The Denver Broncos' hiring of head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison means changes to the offensive line are likely coming. For veteran tackle Ryan Clady, those changes look to be for the better.
Clady was originally drafted by former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan in 2008 to be a left tackle in a zone blocking scheme, the same system Kubiak and Dennison will bring back to Denver. After missing most of 2013 due to injury and struggling through an off year in 2014, Clady is ready to embrace a return to the zone.
"That's what Shanahan drafted me to do, and I'm good at it," Clady told DenverBroncos.com this week. "So I'm definitely down for the zone scheme."
Clady is also down for a clean bill of health. The 2014 Pro Bowler admitted that this past season wasn't his best, and that the Lisfranc foot sprain that knocked him out of the 2013 campaign was part of the reason.
"I was struggling with it early in the season," Clady said. "I just tried to stay on top of it with treatment and stuff. It's the hardest injury I've ever had. I'm a year and a half from the first surgery now, and I still feel a little soreness here and there."
Clady's grades throughout the 2014 year reflect those early-season struggles. ProFootballFocus.com graded him at -6.5 overall for the first 10 games of the season; in the last six games, he scored +1.3.
"It's definitely better," Clady said, "and this next year I'm just excited to get a full offseason, I don't have to rehab, and just come back 100 percent."
If I'm Gary Kubiak, supporting Ryan Clady's return to form this offseason is Priority #1B after taking care of Peyton Manning. Do whatever it takes to get Clady fully healthy and in top shape for 2015.