Today at Chiefs Dreams, we’ll be doing one of the most disturbing things that any Kansas City Chiefs fan can possibly do… Willingly ask questions and actually listen to a donkey supporter gush about their favorite jackass jousting squad, the Denver Broncos.
We know, we know… it’s stupid and brave at the same time.
That said, this particular Broncos fan is reasonably knowledgeable about his team. We genuinely respect his opinion around here, but mostly because he readily admits that the Chiefs are the superior football organization… Just watch, you’ll see.
First off, for a little back story… We’ll quickly share with you how we met the subject of today’s interview, BFFL (Broncos Fan For Life.) You see, in west Philadelphia, born and raised, on a playground is where I spent most of my da……. Whoops, wrong story.
Last year at Arrowhead Pride… Good old CBO made a friendly bet against some members of the Mile High Report about the outcome of the final Broncos / Chiefs game… It was a pride bet that was made complete with this Arrowhead Pride post:
If you watched that particular Broncos / Chiefs game, you probably know that CBO didn’t win that bet, not even close. It was a pride bet that was made and lost, complete with this (humble pie) Mile High Report post:
Although Calikulu and BFFL are two different Broncos fans… BFFL will actually be here talking to us today because of that “bet” and all of the following conversations afterwards. Notably enough however, Calikula is rather involved with BFFL’s new Denver Broncos radio program, Mile High Stampede. Check it out.
What about today’s post?
In this new Chiefs Dreams – questions with the enemy series, we will be asking rival fans questions about specific position groups on their favorite (or our most hated) football teams. Today with BFFL, we will be discussing Peyton Manning’s offensive line in Denver.
Chiefs Dreams: Recently, OT Ryan Clady was given $33 million in guaranteed money from the Denver Broncos in an overall, 5 year – $52.5 million deal. The Kansas City Chiefs had a similar situation with Branden Albert, yet, the deadline passed and Albert is still going into the season playing under his $9.8 million franchise tag.
First off Mr. Broncos Fan For Life (BFFL), who is the better LT in your eyes? And is Ryan Clady really worth $23.3 million more guaranteed on the football field or are the Broncos just desperate to protect Peyton Manning given their available options on the offensive line for 2013?
BFFL: First of all, there is no question in my mind that Ryan Clady is one of the best OTs in the game. I think he’s easily top 3 if not better. He surrendered only one sack playing for Manning (when the team went 11 personnel [1RB, 1TE] 67% of the time – he didn’t get much help from chips) and only gave up .5 of a sack when protecting Jay Cutler’s blindside. If memory serves, he gave up eight or nine sacks when blocking for Tim Tebow, but you must remember that that guy would NOT stay in the pocket. Although that was a down year for Clady, you must admit that Tebow’s scrambles didn’t help.
Clady has shown me he has what it takes to be a Shutdown LT, a guy you can put on an island and just let him do his thing. I think there are few in the game better than him and although Branden Albert is elite, he just doesn’t compare.
Having said all that, is Clady overpaid? ABSOLUTELY! But to me it was a very shrewd move.
Our depth at OT consists of Chris Clark (who is a very good swing tackle but not someone I’d like to see defending Peyton Manning’s blind side), newly drafted Vinston Painter, and several undrafted rookies or practice-squaddites.
Paying a top 3 tackle like Clady right now insures that roster spot is capably filled for 5 more years. As he is that top 3 caliber player, what are the chances you could pick up a similarly skilled player in free agency or the draft (especially considering we’ll be drafting at #32 for the next couple of years)? Very low.
So is Clady the best tackle in the league right now? Maybe. Is he the best tackle for that money? Maybe. But he is the best tackle the Broncos may find in some time.
Chiefs Dreams: Outside of the newest rich man in the mountains, Ryan Clady and his fighting “maybe’s.” Perhaps you could tell us about a couple Denver Broncos offensive linemen that the Kansas City Chiefs defenders up front should be preparing for.
BFFL: Although Peyton Manning no doubt improves his O Line, this is a great lineup. It is certainly one of the best Denver has had in years and one that must rank amongst the best to protect Manning.
Let’s break down the starters.
At LT is Ryan Clady. I’ve already discussed Clady and what I think of him.
At LG is Zane Beadles. Beadles is going into a contract year. He has always been quietly good, a real unsung hero of the line and was finally recognized this past season with a Pro Bowl nod. One thing that Beadles is best at is sheer athleticism. For a big man, Zane is surprisingly versatile. He is a standout on this line and was the only player on the roster to take every snap with his unit. He didn’t miss a single snap all season long.
Center is currently a bit of a hole. Pencil in grizzled veteran Dan Koppen as the starter going into the season due to an injury to young stud J.D. Walton.
However, many Broncos fans have their hangups about Koppen. If the coaches share that same reservation, look to see the underwhelming Phillip Blake (already 27 although only a second-year player), Koppen and jack-of-all-inner-line-trades Manny Ramirez duking it out for the center spot.
At RG is free agent acquisition Louis Vasquez, the lone bright spot on a horrific Chargers line last year. I personally loved what I’d seen out of Vasquez in the games I saw him play. He hasn’t committed a penalty since 2010.
Also in the mix at this spot is perennial standout and injury-plagued guard Chris Kuper. I think Kuper’s contract is too unwieldy and the risk of injury too great to have him on the roster, which is going to make some other team very happy.
Look for behemoth Vasquez to form a massive road-grading juggernaut (655 pounds total) with RT Orlando Franklin. A promising young player who is somewhat skilled in both pass and run blocking. We haven’t seen much but he’s performed well in his time.
And there you have the Broncos line. With the exception of Koppen, it’s also a young and talented line.
Chiefs Dreams: If we know Chiefs fans, and we probably should… They’re most likely “currently” scoffing at the notion that this is one of the better offensive lines to protect your HOF caliber QB, Peyton Manning.
Can you hear them BFFL? (“Scoff, sca scoff scoff…”) And if you can hear them, why are they wrong?
Also, we understand delusion about your favorite football team at Chiefs Dreams. Andy Heck, that’s the point of this site… but if you were to take off your Broncos blinders for a moment… What are your biggest fears concerning this offensive line? And… will they consistently be able to stop players of Pro Bowl caliber like Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry in the Chiefs new, seemingly more aggressive, blitz happy version of the 3-4 defense?
BFFL: I can hear them, sure, but it’s just like flies buzzing in the back of my head. Haters gonna hate.
To be honest though, this is the best starting line that the Broncos have assembled that I can remember for a long time. Among the six likely starters, we have a total of 3 Pro Bowls and 1 All Pros in just last year, plus two sixteen-game starters and one veteran fill-in.
The starters are excellent. They’re all great and I have no doubt they’ll do well.
I do have concerns however. Firstly, we don’t have any backs on the roster who are excellent pass blockers and who are likely to see significant playing time. Although Jacob Hester is a great blocker, I don’t know how much time he’ll see. Willis McGahee checked that box but we released him. So the blockers who get by the line untouched are a concern for me as it stands.
At center, Dan Koppen, is only really likely a veteran Plan A since J.D. Walton went down. At Plan A.2 are Phillip Blake and Manny Ramirez. ManRam filled in capably for Chris Kuper last year when he was out injured. Although Manny started slow, he closed strong and I honestly would have rather seen him start than Chris Kuper in the playoff game. But Manny would be playing center, a position he hasn’t played in a while. He is a decent player but he won’t be anything phenomenal.
An equal concern for me is O-line depth. Tackle depth is Chris Clark and Things 1, 2, and 3. Guard depth is Phillip Blake/ManRam/C.J. Davis* and several nobodies. Center depth is Blake/ManRam/Davis* and Quentin Saulsberry, he of the latest Bronco DUI.
So our starters are, in my opinion, the best in the league, but the depth is nonexistent.
That said, you must recall that Peyton can get the ball out fast when he wants. And with a much improved WR corps, it could be easier for him to find an open target. But with an improved KC secondary, that might be trickier, which puts the pressure on an (you guessed it) improved Broncos O line. It’ll be a chess match, no doubt, which I look forward to seeing.
*Phillip Blake, Manny Ramirez and C.J. Davis are pretty interchangeable backups at C and G.
Thanks Chiefs fans for the read, I look forward to interacting with you! Feel free to follow me on Twitter if you want, @mhsradio.
As painful as it is to thank a Broncos fan for anything… we would still absolutely and sincerely like to thank BFFL for stopping by and sharing his blue and orange wisdom with Chiefs Nation. Also readers, as always we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.