Who Are These Guys?

It's like that uncle you don't talk about in hopes that no one notices. That's the way the Denver Broncos are treating their offensive line, mums the word.

With the additions at defensive line, Jake Plummer's knee, Jerry Rice, the back up Q.B. situation, and Maurice Clarett; it's understandable that the offensive line gets no notice. Shannahan never brings them up in any of his after practice press conferences. Rick Dennison never does a press conference, and we all know the code of silence the line itself adheres to. Heck, they have been the most consistent line in the league the past ten years, so why should they be talked about?

Well let's just say that there are some areas of concern that need to be addressed.

Pretend for a moment that the unlikely will occur and no one on the offensive line suffers an injury this season. If that happens, there should be no problems to speak of. The starters are a mixture of great veteran talent and big strong youth. Tom Nalen and Matt Lepsis anchor the line with a combined 21 years of veteran experience. The other four combined have a total of 24 years experience. If healthy they will provide holes for another 1,500-yard rusher, no matter who's running the ball. They should also provide protection for Plummer so he can have another 4,000-yard season, hopefully minus the twenty interceptions.

But let's be real for just one moment, an offensive line staying healthy for an entire year is like Ricky Williams making the $8 million he owes the Dolphins by using his holistic medicine training, very improbable. Not only is it improbable, but very unfair to ask guys who experience more collisions than a blind NASCAR driver to stay injury free all season.

So, given that most lines experience at least one injury a year, sometimes more, who do the Broncos have to fill in and be productive?

They have two rookies they drafted, Chris Myers and Erik Pears, but it's unrealistic to ask a rookie to be good in the Broncos complicated system. Here's the list of the other guys the Broncos have in camp right now; there's Patrice Majondo-Mwanda, who's assigned to the International Practice Squad so he can't even play. Watton, who's not even in the media guide. He's kind of like the security officer in Star Trek who gets beamed down, but never beamed up. Carswell is a 10 year tight end converted to tackle. Nowland, Wilson, and Clabo are NFL European guys. Clement and Spikes played in Arizona, not exactly an offensive power house. Green played for Tampa Bay, (when was their last Pro Bowl offensive player) and we can't forget about Tom Stuber, the man that's been in the league for three years and has played for nine different teams.

Who are these guys?

The Denver Broncos have always seemed to manage just fine on the offensive line. I just hope the preseason games demonstrate that we do have some reliable backups so I don't lose any more sleep over that crazy uncle. And above all else, I hope those starters stay healthy.



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