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Royce Freeman will do whatever he can to stay on the field

The rookie running back knows it’s a crowded room, so he’s doing whatever it takes to be relevant.

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Casey Barrett

Rookie running back “Rolls Royce” Freeman told the Orange and Blue 760 crew that basically “everything” a running back can be asked to do is a priority for him right now in training camp.

Whether it’s run blocking, pass blocking, catching the ball in the backfield - or actually running the ball - he’s trying to do it.

Because that’s how a running back stays on the field - and the team.

“I feel like they’re all important,” he said. “As a running back nowadays you want to stay on the field as much as possible. To do that, you’ve got to do all those things. Prioritize them however you want, but I take pride in all of them.”

The third-round draft pick out of Oregon is currently No. 2 on the depth chart but his impressive start makes him an early favorite to challenge for No. 1. But all the backs are getting first-team reps and rotating in and out a lot so far.

Freeman sees that as good game experience because you never know when your number is up.

“I feel like you’ve just got to be ready when your name is called,” he said. “That’s how it’s being applied right now. When coach tells you to go in and run this play, you’ve got to be able to go out and execute it.”

And although it’s a crowded room, Freeman likes the competition.

“[The camaraderie] is great,” Freeman said, adding that the large group definitely brings out the competitor in each of the backs. “I think that’s going to make us better. You can’t get better without competing.”

You also can’t get better without a tough defense, and the Broncos definitely have that one checked off for the running backs.

“It’s very physical, very savvy. Just competing with them every day is honestly something that’s going to make me better, so going throughout camp against them is something I’m looking forward to,” Freeman said.

One way to compete against a top defense is turning running backs into receivers - and that’s something Freeman is concentrating on.

“You want to be on the field, and to do that in this offense and what we run, catching the ball is very important,” Freeman noted. “It’s a great value because the defense has to account for basically another receiver out on the field. When you get him out on a route and have to account for him - and if he can make something happen on the field with the ball in his hands - it’s even more of a threat.”

And when you’re going up against the Broncos’ defense on a daily basis, you need all the weapons you can get - as Freeman pointed out.

When Steve Atwater asked if there were one linebacker the running back was worried about when the pads go on on Tuesday, he didn’t hesitate.

“They all come for wreck.”