Posted Mon Sep 3rd by Tim Lynch
We’ll start with the starters at each position, since they remain unchanged from last year. Sadly, it also looks like the Denver Broncos were unable to improve their depth situation along the line. The health of the starters is going to be huge for the 2012 NFL Season and especially so for Peyton Manning.
At left tackle, Ryan Clady is stellar and will continue to anchor that position for at least the next 7-8 years. He is a special talent and one of the few times Mike Shanahan was able to hit a home run with that first round pick. He does tend to get some holding penalties called against him, but that might just be the few times he actually gets beat. I would say it’s better to protect the quarterback from your mistakes than to play it clean and let him get blown up. (Profile)
At right tackle, Orlando Franklin is an obvious choice as a mauler type of rush blocker. He also may not be as weak in pass protection as people believe. The experiment with him at guard either didn’t work out or Zane Beadles was far worse at right tackle. If Franklin does get beat, at least Peyton Manning has a chance to see it coming. The advantage of putting Franklin on the edge in the running game is just too valuable to mess with. (Profile)
The old guy on the line and coming off a gruesome ankle injury that many of us saw and held back our gag reflexes, Chris Kuper is easily the leader of the line and one of the best interior lineman in the league. Pairing him with Orlando Franklin will make the right side of the line a prime location for the Broncos rushing attack. The number of old school kind of players continues to dwindle in the NFL, so its nice to know the Broncos got one where it matters – in the trenches. (Profile)
At left guard, Zane Beadles helps keep blockers out of Manning’s face, but many Broncos fans are unsure if Beadles is a long term solution as a starting offensive lineman. He is young, and young players improve drastically each year – hopefully we’ll see this on the football field in 2012. I like him as a player, but he made too many mistakes last season and must improve from that. (Profile)
At center, J.D. Walton refused to allow any speculation about who would be the starter going into the season, even with John Elway picked Philip Blake in the 2012 NFL Draft. So far, it certainly appears as if Walton has improved from last year. If there is one thing fans can take solace from is that another year’s worth of chemistry should page huge dividends for the Broncos offensive line this year. (Profile)
It appears as if Chris Clark will be the primary backup at the tackle position. The depth is thin, but Clark had a solid preseason and looks improved from a year ago. We’ll just need to hope things stick together through the entire season. (Profile)
At guard, Manny Ramirez will likely cover for Zane Beadles and Chris Kuper at times during the game. Again, depth is thin here as well. Health is going to be a major factor for the offensive line. (Profile)
Surprisingly, even C.J. Davis beat out Philip Blake on the depth chart at center. His history with John Fox could mean that one of these three centers could be shown the door when D.J. Williams returns from his lengthy suspension. (Profile)
Rookies always have a few years learning curve to get acclimated to the NFL, which is why I wasn’t too high on picking 27 year old Philip Blake this past April. He will be almost 30 when he should be done figuring the NFL out. Now with his inability to push upwards on the depth chart could mean it was a wasted pick. Here’s to hoping my hunch is wrong – as they often are! (Profile)
What do you think of the Broncos offensive line? Let us know in the poll below or in the comments section. Go Broncos!
Is OL depth the Broncos biggest concern heading into the 2012 season?
- Yes (52%, 52 Votes)
- No (48%, 48 Votes)
Total Voters: 100