A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2015 season in our 90-in-90 series.
Name: Louis Vasquez
Position: Right Guard
Height: 6'5 Weight: 335
Age: 28 Experience: 7
College: Texas Tech
The Denver Broncos' acquisition of Louis Vasquez was one of the most underrated signings in all of football two seasons ago. It bolstered a position of need for them with the unfortunate injuries to Chris Kuper and weakened their division rival San Diego Chargers at the same time. Given the current dilemma the Broncos currently face with swiss cheese holes all over the offensive line, Denver is extraordinarily fortunate to have a player of Vaquez's caliber on deck to compete in 20145.
The good: Vasquez is the best offensive lineman the Broncos have. A seasoned veteran with 86 games underneath his belt, Vasquez has shown in his time with the Broncos that he has the ability to step-up and play additional spots outside his true calling of right guard when needed. Another bright spot is health and durability. He has three consecutive seasons without being injured and hasn't missed much time in his professional career due to injury. In 2013, he earned All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honors, did not allow a single sack and played in every offensive snap.
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Moreover, Vasquez is a premium run blocker, who uses his power, quickness and smarts to outplay defenders in the trenches. If the Broncos want to run successfully in 2015, they might want to consider a heavy amount of carries in his direction given the instability and issues at other spots across the offensive line. Last but not least, he is a cerebral and discipline player that is rarely called for penalties.
The bad: Vasquez didn't play as well in 2014 as he did the season prior, registering a negative overall grade (-1.2) per ProFootbalFocus, with the adjustment to right tackle likely being one of the reasons why. Fans should be at ease knowing he won't be playing right tackle in 2015 and will assume his natural position of right guard. There aren't many critiques to give on him as a player, so I'll offer this: It's bad that the Broncos only have one true, battle-tested lineman as a starter out of the five they will be fielding this season. That will put more of a burden on Vasquez to perform extraordinarily well in order to set the rhythm and executive of the unit as a whole.
Quotable: "I just feel like it will compliment what my strengths are. Obviously, it’s been successful in the past. We’ll work at it up front. The zone is going to be our bread and butter. With Coach [Offensive Coordinator Rick] Dennison and [Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak in years past, we’re excited up front to get it going. Any time we get to beat people up front, it just excites us." -- Vasquez in reference to the installation of the zone-blocking scheme in Denver.
Status: Vasquez is the teams offensive line leader with longtime left tackle Ryan Clady sidelined for the 2015 season with an ACL injury. His return back to right guard for the coming season should bolster his effectiveness and it's paramount he plays relentlessly and efficiently with all the questions beside him in the trenches. Ben Garland and Andre Davis are expected to compete for back-up spots behind him.