Bulked up Phillip Lindsay ready to make explosive plays

Local product added 10 pound of muscle in offseason
Posted at 3:05 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 17:05:53-04

DENVER -- Bring on the chips.

Phillip Lindsay can place more cans of Pringles on his shoulders.

His upper body is bigger, his arms are stronger, facts detectable in a Zoom interview Tuesday. Lindsay added 10 pounds of muscle. He has grown, but his role has not. He enters year three of his career facing uncertainty after the team added free agent Melvin Gordon.

Lindsay embraces the challenge, and remains focused on controlling his performance.

"I am going to continue to make Broncos Country proud by being fiery, by being myself. I will continue to make plays, that’s what I do," Lindsay said. "It's about executing. It's about being patient, and developing a relationship with my offensive linemen. I don't worry about that. I know that I am going to have explosive plays."

His resume screams as much, and it's why, before the signing of Gordon, Lindsay hoped to receive a contract extension. That didn't materialize, but it doesn't diminish his accomplishments and potential impact.

Lindsay is the only undrafted player in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in his first two seasons. Only Terrell Davis, among all Broncos backs, has more 1,000-yard seasons with four.

For Lindsay to remain a weapon, he must diversify. Gordon is viewed as a short-yardage back and goal-line threat, and has averaged 50 receptions over the last three seasons. So, the pair don't complement each other naturally. It means Lindsay will get a few series, not third downs, to get hot, amplifying the importance to improve as a receiver.

"I feel like I am back to myself. My wrist (injury and surgery at the end of the 2018 season) was tougher than I thought. I didn't think the wrist injury was as bad as it was. This year, I feel good," Lindsay said. "At the end of the day, I am going to catch every ball that comes my way."

The former Denver South and CU star has caught 35 passes in each of his first two seasons, but averaged only 6.2 yards per reception. It's not hard to see him improving those numbers, especially if screens are used more frequently. Those are the type of plays that can take some pressure of quarterback Drew Lock in his first full season as a starter.

"We all have to do our part," said Lindsay, who has rushed for 16 touchdowns in his career. "I can't worry about who is calling the plays or what they are calling. ... When I go in there, I have to do my part. If we do that, Drew will do a really good job."

The offense aims to silence critics. The group has averaged roughly 17-plus points per game, among the bottom third in the league, since winning Super Bowl 50. That goes a long way in explaining why they haven't reached the playoff since 2015 or posted a winning season over the past three years.

The output improved to 21 in Lock's five games last season. The talent is improved, leaving Lindsay optimistic, while acknowledging the truncated preseason creates hurdles.

"There's a lot of expectations. That's the problem sometimes with the media — they blow things up. It's going to take some time. I do think we are going to put up points," Lindsay said. "And we have a solid defense that's going to hold on. For the rookies (like receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler), for them, this time is big. You are dealing with the grown men getting paid to do this. They are going to have to really adjust and work their butts in practice to get in game shape."

Rolled up sleeves define Lindsay. As one of the smallest players on the field, motivation comes easily. Lindsay has an additional driving force as he became a father this offseason.

"You guys who have kids, you understand. It's different. Your mindset changes. You have more responsibility," Lindsay said. "For me, it's business. I have to handle my business so my son can have a good future."