The Denver Broncos must have looked into their crystal ball 20 days ago. The team signed longtime New England Patriots center Dan Koppen at just the right time.
The Broncos had to put their backup plan to work against the Oakland Raiders.
J.D. Walton fell to the ground in the second quarter when Raiders defensive end Jack Crawford rolled over his ankle. Walton broke his ankle and will be place on injured reserve.
“I’m absolutely sick about J.D. Walton and his potential injury,” Peyton Manning said. “I haven’t heard the official, but it sure didn’t look good out there. I know how hard he’s worked and my heart goes out to him.”
Koppen took over for Walton, who prior to the injury, had only missed one offensive snap in his three year career.
“I thought Dan came in and did a great job,” Manning said. “I feel fortunate to have him on the team.”
Koppen has plenty of experience running the no-huddle and calling out protection schemes as he did it for Tom Brady for nine seasons.
It’s fitting that the Broncos have the Patriots up next week. Koppen was released from New England just four weeks ago after not playing most of last season due to a fractured ankle.