NFL teams are employing a running-back-by-committee attack that most commonly utilizes two backs rotating in and out of the action. Through 10 games, the Denver Broncos have used veteran Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams with a marginal degree of success, but lately fans have been demanding the rookie garners more touches.
When you consider Gordon’s recent costly fumble against the Philadelphia Eagles, it's understandable. Meanwhile, Williams has continued to provide a steady stream of tackle-breaking highlight-reel runs and currently has amassed the most rushing yards among any NFL player who isn't starting.
Right or wrong, Broncos Country feels it has a compelling argument but head coach Vic Fangio remains unmoved in his determination to keep splitting the workload because he feels it keeps his runners fresh.
“I do. This is a league that the more backs you have—if you can split it—it does help over the long term,” Fangio said this week. “[Running Backs Coach] Curtis [Modkins] has done a good job of subbing those guys and making it almost 50-50. They both feel good about it.”
Both Gordon and Williams have at no point broken ranks to voice any kind displeasure with how the rep split is being divvied up by the coaches. Williams has been the ascending star fans have been most impressed with, and his continued football education is focused on making every run a positive one and choosing the right hole to hit.
Fangio was a fan of the Broncos' 2021 second-round draft pick from the get-go, and now that he has a significant number of games under his belt, the strides Williams is making are pretty obvious.
“[He’s] a little bit better, obviously, but he’s looked good since we got him here to be honest,” Fangio said of Williams. “[With] playing 10 games and the experience of the preseason, he has improved.”
Leaning even more heavily on both runners could be the recipe on Sunday as the Broncos host the 6-4 Los Angeles Chargers in what is a must-win divisional game. The Chargers have issues defending the run — currently ranked dead-last in the NFL — so controlling the clock and keeping the uber-dangerous Justin Herbert on the sidelines makes strategic sense.
If the Broncos are indeed going to make a stretch run for the playoffs, the team's decision to stick to its two-headed rushing attack has to be seen to work and that will mean delivering yards, touchdowns and most importantly, wins.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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