Phillip Lindsay Sends Clear Message to Critics with Charged-Up Instagram Post
Exactly two weeks ago, Phillip Lindsay fired off a cryptic tweet. It read, "I'll tell you this; things always look sweet on paper."
At the time, yours truly interpreted Lindsay's tweet as a shot across the bow of the Denver Broncos front office that paid ex-Chargers RB Melvin Gordon $16 million on a two-year deal this past spring, instead of that money going into Lindsay's purse. With a Pro Bowl, back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher already on the roster, fans and media alike wondered why the Broncos went out of their way to pay top-of-the-market money to a free-agent RB.
What we've gotten back from the team this offseason, based on the remarks of GM John Elway, Head Coach Vic Fangio, and Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur, was that the Broncos coveted Gordon's pass-catching and pass-blocking prowess. The implication being... Lindsay didn't check those boxes.
And maybe he didn't. To end last season as he cleaned out his locker, Lindsay admitted that pass-catching and route-running was an element of his game he planned on focusing on improving this offseason. The very next day, Elway told local press that he would consider giving Lindsay an early extension this year.
The extension has yet to materialize while Gordon, who is himself quite sensitive on the topic of his Broncos contract, hits the roster averaging $8M/year. Meanwhile, Lindsay is set to earn $750,000 in the final season of the three-year deal he signed as a college free agent.
So, was I off the mark in supposing Lindsay's tweet from two weeks ago was a passive-aggressive statement about the coming RB competition in Denver? Not based on the Instagram story Lindsay posted on Tuesday evening. I grabbed a couple of screen-shots for your viewing pleasure.
You'll notice that the first image is of Lindsay running a route with the caption 'Like I said, we gonna see.' What follows are a couple more images of Lindsay catching passes and running routes in his Broncos helmet with quarterback Drew Lock.
If you don't think Lindsay is sending a message to the Broncos front office, I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. The Colorado Kid is fired up and as a brand-new father with a fresh outlook on life, he appears to be hell-bent on helping the Broncos to realize that the money that went Gordon's way perhaps would have been more wisely invested into him and his career.
We already know that Lindsay was upset by the Broncos' decision to pay Gordon. Lindsay said so himself. But he has since amended his mindset to be open to seeing how the competition with Gordon can make him and the offense better.
I don't know exactly when these photos were taken. But if these throwing sessions took place after June 20, it would mean that Lock and Lindsay are following Tom Brady's cue, ignoring the NFLPA's recommendation to cease all practices away from team facilities until training camps begin on July 28. That's if these photos were captured on June 21 or after.
While players, like all health-conscious Americans, should take measures to mask up when indoors in public settings, there's nothing about throwing in the open air of a local park that is socially irresponsible. In the same spirit of understanding that we all take a risk every time we step outside our front doors — never knowing what life might throw at us — many NFL players aren't willing to let the threat of the coronavirus stop them from getting some badly needed reps in ahead of training camp.
For teams like the Broncos and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who either have a new quarterback and/or are learning a new offensive system, the players could use every rep they can get with the NFL canceling the entirety of the Offseason Training Program — outside of the virtual Zoom meetings held online.
Back to Lindsay. Pride is a powerful thing. Lindsay has always been a highly driven player. Undrafted guys who succeed are always searching for ways to maintain that chip on their shoulder, especially those who reach the pinnacles of individual success like Lindsay, who earned an unprecedented Pro Bowl nod as a rookie in 2018.
It should be encouraging and exciting to fans to see how fired up he is about the coming season and competition with Gordon for Denver's RB supremacy. While there is likely plenty of room on offense to feature them both, when it comes to the starter's role, much like the movie Highlander — there can be only one.
If I were a betting man, I'm still pushing my chips in Lindsay's direction.