ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For months, debate has swirled about how Denver's decision to sign Melvin Gordon III in free agency would impact Phillip Lindsay.
Broncos coaches and executives have repeatedly emphasized the need for multiple talented backs on a roster, and they've consistently said both players will have a role in the team's new-look offense.
Still, fans and media members alike have wondered how Lindsay — a one-time Pro Bowler and the first undrafted player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons — would handle the challenge to his starting role.
We got our answer Tuesday, as a motivated Lindsay vowed to make Broncos Country proud. The Colorado product, though, said his outlook on the season hasn't been impacted by his new teammate in the backfield. Instead, he's channeling the same motivation that he's relied upon since going undrafted in 2018.
"Honestly, I've had the same fire my entire [career] — from the first time I stepped here to now," Lindsay said. "I don't need another man to fuel my fire. I know what I want for my family and that's what fuels me. For me, honestly, nothing changes. I go out there and I produce when my number is called. I make big plays like I always have, and I go from there."
An offseason of work in 2020 could help Lindsay achieve that goal. A year ago, he was forced to rehab a wrist injury and missed valuable time to work out ahead of the 2019 season. This year, his focus has purely been football.
"I gained about 10 pounds — 10 pounds of muscle," Lindsay said. "I feel good. I feel fast. I just felt like … that wrist injury really did a toll on me when it came to working out because I came from having to sit out for four, five months to just rushing right into camp. I didn't get that development like I did this year. I feel really good. I feel healthy. I feel explosive. I feel like I'm going to have a hell of a season this year."
Lindsay expects being a year removed from the wrist injury should also help him improve in the passing game. In 2019, he caught 72.9 percent of his targets and recorded 35 catches for 196 yards.
"It's about executing," Lindsay said. "It's about being patient. It's about developing a relationship with your linemen. For me, I don't worry about that. I know what I'm going to do. I know I'm going to have explosive plays because that's just who I am. Pass catching-wise, I feel really good. I feel like I'm back to myself. The year before, I came off my wrist injury and it was tougher than I thought. I thought the wrist injury wouldn't be as bad as it was. It was, but this year I feel good. I feel good and at the end of the day I'm going to catch every ball that comes my way. That's it. There's nothing else I can say about that."
Whether he's called upon to carry the ball, catch a swing pass or block, Lindsay will aim to make the most of the opportunity. As he said Tuesday, he's not yet sure how the repetitions will be divided, so he'll have to trust the coaches and take advantage of each rep.
"I wish I could let you know and tell you now," Lindsay said. "I don't know. At the end of the day, that's not my job to sit there and put me or Melvin in the game. That's their job. If they don't want to have one of their game-changers and playmakers in the game, that's on them. I don't get paid to sit there and call the plays. That's not my job. My job is when I get the ball and when I'm in the game to make an explosive play. That's how I think about it."
Lindsay, though, is used to finding success with limited carries. He has reached the 20-carry mark just once in his career, and in three of the five times he's broken the 100-yard barrier, he's done so with 15 or fewer carries.
"I just need to get a couple of carries that fit me and I'm explosive with," Lindsay said. "That's what I'm going to continue to do. That's all you're going to get from me. The fact is that I'm going to continue to make Broncos Country proud by what I do and that's be fiery and everything else. I can't control anything else.
"I can't control what people do and how they act and what they think about me, but I can control myself and making plays. I've always been successful making plays."