Rookie De'Angelo Henderson caught in numbers game at running back

De'Angelo Henderson flashed some potential during the preseason but has remained sidelined since Week 4. Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Denver Broncos' offense continues to struggle, coach Vance Joseph has had to address questions lately about rookie running back De'Angelo Henderson's availability.

Henderson, who was Denver's sixth-round pick April, has not been getting a look even as the team remains mired in its losing streak. He has just one carry this season -- on a fake punt attempt in the Broncos' Week 3 loss to the Buffalo Bills -- and has been inactive on game days ever since.

Unless there's an injury in practice this week, Henderson doesn't figure to get into this Sunday's lineup either. C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles will be the running backs in uniform against the New York Jets while Andy Janovich will be the fullback, as it has been since Week 4.

"It's purely numbers, we've got three veteran backs and one fullback ... it's strictly numbers," said Joseph.

Henderson played in the Broncos' first three games until Booker was ready to return from surgery he had during training camp to repair a fractured wrist. Since Booker's return, the top three backs have remained healthy and the Broncos haven't been inclined to sit Charles or anybody else to give Henderson an opportunity.

Joseph has been asked about Henderson in recent days as he remains the only player from the Broncos' rookie class, who is not on injured reserve, that has not appeared in any of the last four games. Henderson flashed some big-play ability in the preseason -- he had a 41-yard touchdown run -- and the Broncos have had a decided lack of splashy plays this season.

They have no passing touchdowns longer than 25 yards and only eight pass plays for more than 30 yards on the season. In the run game, they have had just two running plays go for more than 18 yards during the current eight-game losing streak. But there is still little room for Henderson to carve out a spot as Anderson continues to lead the team in carries -- with 159 at 4.1 yards per carry -- while Booker has been a co-No. 1 of sorts in recent weeks. He has also been an option as a kickoff returner. Charles continues to be the back of choice in many of the longer down-and-distance situations.

Much like fellow rookies DeMarcus Walker and Isaiah McKenzie, who have been inactive on game days five and three times respectively, Henderson has discovered what happens during the week often determines if, or how much, a player gets to play Sunday.

"He's starting to understand that ... he's understood that the last couple weeks now," Anderson said of Henderson. "He's definitely had better practice habits and things of that nature. Because a young guy you come in and think it's easy. He's starting to see you really have to put in work. ... We're really tight with De'Angelo. We try to things right so De'Angelo can follow us."