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So far, so good: Glasgow believes Broncos' offensive line can become among NFL's 5 best

Glasgow knows offensive line acclaim comes with statistical production. And wins.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Through the first half last week, when three starting offensive linemen were playing and seven starters overall, including quarterback Drew Lock, were taking on a backup group of Vikings, the Broncos appeared capable of supporting the lofty expectation set by right guard Graham Glasgow.

Of the Broncos’ blocking front five, Glasgow said earlier this month in a sit-down interview with 9NEWS: “I think we at least have a top 10 unit in the NFL. The goal is always to be the best, but I can see us becoming a top five unit, that’s not out of the realm of possibility.’’

For an offensive line to receive such acclaim, its quarterback, running backs and receivers have to put up impressive numbers. The Broncos had a much improved offensive line last year but with the exception of left tackle Garett Bolles, it didn’t get much recognition. It doesn’t come around when the team ranks 13th in rushing, 23rd in total yards, and 28th in scoring.

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Praise will come for the Broncos’ offensive line in 2021, though, if they play like they did in the first half against the Vikings. With starters Lloyd Cushenberry III at center, Glasgow and right guard, and potential starter Bobby Massie at right tackle, the Broncos’ front set the tone on the first two plays when rookie running back Javonte Williams burst for 11 and 13 yards.

Those runs opened up a playbook where just about every call worked.

By halftime, quarterbacks Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater had thrown for 195 yards, and Williams and Royce Freeman helped account for 87 yards rushing. The Broncos had 282 total yards and 26 points by halftime, which extrapolates to 564 yards and 52 points over 60 minutes.

And a win. Above all else, the Broncos have to win more than they lose this year and Glasgow believes that will happen, too.

“We had a lot of young guys last year,’’ Glasgow said while offering an explanation as to why the Broncos will be better in 2021. “We had a lot of new additions come in to the offense. We had to learn a new offense, learn a new scheme and learn the guy you’re playing next to. I feel like toward the end of the year we ended up getting a lot more comfortable with each other and we started to flow a little bit better.

“So far (this year), I feel like we’re running the ball better, we’re passing the ball better, we’re protecting better. I feel like it’s going to be a better year for our offense and I think our defense is great. Our defense will hold them.’’

The Broncos will play their second preseason game Saturday night at Seattle with kickoff at 8 p.m. MDT on Channel 20.

RELATED: Broncos preseason games to air on KTVD Ch. 20

Glasgow is an elder statesman on the Broncos offense, not because he turned 29 on Thursday and is a six-year starter, but because he is a mature, cerebral type who can be a go-to comrade for any teammate who may have a burden to share. This wasn’t always so in 2020 when COVID-19 had players showering in shifts and eating lunch in their cars in the parking lot. Glasgow caught the virus himself around midseason and missed two games, one of several medical nuisances he fought through. A return to near-normalcy and strength he believes will bring better play in his second season with the Broncos.

“I think last year, in particular, I had a lot of little nagging injuries that hindered me in the run game throughout the year,’’ he said. “It was also weird to come out here on Day 1 and you have basically two weeks of practice before your first game and you go out there with a bunch of guys you’ve never played with before. So I think the chemistry side of things was a little weird in the run game. Last year in pass protection I felt like I had a much better year.

“The stuff you would do every single day kind of wears on you a little bit. The testing and wearing the masks at practice. The air is thin enough. It’s tough enough to breathe out here let alone with a mask on. But while the record didn’t show it, I think it helped us become closer as a team and hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage of that this year.’

Glasgow and his wife Allison are settled in Denver and are expecting their first child. There was a COVID delay in getting their furniture shipped after he signed his big contract as a free agent but all is well and then some, now.

“I love it here,’’ he said. “It’s a fantastic place to live. Me and my wife are planning on living here the rest of our lives. It’s really awesome. And on the football side of things, I think it’s going well. Our offensive line is jelling together really well and I think we’re going to have a good season.’