Hello folks! I am here in deep thought after the Super Bowl and the end of the 2010 season. Something that jumped out at me during our disastrous 4-12 campaign and in the Steeler loss. That something is offensive line continuity. For Denver, it was a combination of injuries, inexperience and shuffling lineman in and out of the lineup.
By now we all the story of Denver's OL for 2010. Ryan Clady partially tears a patella tendon while playing basketball, Ryan Harris gets hurt in the last preseason game and was even a healthy scratch for a couple of games, J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles were rookies. Russ Hochstein and Stanley Daniels filled in at LG at different intervals of the season to disastrous results. Combine those variables and you have a recipe for one of the worst running attacks in the NFL and a losing season. This was not the only reason for the losses, but it was a key issue. I talk with Tim Lynch on a regular basis and during the season I kept hammering the point that without an OL that was together and consistent, you never have success at any level of football.
Before the first Kansas City game, Denver averaged 67 yards rushing in eight games, with Moreno having a measly 252 yards. After the bye week, we finally witnessed our five best linemen in the right positions. The line awakened and the yards added up. The team amassed 1006 yards in the final eight games. Out of the four wins, the Kansas City game was easily the best outing for the OL. The rushing ranking went from 32nd to 26th at the end of the season. Those numbers were embarassing, but it shows improvement.
There is a glimmer of hope for Denver for the future. The OL is young and gained valuable experience. Ryan Clady will be healthier and the only change that could be coming is Ryan Harris. When Harris is healthy, he is one of he best, but his history had shown us that he is very fragile. Beadles will hopefully stay at LG and I like what JD Walton has done at C so far. Another offseason of working out and bulking up will help these two make improvements in their game. One thing that is hanging out there is the CBA. If the CBA is not resolved in time, these guys will be on thier own for improving themselves.
It is time for Denver to return to Bronco football and these bulldozers will go along way to keeping our QB clean and our RBs pursuing 1000 plus yard seasons for the forseeable future. This unsung group will help us stay proud to be fans of this team.