NFL

Broncos lose All-Pro LT Ryan Clady for season

9/18/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

As I mentioned yesterday in my Week 2 injury summary, Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady went down on Sunday with a foot injury. To the dismay of the Broncos, Clady's injury was later diagnosed to be of the Lisfranc variety - "Lisfranc" is just about the worst word you can hear when discussing a foot injury. The best case scenario after the diagnosis was that Clady would be back in a few weeks, and some suggested that he could land on the injured reserve/designation to return.

Reports Wednesday, however, have ruled out a possible 2013 return for Clady, who will undergo surgery on his injured foot and miss the remainder of the season. The Broncos have already placed him on injured reserve.

Clady is truly one of the premier tackles in the game, particularly in pass protection. As the protector of Peyton Manning's blindside, Clady had been taking on an extremely important role in the Broncos' offense. The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro will be replaced by Chris Harris, a 2010 undrafted free agent who has made six career starts. As I'm sure you have figured out, this is a big blow to the Broncos' offense, though you should not expect Peyton and company to struggle by any means - they'll just be less dominant.

The injury could mean even more snaps for running back Knowshon Moreno, who has gotten the majority of backfield work through the first two games due to his prowess in pass protection. Now missing one of the game's elite blindside pass protectors, Moreno's ability to keep Peyton upright becomes even more important.

The Broncos signed Winston Justice, formerly of the Eagles and Colts, on Wednesday. Justice may be best known for his NFL debut in 2007, during which he gave up six sacks to Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. He'll be the backup at both left and right tackle now that Harris has been plugged in as a starter.

The Broncos remain Super Bowl hopefuls despite Clady's injury, but missing your best lineman at the offensive line's most important position will always hurt your chances of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
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