At the ripe age of 25, Eddie Royal has assumed the role of the veteran among the team’s wide receivers. Royal’s 47 games played and 39 starts lead a position group where no other player has made more than two career starts.
“I’m only 25 years old,” Royal laughed. “It says a lot that they have a lot of faith in those guys and us to be able to come out and prepare the right way and to come make plays.”
Aside from Royal’s 39 starts, the rest of the group combines for five starts, which doesn’t give opposing teams much film to watch as they prepare to face this young receiving corps.
“For (opponents), it’s going to be a surprise,” Matthew Willis said. “We have guys that can play in any position. When you have a corps of guys that can move anywhere, the defense is not going to know what to expect and when. You can gameplan it, but when it gets in the game, and some guy’s not where you’re used to him being, it throws their whole scheme off.”
At various points in their young careers, four of Denver’s five receivers have lined up both in the slot and the outside, adding a flexible dimension that opposing defenses will have to account for.
“We’re all familiar inside, outside,” Willis said. “But the way we run our system, (Demaryius) can end up in there too. With some of the routes he’s used to running, he might end up in there, you just never know with our formations and shifts and motions.”
With the versatility of the group, each receiver can also be a threat to stretch the field.
“I think all of us can take shots down the field,” second-year wideout Eric Decker said. “I think we’re trying to all mix in. If everybody has the capability of making plays down the field, it just allows us to be more explosive.”
Head Coach John Fox saw the complete group practice together for the first time this week and likes what he has seen thus far.
“We were banged up early in the season, and we kind of got through it at the receiver position,” Fox said on Wednesday. “I expect big things from that group.”