Broncos' Devontae Booker: Looks like top backfield pass catcher

Broncos head coach Vance Joseph suggested Tuesday that whie Booker could be on the field for the team's first play in the Week 1 contest against Seahawks, it wouldn't necessarily mean that he claimed the starting running-back gig over Royce Freeman, Zac Stevens of reports.

Joseph clarified the murky backfield situation with an example, saying that if the Broncos opted for a quick pass on their opening play, Booker's number is more likely to be called than Freeman's. Hopefully for the sake of not tipping plays, Joseph didn't mean to be taken literally, but his comment says something about where the competition between Freeman and Booker has been and where it is going. Thus far in the preseason, Freeman has made a strong case for becoming the Broncos' go-to option for carries, with the rookie averaging 5.6 yards per clip and totaling three touchdowns. Booker, meanwhile, hasn't been nearly as effective on the ground, but has kept himself relevant in the playing-time discussion through his experience in pass protection. That might be enough for Booker to garner a decent amount of snaps when the season begins, but with Freeman and fellow newcomer Phillip Lindsay showing more aptitude as ballcarriers and likely to improve in protection as they gain familiarity with Denver's scheme, Booker will need to capitalize on the touches he receives early on in order to enjoy stable playing time throughout the campaign.

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