The Denver Broncos have been through the ringer as far as the offensive line goes. Much like the turnstiles at the entrance to Mile High Stadium the offensive line has been turned over constantly in the last few seasons, none more than 2014.

Louis Vasquez spoke to the media Wednesday and made it clear that his intentions are to move back to his natural position at guard and is also excited to run the zone blocking scheme Gary Kubiak is bringing to town. However, after Ryan Clady and himself the rest of unit is still in flux.

Vasquez joined the Broncos in 2013 and immediately dominated. After the season he was named a first team All-Pro due to his excellent play at right guard. He didn’t allow a sack and was a powerful weapon up the middle of the offense.

Things changed in 2014. To begin the season Orlando Franklin was moved to left guard and Chris Clark took over at right tackle. Clark and the Manny Ramirez were struggling to perform consistently and big changes were made. Vasquez was moved to right tackle in week 10 and the transition did not go well.

Vasquez gave up four sacks and 15 quarterback hurries after the switch according to Pro Football Focus and it was clear he was not comfortable out on the edge.

“Any time you get a shift like that—from guard to tackle for me personally—I had to put my work in because it wasn’t easy. It strained us as a unit up front.”

The team really never found the chemistry they were looking for upfront and it showed down the stretch. Vasquez is ready for a new start with the coaching staff and he and his teammates are just taking everything in at team meetings thus far.

“It’s obviously a full system change, so it’s a learning process. Every day the coaches do a great job. Us as players feel like we’re doing a tremendous job just staying in our books, staying on top of everything and just picking up something different every day to learn this whole new system.”

Learning the system has been easier for Vasquez to pick up than he anticipated due to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and Kubiak’s long history of running the zone-blocking scheme.

“Any time we have questions they know it like the back of their hands. If we have any questions, Coach is more than willing.”

Furthermore Vasquez, who has thrived in power running schemes is more than willing to take on the new system and believes it will benefit his big, powerful frame.

“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 Dennison and coach 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 and Clady will be the only definitive starters at left tackle and right guard in 2015. Center, left guard and right tackle remain an open tryout with both veterans and second-year players currently on the roster in competition from now, until September.

Vasquez was asked about the potential of second-year tackle Michael Schofield and current front-runner for the right tackle position and had some insights into the little known Bronco.

“He’s really smart. He picked up the system fairly quick last year. He’s a guy where we don’t have to worry if he knows what he’s supposed to do. It’s more of a development deal for him, but he does show some promise. His work ethic is tremendous. We’re excited up front to see what he can do this year.”

Gino Gradkowski will compete with Matt Paradis and Ramirez at center and Shelley Smith will compete with Ben Garland for the left guard position. And as the draft nears the majority of football experts believe the Broncos will be looking for a right tackle early in the draft to compete with Schofield and Clark.

Vasquez and Clady will clearly have to adjust to some new faces along the line, especially at center and right tackle which is something Vasquez has considered.

“I’d say that they both have their challenges. Obviously the center is going to be the guy that makes all the calls up front. It kind of trickles down from there. I would say that it’s equally as challenging playing next to two new guys. I’m excited to see who’s going to take over those spots.”

The draft will likely bring two to three more new faces along the offensive line and the Broncos will again likely have to shift personnel several times before they find the right fit. One thing is certain though. They have a right guard and he is happy to be returning to his natural habitat inside and ready to run at people in Kubiak’s aggressive offense.

“My mentality is that I’m a guard. I would love to stay inside the trenches. That’s how my mentality is. I’m a big strong guy. I like to get physical.”

Look for Vasquez to remerge in the new system as the same old impressive right guard.

*Quotes provided by the Denver Broncos Public Relations

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