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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/19/11



Q&A: Orton the Broncos' starter for now - The Denver Post
Orton is the announced starting quarterback at this point. Tebow is more popular. And some have even wondered why the team would name Orton No. 1 as well as why the Broncos have spent so much time looking at quarterback prospects in this year's draft. In short, when John Elway and John Fox said Orton is the starter, that sent a segment of the Broncos' faithful into a frenzy, with some saying they wouldn't go to games if Tebow wasn't the quarterback.

Broncos Draft History: Wide Receivers
As we wrap up our week's preview of the wide receivers available in the 2011 NFL Draft, let's take a look back at who the Broncos have drafted at the position.

Watching the Mocks: March 18 "
It’s been more than a month since the last Watching the Mocks, and plenty more voices have chimed in. From, Charley Casserly, Michael Lombardi, Bucky Brooks and Pat Kirwan each have the Broncos selecting Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus with the second overall pick.


Mike Pereira: Evaluating potential NFL rule changes - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Hey, Calvin Johnson — guess what? It is still not a touchdown. Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons and chairman of the NFL’s Competition Committee, confirmed Wednesday that no significant changes to the rule regarding complete or incomplete catches have been made that would have taken a play that most everyone thought was a touchdown and made it exactly that.

Cardinals aren't inclined to spend good money on a vet QB | National Football Post
Of course, the Cardinals are also out kicking the tires on some of the draft prospects, and it’s believed they’ll take a close look at Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert although they may not be interested in Auburn’s Cam Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner. If the Cardinals don’t go after a high draft pick – and sitting at No. 5 there is no guarantee Gabbert will be available when they select – then they’re going to have to fish in an awful small pond of veterans.

Cold, Hard Football Our Naughty Nurse takes vital signs in Atlanta
The Atlanta Falcons were a very strange football team in 2010. They weren’t really great at anything, but they did a lot of things pretty well and made the most of it. Had Bill Belichick’s Patriots not gone 14-2 despite overwhelming evidence that this was impossible, Mike Smith would have been a very good choice for Coach of the Year.

The Offensive Footprint - Football Study Hall
One of the reasons I was hoping to start an SBN football nerd blog was simple: I love SBN's community-building format, and there are so many concepts I would love to discuss with a solid SBN community. One of the concepts I'm still trying to figure out is one of The Footprint.

The Offensive Footprint, Part II (Pace and Variability) - Football Study Hall
I introduced a table with three run-pass ratio categories (standard downs, passing downs, red zone) and asked for further feedback. Based on that feedback, I want to introduce two more categories to the footprint.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Worst Cornerback Charting Stats 2010
On Wednesday, we took a look at the best cornerbacks of the season according to the FO game charting project. Today, we'll flip things around and look at the corners who rank at the bottom of the game charting stats. I've ranked all cornerbacks with at least 40 charted passes, which means 83 total cornerbacks. 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.

Cowboys launch clothing line for extra revenue
Whether it's to make a fashion statement or generate extra revenue during the NFL lockout, the Cowboys have launched a line of football apparel called Nineteen60.

NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith, NFL Aumni's George Martin to meet - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN confirmed that NFL Alumni executive director George Martin has accepted an invitation to attend NFLPA meetings focused on veteran players next week in Marco Island. This breaks the cold war between Martin and DeMaurice Smith that the former has alluded to in public criticism of the NFLPA's executive director.

2010 Detroit Lions: What the Film Revealed -
A review of the 2010 Lions comes with an asterisk, given that Matthew Stafford missed all but three games. Shaun Hill was decent but not someone you build your attack around. Hill, of course, was in somewhat of a tough spot because Detroit’s shoddy interior offensive line struggled to create lanes in the run game. - Changes at guard in store for Raiders
The Raiders were one of the league's busiest teams early this offseason, extending the contracts of several potential free agents before the owners locked out the players. The moves helped ensure that the vast majority of starters from last season's team will be under contract for 2011, but starting OLG Robert Gallery, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent, will get a chance to gauge his value on the open market and he said he'll be leaving the team.

Remember Vince Young? | National Football Post
Vince Young—in a way—has been forgotten. While the NFP was in Boston shooting videos with Comcast Sports Net for the upcoming NFL draft, the quarterback position was a hot topic of discussion. Multiple teams—Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington, Minnesota—need a legitimate upgrade either through the draft or (hopeful) free agency once a new CBA is put on the table.

The Worst Sports Fans in America: Lists: GQ
4. Oakland Raiders Criminals Ever since John Madden collected the NFL's most vicious trouble cases into a Super Bowl–winning wrecking crew, the Silver and Black have attracted an unholy fan base of hell-raisers, gangbangers, and inveterate knife-lickers, all of whom firmly believe that skipping town for an away game is well worth the parole violation. (The Raiders' 1999 visit to San Diego resulted in so many midgame stadium fights that even the players on the field turned to watch.) Still, while Raider Nation has a sterling record of glorifying criminality, it must be noted that their long-standing tradition of attending home games dressed in ridiculously elaborate handcrafted costumes is fierce only insofar as that term is used on Project Runway.

Head coach Andy Reid pretty much acknowledged that this week in an interview with club employee Dave Spadaro that appeared on the team’s web site. ``People have shown a little interest (in Kolb), and as this thing picks up, I’m sure it will continue,’’ Reid said. ``Listen, we’ll sit back and we’ll evaluate.’’ Kolb has just one year left on his contract. It wouldn’t be a financial burden for the Eagles’ to keep him as a backup to Michael Vick. While Vick signed a franchise-player tender that will earn him in excess of $16 million this year, Kolb’s 2011 salary is less than $2 million.

Lockout could equal rent break for Chiefs | ProFootballTalk
According to the Kansas City Business Journal the Chiefs could actually get a break in the rent they owe to Jackson County if the team misses games. "These clauses typically are inserted into leases to cover calamities such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. However, the clause in the Arrowhead Stadium lease also includes ‘strike, lockout, work stoppage or other labor disturbance," James Dornbrook writes.

Former Pro Bowl receiver hospitalized with "brain-related condition" | ProFootballTalk
Receiver Drew Hill, a two-time Pro Bowler who played for the Rams, Oilers (now the Titans), and Falcons, has been hospitalized in Atlanta with a "brain-related condition," according to Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange.


Teams plan on building through draft
"I always thought our system was backwards in that regard," an AFC head coach told me. "Most head coaches prefer to build their teams through the draft with young players. But I know that several times we busted our salary cap by competing for free agents, driving their prices up. I can’t tell you how many times that free-agent player didn’t produce like my personnel people kept telling me he would. I know we all have made some bad investments." Blogs " Blog Archive Getting to know…Cal DL Cameron Jordan "
California Golden Bears DL Cameron Jordan stopped by the NFL Network studios Friday, and we took some time to get to know him as he prepares for the 2011 NFL Draft. - Draft Dose: Recent supplemental draft picks
While most of the action occurs in April at Radio City Music Hall, there is another draft held by the NFL. Although the NFL supplemental draft is accompanied by significantly less fanfare (it usually takes place over the phone), it has produced solid players. Broncos NT Jamal Williams, former Vikings WR Cris Carter, and legendary Browns QB Bernie Kosar were all products of the supplemental draft.

Differing opinions on Aldon Smith workout | National Football Post
Missouri standout defensive end Aldon Smith was another big focus for NFL scouts at the Tigers' Pro Day workout also known as the Blaine Gabbert Show. According to CBS Sports' Rob Rang, NFL scouts had differing opinions on the workout.

Smith doesn't see Newton comparison
"If they feel he's a one-year wonder, then, please, let him break in behind a veteran," Smith said this week from San Diego. "I love his game. I think he'll be a very good NFL quarterback. If he does what I didn't do and not get caught up in the clubs and the entertainment thing and he does what he's supposed to do in the offseason, he'll be fine."

History shows No. 6 pick in NFL Draft can be hit or miss - Canton, OH -
The No. 6 overall pick could be a gold mine. Or it could be a mine field. Going by Mel Kiper Jr., the Browns could wind up with the No. 1 player in the draft, even though five teams pick ahead of them. "You have eight or nine guys that could go No. 1 overall," the 50-year-old "guru" says.

Behind the times: The Ten-yard split | National Football Post
So much is made of the 40-yard dash times every year for prospects at all positions. However, when evaluating pass rushers one of the main numbers I tend to put more weight into is their ten-yard split. In my mind there is more of a correlation in measuring their initial get off burst with their ten-yard split than with their overall 40. Now, measuring a ten-yard split isn’t the end all of figuring out who can rush the passer in the NFL and who can’t. However, if you have a guy who can consistently fire off the ball quickly, than you at least have a prospect who can threaten the edge with his speed rush at the next level.

Stacking up Nick Fairley vs. Marcell Dareus | National Football Post
The consensus top two defensive tackles in this April’s draft are Nick Fairley of Auburn and Marcell Dareus of Alabama. Both had very productive 2010 football seasons. There has been much debate over the last few weeks as to who is the better football player. They play similar positions, but they are not similar players in style of play. Let’s take a look at both.

2011 NFL Mock Draft: A new DT sits atop Todd McShay's latest mock draft - ESPN
Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M The Broncos are transitioning to a four-man front under new head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, and upgrading the defensive front seven tops their priority list. Dareus should be the pick if he's available but he's not in this scenario. So, if it comes down to a choice between Peterson and Miller, I would choose the pass rusher (a greater need for Denver) with an identical grade. Miller can provide an immediate upgrade at SLB and he also would team up with a healthy Elvis Dumervil to help resurrect a pass rush that had a league-low 23 sacks in 2010.

Jarvis Jenkins NFL Draft Scouting Report - Mocking The Draft
Final word: Jenkins is a nice looking prospect that has good strength and size. However, he appears to have limited versatility and likely would best fit the nose tackle spot in a 4-3 defense. His limited suddenness and quickness mean that he isn't going to make a lot of plays away from his frame. Where he will be successful is by playing two gap football and keeping linebackers clean. I do like his ability to collapse the pocket and feel possesses the overall skills to be successful in the NFL.

Chris Steuber 2011 NFL mock draft - Mocking The Draft
NFL Draft analyst Chris Steuber has written for and NFL Draft Scout. Now, he's the Director of Pro Player Personnel for the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League. So when he offered to run his mock draft on MtD, I was delighted. One interesting move you'll see is a projected trade between the Rams and Redskins. It's a trade that makes sense, even if he didn't provide the full details.

Overrated Wonderlic no true measure of NFL future -
As a NFL Draft analyst with a background in Education, I value the role that intelligence plays in the game of football. The ability to decipher information quickly -- especially at the quarterback position -- is absolutely critical to success. That said, the NFL's version of an intelligence test -- the famed Wonderlic -- is the single most overrated element of the pre-draft process. (And considering the hype generated from the 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump, that's quite an accomplishment.)



Ice Time: Can the NHL benefit from the NFL lockout? - NHL - Sporting News
"Labor unrest in professional sports is damaging across the board. I don't think anyone benefits," Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke told Sporting News. "There is a fan fatigue factor. They don't understand why professional athletes would strike, they don't understand why wealthy owners would lock them out." In Burke's opinion, labor negations gone bad in any sport reflect poorly on all the others. When the NHL collective bargaining agreement expires after next season, the three other major professional sports in the States will have gone through their negotiations and the possible work stoppage that comes with them. Union should have made "counter, discussed issue" if it had problem with NFL’s proposal "
Former NFL player Pete Kendall, the NFLPA’s permanent player representative, described to news media today an account of the union’s decision to break off negotiations last Friday, saying that the NFL pulled "a switcheroo" by not including a "true up" clause to determine the revenue split. Pash: Proposal to players offered unprecedented 90 percent of salary cap in cash "
In an interview yesterday on Sirius NFL Radio with Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan, NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash noted that the NFL clubs offered players an unprecedented guarantee – an average of 90 percent of the salary cap spent in cash over a three-year period.

Vrabel wants to negotiate directly with owners, only | ProFootballTalk
Our eyebrows raised the highest when Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel said that the players are willing to negotiate, but that they don’t want to negotiate with outside counsel Bob Batterman, in-house counsel Jeff Pash, or Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Our Executive Commitee needs to negotiate with Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft, Jerry Richardson, their Executive Committee," Vrabel said. "People that are willing and can agree to a deal. Jeff Pash can’t agree to a deal."

Players calmly take to UStream: "It will be resolved" | ProFootballTalk
A number of NFLPA* reps took to UStream on Friday in a series of quick interviews in which they answered questions from fans. Gone was the inflamed rhetoric that we heard from Drew Brees, Kevin Mawae, and DeMaurice Smith earlier this week. Instead, the players calmly talked about the issues and even sounded optimistic occasionally.

Brady v. NFL: a primer | National Football Post
Before we return to the "he said/she said" phase of the NFL labor dispute, I thought I would focus on what is actually in front of us as the reality of the NFL right now. Thus, here is a primer on the case of Brady v. NFL, a case whose eventual settlement will be the basis for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in the NFL.

League accepts Vrabel’s offer, but not unconditionally | ProFootballTalk
"The NFL’s negotiating team — accompanied by the three owners Mike mentioned, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson and Robert Kraft — is prepared to meet immediately. Just tell us when and where," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. In other words, Batterman, Pash, and Goodell will be there, too.

Details Emerge on Battle Over N.F.L.’s Projected Revenue -
N.F.L. players raised a new issue of contention Friday, when one of their leaders said the main reason players ended negotiations a week ago was that the owners’ latest offer would have prevented players from getting more money if revenue was above projections.

NFL Players Say Goodell Attempted to 'Divide' -
They consider the letter Commissioner Roger Goodell sent them a day earlier an attempt to create "dissension." They refute the league's contention that the union walked away from negotiations.