The Denver Broncos signed former New England Patriots center, Dan Koppen on Tuesday. On the surface this appears to be a move to add depth to the interior of the offensive line. However if I was JD Walton, the Broncos current center, I’d be looking over my shoulder. It’s my opinion that Koppen is being in here to eventually replace Walton as the starting center, and there are a number of reasons why.
Since John Elway and John Fox took over, they haven’t been thrilled with Walton as the center. The Broncos went hard after former Indianapolis Colts center, Jeff Saturday who worked with Peyton Manning for years. The two parties could not come to an agreement but it was very apparent that the front office has been looking to upgrade that position. In April, the team drafted Phillip Blake with the hope that he would eventually be the guy to take over. The Broncos have not seen the progress they were hoping for from Blake to this point, and there was some thought he might not even make the team. It also needs to be mentioned that it is not just the Broncos, Walton is considered by those who follow the NFL as one of the five worst centers in the league. Some of those people are scouts!
In Koppen, the Broncos are getting a guy that has played with another franchise quarterback in Tom Brady and has played in Super Bowls. Koppen has also had extensive experience in the no huddle offense, the Patriots don’t run it all the time but when they do it’s always effective. He knows how to check off on the fly, he has seen more than Walton has and is a better run blocker than Walton. To be fair, Koppen was released by the Patriots because of his ineffective play so it remains to be seen if he can regain his form. Make no mistake, though, if Koppen is right then Walton is in trouble.
At the very least, the Denver Broncos have added some much needed depth to the interior of the offensive line. The question now who is providing the depth, Koppen or Walton?
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