When Dan Koppen
takes his place at the center of the Broncos' offensive line on Sunday, he
should feel pretty familiar with the surroundings. Having played in New England
for the past nine seasons, Koppen is well acquainted with the crowd and feel at
Gillette Stadium. And he's excited for the experience.
"I'm sure it's going to be fun. A little bit different, a little
bit different view," Koppen said in an interview with the Denver Post.
Koppen, who was
the reliable center in front of Tom Brady for much of his nine years with the
Patriots, will now be hiking out to another future Hall of Famer in Peyton
Manning. But apparently having a new set of hands receiving his snaps from
under center won't be all that strange for the former Pro Bowler.
"I'm pretty familiar with it," Koppen
said of the Broncos' offense. "It's along the same lines of what we ran in
New England, which helps, just different verbiage and all that stuff."
released Koppen, who went on injured reserve with a foot injury after Week 1 in
2011, just before the start of the 2012 season. The center quickly caught on in
Denver, who signed the veteran center as insurance at the position on Sept. 11
of this year.
policy paid off, too. The Broncos lost center J.D. Walton, who had started
every game for the Broncos since being drafted in 2010, for the season on
Sunday when he broke his ankle. Koppen stepped in and saw the Broncos finish
off a 37-6 win over Oakland.
Koppen is excited
for the opportunity to see more time on the field, but the humble center
doesn't like the circumstances that saw him obtain the starting job.
"I'm fortunate to be here, and be around these guys, but it is
unfortunate that it's this way. You don't want to see anybody get hurt,"
Koppen said. I've just got to go out there and do my job, whatever the coaches
ask of me, and do that."
Koppen's return to the field at Gillette Stadium won't exactly garner
the warm welcome he received while with the Patriots in training camp. But
snapping the ball back into the hands of a Hall of Fame quarterback should at
least ease the transition.