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Monday, October 1, 2012
Koppen expected to start against Patriots

By Field Yates

Former Patriots center Dan Koppen, released at the end of training camp after nine-plus seasons with New England, is in line to start for the Denver Broncos this Sunday when they travel to Gillette Stadium for a Week 5 matchup.

Koppen was part of a competition during training camp that ultimately ended with 26-year-old Ryan Wendell earning the job at center, and Koppen looking for work as a free agent.

A day after the Broncos' season-opening win against the Steelers, Koppen was added, bringing a wealth of experience and depth behind starter J.D. Walton, a developing young player.

Walton suffered a broken ankle late in the first half of Denver's Week 4 win over the Oakland Raiders, and will miss the rest of the season, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The injury to Walton put Koppen on the field on Sunday, and, according to Klis, will vault him into the starting role this Sunday as Koppen returns to Gillette Stadium, this time as a visitor.

Koppen had some issues holding up against interior power rushers during training camp, and a lack of positional versatility likely played a factor in the Patriots' decision to part ways with him.

After starting 120 games for the franchise between 2003 and the season opener in 2011, Koppen was shelved with an ankle fracture for the remainder of last season. That opened the door for Dan Connolly to assume the starting role, and he has now shifted to right guard with Wendell anchoring the middle of the line.