Solidarity from the Broncos running back corps is better than it has ever been. For CJ Anderson, this is a critical season for the Pro Bowl running back.
Anderson was awarded his contract extension of four years, $16 million in the offseason making him the Broncos feature back in 2016. Yet, Anderson still has something to prove to Elway and the rest of the front office to prove he earned his contract. Head Coach Gary Kubiak sees Anderson in the best condition right now as a runner.
“I think C.J. is ready to be an every-down guy,” Kubiak said. “Just watching him, I think his condition level is the best that I’ve seen it since I’ve been here. He’s had a really good offseason. He’s getting pushed. Ronnie (Hillman) has come back better.”
Hillman has always pushed Anderson to be a great runner; however, new draft pick Devontae Booker will drive Anderson more to be the electrifying player we have seen late in seasons. Kubiak has familiarity with Booker’s style as a running back since it parallels that of Adrian Foster. Booker stated a month ago, he wanted to be one of the best backs to play for the Broncos and that he is not here to carry pads, but to take someone’s job.
Booker will push Anderson to a level we may have never seen for a full season. Anderson is a bowling ball of a back. His greatest asset is the yards after contact forcing defenders to bring multiple players to tackle him. That will not stop Anderson from being the bully of a runner on the field. One of the most memorable moments was the fourth and short conversion against the Indianapolis Colts in the playoff game.
However, last season would send the Colts playoff game to the back of the files. Anderson had numerous clutch runs adding to his impressive resume of late season production. The New England run in overtime makes the case for Anderson as one of the unsung MVPs from the 2016 season next to kicker, Brandon McManus.
If Anderson puts together a healthy season with immaculate production, he will have close to 1,200 yards making him a candidate for another Pro Bowl year.
“My whole thing is preseason this year, all my carries are game reps. If I break one out and score early, it lets everyone know I am ready to play those 60 or 70 plays, to do what I know I can do,” Anderson said.