ENGLEWOOD • Eddie Royal never has — and probably never will — complained about his catches, his yards or his role on the Denver Broncos.
The second-year receiver is mild mannered and never says anything controversial. But he is coming off the quietest two-game stretch of his young career.
Royal was supposed to become the next Wes Welker and compete with Brandon Marshall for top dog status among Broncos receivers, but his numbers have been shockingly low. In two games he has five catches for 38 yards, with nothing longer than 11 yards.
“It doesn’t matter to me right now; we’re winning,” Royal said. “Teams are doing a number of different things, but we’re doing a good job getting it to guys in good spots and we’re running the ball well. It’s a combination of things we’re doing to help us win. It’s not anything drastic going on where I’m not putting up big numbers, but our formula to win isn’t necessarily that way.”
As a rookie last year, Royal’s worst two-game stretch, not counting a game he missed because of injury, was six catches for 48 yards. He never had less than 100 yards in any three-game stretch.
Various reasons have been tossed about. Teams are more aware of Royal after he caught 91 balls as a rookie.
Safeties have played deep zone to take away the big play. Coach Josh McDaniels refuses to tailor an offensive plan to anyone, so if a player is covered well, quarterback Kyle Orton is going to someone who isn’t. Royal was the target of nine passes (for three catches) Sunday, so perhaps he is getting close to a breakthrough.
“It’s not discouraging to any of us,” McDaniels said about Royal’s output.