Freeman rushed eight times for 28 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 20-19 defeat of Oakland. He failed to catch his only target. Freeman drew the start and struggled to begin the game, gaining just two yards on three carries over the first two quarters. He was fortunate to cap off the opening drive of the second half with a one-yard touchdown run, but Phillip Lindsay outperformed his teammate on the whole and saw almost double the touches. The 22-year-old will try to be more effective Week 3 at Baltimore.
Freeman ran 15 times for 71 yards and did not catch a pass in Sunday's 27-24 win over Seattle. Freeman was held in check for most of the game, but ripped off a couple of nice runs in the fourth quarter when the Broncos were trying to wind down the clock. Meanwhile, fellow rookie Phillip Lindsay posted the same rushing line as Freeman, but added two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. Devontae Booker was the odd man out in the backfield, receiving just four touches for 15 yards, so for now it looks like Freeman will start with Lindsay seeing plenty of work too. The Raiders will be next up for Freeman in Week 2.
Freeman will be the Broncos' top back heading into Week 1. The move, which was confirmed by coach Vance Joseph on Monday, is hardly a surprise as Freeman led the Broncos with 5.6 yards per carry and three touchdowns during the preseason, much of that production coming against opponents' top units. Freeman has appeared to be a find this preseason, though one of his few downsides being that he might not be a three-down back for the Broncos. Fellow rookie Phillip Lindsay averaged 14.5 yards per catch and scored a receiving touchdown during the preseason, and veteran Devontae Booker has arguably been stronger as a receiver than a runner during his career. Expect Freeman to be the guy on first and second down, with Booker or Lindsay coming in on third down and passing situations.
Freeman will not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Cardinals, Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post reports. Freeman, who will finish his first preseason having carried 15 times for 84 yards and three touchdowns over three games, will rest in advance of the Sep. 9 regular season opener. The rookie running back has been a major bright spot for the Broncos in training camp, and while it looks like he will be splitting work with Devontae Booker to start the year, more performances like the ones he has put forth this preseason would earn him a lion's share of the backfield soon enough.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph de-emphasized the importance of labeling Freeman or Devontae Booker as the team's starting running back Tuesday, stating that either back could be on the field for the first play of the season opener depending on the play call, Zac Stevens of BSN Denver reports. Joseph supported his comments with an example, saying that Freeman would likely line up behind quarterback Case Keenum if a power run play is called, whereas Booker might rank as the preferred option if the Broncos opt for a quick pass. Regardless of which back "starts" in Week 1, there's no denying that Freeman has been the more impressive of the two with the ball in his hands this preseason. Playing largely with the first team, Freeman has averaged 5.6 yards per carry to go with three touchdowns, while Booker has been limited to 3.7 yards per clip, right around his career regular-season average. Despite that disparity in efficiency, Booker could earn a decent snap share in the opener by virtue of doing the little things right, such as pass protection. There hasn't been any indication that Freeman has been a major liability in protection, so once the rookie gains more familiarity with the nuances of Denver's scheme, it may not be long before he eats into Booker's playing time further, especially if the veteran fails to impress with the touches he receives early in the season.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||Kansas City Chiefs||28||27.00|
|5||10/07||@New York Jets||15||16.00|
|6||10/14||Los Angeles Rams||8||12.00|
|8||10/28||@Kansas City Chiefs||28||27.00|
|11||11/18||@Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.00|
|14||12/09||@San Francisco 49ers||11||13.00|
|17||12/30||Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|