Today marked the second day of practice in pads for the Broncos. Running backs Stevan Ridley, De’Angelo Henderson, and C.J. Anderson all spoke with the media.
The Broncos signed running back Stevan Ridley to a one-year contract on July 27. Today, he met with the media and talked about practice today with the team, the 2nd day in pads.
On Monday, a fight broke out. Ridley was asked about the scuffle. “It’s a competition. It’s good competition. We have some big boys up front that are aggressive and our defense that figuring it out. It’s the first two days in pads, you’re going to have that. If you didn’t, it wouldn’t be a good football team.
Ridley continued, saying there needs to be a balance between love and nastiness. “We have to tone it down and love each other a little bit. But, at the same time, we’re going to bang it out when it’s time. I love it up front from the big boys. I have to say that.”
An offensive lineman can be a running back’s best friend. Ridley appreciates his new offensive line defending him during the fight. “I love it. When you have those guys up front with an attitude, as a running back, you can’t help but smile. It makes our lives easy knowing that we have some guys up front going to war with us. It’s a real treat this early to see that. Everybody is aggressive. Everybody wants to play, but like Coach said, we have to play together as a team to be smart. You are going to have that in camp but it’s nothing major. We’re going to leave that on the field.”
When asked about the hit on him that started the fight, Ridley went on to say it’s no big deal. “It’s football. You’re going to have that. I didn’t think it was anything bad. I went up and talked to the guy a little bit after and we put it behind us.”
Ridley understands that each day in practice will be competitive, and it could go one way or the other, any given day. “Like you say, every day is competition. It’s some days the defense is going to get us; some days the offense is going to win,” said the 7th-year running back. “That’s the beauty in having pads on. Everybody flies around as long as there are no pads and contact going on. You get to see where everybody stands; where your men are and where your boys are. It’s lessons from both sides. We’re going to take it and grow from it.”
Head Coach Vance Joseph addressed the team after practice and Ridley told reports the 1st-year head coach told the team they had to be careful not to get hurt during the extracurricular activities. “We have to be smart. Something like that—a scuffle; somebody could mess up a finger or break an arm, then it would be major. We just have to be smart and control the aggression. That’s what we have to have together to be a smart football team. Like you said, it’s very early, so we have some time to get it right.”
Rookie RB De’Angelo Henderson discussed Monday’s practice, as well as his what the veteran players expect him to do for them, and mentions something that is common in the league: carry the other players’ pads. “CJ, definitely. ‘Rook, my pads are right there’—that’s all he says.”
Henderson suffered an ankle injury recently, but is comfortable where he’s at in his recovery. “It felt great. The training staff did a good job of rehabbing me and getting me to where I need to be right now. It felt good getting out there again, just running and cutting.”
The rookie running back knows it will take a lot of hard work and studying to be successful and by the sounds of it, he is up to the long hours to perfect his game. “I read my playbook a lot. When I go home I study. I’m here early, when I’m at breakfast I’m studying. … Coach ‘E’ does a good job as well when we’re in the meeting room.”
The veteran of the running back group, CJ Anderson, spoke with the media and also touched on the carrying of pads the rookies had to do. There was no sympathy from the veteran runner, as this is a common chore for NFL rookies. “It’s a welcome to the team. It’s a welcome to the NFL. It’s just carry pads. We haven’t gotten to the other things yet. We got some time. We’re going to let them finish the installs, let them get the playbook acclimated as much as they can, and then after that, other things will be coming to them.”
Anderson was optimistic about the offense’s performance today and said they accomplished what they had to in order to have a successful practice. “It just felt good. We’re just trying to get better every day,” said Anderson. “I think we all came out with the right attitude. We made adjustments and we made majored things that we had to make to have a successful practice today.”
A popular topic at camp today was the fight that broke out, and Anderson expanded on what happened to caused it, and said that, if there is fighting by the team, it can’t be with each other on gameday. “Stevan just missed (ILB Zaire Anderson) Z with the stuff arm. Z has been that way for a very long time. It’s good to have Ty and the offensive line in there having our back and stepping it up. That’s good. But, at the end of the day, we are teammates. We can’t fight on Sundays. If we do fight on Sundays, just make sure they’re not wearing orange and blue.”
The Broncos running backs understand that they have to stay focused, but aggressive, in their fight to rebound from an average 9-7 season that saw poor play on the offensive side of the football.