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Broncos might still choose a youth movement on offensive line

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  • Broncos might still choose a youth movement on offensive line

    Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- At first Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said he would like to decide on the team’s starting five in the offensive line as the team’s offseason program wound down.

    Then Kubiak said maybe they would still take a look at things early in training camp. Then maybe deep into the preseason.

    And then he offered that the decisions might go right up until the regular-season opener.

    Louis Vasquez is the only constant on an offensive line featuring young faces at several positions. Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
    Right guard Louis Vasquez is a given -- an All Pro in 2013 -- and even though the other four spots have largely been filled by the same four players throughout the team’s offseason work, there is room for change if any of the four fails to secure his job in the weeks to come.

    As offensive coordinator Rick Dennison put it: "We don’t have to play until September, so we’re not in a huge rush. (We) just want to give everyone an opportunity to compete and see which five are the best to go in the game with."

    As training camp approaches, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where things stand with the team.

    Today: Offensive line

    Friday: Defensive line

    How many coming to camp: 14.

    How many the Broncos will keep: The number kept will be determined by how the starting lineup is configured. Along with Vasquez, rookie Ty Sambrailo has worked at left tackle, Ben Garland at left guard, Gino Gradkowski at center and Chris Clark at right tackle.

    The Broncos believe Sambrailo and Garland are starters, but also want to see if the pair can hold up in training camp practices and preseason games. Gradkowski will have to hold off Matt Paradis and Clark will have to hold off Michael Schofield.

    The Broncos need a swing player in the middle who can play guard and center as a backup, and a tackle who can play both sides. They will likely keep seven offensive linemen active on game days, and if Kubiak keeps to the roster construction of most of his past teams, it’s likely the Broncos keep nine or 10 offensive linemen.

    The guy to watch: The Broncos admitted that once Ryan Clady suffered a season-ending knee injury during an organized team activity, they simply tossed Sambrailo -- their second-round pick in this year’s draft -- into the mix to see if he was up for the job.

    The thinking: Better to find out in May or June if he is an option to protect quarterback Peyton Manning's blind side. The verdict: Sambrailo was a quick study in the offense and showed plenty of flexibility and overall athleticism.

    So, if he shows he play with power on the edge, anchor when he has to in pass protection and move people in the run game, he’ll keep the job. The Broncos drafted him as a future starter, but Clady’s injury made the future now.

    Break it down: In a perfect world the Broncos would like a young offensive line the team could keep together in the years to come in the new offense. Whether that happens this season remains to be seen, but with Sambrailo and Garland already working among the starters, and Paradis and Schofield trying to do the same -- Kubiak said as the offseason program closed that Paradis and Schofield were "making it close" at center and right tackle, respectively -- people can see the template.

    Offensive line is the biggest question mark the Broncos have in the preseason, and the sooner they find some stability there, the better.

    Dr. Giggles

  • #2
    I have advocated this in other threads regarding our kids on the OL. I am glad to see Paradis and Schofield pushing for starting jobs. I think they will ultimately win the jobs, depending on how they do when with the pads go on. If this is the case, then we need to move swiftly and get them the reps needed before the season starts because it is going to take a while and PM can't afford to get beat up early.
    Dr. Giggles


    • #3
      It is a good idea to go young. The sooner it is done the sooner we reap the benefits.

      IMO clady going down has really given us no choice.

      PM will make OL look better then they are and imo Dennison will help Barone make sure people know their assignments.

      I know it is hope based optimism (with a little bit of proven history of the coaches) but do not be surprised if the OL ends up being much better then a most think
      Skill + Effort = Talent. Talent + Effort = Achievement. A. Duckworth - Grit.


      • #4
        Starters coming out of OTAs reported to be

        Ty, Ben, Gino, Vaz, Clark

        I like Ben starting. Would not be surprised to see a change before week 1 tho
        Last edited by Hadez; 07-24-2015, 08:02 AM.
        Skill + Effort = Talent. Talent + Effort = Achievement. A. Duckworth - Grit.


        • #5
          Clark has enjoyed his only success on the left. I believe Ryan Harris has always played on the right.

          If Denver was going 100% zone steps in their rushing attack, Clark might be adequate at RT. Kubiak and Dennison have said they will use both zone steps and angle blocks in their rushing attack. If that is true, I expect Clark to move back to the left within a week after hitting begins because he can't down block.

          IDK if Ryan Harris can down block either. I sure hope Michael Schofield can.

          Sounds like Max Garcia will learn all three inside spots. Also sounds like Sambrailo, Garland and Vasquez will be first team at the start of TC with Gradkowski maybe being pushed by Paradis at C.

          Whoever the five end up being must develop chemistry and communication ASAP.
          "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus