Denver Broncos | News

Broncos, Briefly: Friday, Sept. 21, 2018

**Rookies having an NFL impact 2018** (Rick Gosselin, Talk of Fame Network)

The Broncos have started two rookie running backs – third-rounder Royce Freeman in the opener and undrafted Philip Lindsay in the second game – and are off to a 2-0 start. Freeman rushed for 71 yards in the opener against Seattle and Lindsay rushed for 107 yards in Week 2 against Oakland.

"What I like about him is he runs bigger than his size,'' Davis said. "He can run around you and you see sometimes where he's actually trying to run through you. Yeah, he can hold up because he's not getting 25 carries. He's getting 15, 16 touches. Catching some passes.

"And that speaks to how far he's come, too. Undrafted, no combine. And his first two games he's averaging 16 touches, and nobody thought he'd be doing that. That's pretty cool. I'm pretty excited to follow his journey and see how this all turns out.

"He was maybe a surprise initially but after a while he won't be a surprise. Hopefully, he gets more and more comfortable every week and we see this young man blossom.''

Add in the yardage from second-round receiver Courtland Sutton and the Broncos' offensive rookies look even better. The three have combined for 366 offensive yards, the most by a rookie class through two games since the 1995 Colts (379).

And then there's Bradley Chubb, the Broncos' No. 5 overall pick who was made the starter over veteran holdovers Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett and leads all NFL rookies with eight quarterback pressures.

"I think it's just the work ethic and what they instilled in us since we got here to Denver, what it takes to make the team and what they've seen from other rookies and other players," Freeman said. "Just taking that really to heart. I think our class has done a good job of that and applying that and just the want to be here."

It's Zach Azzanni's job as receivers coach to identify and fix shortcomings within his unit's production. For players such as Thomas, with career totals of 119 games played and 58 receiving touchdowns, the answer to an early slump is all about patience.

"Demaryius is old enough to know what his attitude and mindset need to be for him to be successful," Azzanni told The Denver Post. "I'll give Demaryius this: He didn't have his best day, but man, he was great on the sidelines and he did a lot of things on Sunday that a lot of people don't see to help us. He didn't have his greatest day on the field. He'll be fine and he'll bounce back. He came in Monday with a great attitude, with a bounce in his step, ready to get better and not hanging his head.

So far, the Broncos have blended a few schemes to help Keenum. Keenum played in spread attack in college then was groomed in Gary Kubiak's zone-run scheme in his first pro stop with the Texans. The Broncos' current offense now has some of the same looks, principles and even plays, Kubiak used as Broncos head coach, including in 2015 with Peyton Manning at quarterback, when the Broncos were a mix of what Kubiak had long done and what Manning was most comfortable doing.

That's no surprise, really, since Musgrave was once a Broncos quarterback when Kubiak was the team's offensive coordinator and Mike Shanahan was the coach. Shanahan has called Kubiak "one of the smartest people I've ever been around in football and he had so much to do with our success."

Kubiak is not on the Broncos' coaching staff, but his front-office role with the Broncos increased this past offseason as president of football operations/general manager John Elway expanded Kubiak's duties.

He has reached star status with his career on a Hall of Fame arc. In Week 1, Russell Wilson compared him to Kobe Bryant. Thursday, Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale name-dropped LeBron James.

"(Miller's) motor and athleticism are what stand out. He's a very productive guy no matter what you do to try to stop him. It's like playing LeBron, and that's what I told the guys about A.J. Green. Every now and then, LeBron is going to clear the lane and go dunk. Those types of players do that," Martindale said. "I think that's the same thing with Von on the defensive side of it. You always have to account for him, because he's that special of a player."

Turner spent the first two weeks of the regular season rotating between right and left tackle. He said playing exclusively right tackle this week "is no different."

_"I always have a good feel for the game plan because I'm always in my (play) book and I know my opponent," he said. _