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Horse Tracks: Broncos switch up Leary and Garcia at guard

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Free agent acquisition Ronald Leary has been a left guard since entering the NFL, but he will make the switch to right guard for the Broncos, as third-year player Max Garcia feels more comfortable at left guard.

Good morning, Broncos Country.

When the Denver Broncos signed former Dallas Cowboy Ronald Leary to a lucrative four-year, $35 million contract this offseason, the team was hoping he could provide a significant impact for the team’s offensive line — in particular at left guard. That’s the position where third-year player Max Garcia has had his ups and downs early on in his NFL career, which includes action in 32 games and 21 starts.

Leary has been a high-caliber left guard for his entire NFL career and entered OTA’s at the position, but has now switched over to right guard according to Head Coach Vance Joseph who addressed the media after the team’s opening session of mini-camp.

“We moved Max [Garcia] back to left guard and we’re trying Ronald Leary at right guard. Hopefully that’s a better mesh for us,” stated Joseph.

“Leary played left the entire spring and Max played the right, but we think Max is more comfortable playing left and Ronald doesn’t care. That’s the best thing for us. Bolles is alternating with Ty [Sambrailo] at left tackle every other series,” Joseph added.

It isn’t a surprise move, as it was speculated early on after Leary’s acquisition that he may play on the right side, despite his prowess at left guard throughout his career when addressed the media upon his signing by stating he felt comfortable playing on either side. While I may prefer Leary to stick at left guard, if moving him to the right side allows Garcia to become more comfortable and aid in his development, it’s hard to argue against it.

The former Florida Gator has a lot of potential, but has had issues consistently getting to the second level and has struggled with picking up the delayed blitz where he has allowed a handful of pressures and sacks over the past two seasons. If Garcia fails to improve his game early on in the season, I could envision a scenario where the two are switched — or with Leary being moved back to left guard and another young player such as second-year offensive lineman Connor McGovern or fourth-year pro Michael Schofield stepping in at right guard.

Either way, the Broncos’ offensive line has a lot of youth and potential. With new coaches Jeff Davidson and Chris Strausser on board, I believe fans will see exponential improvement in the unit’s overall efficacy on the field in 2017. Games are won in the trenches and their play up front will have a huge impact on whether or not the Broncos can return to the playoffs this coming season.

As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.

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