Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Given the latest events of the last week with the Denver Broncos starting center Dan Koppen getting injured and now with our great potential of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie being somewhat diminished by his high ankle sprain (hopefully he won’t be out more than a month), it would be safe to try and remember that this is a physical game and at any moment Denver’s ideal “all star team” could be on the injured reserve list. Denver needs a backup for Koppen and Manny Ramirez had been practicing with Peyton this week however yesterday the Broncos also picked up Ryan Lija, Peyton Manning’s former Colts teammate. Lija was considered retired but has appeared to join Manning again after being teammates for six years including two Super Bowls with the Colts. Bringing somebody who knows Manning’s playing style is clearly what the Broncos are after. Lija’s first practice was this morning August 2nd with the second team while Ramirez still played on the first team with Manning. Essentially the message they are sending is that they need some more stability at the center position and Ramirez has appeared to not be the best option. As a result they also signed center Steve Vallos. At the corner position, aside from our other starter Champ Bailey, is rookie Kayvon Webster, second year player Omar Bolden and Tony Carter to be given a chance. Without Rodgers Cromartie it is essentially the same lineup as last season and the Broncos need some more backfield protection so we’ll see how these guys can improve. Carter did have a tipped pass that landed in LB Danny Trevathan’s hands, which actually resulted in a little team conflict. Personally that just shows me that these guys are playing at just the right intensity level. Rookie corner Kayvon Webster breaking up a pass (Photo Credit: Denver Broncos) Friday Ryan Clady was still limited in practice and Derek Wolfe was also out because of illness making it even more clear that the Broncos, as any NFL team, needs to have an excellent depth chart in order to make it far in this league because of the physicality. As I said last week Duke Ihenacho has really been getting attention and with the improvements he has been making in training camp he will be another great option for the Broncos, even a potential starter. Offensively, because our running game is so undetermined right now it really is anybody’s game. If somebody gets injured that only frees up another spot. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball are favored to be getting the most carries. Knowshon Moreno is in that lineup to however Hillman more than anybody has really been proving his spot lately. All right, last but certainly not least, receivers. I’ve saved them for the last because I know no Broncos fan wants to even think about the possibility of not having Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker on the field, but again it is something that is very possible. Tight End Julius Thomas has been turning heads. He’s been injured a lot and is now entering his third year finally healthy. He has made some impressive deep catches, including one for a touchdown Friday. Trindon Holliday, who Denver fans know from the playoffs last year, is our special teams player however if needed and with enough work he could be a receiving option for the Broncos. Andre Caldwell has been making some impressive catches on the second team, specifically one catch Friday reaching over rookie Kayvon Wesbter and running it in for a touchdown. I could go on with these considering all these players are on the team for a reason and have all made impressive catches, tackles, blocks etc. to earn their spot on the field. If any of them need to step up when our starters are down I hope they will be at the level that coaches and fans expect them to be at.
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