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Ramirez steps in at center

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- One practice in and Manny Ramirez has yet to send any snaps sailing over Peyton Manning's head that would incur the wrath of his quarterback.

That's a good start for the Denver Broncos' newest center.

Granted, there were a few slightly off-target -- making Manning have to reach up to grab -- and one botched exchange early in the workout on Monday, but that was about all the miscues.

Ramirez is trying to get the hang of things quickly, because this season could very well hinge on his hikes as he steps for Dan Koppen, who suffered a season-ending knee injury over the weekend.

For a player who's never snapped a ball in an NFL game, Ramirez appeared awfully calm. Then again, he does have Manning standing behind him and telling him precisely what to do.

Not that Ramirez receives any special treatment just because he's a relative newcomer to snapping the ball. Newcomer or not, Manning expects the best, which Ramirez appreciates.

"I'm the type of person that if something is wrong, I need to know about it," said Ramirez, who was rushed by reporters as he returned from the weight room to chat about his new role.

"I'd rather him point it out right there and then, than have to wait and try to figure it out later on. I'd rather get it done now."

The Broncos were dealt quite a blow on Sunday when Koppen, who started 12 games under center last season, tore his left ACL in 9-on-7 drills. Koppen was brought in just last month to fill in for J.D. Walton, who's had a setback in his return from ankle surgery.

Next up, Ramirez.

The team also brought in Steve Vallos, a six-year veteran who has played in Seattle, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Jacksonville with nine career starts.