Denver Broncos: Royce Freeman is Next Man Up
The loss of Phillip Lindsay is a crushing blow to the backfield for the Denver Broncos, but Royce Freeman is capable of performing well in Lindsay’s stead.
Everyone in the media circles has been taken to the story of Phillip Lindsay and the Denver Broncos. The hand and/or wrist injury is a crushing blow to the team and the offense. It is the worst news in the 2018 season. However, like everything in life, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. This light represents Royce Freeman returning to the fold as starter.
Lindsay deserves all the credit for jump starting the team and becoming the heartbeat of the offense. But Freeman is more than capable of stepping in and proving to be strong enough carrying the load for Denver.
When the regular season began, my guess is the Broncos wanted Freeman to be their bell cow. They never imagined Lindsay would be where he is in this short amount of time. Freeman can still be the main focus of the offense and perform well.
Drafted out of Oregon in the third round, Freeman came with question marks regarding his injury history and durability. Denver Broncos saw him as their top back in the draft possible three-down running back.
Even though Freeman dealt with a high ankle sprain, this season is better than expected. As a member of the Ducks, he racked up a large amount of carries. Keeping Freeman to a “pitch count” or “carry count” is the best thing for his future.
The best thing for his future is possible starter and cow. Freeman can show he has what it takes to be the guy long-term as the number one guy. There are numerous traits he possesses that make coaches giddy when they turn the tapes on.
Freeman is a bowling ball, but is athletic enough and fleet of foot evading defenders regularly. Despite the small workload, Freeman is still proving to be difficult to bring down. Freeman’s touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in week four was one of the most impressive runs from a Denver Broncos back in a long time.
In recap, the play call was not great, Chiefs defense snuffed it out and Freeman made multiple defenders miss in the backfield before seeing a hole at the last possible second. Just in case you forgot:
Two aspects of Freeman’s game will go unnoticed: receiving and pass blocking. One play doesn’t do justice to clarify a future of a player, but it caught my eye during the draft process. Freeman took out two defenders protecting Marcus Mariota in college. Two defenders! This is insane even for offensive linemen.
Freeman showed me on this one play he can pass block better than people think. Fast forward to now, Freeman is the top pass blocker (84.8) on the Denver Broncos not counting position groups according to Pro Football Focus. Freeman is ranked ahead of Matt Paradis, Garett Bolles, Connor McGovern, Ronald Leary, Cyrus Kouandjio, Elijah Wilkinson, Max Garcia and Ronald Leary. Let that sink in. Freeman graded better than the entire offensive line!
Freeman adds the soft hands to be a capable receiver in the NFL. By all intensive purposes Freeman is showing he can be a number one back on many teams. The receiving ability triggers the reason why. He has stick em for hands as a running back and explosiveness with the ball. People will look at the size of Freeman and forget he is capable of stretching defenses out due to his catching.
Look for Freeman to catch people off guard and be the next man up in a deep backfield.