The Broncos have committed nearly $24 million in guarantees to free agent offensive linemen Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson, 9News Denver reports, with both moves potentially paying dividends in the way of rushing lanes for Anderson this coming season. Much has already been made of Denver's decision to move away from Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking attack this season, with new head coach Vance Joseph's confirming that the team will instead employ a mix of gap and zone schemes. The real issue last season was mediocre talent along the offensive line, with Denver's front ranking as the sixth worst in the NFL in terms of yards before contact, according to Pro Football Focus. Leary, who played left guard in Dallas, should join center Matt Paradis and guard Max Garcia, PFF's highest-ranked Broncos linemen in 2016, to form a quality interior line. Expect Watson, whose athleticism earned him a 2013 second-round selection, to be a part of the open competition at both left and right tackle, provided his injury woes don't follow him from Oakland. With further upgrades likely coming in the draft, Denver's line should give Anderson more room to work with in 2017.
Anderson (knee) is running full speed and expects to be cleared for football-related activities later this month, 9News Denver reports. Anderson went under the knife in late October to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Although he's now able to run without any problems, he's yet to resume cutting, the very movement that caused Anderson's injury in the first place. However, he doesn't seem to think that will be a problem as Anderson believes he'll be cleared to resume all football-related activities within the month. If the running back is to be believed, that timeline would leave him plenty of time to get back into shape before offseason workouts start up in April.
Anderson rushed for 437 yards and four touchdowns on 110 carries and added 16 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown during the 2016 season. The beginning of Anderson's 2016 season started off as hot as the end of the 2015 postseason, with Anderson tallying 232 total yards and three touchdowns in the season's first two games. He cooled off considerably for four weeks until he busted out a 107-yard day against the Texans in Week 7, a game in which Anderson suffered a season-ending knee injury. Anderson will return to a new offense in 2017. Gone will be Gary Kubiak's inside-outside zone scheme and, instead, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is expected to install a more wide-open attack. Expect Anderson to thrive in such an environment as he exploded onto the scene in 2014 when Denver was more spread out with Peyton Manning and one of Denver's few holdovers from the offensive staff will be Anderson's position coach, Eric Studesville.
Anderson, who tore his right meniscus in October, has started running on a treadmill and expects to be ready once training camp begins, ESPN's Jeff Legwold reports. Anderson's knee injury and subsequent surgery left him unavailable for the final 10 weeks of this season. While that offered more opportunities to rookie Devontae Booker, the Broncos' running game finished 27th league-wide. As a result, Anderson, who had Denver's lone 100-yard rushing game this season, figures to lead the team's backfield attack once healthy. In beginning to run again, Anderson has cleared a hurdle on his road to recovery, which he anticipates to culminate with a training-camp return. Should that transpire, Anderson's injury, along with Denver's trouble running the ball, could see him enter the season with a cooler fantasy stock than last season, but his starting status would figure to benefit him nonetheless.
Coach Gary Kubiak relayed Wednesday that Anderson (knee) will not return to practice this season, ESPN's Jeff Legwold reports. Anderson has been on IR since Oct. 29, after undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. Per Kubiak, the plan is for Anderson is to "maybe start running here in the next two weeks. I would say he's on course for sometime in February." In Anderson's continued absence, Justin Forsett and Devontae Booker will continue to handle the Broncos' rushing duties.
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