|12-15-2012, 06:46 AM||#1|
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Denver Broncos right guard Chris Kuper looks like Peyton Manning's MVP
POSTED: 12/15/2012 12:01:00 AM MST
UPDATED: 12/15/2012 12:32:21 AM MSTBy Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Broncos guard Chris Kuper (John Leyba, Denver Post file)
If Peyton Manning is the most valuable Bronco, Chris Kuper might be the Bronco most valuable to Manning's well being.
In the five games Kuper has been the Broncos' starting right guard, Manning has been sacked only twice. In the eight games Kuper missed because of forearm and ankle injuries, Manning has been sacked 17 times.
That doesn't mean Kuper's replacement, Manny Ramirez, is responsible for so many hits on Denver's quarterback. But it does speak to Kuper's role as the glue and leader of the Broncos' offensive line.
"I don't think it's one guy. I don't think it ever is," said coach John Fox. "There's a lot of guys involved in the pass protection from the quarterback to the wideouts, running backs. So I think that's really by chance."
Yes and no. Offensive lines don't work as five separate blockers but as five blockers who move and ward off defenders as one. Remove one piece from that line — especially a piece such as Kuper, who is the senior member of Denver's blocking unit — and there could be a domino effect.
Kuper has been around so long, he was a teammate of center Tom Nalen and left tackle Matt Lepsis. Kuper has the strength and instincts to help young right tackle Orlando Franklin and veteran center Dan Koppen, who has been with the Broncos for only three months.
Problem is, Kuper has been banged up all season. He missed the first five games because of a fractured left forearm and missed three more because of a left ankle injury that flared up last week before the game at Oakland. It's the ankle that was dislocated during the final game of last season.
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