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Royce Freeman named Broncos' starting running back

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Rookie Royce Freeman will start for the Broncos at running back, Head Coach Vance Joseph announced Monday.

Freeman had held the Broncos’ second-string running back role since the team released its initial depth chart in early August.

“Royce Freeman is the starting running back for our football team,” Joseph said. “That being said, it’s going to be by packages also. Royce is our leading runner, but on third downs you’ll probably see [Devontae] Booker and obviously having a package for Phillip [Lindsay]’s going to be important to each game plan we have each week.”

Freeman carried the ball 15 times for 84 yards and three touchdowns in the preseason.

"He can carry the load from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint," Joseph said. "He was really good in pass [protection]. That's your biggest worry about having a young halfback playing with a veteran quarterback — the pass [protection] issues. He's shown the IQ and the maturity to be a great pass [protection] guy on third downs, especially."

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