Name: Andy Janovich
Height: 6’1" Weight: 238 lbs
Age: 24 Experience: 2nd
There is no containment for the legend of Andy Janovich.
The Denver Broncos fullback has been a fan favorite since he was drafted in the sixth round from Nebraska. Even though Janovich has only four carries for 33 yards with one touchdown and five catches for 44 yards, fans want more.
Even though Janovich had two more carries than injuries in his rookie season, it’s the intangibles he brings to the team. You see that in both of his injuries, the broken hand he suffered against the Houston Texans and the ankle injury he sustained on the first play of the game in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
With his hand, Janovich didn’t miss any time. After the painful ankle injury, he still played 32 total offensive snaps and eight on special teams. It was that injury that ended his season after surgery. But you see why Janovich is so popular.
The second-year fullback has the attitude and approach that teams and fans love: doing whatever it takes to help the team have success. Do whatever is asked of them on the field. Those are the players you find a place for and reward. It’s the type of approach that becomes contagious.
There’s been a lot of discussion on what role Janovich will play in Mike McCoy’s offense. One question I get a lot: Is there even a place for a fullback in the Broncos’ new offense?
As noted above, when you have a guy like Janovich, you find a place for him on the field. No, he’s not a guy who can or should get multiple carries a game. But as a change of pace, physical option, he can help this offense.
The threat Janovich could pose in this offense out of the backfield as a receiver is what should get fans the most excited, though. McCoy has shown he loves to use backs as receivers in his offense, and when you add Janovich to C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Jamaal Charles and De’Angelo Henderson, those are weapons aplenty. And if you have multiple back formations, that makes the job even tougher for opposing defenses. Our Joe Mahoney had a great story earlier this week on the role Janovich could play in McCoy’s offense.
Janovich also contributes on special teams, so his versatility isn’t just limited to Denver’s offense.
Andy Janovich, on what the offense wants: "They just want versatile guys. You can get on the field if you do multiple things."— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 8, 2017
The big question with Janovich: Can he stay healthy?
The physical nature of his game doesn’t make matters easier for him. Before anyone gets their hopes up, Janovich must stay on the field.
While we all love the way he plays the game, the legend of Janovich has been over exaggerated by some. Part of that comes from the 28-yard touchdown run in the first game of the season against the Carolina Panthers, But short of that, that’s pretty much his lone highlight.
Sure, we love that what he brings is based on more than highlights and stats, but let’s not get carried away. He didn’t really do much of anything last season, in large part because he couldn’t stay healthy. It’s hard to be an effective fullback in the NFL when you have two functional hands, but when one is a club – as Janovich had after the Texans game – that limits your effectiveness.
If Janovich stays healthy, McCoy will give him the chance to contribute. Last season, he was used for 235 offensive snaps (21.9 percent) and 186 special-teams snaps (39.7 percent). He did get a lot of play before his hand injury and it’s something to build on. Janovich had seven games where he saw more than 40 percent of the offensive snaps.
“I like the coaches a lot,” Janovich said after OTAs last week. “I am fortunate enough to have the same coach (Eric) Studesville. I like McCoy a lot. It's looking good for the offense. We're passing a lot more, but there is still room for the fullback. You have to know a little bit about everything. They're trying to see what you can do and who does it best so they can change things around. They just want versatile guys to go get on the field.”
After the first season-ending injury of his football career, Janovich said he’s good to go. The offense has been watching how McCoy has utilized the fullback in the past and is excited about the prospects.
The key is to stay on the field. If he does that, we all know he has the approach and attitude to make a difference for the team - on both offense and special teams. If Janovich does, his legend will only grow in Broncos Country.