Manny Ramirez (65) checks off at the line of scrimmage during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

John Fox Says Ramirez Is, Always Has Been Broncos Starting Center

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Normally (and preferably) an obscure group, the Denver Broncos’ offensive line has been pushed into the spotlight thanks to an overload of injuries.

Center Dan Koppen was lost for the season Sunday when he went down with a torn ACL. J.D. Walton is on the physically unable to perform list due to an infection in his surgical repaired ankle (He won’t be ready to play until late October at the earliest). C.J. Davis went down with an injury over the weekend as well.

That left the team with only Manny Ramirez to play center before they quickly signed Steve Vallos Sunday afternoon. When asked if Vallos was going to replace Koppen at starting center, head coach John Fox was quick to point out a misconception.

“I think there was some miscommunication there,” Fox said. “Manny Ramirez has been our starting center and has been all season. Danny Koppen only signed 10 days ago and you never like to see something like that happen.”

Ramirez saw plenty of action in 2012 with Walton and Chris Kuper missing most of the year. He played in 15 games and was penalized just three times last season.

Many are concerned because Ramirez has more experience at guard than center.

“It has a little different technique and a little different balance in your sets and all that, but it’s something that I’ve always been as a backup even throughout high school and college, to the beginning of my career,” Ramirez said about playing center.

John Elway made the decision to sign Vallos.

“We have a ready list at every position,” Fox said. “Like I said before, that is part of the game and you hate to lose guys, sometimes you lose them temporarily, but you hate to lose them for the whole season especially. But we feel good about who we have lined up, we just have to get him trained in our system and we will get that done.”

 Even with Ramirez and Vallos locked in, expect the Broncos to keep their eyes peeled for an even more experienced center.
Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams went down with a knee injury during Monday morning’s practice.
“It doesn’t appear to be super serious, but they all could be so we will keep you posted on exactly what it was,” Fox said.
The Broncos will have a “closed” walkthrough at 6:00 p.m. Monday evening.

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