The Broncos made a big splash in the early hours of free agency in 2013, coming to terms almost right away with former Chargers right guard Louis Vasquez.
Vasquez wasn’t the biggest name the Broncos signed, but he signed the biggest contract and is now having to show off his versatility.
With Orlando Franklin doubtful for Sunday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, Vasquez has been practicing all week as the right tackle with Chris Kuper taking over at right guard.
Vasquez is more than likely to start at right tackle with Franklin sitting this one out.
This is an interesting lineup for the Broncos, but Vasquez showed against Jacksonville that he’s capable of kicking over and playing right tackle if needed, even when it was unexpected.
The Broncos practice all offseason with different looks up front on the offensive line, and sure enough, the unit has been absolutely crushed with injuries this year. J.D. Walton (who returned to practice this week) has been on the PUP list all season, and knowing he would be out, the Broncos re-signed Dan Koppen–last year’s starter–who also went down for the season.
With Koppen out for the year, the Broncos were fortunate enough that Manny Ramirez had been working with Manning all offseason and he’s been the starter from day one.
Obviously Ryan Clady is out for the year, probably the best left tackle in football. Chris Clark was in a similar situation to Manny Ramirez all offseason with Clady recovering from shoulder surgery. Clark has stepped in for Clady and done a fantastic job since Clady’s week two injury.
Now, Franklin is hurt and the oft-injured Chris Kuper–who is finally healthy again–is stepping in for Vasquez at right guard as he will move to the right tackle position.
Got all that?
The musical chairs for the Broncos along the offensive line has been a little discouraging, but this is a talented unit obviously with good depth. If other players were to go down, the Broncos have guys who have started a lot of games in the NFL waiting to have their numbers called.
Winston Justice is one of the team’s newest backup tackles who will probably be activated for the first time this season on Sunday night against one of his former teams. John Moffitt is a backup guard/center whom the Broncos traded for this offseason with the Seattle Seahawks. Obviously J.D. Walton is coming back from injury, and the Broncos have to activate him off the PUP in the next week or two or they will have to put him on season-ending IR.