Denver Broncos free agent pickup Graham Glasgow talks about the difference between playing guard and center, and what he'll do in Denver.
The Denver Broncos' most prized free agent acquisition -- offensive lineman Graham Glasgow -- did not allow a sack last season with the Detroit Lions.
Having played all three interior spots in his career, Glasgow's versatility was obviously an attractive trait for the Broncos, who paid him $44 million over the course of the next four seasons, including a very nice $26 million in guaranteed money.
The Broncos are obviously hoping Glasgow (pronounced 'Glass-go') can provide some much needed stability on the offensive line, and for the time being, he's being projected as the team's starting right guard.
That was initially reported at his signing, but Glasgow confirmed it in his recent teleconference with Denver media.
“I’m open to playing wherever. I’ve played all the positions in the past except for tackle. If they wanted me to play tackle, I’d give it a go, but hopefully not. I kind of imagine guard, but center is cool too.”
Graham Glasgow (via Broncos PR)
So why would the Broncos play a guy who didn't give up a sack last year playing primarily center at the guard position?
As a matter of fact, Glasgow himself does a good job of explaining that.
“Contrary to what a lot of people would say, I think that it’s actually a bigger switch than people would like to let on—primarily the biggest difference being the differences in blocking a three technique verses blocking a one shade is pretty sizable. I think that you get a lot better pass rushers out of that. With the current way that teams are going, you see a lot of four d-ends walking around. When you’re a guard, there’s a lot less help. You’re not really getting helped as much. When you’re a center, you’re mainly just giving help. In the pass game, I would say that it’s definitely more challenging to play guard, but in the run game I would say playing center is a little bit harder. I think that establishing the—in a lot of ways center is a lot more mentally taxing than physically. You need to know what’s going on and you’re setting the scheme for everything. That’s something I have always enjoyed doing. I think that kind of describes the difference between the two. Technique-wise, there’s always technique differences between the two positions but interior is pretty similar other than those little differences I brought up.”
This may be a simple way of looking at it, but after reading Glasgow's comments on playing the guard position versus playing the center position, it would make sense that the Broncos would want him to be the one taking on the more difficult job of playing one-on-one versus a three technique (guard) rather than giving help or going against a nose tackle.
As Glasgow said, the more difficult job in pass protection is guard, so perhaps the Broncos would be a lot more comfortable putting a guy like Patrick Morris at center or even a rookie coming in the 2020 NFL Draft.
On the other side of the coin, Glasgow's comments about the center position being more mentally taxing makes it all the more curious the Broncos didn't pursue BJ Finney, a veteran backup who signed for a very modest contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
With that said, there are a number of centers available in the 2020 NFL Draft who have pretty strictly played center in their college careers and could likely come in and do a good job as rookies.
Either way, the way Glasgow puts it here makes it seem like the center position is much more easily replaced than a good guard in today's NFL since the guard is not the one giving help but the one dealing with all of the tremendous interior rushers.
Teams can obviously adjust to that, so the Broncos don't want to have a complete hack at the center position, but they could likely find someone capable in the mid-rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft or perhaps even already on the roster.