Broncos reach out to Ryan Lilja to solve center issues


Besieged by injury, Denver is searching high and low for a capable center.

The Denver Broncos are desperate to help their injury-ravaged center position, and are contacting retired center Ryan Lilja in hopes of luring him back onto the field, according to Alex Marvez.

Denver has suffered the loss of Dan Koppen, who tore his ACL in the first days of camp. With Koppen out for the season and starter J.D. Walton sidelined with a left ankle injury at least until late October, the situation has become dire. Currently, the Broncos have third-stringer Manny Ramirez running with the first team.

The marriage of Denver and Lilja makes sense on a couple fronts. First, Lilja had been playing the last three years in the AFC West with the Chiefs, so he's very familiar with the opposition. Second, he's only 31 years old and has worked plenty with Peyton Manning previously, as pointed out by Scotty Payne of Mile High Report.

Lilja started 59 games for Peyton Manning in Indianapolis from 2004-2009. So Lilja knows all about Peyton Manning and how he works the line.

When Lilja played in Indianapolis, he was always a guard with Jeff Saturday running the show at center. However, he would at least be familiar with the Manning way of doing things at the line of scrimmage.

Payne also talks about the job Lilja did last season in Kansas City, which while not great was certainly admirable.

According to pro football focus, Lilja was the 14th rated center in the league with an overall grade of 7.8. He scored a -3.1 in the pass blocking department and a 9.5 in the run blocking department.

Manny Ramirez allowed 6 sacks and 13 total pressures.

With the alarming lack of depth at one of the most important positions in a Manning-run offense, Lilja would be a key addition to the Broncos this summer.

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