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Mile High Morning: Broncos running backs aim for consistency amid changes

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The Lead

The Broncos' running back room has thinned out over the past week, as the team placed Chase Edmonds on injured reserve just one day after waiving Melvin Gordon III. The current depth chart does not feature a single running back from Denver's initial 53-man roster — though Mike Boone is eligible to return from injured reserve soon.

Despite so many changes in the room, the Broncos' running backs are confident in their ability to get things rolling in the final seven games. Latavius Murray has been productive since the Broncos signed him from the Saints' practice squad in Week 5, scoring three touchdowns in five games with Denver. Now the presumed starter, Murray said he embraces the additional responsibility.

"[I] just [have to] continue to go out there and play well, honestly," Murray said. "Whether the carries are up or not, when you're in there, you have to produce. For me, I need to make sure my preparation is what it has been and where it needs to be and make sure I go out there and play well."

Behind Murray, Marlon Mack will get his first opportunity after the Broncos signed him from the 49ers' practice squad ahead of their game against the Jaguars in Week 8. Before suffering an Achilles tear in 2020, the sixth-year running back rushed for 908 yards in 2018 and 1,091 yards in 2019 as a member of the Colts. If he can return to his pre-injury form, Mack can be dynamic in the Broncos' backfield — and he says he is ready for the opportunity.

"Like they always say, you've always got to prepare and stay ready," Mack said. "Ever since I got here, they always said, 'Stay ready, you never know when things are going to happen.' That's kind of how the league works. One day, a guy's here and the next day he's not."

While Mack has not yet taken the field for the Broncos, he has been working hard to learn the offense.

"I think I'm getting it pretty well," Mack said. "Guys around me [are] helping me out, so I'm picking it up well. I think I'm ready for it."

As the running back room looks to find consistency, Murray has been using his wealth of knowledge and experience to help his teammates adjust to all the changes. He may have only joined the Broncos in Week 5, but the nine-year veteran has quickly adopted a leadership role in the locker room.

"[I] share whatever knowledge or information I can to them," Murray said. "At the end of the day, it's about the team, and it's about the room. We all want to help each other, and we all want to be better. We want to be the best room we can be. I'm always going to be a help to anybody that needs it. I just think that's important."

Below the Fold

The wide receivers have also seen new faces in recent weeks, as both Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler have missed time. This has given rookies Jalen Virgil and Brandon Johnson, both undrafted free agents, an opportunity to show what they can do. Virgil scored a 66-yard touchdown after filling in for Jeudy in Week 10, while Johnson was elevated from the practice squad in Week 11 and made his regular-season debut against the Raiders.

"They are doing well," wide receiver Courtland Sutton said Tuesday. "They work their butts off. I see Jalen over there getting some extra catches right now at the end of practice. I think that's our mentality in our room. Guys are doing everything they can to make sure they are prepared for the game and ready for the opportunity because you just never know when the opportunity is going to happen."

The Unclassifieds

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