Broncos active aback Royce Freeman has been called Denver’s amateur out of the backfield for Week 1 adjoin the Seahawks. (Eric Lutzens / The Denver Post)
ENGLEWOOD — The Broncos accustomed their 2018 amateur chic to the NFL with a alternation of introductions this summer at aggregation headquarters. It was a adventitious for first-year players to acclimate and coaches to observe.
Second-round advanced receiver Courtland Sutton recalled one specific affair aback rookies discussed d strategy. Up aing was third-round active Royce Freeman, a 6-foot, 229-pound, ambiguous battering ram with 60 bookish hasty touchdowns to his name at Oregon.
Freeman was asked to call his admired play.
“The Power. … I like to abuse people.”
“As anon I heard him say that,” Sutton said, “I was like, ‘We’re gonna be good.’ “
A aboriginal consequence was accurate Monday, the aperture convenance with Denver’s completed 53-man agenda intact, aback drillmaster Vance Joseph accepted Freeman will alpha aback the Broncos hosts Seattle in Sunday’s regular-season opener.
Freeman is on clue to become the aboriginal Broncos =rookie active aback to alpha aback 1995, aback Hall of Famer Terrell Davis ran for 70 yards and a touchdown in his Broncos debut.
“It’s an account to be mentioned with a man of that adeptness and a amateur with that blazon of bequest about here,” Freeman said. “It aloof makes you appetite to assignment harder.”
Freeman bare aloof 15 absolute preseason carries over three amateur to prove he belonged aloft the abyss chart. He showcased access with 5.6 yards per run and three touchdowns, abiding easily out of the backfield and absorption to detail as an every-down blocker. Devontae Booker and Phillip Lindsay accepted added ill-fitted as third-down or situational active backs with acceleration and aberrant pass-catching ability.
Joseph said the starting accommodation came bottomward to “maturity” and that Freeman “can backpack the amount from a concrete standpoint and brainy standpoint.” Those are words about acclimated to call adept players. Freeman turns aloof 23 in February. Then again, few positions in the NFL are beneath experience-dependent than active back.
Rookies were called NFL hasty champions in after seasons — 2017 Kareem Hunt (1,327), 2016 Ezekiel Elliott (1,631) — and dating to 2012, 15 rookies accept rushed at atomic 200 times and nine accomplished 1,000 yards. First-year active backs accept apparent success in Denver over the years, too, with Clinton Portis (2002), Mike Anderson (2000), Olandis Gary (1999), Davis (1995) and Bobby Humphrey (1989) anniversary eclipsing 1,000 yards hasty as rookies.
This season, Freeman is one of four NFL active backs accepted to start, or accord significantly, alpha in Week 1. He joins Saquon Barkley (Giants), Rashaad Penny (Seahawks) and Kerryon Johnson (Lions).
When asked why amateur active backs can acclimate so quickly, Freeman said: “I anticipate it’s aloof dedication, accepting into the playbook and adamantine work. Nobody wants annihilation accustomed to them.”
That is a mentality Freeman displayed throughout Broncos practices and preseason games.
“We put on blur and we’re watching receivers being and you see Drillmaster point out: ‘Look how adamantine this guy (Freeman) is going. He knows how to practice,’ ” Sutton said. “To accept a amateur who comes in who already knows how to do that, I anticipate a lot of bodies in our chic are already like that. I anticipate we’re axis a lot of heads.”
Lindsay, a above Pac-12 battling with Freeman in college, added: “It’s not a abruptness to me.”
Freeman reacted to Monday’s abyss blueprint account with a aloof demeanor. He again thanked teammates and coaches afore pointing the chat aback to his charge for improvement. As he told adolescent rookies aback in summer, there’s aloof one affair he’s absorbed in this season.
First up, Seattle.
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