Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC West [Print without images]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Broncos have decision to make at center

By Bill Williamson

J.D. Walton’s return to the field will have to wait and the Denver Broncos will have to figure out who will get the ball to Peyton Manning.

The Denver Post reported Walton recently had another ankle surgery and he could miss the entire 2013 season. The paper reported that Walton will be out at least half the season. The team has been expecting the issue in recent weeks because Walton was not recovering as expected. He was lost for the season last September.

Manny Ramirez was working with the first unit at center during the offseason. Denver was happy for him, but I could see them looking at free agents. Dan Koppen is available. He took over for Walton last year. Koppen did well, but he tailed off toward the end of the season.

If the team doesn’t go with Ramirez or bring back Koppen, they could consider Eugene Amano. He was recently cut by the Titans. He has 68 career starts. He was injured all of last season. Denver also has Philip Blake. But he has dealt with injuries and I’m not sure the team feels like he is ready to start. It’s not completely out of the question that Denver considers using Chris Kuper at center. The oft-injured Kuper is the odd man out at guard.

Overall, this is an issue, but I get the sense Denver had known Walton’s recovery was not going well in the past month or so. So this doesn’t come as a surprise and that Ramirez and Manning have been working together knowing it would for the long haul.

In other AFC West notes:

An Insider piece shows the Broncos and Chiefs were strong run-blocking teams in 2012 while the Chargers must pick it up.