It’s widely anticipated that WR Emmanuel Sanders and the Broncos passing game will take a back seat to the running game for HC Gary Kubiak’s new offense. However, Sanders’ presence as a deep ball threat and Julius Thomas’ departure could leave the door open more a second straight 1,000-yard season.
Sanders put up career stats during his first year with the Broncos in 2014, catching 101 passes for 1,404 yards and 9 TDs (all career highs). Kubiak and OC Rick Dennison are on the same page coming into the season to lead a more balanced offensive attack that relies much more on the run game.
C.J. Anderson’s strong sophomore year campaign, including impressive playmaking skills in the playoffs, makes this decision much more plausible. Even with the running game taking the forefront, there’s no reason why Emmanuel Sanders can’t be dominant in this new system.
Sanders now has one less offensive weapon to battle with for production with TE Julius Thomas leaving for the Jacksonville Jaguars. That leaves only 2 highly skilled receivers in Sanders and Demaryius Thomas for Peyton Manning to look for downfield.
Sanders should see a decent amount of looks coming his way with single coverage because defenses may be more focussed on trying to slow down the Broncos rushing attack. Expect Sanders to come down with less receptions, yards and TDs than last year, but not enough to keep him out of the WR1 discussion.