Broncos running backs showed room for improvement in 2019
The Denver Broncos used three running backs in their offense in 2019. How did each one perform last season? We grade all three.
Last week, fellow Predominantly Orange writer and editor Ty Walden gave you his grades on the 2019 Denver Broncos QB’s. Today, we will give grades on the performances of three Broncos running backs in 2019.
We saw three feature backs in 2019 in Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, and Devontae Booker.
Much like the rest of the Denver Broncos’ offense, the running backs at times were stagnant and got little accomplished. However, that is too be expected with sub-par quarterback play and an often mediocre offensive line. With the hiring of Pat Shurmur, here’s hoping we see a new and improved Denver Broncos offense in 2020, including the running back position.
2019 Stats: 224 carries, 1,011 yards, 63.2 Y/G, 4.5 Y/C, 7 TDs
Phillip Lindsay was arguably one of the most exciting and explosive backs in 2018. The undrafted free agent and local Colorado boy exploded onto the NFL scene with a bang, bringing excitement to what would have otherwise been an unbearable 2018 Broncos season in what also may have been Vance Joseph’s swan song as a head coach.
Lindsay’s production would earn him a Pro Bowl spot, the first undrafted rookie to ever receive the honor. However, injury would prevent Lindsay from playing in the game.
Although his 2019 stats would prove to be pretty comparable, it took Lindsay until Week 17 to break 1,000 yards, and in the final minutes of Denver’s win over Oakland, it seemed as if Lindsay’s 1,000-yard season would be in jeopardy after loss of yardage. However, he maintained it, and proved beyond reasonable doubt why he is Denver’s top back.
Although his stats are similar in his two NFL seasons, with about a yard difference in his average yards per carry (4.5 in 2019 versus 5.4 in 2018) and he scored just twice more in 2018, there seemed to be points in the season where we did not see the explosiveness in Lindsay that we are accustomed to seeing. This may be due in part to the struggles of the offensive line. Lindsay did not receive a Pro Bowl nod in 2019, which is in no way being held against him when grading.
An improved offense may be just the fix that Phillip Lindsay needs, especially an offense that will not abandon the run, as it did so often in 2019. He is well on his way to being a top NFL back.