Since 2015, the offensive line for the Broncos has struggled. After Super Bowl 50, nobody thought that the offensive line could get worse. But somehow, it has.
In fact, you can argue that the offensive line that the Broncos are putting out on the field this season has regressed from a year ago.
In the offseason, Denver was unable to re-sign center Matt Paradis, a player who started every game of his career until having a season-ending injury after nine games last season. The Broncos also lost their starting right tackle, Jared Veldheer, in free agency, but he later retired.
Let’s look at the current offensive line for the Broncos:
LT: Garett Bolles has struggled since being drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by being penalized for the most holding penalties since he’s come into the league. Denver is praying that he can turn things around this season.
LG: Dalton Risner is the smartest player on the offensive line and he’s only a rookie. Risner has the potential to be an All-Pro player, but right now, he needs to play left guard to help out Bolles on offense.
C: Connor McGovern is playing his first full season at the center position and has had his issues snapping the ball to Joe Flacco. There have been multiple times during training camp practices that the snaps have been high, low, left or even to the right to Flacco in which he has gotten frustrated and thrown his hands up. McGovern must play well for this offense to be successful.
RG: This is the most unknown position on the offensive line because of the injury history of Ronald Leary. Leary has yet to play in the preseason after recovering from injury, which has caused multiple players filling in. The most recent player to play right guard has been Elijah Wilkinson, who can play four out of the five positions on the line. We have also seen Don Barclay begin the preseason at right guard and in the first two games there were plays when he was facing the quarterback boxing out his own man like a power forward in basketball. If Leary can’t play at 100 percent, this will be a scary position to fill.
RT: Denver has yet to find a legit right tackle since Orlando Franklin was asked to move positions in 2014. The Broncos signed Ja’Wuan James in free agency, making him the highest paid player at the position in NFL history. Sources have told me that James isn’t all in on the game of football. The Dolphins have tried moving on from James in the past, but couldn’t due to injuries that kept him on rosters.
When you look at this offensive line in the passing game, they’re not going to be able to protect Flacco. Every time you would watch the quarterback play in scrimmages during training camp, he was taking off running because of the pressure on the offensive line.
This season for the Broncos relies on how the offensive line performs by protecting the former Super Bowl winning QB.