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View Full Version : What Should We Expect From Clady



Ziggy
06-25-2008, 04:00 PM
Shortly after selecting OT Ryan Clady with the 12th pick in the 2008 draft, Mike Shanahan wasted no time in naming him the starting LT for the upcoming season. Now it's surprising enough that any Bronco rookie offensive lineman would be given the starting position going into training camp. To name a rookie LT as the starter is even more of a testament of Shanahan's belief in the skills of this young man. As I thought about it more and more, I began to ask myself, "What should we expect from Ryan Clady this season?"

I think it would be silly not to expect the usual growing pains from a rookie in any position. Lt however, is arguably the 2nd hardest position to play on the offensive side of the ball. These players are normally playing the other teams best pass rusher along with seeing a variety of blitz packages and disguised defensive schemes and alignments.

What kind of season would be a successful one for the 6'7" 320 pound mammoth tackle? This is where opinions will vary. Many on this forum have stated that any improvement over the play of Matt Lepsis from last season would qualify. Others expect him to struggle mightily over the first half of the season and begin to excel in the second half. Another faction will be quick to write him off as a bust because he wasn't the premiere running back that "should have been taken" with the 12th pick. I think it's our job as a part of Bronco Nation to give him a fair shake. How do we do that?

I thought about averaging the stats of the top tackles from the 2007 season, but those can be extremely misleading. First of all, they only reflect pass blocking for the most part. Secondly, they can be skewed due to the fact the some tackles have either a TE or RB helping them with a pass rusher, while others are left on an island to handle thier blocking assignment on thier own. For these reasons, I don't think it's fair to assign a set of statistics for his season that would qualify it as a successful one.

Unfortunately, I think that calling his season a success is going to be completely subjective. I'd like some input from my fellow Broncomaniacs on this, but I have come up with some ideas to kick around:

1. Cutler doesn't get injured being blindsided by the man that Clady SHOULD have blocked.

2. He doesn't have to have Graham babysitting his side of the line on every passing down, especially later in the season.

3. He plays with enough power to enable the Broncos to consistently run the ball to his side when called upon to do so.

4. He improves in all areas throughout the season.

5. He puts Shawne Merriman on his arse at least once during the season. (OK, that's not really a requirement to having a good season, but it sure would make my month.)

Let me know what you think, and feel free to add any thoughts or ideas that you might have on a fair way to judge the rook.

Retired_Member_001
06-25-2008, 04:06 PM
Clady has always been labelled a project player. A guy who won't reach his potential untill he has a few good years in the league. I really don't think we should judge him untill he gets at least half a season. We also have to remember that his performance will depend greatly on how the other offensive lineman play. There are several question marks on the offensive line and they could make things hard for Clady. I guess all we can do is wait and see. All I ask is that he does a fairly good job of protecting Cutler's blind side by the end of the season.

Good article. I've been pretty busy but I'll be having an article up soon.

Dean
06-25-2008, 05:38 PM
How difficult the adjustment to the NFL will be is inversely proportional to how strong the Broncos rushing game is.

If the Broncos can run the ball, the majority of of our passes will be play action passes. The D-end will be more on his heels rather than coming full out every snap. This would take a major amount of pressure off all our pass protectors.

In conjunction with this and in dropback situations IMO Mike Shanahan will scheme to take pressure off of Clady. (I don't beleive he will be allowed to fail right off of the bat.) Facing a 43 defense Nalen will make a line call to slant the blocking toward the left to help Clady. Any inside pass rush will be picked up by Hamilton leaving Clady only the outside to worry about. I would imagine that nearly every play the pass pro will provide Clady with either a TE or a back to aid Clady. This, however, comes with a price for the right tackle. He would seldom receive help.

Under such a scheme a breakdown in pass protection may occur on the right but is actually brought about by an over commitment to the offensive left. Likewise when a defense brings more players than the protection has people to block than there are blocker someone will get the undeverved blame. In other words you have to watch what the entire offensive front does not just the individual. For examples look at Pears pass blocking the last two years when he had TE help and when he didn't. I feel that members of this board jump to judgement based upon supposition and hearsay.

He has the size and agility that only a few NFL tackles can meet. He may show in training camp and the first few games that he doesn't need this excessive help. (ranting and rambling finished)

I mention all this because I believe it is going to be difficult to judge what Clady has accomplished on his own or what occured due to the help that I mentioned. If that help continues through the second half of the season then you will know that the organization doesn't feel he can handle the LT position on his own. At least not yet.

I expect him, with the pass pro help, to do very well at the beginning of the season. In the second half of the season and when playing 34 teams, we will get a better look at what he can do and what he might become.

IMO the sky is the limit for him.

Lonestar
06-26-2008, 04:27 PM
I was one that wanted anyone but clady for a multitude of reasons. Him being a project for a couple of years, his wunderlick score and not playing against real college talent for more than 20 or so games..

Coming from an small WAC school that traditionally plays a weak schedule did not bolster my confidence in him one bit..

I would have rather had either Williams or Albert for that matter.. Either IMO would have been heads above what we have had on the OLINE for years..

Lepsis was good but after the knee issue in 2006 he was never the same I did not expect him to be last year but not even at the diminished level he was..

I would have rather had Stewart and one of the second tier OL guys who would still have been heads above any of our present guys again IMHO..

But that said I hope that clady does pick up the plays fast is not long in learning real NFL OLINE play and he does not get cutler killed..

Perhaps he will become the projected premier OLT in the game over the next two years and plays in DEN for 10-15 if that is the case..

Dean
06-26-2008, 06:53 PM
JR- There were 9 offensive linemen taken before the Broncos' second round pick with only one projected to play offensive guard. IMO if we had waited until the our second pick to grab an offensive tackle, I fear we would have gotten third or fourth tier rather than second.

I am of the opinion that with a quality O-line an above average back can excel and for significantly less cap hit over the long haul. Many believe that the back makes the offense and I can agree to a point.

However, look at recent premiere free agent backs who have taken the money and gone to other teams. Many never produce anywhere near what they had previously done. Running backs based upon what they do tend to be higher injury risks. For that kind of money, you need him on the field not IR or out for a few weeks.

If the axis of your arguement is whether the Broncos should have specifically taken Stewart over Clady- we won't know that answer for a couple of years.

Lonestar
06-26-2008, 08:59 PM
There were 9 offensive linemen taken before the Broncos' second round pick with only one projected to play offensive guard. IMO if we had waited until then to grab an offensive tackle, I fear we would have gotten third or fourth tier rather than second.

I am of the opinion that with a quality O-line an above average back can excel and for significantly less cap hit over the long haul. Many believe that the back makes the offense and I can agree to a point but look at primiere free agent backs who have taken the money and gone to other teams to never produce anywhere near what they had previously done. Running backs from what they do tend to be higher injury risks. For that kind of money, you need him on the field.

If your arguement is should have we specifically taken Stewart over Clady- we won't know for a couple of years.



I'd take a 3-4 tier guy over most of what we already had on the OLINE not like taking Harris the year before in the third or most of the rest in the 5-7th.. Probably still an upgrade IMO..

That we will not..

topscribe
06-26-2008, 11:35 PM
I was one that wanted anyone but clady for a multitude of reasons. Him being a project for a couple of years, his wunderlick score and not playing against real college talent for more than 20 or so games..

Coming from an small WAC school that traditionally plays a weak schedule did not bolster my confidence in him one bit..

I would have rather had either Williams or Albert for that matter.. Either IMO would have been heads above what we have had on the OLINE for years..

Lepsis was good but after the knee issue in 2006 he was never the same I did not expect him to be last year but not even at the diminished level he was..

I would have rather had Stewart and one of the second tier OL guys who would still have been heads above any of our present guys again IMHO..

But that said I hope that clady does pick up the plays fast is not long in learning real NFL OLINE play and he does not get cutler killed..

Perhaps he will become the projected premier OLT in the game over the next two years and plays in DEN for 10-15 if that is the case..

I don't believe the Wunderlick was an accurate measurment of Clady's intelligence.
One thing I have heard out of camp is how smart he is . . .

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Lonestar
06-27-2008, 01:59 AM
I don't believe the Wunderlick was an accurate measurment of Clady's intelligence.
One thing I have heard out of camp is how smart he is . . .

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heard the same thing about foster also real smart, huge, fast feet....

Time will tell how fast he catches on.. I'll reserve my judgment until I've seen him in a real game..

BTW a mediocre score does not mean much IMO what he got did..

broncobear
07-15-2008, 03:36 AM
I mentioned this at MHR - An ESPN article on Joe Thomas created an interesting thought. Joe Thomas is one of, if not the premier, LT(s) in the league. The ESPN article praising him, and rightfully so, mentioned several key traits.

"He (Thomas) is the prototype for the position and is a superior prospect in comparison with this year's first overall selection and fellow Big Ten alumnus Jake Long (Miami Dolphins). Thomas has tremendous height, long arms, the frame to continue to add weight and massive hands to control his opponent upon contact.
"ÖWhile there are plenty of players out there with great size, what separates Thomas from the pack is his quickness, light feet and ever-improving technique. Like most of the great ones, he almost always appears to be in balance and rarely looks awkward. Mix all of those outstanding attributes with great competitiveness and tremendous work ethic and you have a player every team longs for in their backside protector."
Now let's look at Clady. We have height (check), size (check), long arms (check), big hands, quickness, great feet, and 'rarely looks awkward' (4 more checks). Heís got the frame to add weight and strength, and if John Lynch says that heís already strong, I would believe it. All of this is right out of Clady's draft notes and early camp reports. Endurance is something we will have to see, the ability to continue to raise his technique to the NFL level is in the future and none of this, of course, is meant to suggest that heís ready to be at the level of Joe Thomas, who is at the top of the league.
Lynch said,

"I know we haven't put pads on, but he looks like a guy who could go to 10 Pro Bowls. He's got very good feet. That jumps out at you right away. And he's strong. I know from personal experience that, once he gets his hands on you, he's a strong guy."
Montrae Holland added,

"I think the Broncos have a lot of good years ahead of them with him in there. He's 300-and-some pounds and he's moving like a guy 280 or 275. You get a kid like that who can learn to pick up the offense, you've got yourself a winner."

Thatís a lot of high praise, not to mention the Sweet Feet moniker from PJ Alexander, etc. Iím interested in the reports that heís a project and may not be ready for 3 Ė 4 years, since I havenít seen that so far in my reading, although I do believe that itís out there. Still, he will have to handle speed rushers at the NFL level, and sure, heíll make rookie mistakes. But I think that weíve gotten ourselves the real deal.

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