Eleven things about the Broncos as they head into a Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Rams.
1. Three months before Latavius Murray ran for 130 yards and a touchdown against Arizona for the Broncos, he was sitting at home and unsure if he had a football future. In fact, he spent one day coaching a high school team before he got a call from New Orleans that led to him starting the year on their practice squad.
2. “My mind was at least preparing for the worst and then New Orleans called and I was right back in it, just like that,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of doubt that goes into it. You’re obviously hoping that you’ll get the call and I was able to. But the hardest part is knowing that you’re capable but other teams, I guess, just not thinking it or believing in it.”
3. The Broncos signed Murray off of New Orleans’ practice squad mostly out of need, but it’s worked out as well as either side could have imagined. Murray’s averaging 75 yards a game over the past month since he became the team’s starter, has 510 yards and four touchdowns in nine games since getting signed in early October and also has established himself as a leader in the locker room.
4. “He’s been a true leader,” quarterback Russell Wilson said of Murray. “He’s been a great guy. I think that his mentality is (among) the best I’ve ever been around. I really mean that. Every day he comes to work and he’s focused. Every day he comes on the practice field, he’s lasered in. In the weight room, whatever it may be. He’s great with the guys. He has a tremendous knack for ball playing and he’s a guy that you want to be on your team. … Murray is one of my favorite guys I’ve played with. We’ve gotten really close. I really enjoy his presence and what he’s done and who he is as a man on and off the field.”
5. Murray said he knows nothing’s guaranteed in the NFL — Baltimore didn’t bring him back this offseason despite finishing last year with 150 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the Ravens’ season finale — but he’d love to be back in Denver in 2023. “Without a doubt,” he said. “I want the opportunity to go prove what this team set out to prove at the beginning of the year.”
6. Murray, currently 32, said he knows teams prefer younger running backs and understands most around the league probably figure that’s the way to go, but he’s adamant he’s still got gas left in the tank. How long does he want to keep grinding away in the NFL? He smiled and said, “I’ll take a ring and we can call it quits after that.”
7. Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak has been calling plays for five games now and seemingly has settled into the role. It’s one he’s familiar with because he had that duty all of last year in Minnesota. Even still, he told reporters recently he’ll still call up his dad to talk ball. Gary Kubiak, of course, was a Broncos assistant from 1995-2005 and won Super Bowl 50 as the team’s head coach.
8. “Absolutely. Yes. All the time,” Klint said when asked about relying on his dad for advice. “He doesn’t always like talking to me. I think he’s got better stuff to do. He’s got some hobbies now.”
9. Gary spends time at his place in Texas, Klint said, and gets out and around the country to see family, too. “Just being a grandpa, mowing some grass, hanging out with cows and every now and again he’ll give me a call and say, ‘What the hell were you all thinking on that play?’ ” Klint Kubiak said with a grin.
10. Sunday’s matchup between the Broncos and Rams may be a dud of a duel between 4-10 teams, but that won’t stop it from getting the Nickelodeon broadcast treatment. What better way to enjoy the afternoon than watching Murray or Jerry Jeudy or Justin Simmons get cartoon slimed after a big play?
11. On a slightly more serious note, happy holidays to all of you and thanks for reading the Post’s Broncos coverage. May your 2022 close out with good times and maybe even a couple of touchdowns.