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Eric Studesville weighs in on a crowded running back room

Posted Jul 17, 2017

The Broncos' assistant head coach/running backs coach provided an update on his group.

Aric DiLalla: We’ve heard a lot about how Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy’s offense is going to jump-start the passing game, but how does it help your group?

Eric Studesville: I think, in a lot of ways, we’re not going to jump-start the passing game, we’re going to jump-start everything. We’ve got to protect the quarterback better, we’ve got to find a way to run the ball better and obviously, we want to jump-start the passing game. Everything goes together. When we’re throwing the ball effectively, it makes the running game a little bit easier, and when we’re running the ball effectively, that makes the passing game easier. The jump-start is the whole offense, not necessarily one particular segment of it.

AD: With C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson and Juwan Thompson in the room, you’ve got a lot of competitive depth. What are your expectations for the room?

ES: The expectation is the same every year. I expect all those guys to come in and compete as hard as they can to be the starting tailback to help us win. It’s going to be the one who plays the best and the most consistently throughout camp that is that guy. We’re going to need more than one person. We’re going to need a couple. I don’t know who that’s going to be. That’s why we go to camp, so we can sort all that out.

AD: How does having Jamaal in the running backs room change the dynamic of the group, and what are your impressions of him as a player after watching him for the last decade?

ES: Obviously as a player in Kansas City, he was explosive, extremely productive. He’s very smart. He’s great in the room. You love being around him, and we’re hoping he brings that same ability to Denver. The thing that he brings to the room is experience, but he’s working with everybody else, he’s learning like everybody else and he’s going to compete with everybody else. It’s going to be a level playing field, and we’re going to give them all a chance to see what they can do.

AD: Was C.J.’s injury last year undervalued in terms of how it hurt the quarterback to play without his on-field knowledge?

ES: You’d have to ask Trevor [Siemian]. He’d be a better comment on that. … I don’t know how much [goes into it]. I just know C.J. works tremendously hard. He prepares as professionally as you can. He is ready for just about everything that comes up in the game, and that shows when he plays because he is prepared and he’s ready to go. The fact that his teammates have confidence in him is really a testimony to that. 

AD: I don’t know that we’ve gotten to hear from you since De’Angelo Henderson was selected. What stood out to you when watching his college tape?

ES: Well, just that he’s productive. You turn on the tape, and he’s making plays. He’s explosive, he’s got quicks, you can see he’s got great run instincts. We’ve seen those same things with him in the spring. The biggest thing is, will that continue to translate when we put pads on and start camp. And I have no reason to believe that it won’t. I think he’s going to be great.

AD: Devontae really seemed to turn it on the last few games of the regular season. What is it about that rookie year for running backs that when you get toward the end, they start to figure things out?

ES: I think that’s exactly it: They get to the end, and they start figuring things out a little bit. There’s a lot of things thrown at them, it’s a physical game, there’s a lot put on their plate as far as assignments, particularly with protections. Where you fit into the pass game, and then seeing everything correctly in the run game – it takes different people different amounts of time to adapt. He worked through it last year. He had some bumps in the road as we went, but he worked through it and kept fighting. He came back in great shape this spring and had a great spring, and I think he’s going to have a great fall.