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Broncos' O-Line breaks No. 1 rule by 'reshuffling' midseason

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The Broncos' offensive coordinator feels like there's still plenty of time to get the O-Line figured out, but CH74 may beg to differ. MHR's own offensive line coach is not as thrilled with the Broncos' move to break "the No. 1 rule in offensive line continuity" by changing so many positions.

Ezra Shaw

Heading into Week 10, the news was all about the offensive line and its reshuffling. Then as Broncos started preparing for Week 11, news broke that Richie Incognito was at Dove Valley.

What is going on, Broncos? Did you hear...it is WEEK 11!!!

According to offensive coordinator Adam Gase, the timing is fine.

"It still feels like we have an eternity left as far as games go in the NFL season," Gase said Thursday. "In baseball this is like 80 games in. We still have a long ways to go. It was nice we were able to do it now and to see how this group is going to gel from here on out."

It still feels like we have an eternity left as far as games go. It was nice we were able to [reshuffle] now and see how this group is going to gel from here on out."   -Adam Gase, offensive coordinator

Gase praised Manny Ramirez, Will Montgomery and Louis Vasquez for their transitions to new positions last week.

"Manny's done a great job as far as he's played so many different positions before he even came here to Denver," Gase said, who worked with Manny in Detroit. "These guys practice this stuff for situations like that. We had the opportunity to put him back out to right guard and see what Will brings to center and see if that helps us get going. I thought it was a good move last week and we did a good job with that whole group."

Gase also thought moving Vasquez outside worked well.

"I think wherever we put Lou, he's going to have success. To me, he's probably one of the better O-Lineman that I've been around," Gase added. "For him to get kicked out there [to tackle], I just thought he's our best guy as far as being able to do this and he didn't prove me wrong. I'm pretty sure 18 felt pretty good in the pocket last week."

But as CH74 tells us, these are not the moves you like to see mid-season in your offensive line. As always, our own offensive line coach is here to break it down and give us some specifics. This week's test at the Rams could be interesting, given the Rams' strong defense and crafty coach against an O-Line "still figuring it out."

Shuffling Along: Denver v. Oakland

Any week culminating a win is a good week, especially when that win comes in convincing fashion over a hated divisional rival.

The Broncos broke the No. 1 rule in offensive line continuity in Week 10 by adding a new center and bumping the right side over a man. The results were effective enough for a win against the lowly Raiders, but the effectiveness of the revamped line remains a question mark going forward.

The Broncos even kicked the tires on the South Beach Bad Boy, Richie Incognito. No stone unturned as they say. Hopefully for the Broncos' sake, it does not come down to signing a maniac.

In Week 10, we saw more issues with the silent count and offensive linemen who were keying off the defense and not watching the ball. Manny Ramirez, Orlando Franklin, and Louis Vasquez all logged false start penalties in the game, with Franklin picking up a second for good measure. The silent count is supposed to mitigate those types of penalties, but our guys need to watch the ball!

As usual, this incarnation of the Denver Broncos offensive line showed that its strength is still in pass protection, and the right tackle is still the weak link, even with big Lou manning the position.

It appeared that Manning started the game with as much apprehension as I had as evidenced by his happy feet early in the game. Once again, transitioning off tandem blocks into the second level was a hit or miss affair, but the interior seemed to have started to figure it out later in the game.

Hopefully the Broncos can figure out a direction for the offensive line and get things settled going into the home stretch. Personally, I think we are seeing all this movement to placate the concerns of offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who I believe may be blaming the offensive line for some of his sketchy run schemes.

When watching Brock Osweiler in the fourth quarter, I wondered if some of the schemes we are seeing with Peyton are actually meant for the future when Brock is behind center. I noticed that some of the straight-up run plays with Manning in the game have a read option aspect tied to them when Osweiler is in the game. That would explain some issues I have seen.

Individual Grades

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): Clady had a solid three quarters and sat out the fourth for some much-needed rest. Clady only made my notes in the negative on a play early in the second quarter where he was beaten inside by DE Denico Autry, giving up a pressure on Manning. Clady and Franklin had a really nice screen set up early in the third quarter.

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

LG Orlando Franklin (#74): Orlando Franklin once again had issues with penalties. As I noted above, Big O logged two false start penalties on the day and seem to jump at any sudden movement made by the defense. This is our old friend the silent snap count at work again. There is an easy fix; watch the GD BALL! Franklin also had a big whiff at 3:00 left in the second quarter. CJ bailed everyone out on the play, taking a check-down 51 yards to pay dirt! Big O once again missed on a fold block that he should have turned up the field and blocked the second level.

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

C Will Montgomery (#64): Welcome to the starting lineup, Monty! I have to admit, I was very apprehensive about this shake up. Montgomery performed a bit better than I expected though. He showed his heady veteran presence, but also had some issues with rustiness as evidenced by his ineligible man down field penalty that he picked up at 14:11 in the third quarter. Watch Montgomery not even make an effort to stay at home long enough not to get dinged with the penalty. Monty did have some nice second-level blocks with an occasional miss. If Will can knock off the rust, we may have a valid starter at center, but I am not sure at this point if he is an upgrade to the ManRam.

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

RG Manny Ramirez (#66): I am noticing a pattern developing in Manny's game over the last two weeks. He seems to struggle early then settle in and play better later in the game. Manny was helping Monty with the line calls and may have been a little distracted by it. Ramirez was beat early in the first by a nice spin move from Antonio Smith. Later in the quarter, ManRam lived up to his nick-name and had a massive block that allowed Hillman to pick up a five yard gain. He followed that up by getting downhill in the second level along with Montgomery; springing CJ Anderson for a nice 17 yard gain. Manny also had the best fold block on the day.

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

RT Louis Vasquez (#65): There must be a rule in the O-Line room that states whoever is manning the RT position that week has to let everyone else on the line look good. Louis struggled a bit playing the right tackle position. Sio Moore beat Lou with a nice outside rip move early in the second quarter. Just over a minute later, he missed Moore at the second level in the run game. Vasquez, as noted up above, picked up a false start late in the game. Big Lou did not look at home in his first start at tackle for 2014. I have to wonder if he may still be battling that early injury.

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

LT Chris Clark (#75): Everybody's favorite whipping boy entered the game in the fourth quarter, allowing Clady some needed rest. Clark flew under the radar for the quarter up until he picked up a holding penalty.

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

What to look for against the Rams:

The Broncos beat a team on the road, but this week's test may prove to be a bigger challenge. I want to see the guys clean up the false start penalties and watch the ball! If Vasquez lines up at RT once again, I want to see him have a better game. Move your feet and use your leverage, big fella!

I will be taking a look at Richie Incognito to try to determine if he is worth bringing on board. My instincts tell me he might not be worth the headache even if the Broncos wait a couple weeks to sign him. The tape doesn't lie though, and I'll try to bring you more on his game!

GO BRONCOS!!!