Everybody at Broncos headquarters is operating under the
assumption Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady will return to Denver in
time for training camp with a new contract and a clean bill of
health in hand.
Everybody except for Chris Clark, that is.
The fifth-year journeyman tackle is preparing as though he’ll be
the one protecting Peyton Manning’s blindside on the Broncos’
upcoming Super Bowl-or-bust tour.
Clady has stayed away from Dove Valley since January while
rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery and angling for a new
long-term contract while his $9.828 million franchise tender
gathers dust instead of his signature.
Vice President John Elway is on the record stating he wants to
sign Clady to a long-term deal this summer, and coach John Fox said
Wednesday, ”I’m sure that’ll all get worked out and I anticipate
seeing him in camp.”
All indications, he added, are that he’s progressing as expected
in his rehab. The Broncos, though, have yet to get a firsthand look
at him since his surgery.
Manning also expresses confidence in Ryan’s return next
”I think he will be here,” Manning said. ”I certainly hope
that he’ll be here. I know there’s the business side of it. I’ve
certainly kept in touch with Ryan (and know) he wants to be here
… (and) there’s no question we want Ryan to be here.”
Clady, after all, allowed just one sack in more than 1,100 snaps
Clark has filled in for him at all of the team’s offseason
workouts, and in his first interview since last season, he told The
Associated Press on Wednesday that he doesn’t just see himself as
keeping the seat warm for Clady.
”No, not at all. I approach it every day as though I’m the
starter and I’m going to be the starter,” Clark said. ”For
whatever reason, the guy signs, he may not sign, you never know
what happens. So, my job is just to be ready and not worry about
another guy, you know? Their decision is their decision. What I do
is on me. So, that’s the way I approach it.”
The Broncos wouldn’t want it any other way, really.
For all the bluster about how good Denver can be this season
with the additions of Wes Welker and Montee Ball on offense and
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Shaun Phillips and Quentin Jammer on
defense, the Broncos’ fortunes may very well rest on how well their
patchwork offensive line comes together.
Clady is one of four starters along the line who is coming off
surgeries that eliminated or limited their offseason on-field
Still, the Broncos put their franchise tag on Clady, who
rejected a five-year, $50 million offer last summer that included
$28 million in guarantees. He wanted something more in line with
Cleveland’s Joe Thomas, whose contract averages $11.5 million a
Clady made $3.5 million last year, the final season of the
five-year deal he signed as a rookie out of Boise State in 2008. He
has started every game in his career and earned three Pro Bowl
berths. His right shoulder kept him out of practice during the
team’s bye week in the playoffs but he returned to face the
Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round before skipping the Pro
Left guard Zane Beadles was the only Broncos starting offensive
lineman to come out of last season unscathed. Orlando Franklin
(toe, shoulder), Chris Kuper (ankle) and J.D. Walton (knee) also
needed operations, and of the three, only Franklin has been
practicing this spring.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the line, free agency was
barely 20 minutes old when Louis Vasquez signed a four-year, $23.5
million deal with Denver that made him the team’s new right guard
and the vanguard of Denver’s $68 million offseason splurge.
The starting offensive line during the team’s offseason workouts
has looked like this:
-Clark at left tackle.
-Beadles at left guard.
-Manny Ramirez at center.
-Vasquez at right guard.
-Franklin at right tackle.
”We’re not looking at it as a negative because we’re getting a
lot of guys reps,” offensive coordinator Adam Gase said.
Clark has started a half-dozen games in the NFL, and all were at
tight end during the Tim Tebow experiment two years ago. So,
working with the starters has been enormously beneficial this
It’s helped him to hone his skills, gain confidence in himself
and impress his coaches. Most importantly, though, it’s allowed him
and Manning to get comfortable working together.
”Of course quarterback cadences are different, so being able to
work with Peyton right now, in the future, whatever the situation
might be, I’ll have that experience with Peyton and we’ll be on one
accord no matter what,” Clark said.
Clark said his aim right now is to make sure the Broncos’ Super
Bowl aspirations aren’t derailed if Clady isn’t in the starting
lineup come September, for whatever reason.
”You definitely don’t want a drop-off. Nobody wants to be that
guy,” Clark said. ”You want to be accountable and not the guy
that everyone’s looking at because you’re the bad guy, you’re the
odd guy in the bunch. You just want to get in there when you’re
called and keep it going, keep the train moving.”
And if Clady isn’t on board, then so be it.
”My thing is, being Ryan’s backup, him not being here, I
approach it as I’m the starter and I’m going to be the starter,”
Clark said. ”The goal is to be a starter in life. So, you do
everything you can and work as hard as you can to accomplish those
goals. You do whatever it takes.”
Aside from quarterback, left tackle is generally considered the
most important position on any NFL roster. And if Clark’s the one
manning that position in Denver in a month or even two, his message
is pretty clear: Relax, I got this.
Notes: Former Broncos great Randy Gradishar attended practice
and gave the team a pep talk afterward. … LB Von Miller, who
started a poultry business this offseason, is sporting a new tattoo
of a rooster on his lower left leg. ”In today’s world, somebody
calls you a chicken and you take offense to it,” he said. ”But
cocks, roosters, if you sit and watch them, their personalities are
outstanding. They run the yard. If you just sit there and watch
them, they’ll change your mind about being called a chicken.”
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on
- Colts' offensive line suffers late breakdown after one of its best games of the season
- Top 5 things Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari said Monday: On D.J. Fluker’s attitude and more
- Louisiana Tech offensive line keeps everything light
- Jeremy Pruitt: Offensive line 'kind of dominated' second UT Vols scrimmage
- Ereck Flowers and offensive line still hold the key to Giants’ success
- Patriots offensive line on Isaiah Wynn’s injury: ‘Someone has to step up’
- Penn State experiments on the offensive line; Manny Bowen earns his final shot, and more
- Titans might have another sack-happy day vs. Texans' offensive line
- Analysis: Packers rookies Michael Clark, Lenzy Pipkins show promise
- Tight end Marcedes Lewis adds new dimension to Packers' offense
- BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark, 2017's lone survivor, assesses new offensive staff
- Packers notes: Kenny Clark relishing run-stuffing role
- Oak Creek's Rozumalski, St. Francis' Clarke named football All-Region at two positions
- Packers notes: Roster move takes rookie WR Michael Clark by surprise
- 'A third starter': Why Baltimore Ravens' Chuck Clark could have a bigger role on defense in 2018
- Western New Mexico football coach Adam Clark has resigned
- Fort Myers and its spread offense remain the overwhelming favorite in Class 6A-District 11
- Analysis: Getting a line on Brett Hundley's chances for success
- Baker Mayfield, Bryce Love headline USA TODAY Sports' college football All-American team
- Ex-San Diego State wide receiver DeSean Holmes headlines 5 Florida Atlantic newcomers to watch in 2018
Clark headlines hodgepodge offensive line have 1334 words, post on www.foxsports.com at June 12, 2013. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.