When the Denver Broncos tendered C.J. Anderson for basically nothing, many thought John Elway was just giving the talented young running back away to the highest bidder. Instead, he was letting the market set Anderson's price and he was brought back to Denver with a healthy new contract.
Now that he is a Bronco into the foreseeable future, Anderson seems to be working harder this offseason than any other, with the apparent goal of being the featured back in 2016.
On if he is going to do anything differently this time to stay on the field, Anderson said, "You’ve got to stay healthy first. I think the conditioning [will] help better. I think the mindset is better, too. During the year it was ‘You and Ronnie, you and Ronnie, you and Ronnie.’ When I knew I could go, I was like man, ‘You know you can go, but Ronnie can go out there and he’s fresh right now making plays.’ During the Super Bowl, they were like, ‘Hey, C.J., go.’ And I didn’t come off the field. My mindset is a little bit different now when it comes to, ‘Hey, we’re going to let you go. We’re going to let you go until you can’t go.’ Now I can control when I come on and when I come off. Compared to the past, when I was coming off and coming on when I was being told."
That certainly sounds like a man who got a taste of what it means to be the featured back and is hungry for more of that. All to often in 2015, Anderson would appear to get winded and would be yanked in favor of Ronnie Hillman.
"Just play football. I’ve been playing ball. It’s not the leadership, but the pressure that you put on yourself. You just play football," Anderson said of what he's looking to do in 2016. "You’ve been playing this game for a long time. This is my fourth season in the NFL now. I know what the expectations are, what my body [needs] and where everything needs to be. I’m just going to out there, play ball and have fun."
Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro from The Afternoon Drive discuss whether or not Anderson is ready for that heightened role on the Broncos offense this season. They didn't really buy into Anderson's comments about the coaches making him split carries during the season.
The good news is that he is happy to still be with the Broncos.
"It’s just huge. The growth that I’ve gained from Coach Studesville, now you can see it in meetings where we’re talking," Anderson said of his return to the Broncos. "I’m even putting him in more situations where it comes to questions. I’m asking him a lot more questions about what we did last year and how we can be better from it. Making sure he does his job like he’s making sure that I’m doing mine. I think Coach Studesville has always been in my corner since I’ve been here. We’re just trying to get better every day."
The crazy part of that last comment is how close the Broncos came to losing Eric Studesville. Not many "intern" head coaches are able to stick around with the new regime. That ended up being a major coup for Elway and John Fox.
Now the Broncos get to continue enjoying the camaraderie and chemistry that Studesville has helped foster with Anderson and his partner in crime, Hillman. However, something tells me there will be a third running back added to the roster later this week.
Eric and Les talk with Mike Pritchard who discusses the possibility of Sam Bradford coming to play for the Denver Broncos in 2016. Bradford reportedly wants out of Philadelphia despite his $18 million guaranteed contract for this year. Pritchard thinks bringing Bradford to Denver would be crazy.