The Denver Broncos are currently in a state of flux as you read this, with no head coach and question marks surrounding the entire coaching staff, but today I want to take a deeper look at the roster, in particular veteran running back Justin Forsett.
Granted, Forsett is currently a free agent and doesn’t have a clear fit on the team moving forward with Gary Kubiak no long heading the team. Forsett made a career under Kubiak in his zone running scheme.
Add into the fact that C.J. Anderson and Kapri Bibbs will be healthy heading into training camp, and Devontae Booker will be heading into his second season, it becomes hard to see where Forsett fits on the Broncos moving forward.
However, with it becoming clearer and clearer that current Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is the likely choice of John Elway and company to be the 16th head coach in franchise history, there is a clear-cut path to Forsett playing his way onto the roster.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1742909-denver-broncos-head-coach... Shanahan is obviously the son of former Broncos Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shanahan, who used a zone blocking scheme in the run game, leading to big seasons from guys like Reuben Droughns, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis and — of course — future Hall of Famer Terrell Davis.
Forsett comes from a zone blocking scheme, as has Anderson the last two seasons, so it’s quite possible that if Shanahan comes into the fold, he could lean heavily on Anderson and Forsett early in his tenure like he did with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in Atlanta. That being said, Atlanta’s duo is much more explosive and dynamic that the plodding Anderson and the aging Forsett, but it’s all about scheme fit.
Booker doesn’t seem to get it at this point and even lost playing time to close the season to Forsett, who had his best game in the season-ending 24-6 win over the Oakland Raiders in Denver, sending Kubiak out on a high-note.
Let’s take a look at some of the key runs by Forsett in the season-ending win and see how he could potentially fit in Shanahan’s offense, should he be Denver’s choice.
At the snap, Forsett stretches the run out as far as he can before putting his right foot into the ground to get upfield on the zone run. Once Forsett gets his foot into the ground and gets up the field, you can see him read the blocks well before bursting up the seam into the secondary.
From there, Forsett is able to showcase his power, running through two tackles to pick up additional yardage. Although LB Malcolm Smith flags Forsett down, it’s a terrific run by a veteran running back, adding some juice to a stagnant rushing attack in the final game of the year.
This is a small 5-yard run by Forsett, but you can see how comfortable and well-versed he is in a zone scheme.
He’s patient and sees the cutback lane open to his left, where he’s then able to shake an Oakland defender and get up the field.
Again, it’s a small run by the veteran, but it goes down as a successful one.
Later in the game, Forsett has a similar run to the left side of the Denver offensive line.
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This is what I like about Forsett in a zone scheme. He’s very patient, knows how to get upfield and can run through some tackles due to underrated power for a smaller running back.
Again, he’s not a homerun hitter, but more often than not he’s going to fall forward on runs much like Anderson.
While Forsett did fumble twice in three games with Denver, he’s a guy that can come in right away and play fast in the zone scheme.
I know it’s a long shot that he could be back next season, just like it was a long shot that Ronnie Hillman would stick around in the final round of cuts like I made the case for, but veteran running backs that are ideal fits for an offensive scheme like Shanahan’s zone are hard to find.
Denver has one mingling around the facilities.
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Josh Carney is a Featured Writer for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @JCarney_Sports.