ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – When the Denver Broncos took the practice field Monday morning, it was plainly evident the latest combination in the offensive line had done enough over the past two weeks and in the preseason opener this past Friday night in Seattle to stay together.
Once again, as it has been the last two weeks in front of quarterback Peyton Manning, it was the youthful look of rookies Ty Sambrailo (left tackle), Max Garcia (left guard) and Matt Paradis (center) with their combined zero regular-season starts, to go with Louis Vasquez at right guard and Ryan Harris at right tackle.
After taking some of the weekend to review how things went, the Broncos came away feeling like the group continues to be the best option in what has been a rather extreme makeover up front. The Broncos tried several combinations during their offseason program as well as into the first week of training camp.
“The first thing that impressed with our first group is Matt Paradis running the group,’’ Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said after Monday's practice. “He’s got to be the quarterback. ... I like the way he ran the group, thought we played extremely hard, thought we made mistakes and came back and made the next play. I just like our effort. I think if Matt can continue to hold the group together, we can continue to grow. … I like the way the first group played. They’ll stay together and we’ll keep going.’’
The current five has been the most consistent grouping the Broncos have tried through the offseason workouts and into training camp. Kubiak has consistently lauded Paradis, in particular, throughout camp.
It was also evident Kubiak was not as excited about how things went after the starters left the game. Garcia played 58 percent of the team’s offensive snaps against the Seahawks. Sambrailo and Paradis played 56 percent, and Harris played 44 percent.
Vasquez, the most accomplished player in the group having been an All Pro in 2013, played just 16 snaps.
And when all of those starters left the game, Kubiak said there was too big a drop-off for his liking.
“I was a little disappointed in the second group,’’ Kubiak said. “They played hard, but there are some guys in there who’ve played some football and our communication was not real good with that group.’’