The Broncos signed Jamaal Charles (knee) to a modest one-year contract and drafted De'Angelo Henderson in the sixth round, hoping to add some explosiveness in the backfield without sacrificing significant resources. The offseason moves hint at some degree of confidence in Anderson and Devontae Booker, both of whom struggled last year behind a lousy offensive line. Perhaps more important than the additions at running back, Denver signed former Cowboys guard Ronald Leary and drafted offensive tackle Garett Bolles at No. 20 overall. The team also replaced former offensive coordinator Rick Dennison with the more pass-happy Mike McCoy, but limitations at quarterback suggest the team will still aim for a balanced approach. While tentatively expected to regain the lead role, Anderson will need to fend off competition for touches by proving he's regained the explosiveness that was missing in his injury-shortened 2016 campaign. He only had one carry of 20-plus yards prior to suffering a season-ending torn meniscus in Week 7, though it's worth noting that Booker didn't have a single carry of 20-plus yards all year on 174 attempts.
The addition of Jamaal Charles adds competition for Anderson in Denver's backfield, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports.
If there wasn't already pressure on Anderson following a 2016 that featured inconsistent production and ended with knee surgery, the Charles signing certainly placed it on him. It's easy to get carried away with Charles and it's important to note that the veteran back is nearly two full seasons removed from his last bit of effective play and he's had surgery on both knees during the interim. Still, it's the kind of signing that a front office doesn't make if it's overly excited by the existing options. Anderson, who averaged at least four yards per carry in just two of seven games last season, still has much to prove after inking a contract extension last offseason. Speaking of that contract, the last bit of guaranteed money is paid out in 2017. Consider the pressure on for Anderson.
Anderson (knee) is down to 223 pounds with about five pounds left to lose, Anderson said on Twitter.
"Stout," as Cosmo Kramer would say, Anderson's stocky physique seldom got in the way of big-time plays early in his career, as evidenced by his 48-yard game-winner against New England in 2015 and his 51-yard catch-and-run in Oakland in 2014. Last season, however, Anderson lacked that explosiveness during an injury-shortened season. Anderson averaged a play of 20 or more yards just once ever 42 touches in 2016 as compared to once every 25 touches in 2015 and once every 19 touches in 2014. Head coach Vance Joseph emphasized finding players who can take the ball from the line of scrimmage to the house during his press conference on Monday, and perhaps a few less pounds can give Anderson's elusiveness a boost and prevent the kind of injuries that have sidelined him in 2015 and 2016. If not, Denver has already notably met with a number of early and mid-round running back options for the upcoming draft.
Anderson's 2016 campaign ended after he suffered a torn right meniscus in Week 7. After undergoing surgery to repair that injury in late October, Anderson has been running at full speed for over two months. With Joseph revealing the tailback has since been cleared for Denver's offseason program, any injury concerns over Anderson should be hushed, which is great news for him ahead of this season. With the addition of offensive linemen Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson, as well as the return of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, a fully healthy Anderson could enjoy more room to run this term, and remains projected as the team's starter after Devonte Booker failed to take advantage of his absence last year.
Anderson is on the mend from October surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. While he's known to be back running and working out, it appears he still hasn't been cleared to resume football-related activities. However, even if he doesn't participate in the early goings of the Broncos' training program, which starts April 10, Anderson is an All-Pro veteran running back who won't necessarily suffer from missing out on offseason practice reps as a younger, less experienced player would. All in all, it simply appears that Denver is prepared to take every precaution in order to make sure its starting running back enters the 2017 campaign at full health.
|P1||8/10/17||@ CHI||8:00 pm|
|P2||8/19/17||@ SF||10:00 pm|
|3||9/24/17||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 5|
|7||10/22/17||@ LAC||4:25 pm|
|8||10/30/17||@ KC||8:30 pm|
|9||11/5/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|12||11/26/17||@ OAK||4:25 pm|
|13||12/3/17||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|15||12/14/17||@ IND||8:25 pm|
|16||12/24/17||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|