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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/9/11

Ht3d_medium Readers Choice Awards - Football Blogs**FINALS**

Winners of the Awards will be announced on March 15th.  I really like our chances in this one!  


Elway wants Broncos' defense "to get younger" - The Denver Post
When he was coaching the Carolina Panthers, Denver's John Fox developed a reputation for taking a hands-on approach to scouting college players. Fox will attend pro-day workouts at Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M this week and likely will visit other college campuses in preparation for the April 28-30 draft. "That's the coach in me," Fox said. "I think early on one of the reasons I didn't think I wanted to be a head coach was because I didn't think I'd get to do it very much. But I've been a head coach for nine years and I think you can still do all those things. I think being close and understanding your players is what it's all about to be a successful organization."

Q&A: Don't look for the Broncos to trade Kyle Orton for Carson Palmer - The Denver Post
The Broncos are serious when they say Orton will enter training camp as their starting quarterback. By saying that, they're not trying to improve Orton's value for a potential trade. Every team in the NFL has watched Denver's offense play with Orton and fan favorite Tim Tebow running it. Tebow is a high-character, high-effort player who works hard to keep a play alive — the coveted skill of playing "off schedule." But NFL personnel people think Tebow needs to improve in the pocket and make better reads.

Busy day for Broncos' Elway, Fox includes pro-day workouts at Auburn - The Denver Post
"For me," Fox said, "the pro day is more for the individual meetings. You set it up, put them on the board, get to really find out what's inside of the helmet, instead of just watching tape. Our scouts do a great job as far as finding out about players. But for coaches, and head coaches in particular, it's the first time we have the time to really meet these guys and find out what makes them tick."

Fox, Elway Talk Defensive Line "
"We’ll still hopefully get a chance to talk to Jamal and Bannan down the way, but we’ll see how this whole thing unravels," Elway said, adding that Marcus Thomas has decided to test the free agent market. "We’re still waiting kind of in limbo seeing what’s going to happen. Hopefully we get a deal this Friday and we continue to go forward."

Q&A: NFL lockout would damage Broncos' preparations for 2011 season - The Denver Post
Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, an injury that happened in a noncontact workout. That's the type of injury most players would fear if they worked out in a group during a lockout. Most will try to keep their conditioning at a high level, but that's about it. Fox, Denver's new head coach, would prefer to quickly implement the playbooks. But a lockout definitely would slow that process. The Broncos have decided to reconstruct their defense because that side of the ball needs the most work. Coaches can still work during a lockout, but they won't have any players to work with. And most teams won't pay the coaches' full salaries during a lockout.

NFL NEWS Blogs " Blog Archive Pick Six: Players we’d actually like to return "
Well, the Giants have announced they will release Barber, who will hopefully enjoy his stay in the nation’s capital (just kidding, but do you see a better landing spot?). Undaunted, here are six players we would love to see return to the NFL. 6. QB Jake Plummer Jake the Snake would be rated higher, but I have been enjoying his time on the pro handball circuit.

What Fantasy Football Tells Us About an 18-Game Season -
This is how it works in fantasy football. After the draft, you stare at a computer at the roster you have lovingly compiled. Six weeks later, seemingly half the players are in the hospital. You find replacements on the waiver wire, and a few weeks later, half of them are out. - Effects of '01 Tomlinson-Vick deal still lingering
Here's a question sure to draw a consensus response … with the benefit of hindsight, which 2001 draft pick would you stake the future of your club to, QB Michael Vick or RB LaDainian Tomlinson?

Jason Avant: 'I've been blessed' | National Football Post
Instead of plying a trade on the streets of Chicago as an adolescent drug dealer, Jason Avant overcame his rough background to make it to the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles' clutch wide receiver was exposed to gangs and violence as a youngster, but got on the right path through the guidance of his late grandmother, Lillie.

California Governor not sympathetic to 49ers, Raiders stadium issues | ProFootballTalk
California Governor Jerry Brown, for instance, is willing to do away with funding "redevelopment agencies" that would be necessary for a new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara. So what would the 49ers do then? "Use the ones over at Berkeley and Stanford — they are good stadiums," Brown said via the San Francisco Chronicle. "Private enterprise should be able to survive on its own, as witnessed at Pac Bell [AT&T] Park."

Seattle could be best fit for a Kevin Kolb trade | ProFootballTalk
So just how interested were the Seahawks last year? ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported at the time the Seahawks were calling "non-stop" about the Eagles quarterbacks, and said the Seahawks were only interested in Kolb. The more we think about it, the more that Seattle looks like the most logical fit for Kolb this offseason, if a CBA is reached before the draft. Three big reasons why:

Vinny Cerrato: Jim Zorn ruined by ego, becoming a celebrity | ProFootballTalk
Asked on the Mike Wise Show Tuesday to discuss former coach Jim Zorn’s downfall as Redskins coach, Cerrato blamed Zorn’s ego. "Lookit, when we started out, we’re 6-2 and the guy’s doing a good job. But then I think ego got into play and then he stopped listening to coaches, became a celebrity. I mean, that’s when Rush Limbaugh’s on the sideline, he had all these people on the sideline. Give me a break," Cerrato said via Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog.

Tampering season starts with Mike Sims-Walker | ProFootballTalk
According to one Florida writer, the Rams and Texans have already contacted prospective free agent wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker to signal their interest in him. The only problem? Sims-Walker isn’t a free agent yet and any contact with him or his agent clearly violates tampering rules.

Pierce: Tiki won’t add any leadership to next team | ProFootballTalk
"Tiki Barber, the football player, great player, will be very productive probably in certain situations," Pierce said on NFL Live Tuesday via "Tiki Barber, the leader, the person in that locker room? He is not going to do anything for your team. Now if that is the guy you think you are bringing in, you might want to look in another direction."


Peterson chats of Bailey union - AFC West Blog - ESPN
Peterson was asked by a reader from Colorado if he’d liked to team with Denver cornerback Champ Bailey and help Bailey get an elusive Super Bowl ring. Peterson, who earlier in the chat said Bailey has been among the NFL cornerbacks to contact with him, said he is on board. Here is Peterson’s response to the question: "That would be wonderful to go there and help a veteran get over the hump and get a championship. Champ has been in the game a long time and he's thirsty to win a championship. I would be more than happy to line up beside him and achieve that goal that he wants and that I want as well."

Newton impresses; "area code accuracy" a concern -
Newton's over-the-top delivery actually causes some of his issues, as when his weight is not transferred correctly (as happened in Indianapolis), balls will sail over the heads of his receivers. Keeping short throws low (away from defenders and preventing tipped passes) can be an issue for him, as well, because of tall delivery but he managed that feat Tuesday. The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner completed 50 of the 60 scripted throws, with four clearly dropped passes and a similar number of great catches to grab errant throws, while wearing shorts and facing no defense.

Better than Fairley -
Fairley did weigh in at 297 pounds, however, an increase of six pounds over his weight in Indianapolis. His work in position drills, however, once again showed his excellent athleticism for a 6-4, nearly 300-pound defensive tackle. He gave great effort, as well, not looking like a player going through the motions. He lost some steam after going through several drills, pointing to the lack of stamina some scouts put on Fairley's report, but the limited number of players being worked out gave him plenty of reps. It's doubtful teams will downgrade him significantly for that.

NFL Draft BUST-O-METER: #14 Robert Quinn - Mocking The Draft
Quinn is an extremely interesting prospect in that he brings a ton of upside. However, there are several legitimate question marks surrounding his ability to develop into a difference maker in the NFL. Quinn is a terrific athlete with the ability to bend around the corner and get after the quarterback. He possesses good balance and coordination that allow him to employ several different types of pass rush moves.

Baylor’s Taylor says weight loss has been key to development | ProFootballTalk
Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor says he got a lot of questions from NFL teams at the Combine about his tendency to take plays off, especially earlier in his college career. He said on PFT Live Tuesday that his up-and-down intensity mostly had to do with weight problems. He’s dropped almost 30 pounds (into the 330′s), and says that helps him maintain his energy.

Von Miller gets the dreaded Vernon Gholston comparison | ProFootballTalk
"[Miller's] got some Vernon Gholston in him," former NFL scout Dave Razzano told Matt Maiocco of Razzano spent two decades as an NFL Scout. His opinion differs sharply from those who see Miller as one of the safer picks in the draft. "I’m not a big Von Miller fan," Razzano said. "In looking at Big-12 tape, he does not have a motor. He doesn’t chase hard. They run at him, and he doesn’t fight off blockers. When he gets sacks, a lot of times he’s not getting blocked. He’s a one-move guy."

The impact of a rookie wage scale | National Football Post
Protecting the owners from themselves Since 1993, agents asked for and received large sums of guaranteed money for the top draft picks in the first round. Keep in mind there were two sides involved with these negotiations and the owners signed off on the deals. When the numbers started reaching dizzying heights such as the $50 million guaranteed to Sam Bradford last year, many owners said, "enough is enough". However, nobody was sympathizing or listening to their cry. But when they said, "enough is enough and that money should be re-allocated to veteran players," they got everybody’s attention.

Are there any first-round RBs in 2011? | National Football Post
The running back position has seen an average of three prospects come off the board during the first round each of the past ten drafts. However, with the NFL becoming more of a two-back league and without any runner showcasing the kind of straight-line speed to really intrigue early, do any of the top three backs in this year’s crop make it into round one? Blogs " Blog Archive Lombardi mock draft 3.0: Newton to Bills "
NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi unveiled an all-new top 10 in the latest version of his mock draft, with two quarterbacks going in the top three picks. Blogs " Blog Archive Teams sift through questions about Fairley "
Fair or not, his non-traditional route to the NFL via Copiah-Lincoln Community College that ended in one big season at Auburn also has resulted in questions about his work ethic and a media label as a "one-year wonder." Did the light just turn on for Fairley? Is he still going through the learning process? Will he be willing to work on the next level with NFL-caliber coaches to be an elite player? These are legitimate questions for NFL teams, questions they will have to answer.


If past is a guide, more pain to come - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Yes, they lost millions in revenue ($200 million for seven lost weekends in ’82), but they were aided by an anti-union climate in the country under President Ronald Reagan and also the union’s lack of unity and resolve. In 1987, many a superstar broke ranks with the "middle class" player earning the median salary of $170,000 as the owners’ idea of replacement games actually succeeded with the fans and was accepted by the television networks, who demanded only a slight refund on their new $1.4 billion contract.

Former Lions QB Landry caught in middle in '74 strike
"I was coming in to help the team get organized," Landry said Thursday afternoon. "I was trying to help the football team." Within the first week, Landry said he got wind that the front office was using his presence to talk other veterans into reporting. Landry left camp. "They were using me as a political weapon," Landry said. "I was young and didn't understand that. Once I realized that, I walked out. I left.

NFL players face big decision if owners open financial records - Peter King -
If the books are opened, the union has to decide if it's getting enough detail. Are the owners showing the players enough for the NFLPA to fathom whether the Titans made $4 million in profit in 2010 or $44 million? The players will have to know they're getting a true picture. Then the players will want to examine the figures to know if, in essence, the Seahawks are wasting $20 million a year on employing relatives of the owner. I use both of those things as examples. Neither is true. But the players will want to see how much perceived "waste'' is on the owners' side of things.

Union Rejects N.F.L. Offer to Share More Financial Data -
N.F.L. players union officials on Tuesday rejected an offer from the owners to turn over audited profitability data from all 32 teams for the past several years. The offer, made Monday night, was the first time the owners indicated a willingness to share financial information with the players beyond what is required by the collective bargaining agreement.

Kessler is in D.C., but not in the mediation session | ProFootballTalk
If there was any doubt that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has benched divisive outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, that doubt should now be almost completely removed. Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that Kessler has made the trip from New York to D.C. on Tuesday, but that Kessler isn’t attending the Tuesday morning mediation session.

Union hires firm to review financial information from the league | ProFootballTalk
The NFL still hasn’t agreed to surrender financial information to the players’ union. But the move is expected, and the NFLPA is now prepared for it. Per multiple reports, the union has hired International Investment Bank to review any financial information the league discloses. Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that an auditor the union "has used for years" arrived at the offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service at 3:00 p.m.

Ten more things to know, right now, about the labor situation | ProFootballTalk
In January, NFL outside counsel Bob Batterman explained that the league’s options as of March 4 were simple — lock out the players or declare impasse and impose the terms of the last, best offer. The other alternative, of course, was to extend the deadline so that talks can continue. And that’s precisely what happened. So what’s really going on right now? As best we can tell, it’s a lockout without a lockout being declared. March 4 has come and gone, and free agency hasn’t started. All business has come to a halt. Yes, the lockout has begun. The only thing that has been delayed is the date on which the storm of litigation may commence.

Tuesday’s mediation roster includes Clark Hunt | ProFootballTalk
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the ownership side has called up Chiefs owner Clark Hunt from the practice squad for the festivities. Like Giants owner John Mara — who was activated Monday — Hunt’s family legacy is one of compromise and league-first thinking.

Should high-paid veterans help NFL peers if there's a lockout? - The Huddle: Football News from the NFL -
One of the NFLPA's biggest weaknesses in the event of a lockout is the pay disparity between star players and marginal ones -- the average NFL career is about three years. A long work stoppage will take a bigger toll on marginal players and threaten the union's efforts to remain united in its labor dispute with the owners.

NFL lockout: Is David S. Doty the most influential man in pro football?
The most influential man in professional football, at least in recent days, is not NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. It is not players' union leader DeMaurice Smith. It just may be an 81-year-old federal judge in Minneapolis who fought unions for two decades as a lawyer, but now is considered a messiah by some NFL players and a pariah by the league's owners. Some believe David S. Doty broke the bargaining stalemate between players and owners when he ruled March 1 that the NFL negotiated a $4 billion lockout fund from television networks "to advance its own interests and harm the interests of the players." He threatened to assess damages against the league.