Vance Joseph botched Broncos’ starting RB situation
Royce Freeman deserves better.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph announced last week — to the surprise of nearly everyone — that Devontae Booker remains the starting running back heading into the 2018 season, not Freeman, who has impressed each and every snap this preseason.
Yes, it’s preseason action, so not a ton of stock can be put into it moving forward, but in what world is Booker a better option to the Broncos than Freeman? Freeman was selected in the third round to be the guy for the Broncos now and in the future. Instead, he’ll open the season behind Booker on the depth chart for no reason other than he’s a rookie.
Honestly, Joseph loses more credibility each and every day that he opens his mouth to the media. Aside from announcing Booker was the starting running back moving forward, Joseph said Freeman is going to play quite a bit in the final meaningless preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
How incredibly dumb.
More perplexing than Freeman actually playing in the most meaningless of exhibition contests — God help Joseph if he gets injured — is the team’s unwillingness to place him over Booker on the depth chart. They’ve harped on fair competition all summer, yet this one hasn’t been particularly close.
Through three preseason games, Freeman has logged a team-high 84 yards on 15 attempts and three touchdowns, continually busting through the line of scrimmage. That’s 5.6 yards per carry.
Booker has nine carries for 33 yards (3.7 YPC) and zero TDs, showing no explosion or home-run ability. The media sees it, the fans see it, yet Joseph doesn’t.
Tell me why fans and the media should continue to believe in what Joseph is preaching again?
I don’t think this is a John Elway decision either. This falls squarely on Joseph and his staff, showing Joseph’s inability to read his team and do what’s best for it.
After revamping the offensive line this off-season and bringing in Case Keenum to settle the quarterback situation, the Broncos are set up nicely on offense to have a good unit. Joseph appears to be trying to squash all of that by inserting a guy who might not even be the third-best back on the team into the starting lineup. The way I see it, Booker should be behind Freeman, De’Angelo Henderson, and Phillip Lindsay.
It makes no sense. It seems like Joseph is trying to justify Booker’s fourth-round selection instead of playing the third-round guy right away.
This could all be resolved quickly once the regular season starts and games actually matter. Booker won’t play well, and Freeman will continue to impress in limited action. It’s just a shame that Joseph can’t see that right now and is putting his team at a disadvantage going into the regular season by not starting his best running back.
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