Coach Joseph: Royce Freeman can 'carry the load' both physically & mentally

Head Coach Vance Joseph talks about the depth chart at running back and gives an early preview of Broncos vs Seahawks.

On the teams 2018 captains

We had six guys elected today. On offense we had [QB] Case Keenum and [C] Matt Paradis. On defense we had [OLB] Von Miller and [ILB] Todd Davis. On special teams we had [K Brandon] McManus and [FB Andy] Janovich. All six guys are deserving of the honor and Im excited about those guys leading our team.

On the starting running back

Royce Freeman is the starting running back for our football team. That being said, its going to be by packages, also. Royce is our leading runner, but on third downs youll probably see [Devontae] Booker, and obviously having a package for Phillip [Lindsay] is going to be important to each gameplan we have each week.

On what he saw from Freeman that led him being named starter

First of all, his maturity. He can carry the load from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint. He was really good in pass pro, so thats your biggest worry about having a young halfback playing with a veteran quarterbackits the pass-pro issues. Hes shown the IQ and the maturity to be a great pass-pro guy, on third downs especially.

On if hes surprised by Freemans progress

Im not surprised. Thats what he showed at Oregon. He was their main guy. He had a lot of work and he stayed healthy through the work. Thats an issue for most young backs. Can they carry the load for 16 weeks? I think with his background, his body typehe should be able to carry the load for 16 weeks.

On how quickly Freeman has learned pass protection

Hes been excellent, so has Phillip. That obviously comes from their college backgrounds. They were well-coached in college so it carried to the pros. Its really want-to, having a high football IQ and obviously having a mindset to learn, because its different every week as far as blitz packages. Both of those young guys have done a great job with the pass pro part.

On signing QB Kevin Hogan

Kevin fits what our quarterbacks look like. Hes an athletic guy, he has a good arm, hes very, very smart, hes fast with the ballso he fits the profile of what Chad [Kelly] and Case look like physically. He was a good fit for us.

On the No. 3 cornerback

Right now, weve got [CB] Tramaine Brock in that position, over [CB Adam] Jones right now. Hes been here, hes worked with us and Jones has been here for a week. Its Tramaine Brocks job right now.

On if hes seen signs that the Seahawks will regress this year

I have not seen that. It starts with that quarterback (QB Russell Wilson) and hes a very, very special player. Hes a guy we have to contain, pursue and tackle in space. He takes a special gameplan to beat him, because if you dont have those things intact, he will beat you. Hes a special player. Obviously, defense, that defense is more of a culture than it is a certain player. They play hard, they play fast and thats what [Head] Coach [Pete] Carroll brought there five or six years ago. As I watch the tape this year, its different names and numbers, but its the same personalities. Its Seattle. It looks like Seattle.

On if S Dymonte Thomas will take on a bigger role with S Sua Cravens on injured reserve

Yes. We kept five safeties and Sua went to IR, so weve got four. So, everyone bumps up one position.

On if Dymonte Thomas looked different to him this camp

I thought he played really well for us last year, and obviously having a year under his belt, hes definitely improvedespecially at dime [backer]. He wasnt a dime all last year. He wasnt really a dime until the Washington week. Thats been impressive. He can play that close to the ball, in coverage and in the run game, and not flinch. Thats a hard job for a young safety whos never done it before. Hes been impressive as far as doing that job for us.

On how Cravens looked in Thursdays game

Sua played really well Thursday. He looked explosive, he tackled well, he looked good in space. As a high safety, he looked really good. I was really impressed with Sua, and I was hoping his knee would respond the right way so he could play for us on Sunday, but it did not. He needs a scope to get it cleaned out. Hell be back in hopefully two months.

On releasing QB Paxton Lynch

Paxtons gone. That story is gone with him. We have a big game on Sunday. We have three quarterbacks in our house that we feel good about. But Paxton, thats gone, and that story should be gone with him. I wish him well. He deserves that.

On what the team needs to see from WR Carlos Henderson

I think for Carlos, its more off the field. I want to see Carlos grow up. I want to see Carlos do NFL thingshave great meetings, have great practices, have great days in the weight room. Just do those things first for us. Obviously, the football player Carlos, hes talented, so that part I dont worry about. I want him to grow up and become a pro. If he does that, hell be fine.

On bringing back WR Isaiah McKenzie

We had a spot with Sua going to IR, so Isaiah was the next best guy to bring up for our football game this week. Absolutely, that return spot is always a huge spot for usplus, having a sixth receiver available.

On what he saw from players who were just named first-time captains

Im proud of Todd [Davis] . Todd has done things right since Ive been here for two years. Hes been a guy that we can count on. Im really pleased that he became one of our captains. Same with Matt Paradis. Hes been a model teammate. Hes engaged every day in meetings and on the practice field, so hes also deserving. Obviously, Case being the quarterbackCase won by a longshot. His teammates really believe in him. Hes our quarterback. Hes our leadernot just by quarterback, but in the locker room, the man he is, and his teammates have respect for him. That was fun to see. Obviously, Von being a captain, also.

On if Tramaine Brock will return to practice Wednesday

Yes, he will be.

On if they had interest in signing RB DeAngleo Henderson to the practice squad

We had a lot of discussions about a lot of guys. We settled on the 10 guys that we brought back and Im very pleased we got them all back, because thats 10 really good players. [TE Brian] Parker and all those guysthey had great preseasons. To get them all back to us was awesome.

On if Leary will be ready for Sunday

He should be, hes fine. He practiced today and he feels good.

On if S Will Parks is full strength

Hes also back, hes ready to go.