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Denver Broncos' Starting C Dan Koppen has torn ACL, out for year

After an aggressive practice Saturday, the Denver Broncos would match that same intensity Sunday. Unfortunately for the Broncos, their starting center Dan Koppen would need to be carted off the field Sunday on what marks day 2 of pads. 

It appears that Dan Koppen will miss the season after an MRI confirmed that Koppen has a torn ACL.

After attempting much patch work last year at center, the Broncos found a free agent gem in Dan Koppen last September. They had hoped for that to happen again. The 33-year-old signed another one-year deal recently when then starting center J.D. Walton went down. Despite no offseason or training camp work, Koppen was able to hit the ground running with the Broncos, joining the starting lineup from the moment he joined the team. Koppen had a disappointing end to his season in 2012-2013 after an injury that kept him out of the playoff loss against the Baltimore Ravens last year. It now appears Koppen's 2013-2014 season will again, but this time before it even started.

With Koppen going to miss the entire year, the Broncos may need to find a replacement to protect their QB. As it stands now, backup guard/center Manny Ramirez is going to take whatever snaps Koppen misses. Ramirez struggled late last year when he was put in the lineup. To make things more unclear, another backup center for the Broncos C.J. Davis got hurt with a leg injury Saturday. Former pro-bowler G Chris Kuper may get the nod to start at center, but Kuper has been plagued by injuries and still is recovering from a broken leg last year. As much as the Broncos are paying Peyton Manning, the Broncos may want to start calling around teams for a replacement or perhaps in free agency. They could reach out to retirees such as Matt Birk or Manning's longtime center in Indianapolis, Jeff Saturday. Neither might not have much, if anything left in the tank. One can't help but think they still may be better options than what Denver has now, however. 

The Broncos are the latest victims of an injury epidemic that has been spreading through NFL training camps. Just yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens lost two instrumental parts of their offenses in WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Dennis Pitta. Unfortunately, this list will only continue to grow before the season starts.

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