The Denver Broncos had trouble finding the end zone in 2016, and that largely stemmed from an inability to move the ball on the ground. The Broncos finished last season ranked 27th in rushing, but 2017 should be different.
After running back C.J. Anderson went down with a meniscus injury in the Broncos’ Week 7 win over the Houston Texans, they had trouble establishing a steady rushing attack.
Thankfully for the Broncos, Anderson is back and ready to play some football.
“It’s been awesome,” quarterback Trevor Siemian said of Anderson’s return to the backfield. “He’s got some experience and exposure in this system so it’s good getting him out there.”
While Siemian is excited to have Anderson back on the field, he knows that it’s important took take things slow.
“I want him to be out there every play, but he looks good,” Siemain said. “I think he’s coming along at his own pace. As long as he’s ready for training camp and the season, that’s the goal. You don’t want to push him too much.”
Along with Anderson’s return, the Broncos added Jamaal Charles, the Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher, after the Chiefs decided to part ways with him back in April.
Charles has not only brought his NFL record 5.5 career rushing average with him, he has also brought along a positive attitude, and his teammates are taking notice.
“He’s a stud,” Siemian said of Charles. “You can watch highlights and that’s all you need. He’s a pretty good player.”
Charles joins a backfield anchored by Anderson and second-year running back Devontae Booker, who shouldered most of the workload after Anderson’s injury in 2016. Booker finished the season with 617 yards and four touchdowns on 174 carries.
“Devontae is working hard,” head coach Vance Joseph said of Booker. “He wants to be the guy. Again, it’s going to take two or three guys at that spot to make it a complete unit in my opinion. He wants to be the guy. He’s going into his second year. He finished last year, in my opinion, on a positive note. He’s continued that so far.”
Joining the veterans in the backfield in 2017 is De’Angelo Henderson, the Broncos’ sixth-round selection in this year’s draft. Henderson scored ran for 4,635 yards and 58 touchdowns while at Coastal Carolina. He set a Division I record by scoring a touchdown in 35 consecutive games.
Siemian is excited about the potential of the new backfield.
“When Jamaal [Charles] comes back in camp, I think that’ll be a really special group,” Siemian said. “[Booker] has been doing a heck of a job, and the young guys have been playing well, too. That’s a great room we’ve got there, we’re lucky.”
With a healthy backfield and an improved offensive line, the Broncos should have an easier time moving the ball on the ground in 2017.