PHOENIX —**When C.J. Anderson and Justin Forsett talk, it's not so much football that they talk about, but life. The two running backs—both California Golden Bears alumni—are close. They know each other personally and football isn't often the main topic.
However, it might be this week with the two reunited at the Pro Bowl and a new commonality between them.
Forsett triumphed behind new Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak's acclaimed zone-blocking scheme, which helped the Ravens' running back turn in his first Pro Bowl season of his career with Kubiak as his offensive coordinator. That's just the latest name in Kubiak's line of success stories for running backs excelling in his scheme after Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns, Steve Slaton and Arian Foster.
Could C.J. Anderson could be next? He could be part of a heavily contended position battle with Montee Ball returning from his injury after this offseason, but Anderson could follow up on a breakthough year with another outstanding season.
And Kubiak's system could be a recipe to yield great results, as Forsett already knows.
"It's an effective offense. Being able to use the running back, the versatility: able to catch passes out of it, being able to run the ball and be successful, got to be smart and be able to pick up pass protections," Forsett said. "You're going to be utilized as a back."
With Forsett picking up more than 1,200 rushing yards and 1,500 total yards from scrimmage, it's easy to see that what Kubiak helped implement worked.
"You got the defensive line and defense stretching and when you're stretching horizontally, it creates creases and you've got lanes and you get to pick and choose which one you want to go through. It's real versatile for the backs," Forsett said.
The blocking scheme suited Forsett's skills very well, and he sees it working similarly for his friend on the Broncos.
"I talked to C.J.," Forsett said. "I told him, 'Get ready, man. You're going to love this offense. You're going to love Coach [Kubiak].'"
"He's going to be successful," Forsett added. "That scheme's going to be great for him. One cut and go. He's a powerful guy and I think the sky's the limit for him."
Anderson said he thinks he can do well with it, too, not only with his physical capabilities but also in his flexibility.
When asked what he does that would work well with Kubiak's strategy, Anderson responded: "I just think good vision, and then I'm a one-cut-and-go guy, so I know to make my cut and get my pads down and go get dirty. And I just think that's what he wants and I'm just going to do whatever he says. I'm going to try to do it to the best of my ability."
Obviously another big piece of that puzzle will be the blocking from the offensive line.
Pro Bowl offensive tackle Ryan Clady was already a little bit familiar with Kubiak. He played for him three years ago when Kubiak coached him at the Pro Bowl, and after Kubiak's hire, players and trainer Steve Antonopulos reached out to Clady, speaking highly of the new coach.
"I've heard nothing but great things from guys who have played for him, even like Greek [Antonopoulos], the head trainer, just praises about him," Clady said.
So Clady's fairly knowledgeable of Kubiak already and knows some of what to expect. It also doesn't hurt that the Ravens' coaching staff is coaching him in this year's Pro Bowl and even without Kubiak there, they're using his blocking scheme for their offense.
"This is his scheme right now with the Ravens, so I'm somewhat familiar with it, having Shanahan," Clady said. "So it's not new to me, but I like it, for sure. I like zone schemes."
"I fit with a zone scheme very well, running from sideline to sideline, so I'm excited about it."
Though people can dissect the intricacies of Kubiak's schematics, for Anderson it can just boil down to the most basic part of the game: having fun.
"I'm just going to have fun, man. That's all I know how to do. As long as I'm having fun like I said, smiling, I'm at my best," Anderson said.
"So I'm going to have fun when the time presents itself."