stretch.

In the NFL, "communism" is more about competition | ProFootballTalk
Indeed, if the league had the chance to reform itself from scratch, the NFL probably would be one company, with the owners of the teams holding shares in the privately-held corporation. This would avoid all antitrust liability, and it would not allow the players to shut down their union and sue, since one company cannot violate the antitrust laws with itself.

NFL to judge: Don't unseal TV contract case info - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
The NFL asked a federal judge Wednesday to deny the players' union bid to release details in a $4 billion TV revenue dispute, saying information should be kept confidential because it is commercially sensitive.

Owners tell players they can't comprehend financial data | National Football Post
"They said, 'even if we provided that information, you wouldn't be able to understand it,'" Morey told the Boston Globe during the NFL Players' Association board of player representatives meetings today in Marco Island, Fla. "You know what, we're players, we're coachable - help us understand it."

"Lockout insurance" case keeps rolling | ProFootballTalk
Ultimately, Judge Doty must decide the remedy for the league’s violation of the expired labor deal, resulting from the lining up of the "lockout insurance." It’s widely expected that, regardless of how it all shakes out, the NFL won’t have the use of that money. Doty also still has on his docket a collusion claim arising from the allegedly concerted failure of teams to not sign restricted free agents in 2010.

Ross Tucker says disrespecting NFL players won’t work | ProFootballTalk
As to the issue of owners arguably disrespecting players during face-to-face negotiations, Tucker makes a great point: It doesn’t produce the desired result. Tucker says that hitting an NFL player in the mouth serves only to make him ready to hit back. And the players now seem to be more than willing to swing fists after the negotiations with the owners.

NFLPA* avoided breaking ranks for six days | ProFootballTalk
"This is a totally unfair fight," Whitlock wrote. "It’s become cliche to say this is an argument between millionaires and billionaires. No. This is an argument between spoiled rich kids and their parents. Once the parents cut off the money, the mouthy rich kids turn bitch quick."

DeMaurice Smith won’t say 18-game season is off the table | ProFootballTalk
So basically there could be conditions where it would be negotiable. So it’s negotiable, and extra roster spots would help. The NFL’s latest proposal was willing to put off an 18-game season at least two years and require NFLPA* approval for any 18-game season.

Chester Pitts on Goodell letter: "We’re not that stupid" | ProFootballTalk
Seahawks guard Chester Pitts, the player rep in Seattle before the NFLPA became the NFLPA*, assailed the letter in comments provided to us via NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah. "I’ve told my guys to take the letter and set it on fire," Pitts said. "We’re not that stupid."

City OKs backup plan to fund Bucs stadium
City council members approved a plan Thursday that would prevent higher surcharges on tickets, concessions and parking at Raymond James Stadium if a proposed NFL lockout disrupts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' upcoming season. Under the plan, the Bucs would cover a nearly $1 million revenue shortfall to avoid the price increases.

Bill Reynolds: NFL strife spoils our sports illusions | New England Patriots | | The Providence Journal
It’s long been the delicate dance of professional sports, the actual sport right there in front us, while the business is done behind the velvet ropes. Or the great quote by some forgotten player who once said about his employers, "When I say football is a business, they say it’s a sport, and when I say it’s a sport, they say it’s a business."

NFLPA kicks off meetings, out to maintain players' solidarity amid lockout - The Huddle: Football News from the NFL -
Less than a week after NFL owners instituted a lockout, more than 100 player representatives from the 32 teams began full sessions on Thursday with a primary purpose to help their rank-and-file adjust to the uncertainty of the labor situation. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes, the team's official rep, said the meetings will help establish, "a blueprint for our success, what we're dealing with every day, going over every possibility that can and cannot happen.

What The NFL Lockout Could Mean For Advertisers
However, the lockout doesn’t just affect NFL programming – a disruption affects all television dayparts and all television advertisers by creating a vacuum of available gross ratings points (GRPs) the metric used for pricing in the marketplace. The supply and demand effect that would ensue would make every other precious GRP that more expensive for advertisers trying to pull together a media plan in the absence of NFL games.

NFL plans to enforce personal conduct policy despite lockout - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Even during the current lockout, NFL players will be held accountable for their off-field behavior. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told on Thursday that the league plans to enforce its personal conduct policy even with players prohibited from reporting to team headquarters. NFL plans to enforce personal conduct policy despite lockout

What they're saying: NFL lockout, Day 6 - NFL - Sporting News
On Day 6 of the NFL lockout, here is what coaches, players and executives are saying around the league: