The Denver Broncos are in the process of re-shaping their offensive line. The team signed guard Ronald Leary and tackle Menelik Watson in free agency and drafted Utah tackle Garett Bolles in the first round.
The Broncos are moving away from the zone blocking philosophy of yore to a power scheme, where the linemen are tasked more with blowing their assignment off the ball vertically and opening a hole.
With Leary coming to Denver, a predominantly left guard, Max Garcia is headed over to the right side. Although Garcia started at left guard all of 2016, as a rookie, he was much more proficient on the right side.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1776825-broncos-pre-camp-roster-p... “I said I’d play right just off the bat, but whatever we have to do to be more comfortable," Garcia said on Tuesday. "It may happen where I’ll have to go to the left or he’ll [Leary] have to go to the right."
Leary at LG and Garcia at RG might not be set in stone, but health willing, that's how it's going to shake out come September.
“I’ve been more comfortable on the left side because that’s where I’ve been pretty much my entire career in Dallas," Leary said on Tuesday. "We talked about it. We talked to [Offensive Line] Coach [Jeff] Davidson and that’s just the reps we’re going with right now.”
On the surface, most fans might not think there's that big of a difference between playing left and right guard. However, there are some subtle nuances that differentiate the two positions.
"There are a few differences," Garcia said. "It’s just how you see things, how you see the defenses and your stance. Right now, it’s tricky. I wanted to get into my left stance when I’m working in drills, but just have to remember to work out of that right stance. It’s not a huge difference, but it is a difference.”
With the new blood on Denver's O-line, and new coaching, the focus has shifted. Under Jeff Davidson, the Broncos are cultivating a bully mentality with their O-line. What does that mean?
“Pretty much not taking crap from anyone," Garcia said. "Whether it be going against our defense or just going against anybody that lines up next to us, really just not taking any crap. Just going in there, playing our game and running things.”
Jeff Davidson is considered to be one the league's preeminent offensive line coaches. He has a great track record and is already making an impact in Denver.
“I like him [Davidson] so far," Garcia said. "He’s super hands on. He’s a technician, that’s one thing that I have noticed. When we’re out, those small critiques go a long way. He emphasizes that early on. I think it’s really going to instill a great foundation in us and it’s something to build off of.”
With Bolles, a 25-year-old rookie, presumably joining the starting five, the Broncos are getting an inexperienced, albeit talented left tackle. Garcia and Leary have both acknowledged their excitement in Bolles stepping into the O-line room.
“I talked to him a couple days after we drafted him just to congratulate him and welcoming him to the group," Leary said. "He’s 25, so he’s a grown man. He talks like a grown man; he approaches the game like a grown man. He wants to play ball. He loves the game. He’s really physical. I know that’s what [GM] John [Elway] and [Head Coach] Vance [Joseph] were trying to do with the O-line. I think he fits perfectly with that. I’m looking forward to getting him in here and having him mess with the guys and get to playing some ball.”
I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm excited to see Denver's new-look offensive line take shape this summer. Training camp is sure to offer an intense competition across the board, but especially along the O-line.
The rookies will hold their mini-camp starting on Thursday, May 11 and it will conclude May 13. That will be Bolles' first opportunity to suit up and engage with the other rookies.
Phase 3 of Broncos OTAs begins May 23. That's when the Broncos rookies and vets will be together on the field for the first time — non-contact, but 11-on-11 drills can be practiced.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.