ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Nobody knows the value of right guard Chris Kuper's presence like Peyton Manning.
Coming off a series of neck surgeries, Denver's quarterback was sacked 21 times this season, but only twice with Kuper in the Broncos' lineup.
Although Manny Ramirez admirably filled in for him, the pocket of protection wasn't the same with Kuper out.
The anchor of Denver's offensive line, Kuper made just five starts at right guard this season and played a-half dozen snaps on special teams in two other games, including the season finale against Kansas City.
He missed the first four games with a broken left forearm and missed five other games with a sprained left ankle, the same one he dislocated and broke in a gruesome scene a year ago.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL