Posted Fri Nov 19th by Jon Heath
Two aging running backs time in Denver may be nearing the end, making room for an emerging, younger back.
While Knowshon Moreno was out with a hamstring injury earlier in the year, veteran backs Laurence Maroney and Correll Buckhalter were the Broncos featured running backs. During that four game stretch, the two backs both averaged less than 2.3 yards a carry, scored no touchdowns and were partly responsible for Denver’s worst rushing efforts in a long, long time.
Since Knowshon’s return, Maroney’s and Buckhalter’s roles in the offense have steadily declined each game. Over the past four games, neither of them have gotten a carry, and Maroney was inactive last week. The Broncos have used Buck as a receiving threat (catching six passes for 32 yards in the past three games), but there’s no signs he’ll be a rushing threat any time soon.
Meanwhile, the Broncos rushing attack has gotten better and better. Second year back Knowshon Moreno is becoming a big part of the offense; Spencer Larsen and Tim Tebow have contributed on short-yardage downs and the coaches have gotten creative, giving end-arounds and reverses to receivers Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas. The team also moved up Lance Ball from the practice squad, and his role in the offense is expected to expand.
Alex Mayster of ProFootballWeekly notes that the Broncos coaches like what they are seeing out of Ball:
RBs Laurence Maroney and Correll Buckhalter are slowly being phased out of the Broncos’ offense. We hear Denver’s coaches like what they have seen from RB Lance Ball, who was recently promoted from the practice squad when the Colts were close to signing him away. Ball provides fresh legs to an offense that has struggled with the ground game and is a little bit quicker than Buckhalter, who seems to have lost some speed since last season, according to a daily team observer.
When Knowshon was hurt during Training Camp, I thought Ball was without a doubt the best running back in camp. He showed some great flashes in Pre Season and brings more to the table than just running ability, as he is a good receiving back as well. Personally, I think it’s about time the Broncos gave up on Maroney and Bucky and gave this kid a shot.