Trench tough

Bron­cos’ Gar­cia mov­ing from left to right side to make room for Leary

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY ARNIE STA­PLE­TON

Bron­cos guard Max Gar­cia is mov­ing from the left side of the O-line to the right to ac­com­mo­date free agent new­comer Ron Leary, one of sev­eral ad­di­tions GM John El­way made to toughen up his team in the trenches.

“I’ve been more com­fort­able on the left side be­cause that’s where I’ve been pretty much my en­tire career in Dal­las,” said Leary, who signed with Den­ver on the first day of free agency.

Gar­cia started all 16 games at left guard last sea­son and played ev­ery snap but told new coach Vance Joseph and of­fen­sive line coach Jeff David­son that he’d gladly move over.

“I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it at all. Re­ally, I’m a team player. That’s re­ally what it boils down to,” Gar­cia said. “I just see it as a part of the game. It doesn’t mat­ter to me. I’m not one of those guys that is go­ing to be play­ing at a set po­si­tion my en­tire career be­cause I haven’t done it yet. I started off at left tackle in col­lege and then I moved to guard and moved to cen­tre. It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter to me.”

Plus, Gar­cia said, “I feel like I did bet­ter on the right side my rookie year” in 2015.

Gar­cia is one of the holdovers in El­way’s off-sea­son makeover of the O-line.

In the first 24 hours of free

agency, El­way plucked two nasty-streak players from two of the top of­fen­sive lines in the league.

He signed for­mer Cow­boys guard Ron Leary for $35 mil­lion over four years and for­mer Raiders tackle Mene­lik Wat­son

for $18 mil­lion over three years.

“I think they’re great ad­di­tions to the team,” Gar­cia said. “They bring a lot of tough­ness with how they played in the past and their rep that they’ve had in the league. You can’t re­ally fake vet­eran lead­er­ship.

That’s what they bring.”

Add in first-round draft pick Garett Bolles, a left tackle from Utah who was the 20th over­all pick in the draft, and the Bron­cos have the mak­ings of a new at­ti­tude on of­fence.

“I talked to him a cou­ple days af­ter we drafted him just to con­grat­u­late him and wel­come him to the group,” Leary said. “He’s 25, so he’s a grown man. He talks like a grown man; he ap­proaches the game like a grown man. He wants to play ball. He loves the game. He’s re­ally phys­i­cal. I know that’s what John and Vance were try­ing to do with the O-line. I think he fits per­fectly with that.”

Gar­cia fig­ures he can add some nas­ti­ness, too, be­cause the gap block­ing scheme that the new of­fen­sive coach­ing staff is in­stalling re­ally suits his skills.

“I’m go­ing to be able to pros­per a lit­tle bit more and just be able to use my phys­i­cal­ity a lit­tle bit more,” Gar­cia said Tues­day. “We’ll be able to play a more ver­ti­cal game in­stead of play­ing hor­i­zon­tally.”

The O-line in par­tic­u­lar and the of­fence as a whole took a lot of heat last year be­cause the Bron­cos’ defence was just as good in many re­spects as the unit that led them to a win in Su­per Bowl 50.

“It’s been one of those un­der­tones ... we have to do our job,” Gar­cia said.

“We have to carry our own weight and pretty much make a name for our­selves. When the game is on the line, we want to con­trol that. We don’t want to just give it up to the defence. It’s been like that in the past, but we def­i­nitely want to change that men­tal­ity and that at­ti­tude.”

AP PHOTO

In this De­cem­ber 2016 file photo, Den­ver Bron­cos of­fen­sive guard Max Gar­cia moves with the play dur­ing the first half of an NFL game against the Jack­sonville Jaguars in Jack­sonville, Fla.

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