Since Ryan Clady went down on May 27 the Denver Broncos have been scrambling to fill his job. Additionally, the left guard, center and right tackle positions were already up for grabs in the offseason. Since then the Broncos have drafted and picked up several free agents along the offensive line.

Monday, the Broncos released their first depth chart of the season and the center, left guard and left tackle positions currently belong to two rookies and a second-year player that has yet to play a snap in an NFL game. Friday, those three in particular, will have a huge test in front of them, the Seattle Seahawks.

When asked about definitive football qualities of his three new starting linemen, Matt Paradis, Max Garcia and Ty Sambrailo, head coach Gary Kubiak had a simple but scary response:

“We are fixing to find out.”

Every season NFL teams have to replace players. It is a reality of the game, but to replace four out of five of the big men upfront in one offseason is a monumental task. Kubiak has seen great offensive lines during his tenure as a coach and player in the NFL. He knows the difference between a championship caliber team and one that goes 2-11 and gets him fired, like his Texans in 2013. However, the newest head coach of the Denver Broncos was very optimistic as he spoke Wednesday about the youthful guys he has upfront.

“I just think watching them grow up here throughout the course of camp; I’m excited about what they can be. Like I said, there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road along the way, but I know that they’re going to play hard. I know they’re very well coached and it’s up to them to come together as a group and be successful. They get their first test on Friday and boy, is it a good test for them.”

Offensive line coach, Clancy Barone, has been working the group hard and understands that NFL game speed may come as a shock to his newcomers.

“I talked to them about the speed of them game,” Barone said Wednesday. “How it will jump up compared from what they have seen in practice. The guys that do make the club, it will jump up even more against Baltimore in the home opener and then it will jump up again in the postseason. So it has all those levels and this is the first step in that.”

Sambrailo, Garcia and Paradis will certainly struggle as Kubiak alluded to, but Barone has some simple things he hopes to see Friday.

“It’s like any other preseason game. It’s a measuring stick. The first one should always be your worst one you play because you should always do better the next time up and the next time after that. I want to see them execute on a high level. I want to see them make all the right calls up front and adjust to the looks that we haven’t been able to show them.”

The offensive line still contains All-Pro right guard Louis Vasquez and nine-year veteran tackle Ryan Harris, was added in the offseason. Those two can certainly help lead the players along. Last season the team boasted a heavily experienced line but still didn’t have the success they expected.

Vasquez is now the clear leader of the offensive line and likes what he has seen from the young group thus far. Ty Sambrailo has clearly won the left tackle job since the onset of camp while Paradis and Garcia just recently stepped into the number one spots. Vasquez, as a fellow guard, has helped with Garcia’s progress.

“He has some things to look for. He’s quick off the ball. He’s powerful, strong and heavy-handed. He’s a young guy,” Vasquez said August 1. “I’ve talked to (Offensive Line) coach Clancy (Barone), and I kind of told him that I’m going to take him under my wing because I like what he has. He just needs to be coached and molded. If he continues to grow and develop as a player, he’s going to be an elite guard in this league.”

Garcia certainly took notice of Vasquez’s comments and has been working his whole life for the moment he will get on Friday in Seattle. The former Florida Gator admitted Wednesday that he will be nervous Friday but knows what he needs to accomplish in his first game time experience in the NFL.

“I think something that the coaches want to have, just as far as confidence booster goes—someone who executes in and out every play. I totally understand that, and that’s something that I definitely want to work on. Something that I want to prove to them is that I can be consistent, that I can be able to dominate every play.”

The Broncos have a lot of things going for them. They have supreme talent on defense, a Hall of Fame quarterback and head coach who has succeeded in creating great offensive lines during his career. With that said, optimism and hope only goes so far. The offensive line is as green as you can get at three positions up front, and Friday begins their four week crash course. The youth must gel with the veterans on the right side quickly in order for this team to reach the goals they have ahead. Wednesday, Kubiak laid out the identity of an ideal offensive line and he is hoping that this team has the players to become that quicker than most.

“I think that offensive line is not about having one great player or two great players. It’s about five guys playing together scheme-wise and staying out there on the field together. The great ones that I have been around, they all stay out there and find a way to be there every snap. That’s the sign of a good offensive lineman or a good group, so we’ll see. They’ll build their identity, but we just need them to play good enough for our football team to be successful.”

Friday will bring the first glimpse of what the youngsters are capable of and if their optimism is a pipe dream or a soon-to-be reality.


The team held their 11th day of training camp at UCHealth Training Center while donning just jerseys and helmets. Chris Harris Jr., Larentee McCray and Marvin Austin Jr. were held out of practice today with various injuries. Kayvon Webster and Omar Bolden left practice early as well.

Both offense and defense began game planning for the Seattle Seahawks today. Scout teams on both sides of the ball played in similar formations as the Seahawks. Due to the implementation of game plans the practice was quite quiet and subdued.

Danny Trevathan and Darian Stewart both had impressive interceptions returned for touchdowns. Darius Kilgo continued to make an impact as the second-string nose tackle and batted down a pass early in the day.

Manning performed well outside of his interception to Stewart in a goal-to-go team drill. Brock Osweiler may have had his best practice yet. His throws were consistently on target. Joe Don Duncan had several catches Tuesday, including a couple of touchdowns but he also added one bad drop.

Britton Colquitt showed off his impressive leg on special teams. He consistently placed his punts on target and in a tight spiral. Cody Latimer, Juwan Thompson, Corey Nelson and Steven Johnson ran with the starting punt team.

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