11 months ago, general manager George Paton made a sizable gamble by selecting an underdeveloped, toolsy interior lineman, Quinn Meinerz, from a tiny Division-III school in the third round.
Paton was almost immediately rewarded for that gamble, as Meinerz was quickly thrust into the starting lineup due to injury, and never looked back. The inexperienced rookie played at a surprisingly high level in 2021 and will look to build off that success as he enters his sophomore campaign.
New Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett is excited to work with someone as gifted as Meinerz, though there will of course be some growing pains.
“Well, it’s going to be a new system to start off,” Hackett told the media on Monday. “It’s going to be the outside zone. The protection schemes are all going to be a little bit different. The sky is the limit for him right now. He’s a guy who didn’t play the whole season. He kind of jumped in there towards the end. I really like what he does. I still remember when he was coming out—he had the videos in the forest working out. I know he’s working out hard right now. He’s going to be a really good right guard for us.”
One would hope that Meinerz, now in the NFL, has progressed past the point of having to block trees for practice, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Hackett is also excited about the opportunity to get to coach Billy Turner again, who was a member of Hackett’s offense in Green Bay.
“Billy [Turner] is the best, man,” Hackett said. “I mean, he’s such a great dude. I think that with him—looking back at it, his experience through the flexibility and how he played—he would jump from one position to the other was something that would always blow me away. It was something I would talk to him about just how he approached it and how he works every day as a pro to be able to do something like that and play right tackle, left tackle, right guard. I mean, it’s really unbelievable. Just as a man as he is off the field is just awesome. I love him. I’m so excited to have him on our team.”
The Broncos’ offensive line is starting to round into form as the 2022 season gets closer by the day.