Spencer Larsen came into the season without an offensive touch in his NFL career.
In Sunday’s 49-29 win against the Chiefs, the Broncos fullback-linebacker turned full-time fullback continued to show why the team has entrusted him with the position.
After earning four touches total in his first five games of the season, Larsen got the ball three times Sunday, showcasing himself as another weapon in a versatile attack.
The 26-year-old picked up a pair of rushing first downs in short-yardage situations, including a career-long 14-yard scamper in the third-quarter, and added his first career touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Tim Tebow.
In his Monday morning media session, Head Coach Josh McDaniels listed all the ways the third-year player has helped out this season. That includes areas that show up on the stat sheet but also less glamorous roles, such as lead blocking at the goal line and protecting Kyle Orton on pass plays.
On Sunday, Larsen helped pave the way for Knowshon Moreno’s first career 100-yard rushing game and factored in an effort that kept Orton from getting sacked for the first time this season.
“He does all the things that you don’t notice,” McDaniels said, “and that is kind of the life of a fullback.”
Add in Larsen’s special teams responsibilities, and the Broncos have a valuable, versatile piece who has consistently shown a willingness to put the team ahead of himself.
Having Larsen, who in 2008 became the first player in franchise history to start a game on offense and defense, in the fold remains a luxury McDaniels doesn’t take for granted — even if the fullback’s contributions don’t always show up in the box score as they did Sunday.
“If we told him he was playing defense this week he wouldn’t even flinch because that is the kind of person he is,” McDaniels said. “He is an unselfish player that we are very fortunate to have on our team.”
Kansas City Head Coach Todd Haley apologized to McDaniels and the Broncos for not shaking the coach’s hand after Sunday’s game.
McDaniels said he was not bothered by Haley’s postgame conduct, and the Broncos coach made it clear on Monday that there were no hard feelings between the coaches.
“I was proud of the way we played and I have a lot of respect for their entire organization,” McDaniels said.
The Broncos and Chiefs meet again in less than three weeks on Dec. 5 in Kansas City.
‘LIKE A PROFESSIONAL’
When asked about how D.J. Williams handled his punishment for his Friday arrest, McDaniels said his veteran linebacker, ‘responded like a professional.’
D.J. Williams sat out the first series of Sunday’s game, two days after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Denver. The linebacker entered on the Broncos’ second defensive series and finished the game with two tackles and a pass defended.
The team also fined him the maximum amount possible for conduct detrimental to the team under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and stripped him of his captaincy for the season.
“What happened last week, I think is a learning experience for our whole team, our whole staff and everybody here — in terms of what it can do negatively to distract or impact your team,” McDaniels said. “I think he handled it like a pro, as a man and he understood that’s not what we want our captains to be like — or any of our players to do — and I thought that he went out there and played hard. He did his job and he played when he had the opportunity to do some things, he made some plays too.”
KEEP GYM IN SCHOOL
At halftime of Sunday’s win, representatives from Comcast and the NFL Network took the field to present Denver’s Kepner Middle School with a $25,000 check as part of the “Keep Gym in School” initiative.
In September, Brian Dawkins helped the school dedicate the new equipment and facilities made possible by the program by participating in a pep rally and play period at the school.