Led by CJ Anderson: The Denver Broncos Are Now a Physical Football Team


Denver Broncos running back CJ Anderson has stabilized the running game but he’s also done something far more important. His physical play has rubbed off on the rest of the team, and the Broncos are benefiting on both sides of the ball.

Before Anderson took over the starting job, the Broncos were a finesse offense that other teams believed they could bully and beat up. The offensive line was often overpowered and even picking up a yard was like pulling teeth for the Broncos.

The critics were out in force; the Broncos were soft and the thought of them winning the Super Bowl was considered a joke to most but that was before Anderson started versus the Miami Dolphins. He ran hard, he ran over people and refused to go out of bounds. In short, Anderson brought a nasty attitude to the Broncos offense that had been missing.

All of the sudden, the offensive line started opening holes and dominating at the line of scrimmage. The offense as a whole has become more physical and can now beat teams both on the ground, and through the air.

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There’s no doubt that the presence of Anderson has changed the personality of the offense but he has also inspired the defense to be more physical and aggressive.

In the Broncos win on Sunday night versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Anderson set the tone and the defense followed. The defense got a quick three and out on the Chiefs first possession and the Broncos offense followed that with a physical first drive that led to a 7-0 lead.

The Broncos ran the ball on six of the eight plays and it was Anderson who was ripping off big runs, breaking tackles and finishing every run. That drive ended with a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas but it was a statement drive that carried over to the defense.

On the next Chiefs possession, the Broncos defense was extremely aggressive. On a third down play, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio sent TJ Ward on a blitz that resulted in a third down sack of Alex Smith. The offense followed with another scoring drive with Anderson doing most of the work again, including a touchdown reception.

The defense followed that second score with another quick three and out, topped off with a safety blitz from Quinton Carter that resulted in a sack. The Broncos got the football back, used an aggressive fake punt call to add another three points.

Everyone involved deserves credit for the increased physical play over the last two weeks but it is Anderson who deserves a majority of that credit. The way he plays the game has carried over to the rest of the team, and has changed their identity.

Scott Hastings, a local sports talk host on 104.3 The Fan, said it best on Monday. “The Broncos have gone from a wine and cheese team to a beer and a dog team.” That’s a perfect description.

The Broncos can still beat you by throwing if they have to but more importantly, they can line up and beat you physically and they can do it on both sides of the ball.

Anderson has saved the Broncos running game and changed their identity, pretty impressive for an undrafted running back who just three weeks ago was third on the depth chart.