Denver Broncos blog, news and rumors


Running back Knowshon Moreno has been productive since arriving in Denver, gaining over 2,300 yards from scrimmage in two seasons. He has yet to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season, however. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

During the Mike Shanahan era, the Denver Broncos enjoyed years of reliable rushing attacks.  From Terrell Davis to Tatum Bell — and the four backs in between — Denver had a slew of 1,000 yard rushers over the last decade, but it all came to a screeching halt in 2007.

What would be the beginning of the end for Shanahan, continued on (and was exploited) during the Josh McDaniels era.  Though an offensive guru (or so we thought), McDaniels was never able to establish a good running game in Denver.  Casting away several promising backs (Peyton Hillis and Ryan Torain among them) and bringing in older models (such as Laurence Maroney and LaMont Jordan), undoubtedly contributed to McDaniels’ rushing attacks ranking near the bottom of the League in back-to-back seasons.

In 2009, McDaniels tried to address the problem by drafting Georgia star running back Knowshon Moreno.  The 23-year old back still hasn’t lived up to his high draft day expectations, however.  Although he has shown flashes of greatness and still has loads of potential, Moreno has just been a band aid to a wound that has been penetrating deeper and deeper.

With the defense and running game in shambles, the Broncos have turned to former Carolina Panthers Head Coach John Fox to fix their mess, and he appears to be just the man for the job.  A task this momentous will call for some reinforcements.

Addressing the problem


Will John Fox reunite with DeAngelo Williams in Denver? Don't count on it. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Fox has made it quite clear that the team is looking for a back to pair up with third-year running back Knowshon Moreno.  Whether they find that back through the draft or free agency is yet to been seen; names of a few possible candidates have been thrown out there, however.  One that has been brought up several times (13.7 Trillion times to be exact) is Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams, who is set to become a free agent (one of the most sought after free agents it should be noted).  Contrary to all the reports however, Williams-to-Denver isn’t as practical as you might think.

  • There is a possibility that the Panthers will in fact retain Williams – they certainly hope to.  DeAngelo recently told a Miami radio station that his decision to stay in Carolina hinges on who will play quarterback for the team next season.  If the Panthers draft Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, he would most likely be tempted to stay.
  • And even if he does not stay in Carolina, the Broncos don’t appear to be on top of his ‘possible destinations’ list.  He has said that he would love to play for the Miami Dolphins, who would most likely be willing to pay him a contract that he and his agent could agree upon.
  • Which is something Denver may not be willing to do.  Because of the uncertainty of the lockout, it would be more logical for Denver to draft a running back over planning on signing one to a big contract in free agency, especially a back who is coming off an injury that caused him to miss most of the previous season.

In fact, if Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway isn’t just blowing smoke, and the Broncos are keeping their options open and legitimately considering every position and all the top prospects, the team may trade down in the first round on draft day and take Alabama’s Mark Ingram.  Albeit, Denver drafting Ingram is a bit improbable, selecting a running back in the first three rounds however, is a big possibility.

The Broncos have visited and/or worked out over half a dozen different running backs entering this year’s draft and have shown a lot of interest in them.  Baylor running back Jay Feely was at the team’s facility in Dove Valley earlier this week as well as Kansas State’s 230-pound running back, Daniel Thomas, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.  On Monday, Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure will visit the team.

Several free agent options include:  San Diego’s Mike Tolbert (who is a bruiser), Miami’s Ricky Williams (who is on the wrong side of 30), and Baltimore’s Le’Ron McClain (another bruiser who would be hard to pry away from his current home).  Many of the power running backs that will be available in free agency will be pursued by several other teams and come at a high price, making a younger, 2nd-3rd round draft choice a more appealing solution.

Denver may already have Knowshon’s future running mate on the roster

Steelers Broncos Football

Running back LenDale White showed potential in 2010 before going down with an injury. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

Let’s assume the Broncos are being as open minded about the running back situation as they are the quarterback situation.  They don’t know, but they may already have their guy, as Elway has said concerning the quarterbacks.

Correll Buckhalter can pretty much be scratched off the list, at age 32, Buck’s days in Denver appear to be numbered.  There’s also Lance Ball, and while his effort is commendable, he’s not the kind of power back Fox is looking for.

That leaves LenDale White, who missed all of the regular season in 2010 after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in preseason.  White however, is recovering and ready to compete for playing time in 2011 (if there is a 2011 NFL season).  Coming in at 6’1 and 235 pounds, White is a prototype of what Fox is looking for to pair up with Moreno – a big, powerful back.  Expect White to at least get a good look in Training Camp (if there is a training camp).

I’m as big a fan of Williams as anyone, and would love for Denver to sign him.  It’s just not that practical.  Seeing as there may not even be a free agency period this year, drafting a back to pair up with Moreno allegedly is the most realistic option.  Big thanks to Kreager G. for suggesting we touch on the above mentioned subject.

  • areferee

    Nice article Jon.

    You're getting me excited for training camp, if there is a training camp;

    and for the running game, if there is a running game;

    and for the Quarterback controversy, if there is a Quarterback controversy;

    and for the season, if there is a season;

    and for the Broncos' fans, if there are any Broncos' fans…(left after the Draft).

    Keep those articles coming, if there are any articles coming…

    (Lord, it's habit-forming).

  • Darwin

    Lendale White is not the answer. Get real he was released by his college coach before the season last year. He is a low character guy. We don't need anymore of those guys!

  • Jon

    I don't recall ever saying White was the answer.

  • Danno

    I think this is the year Moreno grows-up and starts to become a leader. The preseason injury crap should be over, and it is time for him to get us more damn first downs!

    I would wildcat Tebow with Larsen more if Moreno gets hurt. I hope we do not waste one of our 2nd round picks on a RB or a TE, but I guess that will depend on who is left on the board.

    At least we get 3 solid picks this year…That should bring back some hope.

  • Mike Birtwistle

    I like Moreno and expect him to become a top 5 running back IF he can stay healthy. Although Tolbert or McClain would be most excellent and also be ideal stand in full backs for the 5 plays a year Modern NFL offenses use them for.

  • crazykid

    i think we should use a 2nd round pick on Mikel Leshoure. I think he could be a real steal in the second. Other than that, i say all Defense

  • Jon

    I would love that scenario…

  • 12508

    Moreno a top 5 back? I can name 5 backs better than him in our division. Charles,Matthews,Tolbert,and Mcfadden. Moreno would be a 2 back on any team in our division. We need to get past all the draft mistakes in the past and just fix it. Things wont get any better until we draft the best players on the board. Lets get real here. Moreno is a bust. Tebow cant throw. Ayers is not an impact player. Im not saying we go offense in this draft. I would trade any of these players for picks. I dont care if its 2nd 3rd or 6th rounds picks. Get picks and start over. I dont want to make the playoffs. I dont want to go 500. I want a Super Bowl. It wont happen in two years so lets start over. O-line is fine. Doom is fine. Rest of the team can hit the bricks.

  • areferee

    Just curious…the math on your tagline on the Moreno photo doesn't add up. I'm assuming your are adding in his receiving yards when you reference his yards gained from scrimmage.

  • ReverendofRock

    I had high hopes for Lendale White last season, only to have them dashed by injury. He's got the size to be an awesome power rusher, and it seemed he had his head together enough to do it. If he's healthy, I'd like to see him signed for another year (don't know how long he's signed for) an see how he does.

  • Jon

    Yeah yards gained from scrimmage is rushing+receiving, rushing yards from scrimmage is just rushing and receiving yards from scrimmage is just receiving …

  • ReverendofRock

    I agree with most everything you said, except the part when you said that Tebow can't throw. Now, I'm not a Tebow fan, and had always heard that his accuracy was lacking, but from what I've seen, he looked pretty darned good. My complaint with him is his running. There are times he needs to just throw the ball away, not try to run. Running can either lose yards or lose a QB. He needs to learn that. That said, if they traded him tomorrow, I'd be okay with it. Orton has been just fine, in my book. Maybe not a “franchise” guy, but I'm good with him sticking around for a while.

  • Nisse

    then u havent looked good enough at him.
    tebows accuracy isnt good, face it.
    can he get better? yes.

  • Crwolff

    I could be wrong- but I think Moreno is actually better than you think. I believe moving away from the McD scheme will benifit Moreno. He actually does run hard.

  • Paradisimo

    Reading these posts just makes me more upset with how badly McD f-ed up this franchise. To think we could have had Hillis and Torain as our main backs and used the Moreno pick on Orakpo, Cushing or Clay Matthews. Hindsight is 20/20 but geez the guy did some idiotic things.

  • goodlloyd2

    McD was a jerk, however, i'm not ready to give up on tebow, i think he really has what it takes he needs to be groomed.
    moreno also shows potential, a power back is a step in the right direction.
    but what we need is a solid linbacking core, power and speed, then the saftey position needs help, we can start their this year, and fill in the gaps through free agency.

  • goodlloyd2

    McD was a jerk, however, i'm not ready to give up on tebow, i think he really has what it takes he needs to be groomed.
    moreno also shows potential, a power back is a step in the right direction.
    but what we need is a solid linbacking core, power and speed, then the saftey position needs help, we can start their this year, and fill in the gaps through free agency.