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Published on 01/07/2010 at Thu Jan 07 16:00.
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Peyton Hillis breaks for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Peyton Hillis breaks for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

It was a tough year for Peyton Hillis. After leading the team in rushing yards in 2008, Hillis saw his role reduced in 2009, seeing most of his playing time in special teams while getting the occasional carry as the team’s third-string tailback.

Things were so tough, in fact, that Hillis told KDVR’s Josina Anderson that he isn’t sure if the Denver Broncos are the best team for him anymore.

“I guess it would all depend on if things would change,” Hillis said. “I don’t really know what will happen at this point.”

Hillis is under contract with the Broncos in 2010, unlike other big-name Broncos whose futures are uncertain, so for him to even question his future in Denver speaks volumes. Hillis’ main issue isn’t the city or even the team — “I love being a Bronco, and I love this city,” he said — it’s his playing time. So why didn’t he see more of it?

Hillis mentioned the oft-speculated distinction between “Mike Shanahan guys” and “Josh McDaniels guys,” saying that a player like running back Knowshon Moreno got more opportunities because of his draft status and relationship with the head coach.

“Well when you get a new head coach, a new philosophy, a new scheme, and he brings all of his new guys, you’re probably going to have to accept that you might have to take a backseat,” said Hillis. “I’m just the type of guy that continues to work hard and the guy that continues to hope that eventually my coaches will see my potential and talent. When it comes to Knowshon, obviously (McDaniels) drafted him so he is going to get more opportunities.”

After rushing for a team-best 343 yards on 68 carries in 2008 (5.0 avg.), Hillis received a mere 13 carries in 2009, rushing for 54 yards (4.2 avg.). In his rookie year, Moreno had 247 carries for 947 yards and a disappointing 3.7 ypc.

“I went from doing really good things for this team to not doing anything,” said Hillis, “and I would like to be a good teammate and contribute.

“Clearly, the overall success of this team is very important to me, but also within that I would like things to change because right now it’s all speculation what coach thinks about me. But to say once again, most definitely I would like things to change.”

The under-utilization of Hillis as both a runner and receiving threat out of the backfield was one of the more frustrating parts of this season. We hope to see Hillis’ role, and not his team, change in 2010 as well.

  • KA

    Hillis actually ran a faster 40 time at the Combine than Moreno did. so how exactly is Hillis “too slow” to be a tailback? this doesn’t even begin to point out his ability to pick up yards after contact due to his nimble feet and impressive strength and size.

    and the notion that Hillis’ hands are questionable is laughable on its face.

  • roshon2411

    Just as expectations skyrocketed after starting the season 6-0, expectations plummeted after Shanny was fired and Cutler traded. So you can't use the excuse of “were suppose to win 3 games” to claim this was a successful year. They finished 8-8 last year too and probably have more ? this year than entering the off-season last year.

  • roshon2411

    Kyle you are correct. Hillis has great hands, remember the catch that put him out last year. How many FB's or even RB's can make that catch? Hillis is a fan favorite, so he's always going to be better than he really is, however he is still talented enough to be a starting FB/second string RB.

    McDaniels missed with this whole draft. Orakpo at 12 and Wells at 18 would have been awesome. With the switch away from zone blocking, Broncos need a Big Back and Wells would have been a perfect fit. Moreno is too small and lacks the speed(4.62) to be any kind of threat.

  • daniel tyler

    he had 3 for 19 yards in one game and only started a handful of games. One of his runs would have been much longer if the endzone didn’t get in the way. Last time I checked first downs were 10 yards

  • brent

    sorry but your wrong. Moreno has plenty of speed, not break away speed but great vision and balance and great hands. He is also much more powerful than you think and his passion for the game allows him to play much bigger. He is a much better rb than Hillis. I'm sorry that your so stupid.

  • danielbejarano

    i agree with you, hillis wasnt used in short yardage situations and we lost those games, i think as a running back he has so much talent to just sit on the bench and watch the team struggle to pick up a few feet. i hope he stays and coach realizes his talents otherwise he will be flattening the defense for the redskins.

  • Joeski

    Hm. I wonder why Moreno struggled when he was so good in college? I guess it has nothing to do with the fact that at UGA he had a QB who could stretch the field, and in Denver, he has an average schmo QB with a noodle for an arm, who doesn’t threaten the defense deep AT ALL. Hillis wouldn’t have done any better: your YPC trend down as you increase your carries, and he only had a half-yard better average than Moreno.

    Keep your day jobs. You all trashing Moreno don’t know an eighth as much about football as you think you do.

  • Denver fan in Florida

    Denver fan in Dallas Hillis is bigger and faster than Noshawn. Hillis would have been the best running back for the Bronco’s this year. You are clearly an idiot when evaluating talent. Hillis is the modern day version of John riggans and will thrive in washington while your Bronco’s suffer at the hands of their very inexperienced coach.

  • NMBronc-in-DC

    “Clearly, the overall success of this team is very important to me, but also within that I would like things to change because right now it’s all speculation what coach thinks about me. But to say once again, most definitely I would like things to change.”

    This statement and a similar one by Scheffler are what bother me most. Neither knows where they stand and how they fit in witht this team. It is unprofessional and extremely immature of McD to deal with people in this manner. McD may now how prepare for a game and season in a professional manner, but he has no idea what it means to be a professional when managing the players on the team.

    I hope he figures this part out soon, before we lose any more talented players.

  • miro

    i would take plummer over cutler, i was pizzed they drafted cutler which oviously numbered plummers days in denver..

  • miro

    what i didnt understand was, why change the running schemes that had worked so well over the years when all the coaches were still with us, we didnt have to go draft knoshon moreno or a RB in the first round, our problems still the defense upfront..mcdaniels is so stuck on himself thinking he's some offensive genious that our best players will rapidly be leaving the team via FA or trades…

  • kerry

    balance? HAHAHAH. the guy got tackled by the air more then defenders. and no he isnt more powerful then i think. he hasnt done anything to suggest that whatsoever. see powerful RB's can actually gain one yard when its needed. Moreno hasnt. and Hillis has great passion for the game too. so by your rational he can play much bigger too. and truely im sorry your a blind douchebag.

  • anthony33

    kerry,
    only time will tell on Moreno. I'm hoping he steps it up big time in year two like that Charles kid from KC. Seemed like he came out of nowhere.

  • Anonymous

    Compare Buckhalter’s YPC to Moreno’s. Wierd huh…

  • Raleigh

    Fine if you don’t like Moreno but you guys don’t aspire to much if you think a hack like Peyton Hillis is your answer at RB. Moreno has a chance to be special and he’ll be given that chance by a coaching staff that’s not going to give up on him after one season. Hillis is destined to be a journeyman and a role player for whatever is left of his NFL career.

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  • Kaptain

    You’re clearly a moron. Everybody in the NFL was great in college and in High School. That’s how they got to the NFL. Hillis had more YPC last year when he was used as the main RB and had a significant amount of carries. Comparing last years and this years stats (career stats) Hillis still far out performs Knowshon. You know nothing about football – not even an 1/8 of an 1/8.

  • Mike

    Do you really think Peyton will be traded to the Skins?

  • Mike Hopper

    How quickly we forget so why don't we allow the facts speak for themselves:

    Moreno 2009: 247/947= 3.8 yds/tch 4 fumbles 7 Rushing TD's which averages a TD every 35 carries. Played in all 16 games and started in 9.

    Hillis 2008: totaled a team high 343 yards on 68 carries (5.0 avg.) with five rushing touchdowns in 12 games (6 starts) before he was placed on injured reserve (right hamstring) on Dec. 9… Started three games at tailback and three at fullback… Added 14 receptions for 179 yards (12.8 avg.) with one touchdown while tying for the team lead with six total touchdowns… Joined Floyd Little (1968) as one of two players in Broncos history with a 100-yard rushing (129 yds. at NYJ 11/30) and a 100-yard receiving (116 yds. vs. Mia. 11/2) game in the same season… Became one of only three Broncos to have a 100-yard rushing and a 100-yard receiving game for his career… Totaled the fifth-highest receiving yardage total (129) by a Broncos running back in a game with his performance against Miami… Named Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week, FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week and ESPN.com AFC West Player of the Week with his 129-yard rushing effort against the Jets… Started each of his final four games played as a rookie.

    Hillis 2009: 13 carries for 54 yards and 1 TD. Why is this season's resume so short?

    Now, what if Hillis had received 247 touches like Moreno? His stat's tell us he would have gone over 1200 yards!

    Goodbye Broncos and hello Redskins…ya'll will regret this!

    Mike Hopper

  • jhath

    HAHAHA that guy looks stupid as shit now…#MaddenCover12!

  • denverfanindallas

    1) crow is my favorite dish, as long as it is cooked right… i was wrong.
    2) how did you find this from a year ago? are you playing madden now? are you 12? how's mom?
    3) #thisisnottiwtter

  • denverfaninmo

    1) crow is my favorite dish, as long as it is cooked right… i was wrong.
    2) how did you find this from a year ago? are you playing madden now? are you 12? how's mom?
    3) #thisisnottiwtter