ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After weeks of training camp practice, both Melvin Gordon III and Phillip Lindsay proved themselves worthy of being the Broncos' starter at running back.
That's reflected on the Broncos' initial depth chart — and it is expected to be reflected on Monday night against the Titans.
Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said no matter who trots out with Drew Lock and the offense on the first play from scrimmage, both players should make an impact in Week 1.
"It's a matter of record how similar and maybe how different Phillip and 'Mel' are," Shurmur said. "They are two outstanding runners that both deserve to be starters. That's what I think of them. Who plays the first snap really doesn't matter. I've got a feeling that they're both going to be in there hopefully an equal amount of time having an impact as runners and certainly in pass protection as well as catching the ball.
"Really, they displayed in camp sort of what I knew about them on tape, and they're multidimensional backs. We're going to try and use them both. In my mind, it's a good problem to have."
If Shurmur and the Broncos feature a heavy dose of Gordon and Lindsay on Monday, that doesn't necessarily mean they won't be aggressive. As Shurmur explained Friday, there's a difference between being aggressive and being slanted in play calling.
"I think opening up and taking chances are two different concepts," Shurmur said. "… There's probably 50 different versions of what people think the West Coast offense is. I think it's important that we're aggressive, and I think it's important that we maintain some form of balance, whatever it is that week. There are some games when it's better to run the ball. We like plays that make yards and eventually get in the end zone, so we want to run those plays, whether it's a run or a pass. I think that's the key."
If Courtland Sutton cannot play — he's day to day with a shoulder injury — that task will become more difficult, but the Broncos should still have enough pieces to pose a threat.
That cadre of players includes both Lindsay and Gordon, and you can expect to see them both on Monday night.
FOR DENVER … AND FOR VON
Jurrell Casey has every reason to make Friday's game about him. After nine years in Tennessee, he was traded to the Broncos for a seventh-round pick and will make his first appearance for Denver against his former team.
Casey, though, said he's approaching the contest the same way he's approached games since 2011.
I always have a mantra, 'You have never played a bad season. You have never played a bad game,'" Casey said. "… Just because it's the Titans across from me, I don't approach the game any different."
The game will be different for Casey for reasons other than facing his longtime team. Casey vowed Friday that the Broncos would aim to win both for the organization and for Von Miller, who suffered a potentially season-ending injury on Tuesday.
"It definitely sucks," he said of the injury. "Having a player of his caliber and his leadership not be out there with us is definitely going to be a blow to the team. At the end of the day this business is about adapting to situations. We've all been forced into having to adapt to something with the whole COVID that's going on. It's just another challenge and another hurdle we have to get over and come together as a team, as a unit and push forward and make sure that one, we win for this organization and we win for him also. I'm pretty sure he would love to be out there to help the team. Definitely for me, it definitely sucks to have someone like that who you expect to be out there and take the pressure off you a little bit to get to the quarterback and help you set the edge, stuff the run up the middle. You know we've got a lot of young talented guys here. They've all been showing promise in training camp this year. It's definitely exciting to know that no matter what, who's out there, we definitely should be in the same balance."
FROM THE FIELD
When Shurmur calls Monday's game, he'll do so from the Broncos' sideline instead of the coaching box. He spent the last two years of his career calling games in the same manner as the head coach of the New York Giants, and the ability to communicate with the quarterback on the sideline has proved valuable.
"As far as calling the game from the field, I've done it both ways," Shurmur said. "I like being on the field with the quarterback. It's an easier transition sending in the plays as well. There's nothing like the personal interaction. We have things that we intend to run. There's a lot of coaches that call it from the field, and I actually have a good view of it. I've trained myself to see a great deal from the sideline."