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Peyton Manning: Ryan Clady’s holdout was good for Chris Clark

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Chris Clark #75 protects Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Chris Clark stepped into one of the most important jobs in football -- protecting Peyton Manning’s blind side -- when he took over for the injured Ryan Clady as the Broncos’ starting left tackle. Through one game, Clark is getting a passing grade.

Manning said after the game that he was particularly pleased that he was able to run the Broncos’ no-huddle offense the same as usual, and Clark always knew what he was doing. Manning attributed that in part to the fact that Clady held out through much of the offseason, giving Clark more time with the first-string offense than a backup would usually have in the offseason.

“I thought Chris did a good job from a communication standpoint,” Manning said. “The fact that he’s been the starting left tackle in the offseason, the minicamps, the OTAs and training camp, from a mental standpoint, he was on top of it. No miscommunications or having to call timeout because he didn’t know what to do. He was very sharp that way.”

When Clady’s holdout came to an end, he signed a five-year, $52.5 million contract, with $33 million guaranteed. Obviously, the Broncos wouldn’t have given Clady that kind of money if they thought Clark could easily step in and do just as good a job. But through one game without Clady, the Broncos’ offense still looks great. And Clark deserves at least some of the credit for that.