The Drew Lock Hype Train left the station back in December and has reached a full head of stream in training camp.
And the expectations placed on the second-year quarterback have, in turn, created correspondingly lofty expectations for an offensive line charged with making sure the quarterback can have the breakout season everyone is hoping for.
Enter Graham Glasgow, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound mustachioed behemoth of a man. The veteran right guard, signed to a $44 million free-agent contract in March, is charged with bringing veteran stability to a unit that has the starting center job up for grabs and right tackle Ja’Wuan James opted out.
“In the NFL a team can really only go as far as the quarterback takes them, but for us on the offensive line, it’s imperative for us to keep (Lock) upright so he can fulfill those expectations,” Glasgow said. “And, it’s imperative we make his job as easy as possible, because playing quarterback in this league is not easy. We understand our role in that.”
The 28-year-old brings a stable presence to a line that lacks a clear identity early in camp.
Second-year pro Dalton Risner is the unit’s other pillar at left guard, while left tackle Garett Bolles is still looking for consistency and fellow fourth-year pro Elijah Wilkinson battles veteran free-agent acquisition Demar Dotson for the right tackle job. Center remains undecided between Austin Schlottmann, Patrick Morris and rookie Lloyd Cushenberry.
Glasgow started 58 games over the past four years in Detroit (26 at center, 18 at left guard and 14 at right guard) since being selected in the third round out of Michigan in 2016. Coach Vic Fangio is relying on Glasgow’s experience and versatility to rub off on the rest of the line as he takes over a position Ron Leary mostly held last year.
“Certain players need a caddy out there on the field, and some guys do better when they’ve got a good caddy (like Glasgow) with them,” Fangio said.
Risner, coming off a strong debut season that saw him named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, noted Glasgow is already mentoring him on and off the field. During water breaks so far in training camp, Risner and Glasgow are often side-by-side, with the former picking the latter’s brain as the Broncos continue to implement the offense of first-year coordinator Pat Shurmur.
“I’m going to learn a lot from that guy,” Risner said. “He’s a great player. He’s really smart, and he’s really calm and collected. He’s not going to show a lot of emotion. He’s always going to be rocking the mustache and he’s not going to be too high or too low. He’s going to be a great mediator for the group and he’s going to be a great leader. I’m excited to lead right next to him.”
An added bonus for Glasgow in his first season in Denver is working under offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who is widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, o-line coach in the league.
“I’ve been trying to immerse myself (in Munchak’s technique), and take it in, and use it as much as I can and not be scared to switch things up,” Glasgow said. “Because of that, I think I’ll end up being a better player.”