C.J. Anderson has been here before; just last season in fact. After disappointing in his role as the Denver Broncos’ lead back, Ronnie Hillman began eating into his role and eventually took over as starter. Now it appears it might be happening to Anderson all over again in 2016. He’s struggling to make an impact and rookie Devontae Booker is making the most of his touches.
If you think Anderson is worrying about the Broncos going to a running back by committee or losing his job completely though, think again. Not only does Anderson seem comfortable with his current situation, he’s coming out in support of Booker’s emergence in the offense.
“I’m fine,” Anderson told reporters via the Broncos PR staff. “No pressure at all. We’re glad ‘Book’ is coming along. We all know that ‘Book’ is a special guy and a special player. We know that he can make plays. He’s going to have that opportunity, he’s going to have a lot more opportunities to make plays, which is great.
“There’s nothing wrong in the National Football League when two running backs can make plays. I’m actually happy that he’s coming along, I’ve been helping him through the whole way. I’m just glad he’s here.”
Anderson did help the Broncos win the Super Bowl in 2015, so however his role might be classified on the outside, there’s a ring on his finger because he did what was asked. Clearly, he sees Booker has a viable weapon in the offense, and as long as the team keeps winning, he’s probably just fine with sharing the load.
Besides, it’s less likely Anderson is losing his distinction as a starter this time around. While Booker has had more success on the ground, it hasn’t let to an increased role thus far. In fact, the fourth-round draft pick achieved a season-high 9 rushing attempts in Week 2, although he did match his 10 touches two weeks ago.
There’s one simple reason to think Anderson’s role won’t diminish too much though, and that is because the Broncos can trust him in pass protection. That’s absolutely vital for most any feature back, and an area where most rookies are not very strong. So while Booker might start giving Anderson a few more breathers than expected, it doesn’t appear his job is going to change.