Good morning, Broncos Country!
One of the biggest training camp position battles for the Denver Broncos to date has been at running back. With each day that passes, it seems like there is a different standout making plays out of the backfield for our beloved franchise.
Early on, it was undrafted rookie Phillip Linsday who was wowing everyone in attendance for his speed and big play ability. A few days later, Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave went out of his way to single out De’Angelo Henderson as the back who has impressed him most. We certainly can’t forget third-round pick Royce Freeman, who has received a ton of praise locally and nationally and is the player many believe will be the Broncos’ starter for the 2018 season.
But when the Broncos released their initial depth chart yesterday, neither of the three players above were the ones to claim to top spot. That honor belonged to third-year pro Devontae Booker, whom many are underestimating or have seemingly forgotten about.
“It’s very fluid. Again, it may change four or five times, but right now we’ve got [RB Devontae] Book (Booker) as the lead guy. He’s earned that right as the most experienced guy,” stated Head Coach Vance Joseph.
After showing tremendous promise and potential as a rookie with in 2016 with 877 all purpose yards and five touchdowns — a wrist injury and the emergence of C.J. Anderson hampered his production to significantly lower levels last season. But entering his third season, the former Utah Ute has done enough early on to tentatively be ‘the guy’ for the Broncos in 2018. Most importantly, he feels much more confident this year than he has at any other point in his career, which he emphasized in front of the media yesterday.
“Really, just more confident. My rookie year I came in, it was a lot for me to learn, just picking up the learning curve. Second year, last year, I broke my wrist, so I was out a couple of games for that. I came back, did OK I thought,” stated Booker. “But this is the year for me. Now that I’m all healthy and getting ready to roll. It looks like a good year.”
A good year for Booker would add a significant boost to the Broncos’ rushing attack, which is looking for a leader after the departure of the aforementioned Anderson. While Booker may be listed atop the depth chart for now, he knows he can’t let up one bit. After suffering a sophomore slump, he knows that he has to improve this coming season in order to have any long-term prospect with the team. Most importantly, he has the right attitude and determination to stick — and looks forward to giving it his best every day in order to prove he can be their bell-cow back moving forward.
“For those guys who project me as a starter, I’m obviously doing something right. I’m just going to continue to work my butt off each day and get better each day out here running against the ones, just doing my best out here each day,” he mentioned.
The competition behind him is fierce, but it is something he relishes. Additionally, he believes it will make the running back stable one of the offense’s strengths this coming season.
“It’s all a big competition. I love competition. It brings out the best in all of us. To continue to go out there each day and just work our butts off and push each other, we’re going to be a great group,” remarked Booker.
If the Broncos can get greatness out of their running backs in 2018, their offense should be much more explosive. It has already been established that Joseph wants to team to have a strong running game, which in turn should open up a lot of opportunities in the passing game for Case Keenum and the plethora of weapons he has at wide receiver. While we are still a month away from the season opener, it appears that the Broncos’ offense will give us something to cheer about in 2018 — which will be a much welcomed aspect of fandom that has been absent from our lives the past two seasons.
As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.
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