- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In an offseason/preseason when Broncos center Manny Ramirez has seen the Broncos sign Dan Koppen, sign Ryan Lilja, sign Steve Vallos, centers all, and even talk to Eugene Amano, Ramirez has simply held down the job, day after day, practice after practice. And Tuesday Ramirez received a vote of confidence.
Namely the guy he snaps the ball to every day in practice.
“Manny has done a great job,’’ quarterback Peyton Manning said. “He’s worked hard. He’s in a new position. The best teacher is experience and there’s not a walk-through or taking snaps before practice or a single play in practice that’s not valuable that he’s not learning something, that I’m not learning something from him. He and I are constantly communicating and he’s done everything that the coaches have asked of him. I think he’ll just continue to get better each day.’’
Good thing Manning feels that way because since Koppen is already on injured reserve and Lilja is now dealing with a knee issue -- he had knee and toe surgery early in the offseason -- Ramirez has continued to be option No. 1 at the position. He has never started a regular-season game at center since being moved into the middle of the offensive line from guard during the Broncos’ offseason program, but he's fairly locked in at this point, having started the first two preseason games.
Ramirez figures to play into the third quarter Saturday night against the Rams. Broncos coach John Fox said Tuesday he plans to take all of the regulars, on both sides of the ball, into the third quarter.
“We like getting them used to coming out after halftime,’’ Fox said. “Halftime is an event in itself. So this will be the first time they have to come out and play after the halftime routine.’’
The Broncos did add another potential center Tuesday when they traded defensive tackle Sealver Siliga to the Seahawks in exchange for guard/center John Moffitt. Moffitt, a third-round pick by the Seahawks in 2011, has started games at both guard spots in Seattle.
He also started 15 games at center in his career at Wisconsin, 13 of those as a sophomore. Moffitt did miss time as a rookie in Seattle with a knee injury, but entered training camp in a battle to be the starter at one of the guard spots.
But like Lilja and Vallos, Moffitt now moves into the depth chart behind Ramirez in the middle of the offensive line. And Ramirez is still the guy snapping to Manning.
1dEric D. Williams