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Broncos O-Line coming together like 'rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong'

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What was once just a car made up of a bunch of parts, our O-Line is beginning to come together like 'Greased Lightnin.' And as Peyton Manning himself said of the Broncos' impressive offensive performance against the Chargers - "it all started with the guys up front."

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos offensive line is getting closer to being the well-'Greased' machine we all want to see, and CH74 is back to tell us exactly how and why as he delves into his weekly breakdown with gusto and a little extra attention to our right tackle who seems to be getting better.

And while Coach is still not sold on Paul Cornick's technique, he's not afraid to give No. 71 some props for improvement over last week. Cornick clearly had a better game, and CH74 has spent some extra time figuring out why...and what still needs to happen for our starting right tackle to get some real kudos from Coach.

Training Wheels for Cornick

I thought I would dig a little into the tape to try to explain why Paul Cornick's second game looked so much better than his first.

Here is a play from the Colts game with Chris Clark at RT.

Clark at RT

This one is from Thursday's game with Paul Cornick at RT.

Cornick at RT

Notice how much wider Cornick's line split is compared to Clark's?

This is an adjustment to account for Cornick's slow feet, and it helps him with his first step when blocking an edge rusher. It also means that Cornick will rely heavily on Vasquez for help if the rush tries to exploit the larger gap.

In Thursday night's game, Cornick did receive copious amounts of help from either Louis Vasquez or a TE chipping in pass protection. Right now, our right tackle has on training wheels. He was nursed through the game in pass protection, which accounts for some of the dramatic turnaround in the Chargers game.

I am not here to rain on Cornick's parade, however. The young right tackle did have some impressive moments. On Manning's first touchdown pass at 13:41 in the second quarter, No. 71 had a huge knock down of Kendall Reyes (#91).

Paul Cornick vs. Chargers 2

I am not here to rain on Cornick's parade; he did have some impressive moments. And his teamwork with Vasquez may be part of the equation for starting.   -Coach CH74

That play shows me Cornick does have a nasty streak, and he can use it in a more positive way than tripping defenders. I am starting to see a little of what the coaches must be seeing. Cornick's prowess in run blocking started to show up in this game. We'll get into that in more detail later on in the individual grades.

Cornick also seems to be working really well in tandem with Vasquez. For the second week in a row, I saw Vasquez and Cornick easily pick up a line stunt. Clark and Vasquez missed those types of pickups on occasion, such as a play in preseason against the Texans that resulted in Peyton Manning getting sacked. This teamwork could be part of the equation as to why Cornick is now starting.

Overall our Big Uglies are gelling and working well as a unit as evidenced by the pounding they put on the Chargers defense to close out the game. If not for the false start penalty logged by Cornick after the two-minute warning, the Broncos closed out the game running the ball without giving it back to the Chargers.

Now let's break it down.

Individual Grades

For those new to this awesome series, here is a key to CH74's "grades" on our Big Uglies:

Key

  • PB - Pass Blocking
  • RB - Run Blocking
  • HD - Hand Placement
  • LV - Leverage/Pad Height
  • FT - Footwork
  • PL/T - Pull and Trap Blocking
  • PNT - Penalties

Grades

  • (=) Average Performance
  • (+) Above Average Performance
  • (-) Below Average Performance

LT Ryan Clady (#78): Ryan had a strong game in pass protection going up against Dwight Freeney. Clady didn't give up a pressure in a one-on-one situation until 6:24 in the fourth quarter. With around 13:00 left in the third, Clady and Franklin botched a tandem in pass protection, allowing a pressure on Manning. On the next play, Clady redeemed himself, getting a nice second-level block at around the 12:30 mark of the third that allowed Hillman to pick up a nice gain of 11.

Broncos OL review vs. Chargers

CH74's Score: PB (+) RB (=) HD (=) FT (=) LV (=) PL/T () PNT (=)

LG Orlando Franklin (#74): Franklin had a rough outing Thursday night. Big O got blown up by Ricardo Mathews on a 3rd and 3 run late in the first quarter, forcing the Broncos to punt. Earlier in the drive, Orlando was slow getting out on a trap play but managed to salvage the block. Franklin logged a holding penalty midway through the third quarter that nullified a nice TD run by Hillman.

CH74's Score: PB (=) RB (=) HD (=) FT (=) LV (=) PL/T (=) PNT (-)

C Manny Ramirez (#66): Ramirez almost flew under the radar in Thursday night's game. Manny was a little off target with a snap to start the second quarter. The ManRam finished the game strong in the fourth quarter with an impressive second-level block at the 14:28 mark and working in tandem with Franklin on the final drive of the game.

Manny Ramirez vs. Chargers

CH74's Score: PB (=) RB (=) HD (=) FT (=) LV (=) PL/T () PNT (=)

RG Louis Vasquez (#65): As mentioned above, Vasquez spent the majority of this game babysitting Cornick. Vasquez and Cornick had a beautiful stunt pickup with 39 seconds left in the second quarter. Big Lou also had a nice second-level block late in the fourth when the Broncos were sealing the victory.

CH74's Score: PB (=) RB (=) HD (=) FT (=) LV (=) PL/T () PNT (=)

RT Paul Cornick (#71): Cornick was a little up and down in his second start. He had a nice down block at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter, but he lost his footing while run blocking with about a minute left in the first half. In the second half, Cornick had a nice second-level block on the first of Juwan Thompson's two touchdown runs. Virgil Green also had a nice lead block from the H-Back position on the run. Cornick gave up a pressure to Chargers LB Reggie Walker (#52).

Broncos OL review vs. Chargers

CH74's Score: PB (=) RB (=) HD (=) FT (=) LV (=) PL/T () PNT (=)


What to look for going into the Patriots game:

The Broncos offensive line appears to be rounding into form. For the second game in a row, Julius Thomas has looked at least adequate in run blocking. Paul Cornick appears to be progressing as long as he isn't facing a rusher with some speed. The Broncos have drastically cut down on the O-Line penalties in the past two games.

I would like to see the O-Line play a clean game in Foxborough. Don't give the Uggs Boy and the Hoodie any post Halloween treats!

GO BRONCOS!!!

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