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Broncos RB Anderson will sacrifice touches for wins

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — If Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson is rankled by seeing his workload diminished from being the primary back to part of a tandem with Ronnie Hillman, he isn’t letting it show.

Anderson, who returns to the site of his breakout performance last year, received as many carries as Hillman against the Vikings. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has declared the two to be co-starters, although Anderson is expected to be first up.

“It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t motivate me. I think that we’re doing what we can to do win ballgames,” Anderson said.

This season has been a struggle for Anderson, who suffered a toe injury in Week 1 and has found scant running room behind a reshuffled offensive line. Hillman did not fare much better early, but he had his breakthrough in the second quarter last Sunday with a 72-yard sprint around left end.

“There are certain plays that No. 23 (Hillman) can run and there are certain plays that I can run,” Anderson said. “That’s what the coaches feel is best for us to win games, and that’s what it’s about. We’re 4-0 right now by doing what we’re doing, so don’t fix what isn’t broken.”

— Now that defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is back on the roster, where does he fit in the Broncos’ defensive line rotation?

A year ago, he was one of the Broncos’ starters at defensive end, and rotated in to defensive tackle on some pass-rush downs. He played 67 percent of the Broncos’ snaps last season, more than every defensive lineman but DeMarcus Ware, who was then an end in the 4-3 alignment the Broncos used last year.

With the Broncos in a 3-4 scheme and ends Malik Jackson, Vance Walker and Antonio Smith all playing well, there might not be room for Wolfe to play as much as he did last year.

“We have a really competitive environment there right now,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. “It’s a nice problem to try to figure out who will be suiting (up). It’s a good group.”

Wolfe quickly got back up to speed this week, making it through a grueling workout Monday and receiving a full practice workload two days later. It would be no surprise if the Broncos take their time with getting him close to the same number of snaps he had last year. But he could keep the rest of the defensive line fresh.

“We all know how good Derek is and what he does for this defense,” safety T.J. Ward said. “Just having him for morale and that extra man is going to be great for us.”

INJURY NOTES: QB Peyton Manning received a rest day for the third consecutive Wednesday. This should continue for the foreseeable future as the Broncos monitor his repetitions. … LT Ty Sambrailo did not practice because of the shoulder injury he suffered in Detroit on Sept. 27, but worked with a team trainer. … OLB DeMarcus Ware was given a day off Wednesday. Although he was not listed with a specific injury on the injury report, Gary Kubiak cited a neck issue as the reason why he was given a day off. … WR Cody Latimer was held out of Wednesday’s practice because of a groin injury he suffered in the first half Sunday. Latimer has struggled to find playing time and has not caught a pass in the regular season. … LG Evan Mathis did not practice Wednesday. He was held out to provide additional rest after being listed on the Week 4 injury report with a hamstring problem. … RG Louis Vasquez was held out of practice for a second consecutive Wednesday. The Broncos are giving Vasquez periodic rest days to ease the burden on him as he recovers from a sore knee.


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