How Would Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Fare Without Ryan Clady?

By Craig Moir
Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

This tweet from Mike Klis of the Denver Post is probably a Denver Broncos fans’ second worst nightmare heading into the postseason.  Of course, if Peyton Manning was to suffer any injury, it would be a sure bet that Las Vegas would change their odds of the Broncos winning the Super Bowl from 5-2 to probably 40-1.  But if Ryan Clady were to miss time, that might be just as much as a detriment to this team’s success as any other.

Clady is a NFL Pro Bowl left tackle that has protected each quarterback’s blindside that he has played with as if he is protecting the Pope.  He is also only one of three players to start every game since being drafted in 2008, and did not allow a sack through his first 20 games.

So you see where I am headed here.  Although Clady only missed one practice and is said to be sure to be on the field for the Broncos Jan. 12th playoff game, it is only natural for any Broncos fan to be concerned.  Manning is the Broncos’ Pope.  There may not be an option on the Broncos roster that would be able to secure his blindside as well as Clady has throughout 2012.

Surely OT Chris Clark would not be as stout, and maybe offensive coordinator Mike McCoy decides to move Zane Beadles to the outside with Chris Kuper next to him.  But either way head coach John Fox and his staff decide to go, there is no other option that would fill Clady’s shoes.  And that would mean Manning would be left wondering when the next hit will be coming.

Many who might not think that an offensive tackle could mean so much to a club, just ask the Philadelphia Eagles or the New York Jets how a shaky line worked for them this year.  The Broncos have been fortunate that they have depth on their line and Manning has been able to feel secure in the pocket for most of the year.

I will say this, though.  If word comes out that this injury is more serious than originally thought, then that one position could be a detriment moving forward.  But for now, we will just have to wait and see when the injury report is handed out, because the one thing the Broncos will not do, as the Jets have all year, is leak a story just for a headline.


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