DENVER (CBS4) – The quarterback competition is snagging most of the headlines at Broncos OTAs this week, but one position where there’s some similarly exciting competition is the offensive line.
There has been a lot of change on the line for the Broncos this offseason. Louis Vasquez, Evan Mathis, Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris are all gone. Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson have joined the team.
Guard Max Garcia is entering his second year in Denver and shared the following perspective with CBS4 Sports this week when it comes to where things stand with the O Line.
Louis Vasquez Getting Cut Is Still A Bit Surprising
Garcia said when he entered the league as a rookie last year, veteran lineman Louis Vasquez took him under his wing. “Louis was probably the closest teammate I had last year,” Garcia said. “He kind of showed me the ropes. When he got cut it was like ‘Man, I guess this is what the league is really like — guys just come and go.’ It really is a business at the end of the day.” But Garcia said he’s looking forward to making new connections with his fellow lineman in the locker room.
A Dispute Over A Jersey Number Got Settled … Somehow
Russel Okung wore No. 76 when he was on the Seattle Seahawks. Now that he’s a Bronco he was apparently hoping to wear the same number. But Garcia has that number. The situation got resolved, but Garcia wasn’t willing to go into detail about how. “He’s a pretty cool guy, even though he wanted my number, but we settled that respectfully and in a friendly (way).” When pressed for more of an explanation, he said “There was a lot of compensation … I can’t share the details — that was in the agreement.”
Expect More Shifting Around On The Line
Don’t expect to see five starters who start every game together on the line in the upcoming season. There are new faces and plenty of competition that may continue through the regular season. “I think it’s good to have a lot of competition and changes. I think that’s kind of how we did it last year. We had a lot of guys playing next to each other and just swapping in and out series to series. And I think that really helped us out in the long run, having different guys that had played with each other. Because once you’ve played with a guy for so long and then have a new guy go in it’s a very drastic change if you haven’t done it before,” Garcia said.
Garcia Plans To Become A Leader In The Locker Room
Garcia said he plans to build up the leadership “within himself” this year and be a better teammate. “Last year I was just on the go,” said Garcia, who started some games and saw lots of playing time in his rookie year. “I kind of had blindfolds on trying to learn everything and get a grasp of everything. Now I really want to branch out and communicate to other guys, love on other guys and show them that I care about them more than just being a football player.”
Don’t Mess With Draft Pick Connor McGovern
“That kid is strong,” Garcia said, referring to the Broncos fifth round pick. “We were in there the first day when (the rookies) were working out with us and he was benching and he had 400 pounds on the bar.”