It started Sunday. Ronnie Hillman missed a pass 2/3 through the second quarter and limped to the sideline. C.J. Anderson entered the game and immediately took a pass that, at first glance, would have been better off if he had just dropped the ball and let it fall incomplete. Instead, he took it 51-yards to the house.
You've seen the pass hundreds of times if you're a fan of the recent Denver Broncos: it's Peyton Manning's or Adam Gase's or John Fox's way of throwing their hands in the air in the safest way possible and trying again on the next drive.
Not with Anderson though, not this time. His touchdown initiated the beatdown that Denver would deliver to the Oakland Raiders over the course of the next quarter-plus-three-minutes.
It also initiated what should be a changing of the
guard running back for the Denver Broncos. Anderson has earned the right to start.
Hillman is out 'two' weeks with a mid-foot sprain. John Fox went as far as to call Hillman 'day-to-day' Monday, but we know from experience that foot sprains on skill position players can be tricky. Meanwhile, Montee Ball practiced last week, but wasn't deemed healthy enough to be active for Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Fox was asked about Ball's availability for the St. Louis Rams this week, and I found his answer interesting. Fox lumped Ball and Hillman together with a 'they', suggesting to me that, at this point, Anderson is a stronger part of the gameplan.
"It doesn’t matter how I feel. It’s a matter of how they [the medical personnel] feel. We’ll just take it one day at a time. They were in today, got treatment and got updated. They have tomorrow off and we’ll see how they feel. Time heals and we’ll see how they feel on Wednesday," Fox said.
Meanwhile, when discussing Anderson in pass blocking, Fox commented, "I’m sure there are errors. I don’t have his exact grade sheet but he’s a young player. He’s going to make mistakes."
I have that sheet right here, Coach: 44 snaps, 20 in the passing game, only four pass blocking snaps.
Give the kid a break, coach; give him the break of his lifetime. We've got more than a feeling he will reward you handsomely.
There's a certain resistance in Fox with regards to who is playing or at the very least admitting that Anderson is doing well, but it's blatantly obvious at this point that Anderson is the best back in Denver's stable. Anderson and Ball have run for the exact same amount of yards at this point in the season, 172. Ball did it in four games on 55 carries, Anderson has done it on 30 carries. Anderson carries a 5.7 yards per carry average into his eighth game that he will participate in this season.
We talked about it last week: Denver needs a running back like Terrell Davis to deliver them a Super Bowl. While I will make no comparison to Davis and Anderson here, I will reiterate Anderson's 5.7 yard per carry average.
What do you guys think? Is Anderson the player fans deserve to see starting against the Rams on Sunday?