Early on in the 2022 NFL season, it became abundantly clear that what appeared to be a “deep” stable of running backs for the Denver Broncos quickly became an empty stable. The Broncos needed reinforcements badly after a season-ending injury suffered by Javonte Williams was compounded in its disaster level by the fact that Melvin Gordon could not hold onto the ball. Even beyond those guys, the Broncos only got a few games out of Mike Boone (9 in 2022) and desperately needed a veteran presence in the backfield.
They were very fortunate that Latavius Murray was not signed to the New Orleans Saints active roster earlier this season, even after running for over 50 yards and a touchdown in the Saints‘ London game early in the year.
The Broncos added Murray with a short week before their Thursday night game against the Colts, a game the team could have certainly used Murray, a game they lost in overtime.
Although the Denver Broncos’ 2022 season was a massive disappointment on the whole, Latavius Murray’s performance after signing on was nothing short of outstanding and commendable. He came into Denver with no prior knowledge of the offense and became one of the team’s most consistent sources of productivity on that side of the ball.
Latavius Murray finishes 2022 season with Denver Broncos on a very high note
Even with Javonte Williams expected back at some point in 2023, there’s no question that the Broncos should find a way to re-sign (not resign) Latavius Murray. In 13 games with the team:
- 160 carries (with Denver)
- 703 rushing yards
- 5 TDs
- 4.4 yards per carry
As far as being a steady presence, Murray was exactly that. He hasn’t run for over 700 yards in a season since 2017, but there was clearly no lack of athletic talent from Murray. Does he have 4.3 type of wheels? No, but that doesn’t matter. How many defensive players are welcoming the 6-foot-3, 230-pound running back coming at whatever his full speed is?
Remember what the Denver Broncos so badly needed when Murray was initially signed — they desperately needed ball security. This guy is a picture of ball security as well. He has just two fumbles since the start of the 2017 season. He takes care of the ball, he moves the chains, he falls forward, he fights for extra yards, and he helped the Broncos in another very important area:
The red zone.
The Broncos had been dead last in the red zone most of the year, but Murray undoubtedly helped the Broncos climb out of that early hole of being the 32nd-ranked red zone offense to finishing 15th in the league in that category.
As a matter of fact, his touchdown run in the season finale against the Chargers represented the Broncos’ 11th-straight red zone trip ending with a touchdown, the longest active streak in the NFL going into Week 18. The streak would stop at 11 as the Broncos had to kick a field goal in their next red zone trip, but you get the idea.
Latavius Murray helped the Broncos in so many important areas. Converting short yardage, improving red zone efficiency, falling forward for yardage, taking care of the ball…
He deserves not only a ton of credit for the way he played overall in 2022 but he should be getting some type of pay raise from the Denver Broncos in 2023. It would be a massive mistake if the Broncos don’t bring Murray back on a one-year deal in 2023 to have that veteran presence as insurance for Javonte Williams.
The result was the same (a loss) but there were some notable and significant differences for the Denver Broncos in their first game post-Nathaniel Hackett.
I’m not saying something that hasn’t already been said, but getting Murray back in the fold should happen regardless of who is in the head coach chair for the Denver Broncos in 2023.