It’s not often that a preseason game has such high stakes for an established veteran player, but Saturday is critical for one veteran running back.
Denver Broncos’ rusher Jamaal Charles knows that his opportunity to prove the the team that he belongs on the roster will come against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night and it may be his one and only shot to do so.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to see on Saturday, but he looked great [Tuesday],” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said.
“He looked great last week. He is wanting to play football, so hopefully for him it goes well.”
Charles has been hampered by injuries the last few years but has proven that when he is healthy he can be an offensive force on the field.
But Denver will need to see that playmaking ability out of Charles to justify a spot on the final roster and a spot in their running back rotation.
“I’ve been trusting my knees,” Charles said. Charles tore his left ACL in 2011, tore his right ACL in October 2015 and struggled with knee issues in 2016.
“I was just excited to be in San Francisco and playing against that defense. I saw some of my talent playing against them and everybody else saw what I was doing out there, too. I’m excited to just play football again, basically.”
“I try not to put pressure on me,” Charles said. “I’ve been playing football going on 10 years and I’ve been playing football since high school and Pop Warner. Just go out there and have fun, that’s the most exciting thing.”
Charles is also hoping that getting back to his normal playing weight will help.
“I feel like I’m back to my normal me. I’m back to my normal weight,” Charles said.
“Last year, I was 195. This year, I’m 204, 205. I’m back to my normal weight, I’m back to [that weight] and whatever I have to do, whatever they want me to do.”
Charles is hoping to earn a spot in the backfield with Cj Anderson and Anderson is rooting for Charles to make the team.
“He told me he was going to be out of the knee brace,” Anderson said. “We’re excited about that. I’m just excited to see the same No. 25 that I grew up watching and then got a chance to play against when he was over there in Kansas City. Jamaal is a special player, and we know that.
The opportunity that he is going to get this weekend is going to be exciting.”
It’s put up or shut up time for Charles and his tenure with the Broncos could very well be on the line.