After patiently waiting for several seasons on the Denver Broncos' practice squad and on the sidelines, running back Kapri Bibbs finally has a chance to show he can perform well in the NFL.
The team hasn't brought in another running back to help replace the presence of C.J. Anderson, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus. The team's silence in that regard may be a strong vote of confidence in the third-year running back out of Colorado State.
Though Bibbs has had limited opportunities in regular season games to show what he is capable of, his weekly game preparation hasn't changed. He knows the task ahead of him is big, but he is confident and eager to show his coaches and teammates that he can take his game to the next level.
"That’s one thing I haven’t done, I haven’t approached this week any differently any other week. Mentally, I know now that I’m going to get the ball more," said Bibbs. "That makes me feel better, but I doesn’t make me think I have to change anything. That just makes me more juiced for what’s about to happen."
A juiced Bibbs is exactly what the Broncos rushing attack will need in order to carry on the success they demonstrated on Monday Night Football against the Houston Texans defense. Rookie running back Devontae Booker will see a majority of the snaps at the position, but it's clear that Bibbs is slated to see an increased role with the offense.
Although limited in live game-day experience, Bibbs isn't phased by the opportunity. In fact, his diligence and dedication to becoming a better player this season shows his demonstrable maturity over past seasons. It shows he is hungry and capable of taking on the challenges and rigors opposing NFL defenses will give him every time he sees the field. Despite being third-string all year long, he has prepared for every game like he was going to be the man.
"This whole year since I’ve been up, I’ve taken snaps. This isn’t going to be my first time taking snaps on the offensive side of the ball," stated Bibbs. "Every single time and every single week I’ve got ready for a game, I’ve always prepared like I was going to start and like I was going to play because anything can happen in the game."
Bibbs also went on to discuss where his newly found confidence had come from — maturing as a player and getting a better understanding of how the game is play at it's highest level, especially in regard to studying defenses and their respective tendencies.
"I just think the difference from last year to this year is pure maturity. It’s just knowing what to put my time into, knowing when to put my time into it and knowing when to do other things and when to do football," mentioned Bibbs.
"When you’re young, sometimes you don’t understand how much you need to put in to this game . . . I just think I got better looking at defenses and actually breaking down teams, going through every single blitz they’ve actually ever ran and seeing how and why they do it."
Fans may be scared that there will be a decrease in production at the position with Anderson on the sidelines, but Bibbs doesn't. In front of the media yesterday, he vowed that there isn't going to be any drop off in quality of play.
"I think ‘Book’ is definitely ready to play and I’m ready to play. I don’t think there is going to be any drop off. I think we’re going to go in there and we’re going to handle our business," remarked Bibbs.
That's the type of confidence and swagger that he and Booker will need to have in order to keep the Broncos' rushing attack going at a high level. Here is to hoping that both of them continue to blossom and succeed in their larger roles in the offense. The team will certainly need that in pursuit of another division title and to keep their aspirations of a second straight Lombardi Trophy alive.