By now, everyone has heard that Emmanuel Sanders has had one of the best summers of anyone in the National Football League. What is even better than his great summer of preparation is that the work he has put in leading up to the 2018 NFL season has already led to a high-level of production on the football field.
Sanders, in his first game of the season, managed to catch ten passes for 130 yards including a dazzling 43-yard touchdown reception that resulted in him front-flipping into the end zone; a touchdown celebration that he has been doing since his college days at Southern Methodist University.
“(It) felt good to get back in the end zone (and) I decided to bust out the flip,” Sanders told the Denver Postwhen asked about his celebration. “At first I looked over, saw the (defender) wasn’t close, so I was like, ‘Hmmm, what can I do?’ You know, you’ve got like a split-second to think about what you’re going to do. It’s not the first time I turned a flip.”
This is hardly the first time that Sanders has somersaulted into the end zone, but this time it represented more than six points. Instead, it represented a rejuvenation of his love for the game of football. That is not to say that Sanders ever fell out of love with the game, but his new-found adoration is directly connected to his phenomenal summer and his gaudy numbers from the first regular season game of the 2018 season.
“I do not know what it is, but I am loving football these days,” Sanders told media after a joint practice with the Chicago Bears Thursday. “Case is slinging the ball, we’re catching the ball, we have rhythm on offense, and it is just back to having fun. When you’re having fun, you love to do what you do and I am loving it.”
The phrase, ‘when you love something, you never work a day in your life,’ seems extremely applicable in this situation. Sanders falling back in love with the game of football has him growing and improving once again and it has showed on the field.
“He been putting the work in,” Demaryius Thomas told the Denver Post when asked about Sanders. “He deserves it. He went out and made plays for our team, put us in good positions.”
Now, Sanders is looking towards the immediate future and, through his eyes, there is a lot to be excited about. Yes, Denver gave up 17 points off of turnovers against the Seattle Seahawks and Case Keenum did not have his sharpest day, but there is so much to improve on.
“We came out hot, man. I tell you what, we have an explosive offense,” Sanders said to the Denver Post. “But it’s on us. We got to be able to take care of the football as well. I’m optimistic about the direction we’re going and it feels good to have a win. But at the end of the day, we can’t have three turnovers and expect to win all the ball games.”
This is just the beginning of the internal growth that the Broncos offense will go through. With so many new pieces to the puzzle, it is going to take time to find the ideal spot for each offensive weapon. There is plenty of room for improvement, but Denver is at a great starting point after just one week of regular season football.