Denver Broncos Roster 2012: How Chris Kuper Injury Shakes Up the Depth Chart

Joe Rapolla Jr.Featured ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 11:  Chris Kuper #73 of the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos and their fans received some harrowing "breaking" news on Tuesday, as it was reveled that offensive guard Chris Kuper will miss four to six weeks with a broken forearm. 

Denver was the only team in the NFL that started the same five offensive linemen in every game last season, and while Kuper was not one of the strongest fixtures on that line, he is, as ESPN's Bill Williamson writes "an underrated player [who] is tough and stout."

Denver's consistency on the offensive line is, without question, an advantage, but protection of quarterback Peyton Manning is obviously of utmost importance. Manning is healthy, but has spent the better part of the last two years recovering from a neck injury, so it goes without saying that Denver wants him to stay off the ground as much as possible. 

Bleacher Report's Jason Muckley recently did an exposé on the Denver offensive line and reported that the Denver coaches were considering a few shifts on the line. 

One of these shifts involved bumping Zane Beadles out of the starting roster, moving Orlando Franklin to the guard position and giving Chris Clark, who backed up Ryan Clady at left tackle last season, the starting role. 

With Kuper out with this injury, that plan is obviously disrupted. 

It's classless to ever report an injury as "good news," yet this is the case for Zane Beadles, who should be able to retain his job as the starting left guard, at least to start the season.

Kuper's injury also confirms that Clark or tackle Ryan Harris should be able to jump into the starting roster. This is assuming that the Broncos do decide to move Franklin to the guard position. 

With Kuper recouping, here is how I see the starting roster on the offensive line for Week 1: 

LT: Ryan Clady 
LG: Zane Beadles 
C: J.D. Walton 
RG: Orlando Franklin 
RT: Chris Clark