Broncos OC Pat Shurmur Says Business as Usual When it Comes to RB Touches - Sports Illustrated

Dec 11, 2021

Publish date:

8 hours ago

Is this where the Broncos finally pass the starting mantle to rookie running back Javonte Williams? Pat Shurmur weighs in.

Amid the increasingly noisy demands for the Denver Broncos to give rookie sensation Javonte Williams more touches, the entire coaching staff has remained calm and steadfast in its determination to share the load. Due to last week’s absence of Melvin Gordon, Williams proved that he can carry the bulk of the load by putting up a performance that impressed his offensive coordinator.

“He did a great job. He’s a very efficient but dynamic player,” Pat Shurmur said on Thursday. “His ability to break tackles, he displays it as a runner, but he also displays it as a pass catcher. He’s proven, in the time he’s been here, that he’s a hard guy to tackle. That’s a good thing because those efficient runs now become explosives. He did a nice job.”

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Broncos Country also saw that beyond his obvious tackle-breaking skills, Williams can also catch the ball and hold up extremely well in pass protection. The future is very bright for the Broncos at running back but that doesn’t immediately dictate that Shurmur is going to jump out of his deep-rooted coaching philosophy (and habits), and only feature one backfield weapon.

“You do the math, and you have 65 to 70 [plays]. You want to run it; you want to throw it,” Shurmur said. “You try to spread it around so that everybody has an opportunity to have an impact on the game. So, you just have to do it.”

Gordon returned to the practice field this week as a limited participant all three days and is listed as questionable on the final injury report. The veteran is expected to be available on Sunday vs. the Detroit Lions. Splitting the carries will be back on the menu so Shurmur might also want to throw Mike Boone into the mix after he flashed several times last week in Kansas City.

“He did a nice job,” Shurmur said of Boone. “He had a couple of nice runs, and there were other things he did well behind the scenes that we felt good about. So, he performed well.”

Shurmur remains locked into the concept of playing all three backs with Gordon and Williams as the primary ball-carriers. 

“It really doesn’t matter who’s in there,” Shurmur said. “We call the same offense, and that is rare. It’s a credit to both of them, because they’re very multiple in what they can do.”

As the Broncos sort out the running game, problems still exist with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's reluctance to push the ball downfield. The Broncos' talented receiving corps is being severely underutilized. 

Answers haven’t exactly come easy on offense this year, and while it remains an ongoing concern, Shurmur is determined to live with it.

“Certainly, we’d love to see all our skill players get in the end zone, and we’ll continue to try to make that happen,” Shurmur said. “We’ve been effective running the football, and that has its benefits.”

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