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Ramirez Stepping In

Posted Aug 16, 2012

With Chris Kuper sidelined with a fractured forearm, guard Manny Ramirez has taken first-team reps at right guard.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos preach a next-man-up mentality, and players across the roster have bought in.

So when Manny Ramirez got the call to take over at right guard due to Chris Kuper's injury, he was ready.

“It's sad the way it is, but it is an opportunity and you've got to take advantage of it," Ramirez said. "My main goal is to get in there and make sure that they can count on me and not miss a step.”

Kuper fractured his left forearm during Tuesday's morning practice, and is expected to make a full recovery in four to six weeks.

"In the meantime, (Head Coach John) Fox has stressed all camp that it’s the next-man-up mentality, and I know Manny will step in there and do a good job," quarterback Peyton Manning said.

Kuper was in the process of working his way back into the lineup after recovering from an injury suffered in Week 17 of the 2011 season. Throughout training camp, Ramirez split reps with Kuper at right guard with the first-team offensive line. In the club's preseason-opening win at Chicago, Ramirez got the start at right guard as Kuper sat out the contest.

Ramirez is expected to continue in that role as Kuper recovers from his new injury.

"Manny’s been with the ones almost the entire camp, because Chris was limited early on when we started here," Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy said. "He’s done a great job, and he’s fit right in. We’re not going to skip a beat."

In his first five NFL seasons, Ramirez has started 15 of his 20 games played. All 15 of those starts came with the Detroit Lions, including a career-high 12 in the 2009 season, when he was penalized just three times while allowing only a half sack, according to Stats Inc.

Since his last starts, Ramirez said he has grown "a lot more mature," and he knows what to expect when he hits the field.

The former Texas Tech standout is anxious to contribute any way he can to make sure Kuper's injury doesn't prohibit the Broncos from getting off to a fast start in 2012.

"I've been doing my best out there," Ramirez said. "I'm ready to step in. I've been having a good camp so far.  I've been making sure that I have a good relationship with the offensive line, making sure that we're on the same page, and that we don't miss a step."