Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said he wanted running back C.J. Anderson to walk into the offseason as if he was the team’s starting running back. And nothing that has happened since then has changed that approach.
Anderson has done enough this offseason — namely show up in shape — to hang onto that title, though they want he and Montee Ball to be a 1A/1B tandem.
“We’re right where we’re at. Obviously C.J., that’s in a lot of ways his spot to hang on to,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “I think that Montee has had a great offseason. I think Ronnie [Hillman] has had a really good offseason. I think it’s very competitive. You never know about the backs until you put the pads on. I think C.J. has worked extremely hard. Coming off of last year he deserves that opportunity and I think he’s getting ready for that opportunity. But he knows he’s being pushed very hard.”
Anderson closed with a burst last year, with 648 yards in the last six games, giving him an edge entering the offseason. But after he showed up heavy last year, they wanted to make sure his momentum translated. Ball’s healthy again and wants back on the field, but understands the situation.
“No question, I’ve said I know with what C.J. did last year, you can’t keep him on the bench,” Ball said. “But I’m going to do everything I can to get back into that No. 1 spot, where I was last year. However, we do it, we’ll work hard and get it done, that’s the kind of group we have at running back. But if you’re asking me if I can get that No. 1 job back, I think I can.”
Kubiak has made use of multiple backs in the past, and having that kind of group in Denver should help, if only to keep quarterback Peyton Manning fresh for the latter part of the season.