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Published on 10/14/2008 at Tue Oct 14 07:05.
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Michael Pittman (Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos appear to be finally weaning themselves off the committee approach to running the football.

Head Coach Mike Shanahan announced on Monday that running back Michael Pittman was designated the “full time” starter for Sunday’s game, and he didn’t see any reason to change that.

“I thought Michael did a great job. He ran the ball extremely well and passed protected well,” Shanahan said during Monday’s press conference. “He took advantage of his opportunity. Everything that you want him to do, he did. If you play like that, you get the opportunity to have more playing time.”

Shanahan indicated his impressive performance against the Buccaneers in Week Five had a lot to do with his playing time this past weekend. “One of the reasons he got as much playing time as he did is because of the way he played last week. He sure didn’t hurt himself in this game.”

Former starter Selvin Young was out with a groin injury Sunday. The team will have a better feel for his condition on Wednesday, leaving only Pittman and Andre Hall. Shanahan told reporters that Pittman will run until he’s tired, leaving Hall as a “true” backup.

“After (Pittman) played how he did the week before, I thought he deserved the opportunity to play full time. If he got tired, he was going to take himself out and let Andre (Hall) go in there. He played well enough the week before to give himself the opportunity to keep the job.”

Fifth round draft pick Ryan Torain could also become a factor in the weeks ahead. Shanahan initially said he could start practicing as soon as this week, but with Pittman holding the hot hand right now, there’s no need to rush the rookie’s return.

  • robtink242

    i cant believe i wanted to get rid of pittman before the season start. love to see what torain can bring to the table.

  • flbronc

    can i get an amen…

    i hear ya rob, i saw him a lot since tampa is on all the time here and wasnt sure he was a good fit for the team either.

  • jchase8410

    Sometimes a good player who looks like he is losing it needs a change of scenery. Pittman looked like his career was trailing off in Tampa, so they sent him off. Look at Pennington. He looked pretty bad when he was with the Jets. It took a move to Miami, and he looks like the guy he was in college. I was happy with the move to get Pittman

  • Kyle

    I also thought he’d be the odd man out when it came to the running back race. If Alridge doesn’t go down in Game 4 of the preseason, who knows…?

  • precisiontint

    These young guys still need to get some time. Dont rum him too hard. Selvin better heal up. Quickly.

  • T-Money

    Ryan is set to practice on wednesday

  • dersh72

    I like it, Pittmans running real well, great power and effort!

  • bronconinjax

    The one thing I’v e always liked about pittman is that he is a horse and seems to have a good work ethic. But I feel bad for Selvin the guy has a 5.7 ypc and was not even getting the ball 15x and he goes down then step in Pitt and we all know Shanny and his mid season Rb starter changes usually lead to the other guy(young in this case being cut/unsigned)… Think about it M anderson left after R droughns… Then droughns ousted for T Bell.. Bell to Mike Bell…. MB to Henry… Henry to Young… Young to ……………….

  • BroncoFan18

    This looks like it could really work out well. We need the consistency for sure.

  • rcsodak

    A no-brainer, imo. He’s better than the rest, and has something to prove.
    Funny how everybody’s all goo-goo over Torrain, when he hasn’t played a snap. Get your hopes up, and it’s a bigger fall. Kid’s a rookie coming off an injury and little to no training camp.
    It’s Pittman’s to lose….and it doesn’t look like he wants to lose it.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    rcsodak, I have to say that I tend to agree with your impression of the fans’ reaction to Torrain. I think the kid has talent and would fit our system, but to think that (even over a bye week) Mike starting a rookie coming off an injury with very limited practice time is just pie-in-the-sky thinking.

    I do hope he can get some playing time in this year, but I have no expectations of him starting this season.

    On Pittman, I was pretty early to jump on the ‘start em’ bandwagon, and this week’s game seemed to prove he could not only handle it, but handle it very well. If he can post 100 yard games even when we’re playing from behind the whole second half, he deserves some major credit. I also like the fact that Shanahan is going to stick with Pittman as long as he’s working for them.

    The big tests for Pittman will be upcoming games where teams will have had the advantage of game-planning for him specifically. Up to this point, teams have to prepare for three backs in rotation. With Pittman getting ~20 balls, teams will be studying him individually more. Also, if he continues to do well, more and more teams will begin respecting him (and the ground game). That means more resources being devoted to stop the run.

    I think Pittman’s true starter value will be assessed after the next few games (if he can hold on to the starting job that long).

    Go Broncos!