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'Good guard play helps an offense out a lot': Graham Glasgow explains the value of the interior OL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Because Aaron Donald is in the NFL.

Because Chris Jones is in the AFC West.

That's reason enough, in the eyes of new Broncos offensive lineman Graham Glasgow, to prioritize the offensive guard position.

"Good guard play helps an offense out a lot," the new Bronco said Tuesday.

And while Glasgow played center at Michigan and again with the Detroit Lions, guard is where he said he pictures himself when the 2020 season begins.

"I'm open to playing wherever," GIasgow said. "I've played all positions in the past except for tackle. If they wanted me to play tackle, I'd give it a go — but hopefully not. I kind of imagine guard, but center's cool too."

The Broncos seem most likely to slot in Glasgow at either right guard or center, the two positions where he's taken most of his reps during his four-year NFL career. He played right guard almost exclusively in 2019, when he did not allow a sack. Over the last two seasons, he has been penalized for just two holding calls.

Though he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, Glasgow has been a standard for consistency and availability. He has missed just one game in his last three seasons.

That, it seems, would qualify as good guard play — and that has its benefits.

"When you have good guard play, you're running the ball well," Glasgow said. "You're having particularly good double-teams, which helps make creases for the running back. You don't really contribute to the benefit of a lot of long-yardage runs, because you find that's more on the edges and the blocking of the safeties. That's how you get the 15-, 20-, 30-yard runs. But the guards and the center, in particular, make it so that you have less minus-yard runs, which helps the average."

Glasgow estimated that it was easier to run block as a guard, but that doesn't extend to pass blocking. That's where an offensive lineman could find himself matched up one-on-one with a defender of Donald's or Jones' caliber.

"When you're at guard, there's a lot less help," Glasgow said. "You're not really getting helped as much. When you're a center, you're mainly just giving help. In the pass game, I would say it's definitely more challenging to play guard."

Glasgow said he faces a "bigger switch than people would like to let on" when he's moved between center and guard, but he's confident in his ability to make the change again, if necessary.

"I played a lot of center in college, so when I would go back to playing center, it was something that was a little bit easier for me to do," Glasgow said. "Playing guard, especially at the NFL level, was something that I had to learn, particularly early in my career. My rookie year I was brought in playing center and they kind of put me in the guard position, what felt like out of nowhere. I felt like playing guard was something I learned to do really well and that's something I can bring to the team. I'm a very good guard and I'm a very good center."

Whichever position he slides into with the Broncos, he should fill a substantial need. And he'll add another key piece to an offense that impressed him last season in a Week 16 game between the Broncos and Lions.

"Well, first things first, I thought they ran the ball really well that game," Glasgow said. "I remember seeing quite a few big runs and big gains by Phillip Lindsay, and I thought that their offensive line played really, really well that game. I thought that [Drew Lock] had some big throws, particularly on third down I think it was, [and] that was pretty impressive for me. I'm usually looking at a lot of my own plays when you're on the sideline, trying to talk about their defense. But they were putting up a lot of points and they were putting a lot of pressure on us, which was telling me that they were doing something right."

Soon, he'll be on the Broncos' side and have the Empower Field at Mile High crowd behind him.

"I've always known the Broncos have been a winning organization and a winning team, and I think that that is something that was important to me," Glasgow said. "Playing out in the stadium this past season when I was with the Lions, seeing the energy and intensity of the fans and the atmosphere they play with on game day was really cool for me, so I think that it was definitely my top choice.

"I'm very happy I ended up here."

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