Denver Broncos: It’s All About the Offensive Line…Again
If the Denver Broncos offense is going to rebound from a dismal year, it has to be about the big men up front. And those issues are being addressed.
Contrary to popular speculation, the Denver Broncos didn’t go from Super Bowl 50 champions to a 9-7 team because of their quarterback situation. The team’s failures to consistently run the football as well as stop the opposition from doing the same were a major issue.
And that’s why this offseason, team boss John Elway spent a good deal of time addressing the trenches. And that meant both sides of the football. Defensively, Domata Peko (Cincinnati Bengals) and Zach Kerr (Indianapolis Colts) should help. Via Michael Spencer of CBS4 in Denver, defensive end Jared Crick has added weight and is looking to get even bigger.
Meanwhile, it’s the offensive line that is in flux. Left guard Max Garcia and center Matt Paradis return. The latter grades out as Pro Football Focus’ best player at his position. But Garcia is far less effective as a run blocker than a pass protector. Also, Donald Stephenson moves from right to left tackle after making 12 starts this past year. Meanwhile, the battle for Stephenson’s former spot is between third-year pro Ty Sambrailo and free-agent addition Menelik Watson (Oakland Raiders).
As for right guard, Elway came up with a great pickup in former Dallas Cowboys’ starter Ronald Leary. He lost his job to La’El Collins in 2015 but when the latter was hurt he did a superb job. Former 16-game starter Michael Schofield is now in reserve.
Elsewhere, the Denver Broncos spending a first-round pick on tackle Garett Boles, it’s obvious that the team is not only looking to get better up front but build some depth as well. With a backfield that includes C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and now veteran Jamaal Charles, new head coach Vance Joseph and returning offensive coordinator Mike McCoy don’t need to see the team finish 27th in the league in rushing, as was the case in 2016. And upgrading the offensive front is as good a place as any to rectify this issue.
Russell S. Baxter covers the Denver Broncos for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Broncos news and features? Like our Broncos Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_broncos on Twitter.