The Denver Broncos are running out of centers to use, which might mean that their epidemic of season ending injuries will push them to the free agent market, where Eugene Amano might be the best option for them.
Amano didn’t play a single game for the Tennessee Titans last season due to injury, but a starter since 2008 at Right Guard, Amano became a center in 2010, starting 29 times at the position. He’s not a Super Bowl champion like Dan Koppen or a promising young player like D.J. Walton, the man Koppen was actually filling in for since last season, but he might be the best thing they have to do right now.
The other options are using guards and playing them as centers, like the Titans once did with Amano himself. Manny Ramirez seems like the leading option at the moment, taking quite a lot of snaps during workouts, but there’s also Chris Kuper, who isn’t a leading man in the race to win one of the guard positions for next season, which means a shift to center might be in the cards for him.
The Broncos have just added Steve Vallos, but Vallos has only nine starts in six seasons in the NFL, and putting such an inexperienced pair of hands to start at center is simply asking for trouble, especially when there are much better options to be used.
The Broncos themselves as the favorites in the AFC to reach the Super Bowl. Last season they finished with the best record in the conference only to be stunned by the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. This season, the plan was to pick off from that exact spot, only with a better running game and make the most of the final elite seasons Peyton Manning has left in him.
The problem is that without a decent offensive line to protect him (and the Broncos have plenty of injuries right now or players coming off surgery in the group that should be protecting their quarterback), their Super Bowl plans will once again end a lot sooner than they thought.