Posted Thu Oct 14th by Monty
Denver Broncos right tackle Ryan Harris returned to the starting lineup for the first time since injuring his ankle in the preseason last Sunday. His return might be short-lived.
The Broncos experimented with their offensive line formations at practice Thursday, with a healthy Harris splitting starting reps with Zane Beadles at right tackle while Russ Hochstein and Stanley Daniels took turns at left guard.
“They’re rotating in there right now, and we’ll see how that goes,” head coach Josh McDaniels said. “Competition has got to continue to try to make us better.”
McDaniels’ leaning on competition to settle the formation may seem like a good idea, but the Broncos’ starting lineup against Baltimore — from left to right, Ryan Clady, Hochstein, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper, and Harris — was already their fourth different formation in five games. Might some of that depth chart upheaval be contributing to the Broncos’ struggles in run blocking and pass protection this season? At some point the Broncos need to settle on a distinction between starter and backup, right?
“I think we’ve tried to push a lot of players to be in a competitive situation even though the season has already started,” McDaniels said.
To us, that’s just silly. Months of mini-camp, training camp, preseason games, and regular season work should have already settled the offensive line pecking order when everyone’s healthy.
Meanwhile, the Broncos are preparing for a New York Jets team that is about to blitz them in ways they have yet to see this season. Rather than setting his lineup and focusing on what Rex Ryan is scheming, McDaniels is messing with the works.
Furthermore, this experimenting gives whoever ends up starting half the reps, messes with everyone’s confidence (and we mean everyone), and disrupts the rhythm and chemistry their adjacent blockers — Clady, Walton, and Kuper — should be able to expect.
In our opinion, the Broncos should move Beadles back over to left guard, where he started throughout training camp and preseason, and keep Harris at right tackle. This lineup reflects the expected starters heading into the season and puts the Broncos’ five most talented blockers on the field.
Bad job, McDaniels. Make up your mind.