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  • Broncos seek at least three new starters on offensive line

    The Oline problems seem to date to the point where Manning's performance dropped off suddenly. Getting pressure up the middle is exactly the way you hurt a pocket QB more than just about anything. Also having the RB getting hit at or behind the line one-third of the time probably means that whatever running plays were getting called weren't being called with any competence; they weren't designed to work with the reshuffled personnel given how Schlereth diagnoses the misuse of Clady and Ramirez. So it's no mystery that Adam Gase wasn't retained.

    There will likely be three new starters on the line in 2015, with right tackle Louis Vasquez moving back to his best position, right guard, and Ryan Clady at left tackle. Clady was the team's first-round pick in 2008 -- Mike Shanahan's last season as coach -- and is the only lineman on the roster who has played in an offense similar to the one Kubiak is expected to install, regardless of whether Peyton Manning returns.

    "Yes, that's absolutely, 100 percent correct, three new starters minimum," said ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, who played six seasons at guard for the Broncos with Kubiak as the offensive coordinator. "And let's face it, even with that, Clady has to be better than he was [in 2014]. Whether that's the injuries, that he's broken, or not, we'll see."

    In early November, the Broncos moved Vasquez from right guard (where he had been an All-Pro in 2013) to right tackle, moved Manny Ramirez from center to right guard, and moved Will Montgomery to center. The lineup stayed that way for the remainder of the season. But that created as many issues as the Broncos were trying to repair. The offense lined up mostly in a three-wide receiver set, so it created problems for players out of position, especially Ramirez. As a result, the Broncos consistently surrendered pressure in the middle of the formation.

    The Broncos also saw their running backs being hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on a third of their carries.

    "[Ramirez] is a big, strong guy, a straight-ahead guy, and in their personnel he was moved from center, where he was uncovered most of the time and could be a helper, and moved to guard, where he's covered 90 percent of the time," Schlereth said. "He was a liability there. An inept move to make."

    The strip-sack forced fumble by Manning in the Broncos' playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts offered another glimpse of the Broncos' issues up front. The offense was in a three-wide receiver look, and no tight end was lined up next to Clady on the weak side. Clady was asked to help left guard Orlando Franklin -- Ricky Jean Francois had quickly beaten Franklin -- and then get back outside to slow down Jonathan Newsome, again with no tight end help.

    Clady, who played through thigh and groin injuries down the stretch, could not make all that happen. Newsome hit Manning and forced a fumble early in a game in which the Broncos never seized much momentum.

    "So you look at that play and the lineman looks like an ass, the quarterback gets hit -- but that movement, in that protection, with no tight end to the open side, would be impossible for Clady when he was young and athletic," Schlereth said. "They were asking players to do what they shouldn't ask them to do."
    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/po...offensive-line

  • #2
    Sounds about right. I wouldn't be surprised to see either Montgomery or Franklin back, but something needs to change. This is also a part of the reason Julius will be gone. The line needs a major overhaul and a good new C and RT/LG.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by CasualFan View Post
      The Oline problems seem to date to the point where Manning's performance dropped off suddenly. Getting pressure up the middle is exactly the way you hurt a pocket QB more than just about anything. Also having the RB getting hit at or behind the line one-third of the time probably means that whatever running plays were getting called weren't being called with any competence; they weren't designed to work with the reshuffled personnel given how Schlereth diagnoses the misuse of Clady and Ramirez. So it's no mystery that Adam Gase wasn't retained.



      http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/po...offensive-line
      I'm not entirely sure they won't resign Franklin, but I do agree with he premise that they need at least 2 new starters on the o-line next year. I think it would be a shock if Ramirez is back and the Broncos haven't had a consistent starter at centre since Tom Nalen (unless I'm missing someone), it's time to draft a centre who can be here for the next 10 years rather than trying to sign a vet and hope he works out.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Houshmazode View Post
        Sounds about right. I wouldn't be surprised to see either Montgomery or Franklin back, but something needs to change. This is also a part of the reason Julius will be gone. The line needs a major overhaul and a good new C and RT/LG.
        Hey Housh, can you explain to me your reasoning about why needing to overhaul the line means Julius will be gone? Does that have to do with needing money to sign other guys, or would they be doing that through the draft. I don't understand that part of the business so I'd love to learn and hear what you mean by that.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by broncoslover115 View Post
          Hey Housh, can you explain to me your reasoning about why needing to overhaul the line means Julius will be gone? Does that have to do with needing money to sign other guys, or would they be doing that through the draft. I don't understand that part of the business so I'd love to learn and hear what you mean by that.
          Well, money will be part of it unless Manning restructures, but I meant that Julius' poor blocking did not help the oline at all and will be the main reason he isn't returning. If we're going to move to Kubiak's offense, we need players who buy into blocking and are proficient at it, having Thomas in there is a liability and puts more pressure than needed on our tackles when he lines up next to them. I'm not an expert on the business side, coaching side or playing side by any means but I believe our overall goal is to improve the run and pass blocking and paying Julius what he'll command on the market still leaves us with the need for another blocking TE (Dominique Jones may get a lot more playing time) and then we still have to pay for starting Oline FAs and a couple other players to fill needs. It just makes more sense from an on-the-field and a business standpoint to let JT walk, imo.
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          • #6
            I would agree that we need a Center and a left guard as soon as possible.

            Draft a Center in the 2nd round.

            As far as LG, everyone is saying to sign Mike Iupati from the 49ers, but in this year's game vs. the 49'ers, the Broncos made him look bad, in gfact he got utterly destroyed. So I don't know if he's really THAT good.

            Also, we would need a RT. Who can play right tackle? Franklin or one of our rookies this year?

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            • #7
              Denver faced odd front defenses in half of their regular season games in 2014. In view of this, it is inaccurate for Mark Schlereth to say the Guards were " ... covered 90 per cent of the time ... " It was probably more like 50 per cent.

              In 2015, the Broncos will face as many as ten odd front defenses if Pittsburgh stays with it and Chicago moves to it. If the Steelers and Bears are split front in 2015, Denver will face eight odd front defenses.

              The NFL is pretty evenly divided between split and odd front Ds. It would be unlikely to face one or the other 90 per cent of the time in one season.

              So, Center is uncovered about half the time, and Guards are the other half.
              "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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              • #8
                Originally posted by aditheman View Post
                I would agree that we need a Center and a left guard as soon as possible.

                Draft a Center in the 2nd round.

                As far as LG, everyone is saying to sign Mike Iupati from the 49ers, but in this year's game vs. the 49'ers, the Broncos made him look bad, in gfact he got utterly destroyed. So I don't know if he's really THAT good.

                Also, we would need a RT. Who can play right tackle? Franklin or one of our rookies this year?
                Iupati will be overpriced and comes from a 49ers offense that was heavy on power runs with pulling linemen and didn't run nearly as much pure zone. The zone concept is two blockers for two defenders but it's generally a double team (at least on inside zone) to 2 single teams, the way the second level defender steps decides which of the offensive linemen will leave to climb to the next level. No idea if Iupati can read that well or if he has the agility to go from a combo block to climb to the next level and execute the single block. In a power scheme it's easier guard pulls, comes around and picks up the first unblocked other jersey that he sees.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by samparnell View Post
                  Denver faced odd front defenses in half of their regular season games in 2014. In view of this, it is inaccurate for Mark Schlereth to say the Guards were " ... covered 90 per cent of the time ... " It was probably more like 50 per cent.

                  In 2015, the Broncos will face as many as ten odd front defenses if Pittsburgh stays with it and Chicago moves to it. If the Steelers and Bears are split front in 2015, Denver will face eight odd front defenses.

                  The NFL is pretty evenly divided between split and odd front Ds. It would be unlikely to face one or the other 90 per cent of the time in one season.

                  So, Center is uncovered about half the time, and Guards are the other half.

                  10 odd fronts means plenty of inside zone to me, especially if they're playing their outside backers up in a 50.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Houshmazode View Post
                    Well, money will be part of it unless Manning restructures, but I meant that Julius' poor blocking did not help the oline at all and will be the main reason he isn't returning. If we're going to move to Kubiak's offense, we need players who buy into blocking and are proficient at it, having Thomas in there is a liability and puts more pressure than needed on our tackles when he lines up next to them. I'm not an expert on the business side, coaching side or playing side by any means but I believe our overall goal is to improve the run and pass blocking and paying Julius what he'll command on the market still leaves us with the need for another blocking TE (Dominique Jones may get a lot more playing time) and then we still have to pay for starting Oline FAs and a couple other players to fill needs. It just makes more sense from an on-the-field and a business standpoint to let JT walk, imo.
                    Thanks, I appreciate your response.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Butler By'Note View Post
                      10 odd fronts means plenty of inside zone to me, especially if they're playing their outside backers up in a 50.
                      Sure. It's a waste of time and effort to try and run outside on an odd front 50/3-4. Trapping the play side Backer works well, too, especially if the Ends are in 5 tech.
                      "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                      • #12
                        If they're down in a 50 and the backside guard and centre can get a lot of movement on the NT it can open up huge cutback lanes.

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                        • #13
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                          • #14
                            If I were to hazard a guess, I think Denver resigns Franklin and moves him to RT. I think JT will end up in a different uniform. If there is a solid vet C FA available (maybe Wisniewski?), I expect Elway to go after him. For some reason, Denver has missed on multiple D draft picks. Although, I believe JD Walton had a decent year for the Giants. I don't have a clue about plans for LG. I'm not sure they have anyone on the roster that can fill that spot. Maybe they can find a tough kid in the draft to immediately step in. I hope.

                            I expect next year's line to start the season: Clady, rookie, FA, Vasquez, Franklin.

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                            • #15
                              I could see us going with 3 new starters or just 1.

                              LT=CLADY*
                              LG=FRANKLIN/GARLAND
                              C= MONTGOMERY/RAMIREZ
                              RG= VASQUEZ*
                              RT= New Starter/SCHOFIELD
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