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Published on 09/02/2012 at Sun Sep 02 10:00.
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Willis McGahee (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Willis McGahee (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

The depth at running back was a pleasant thing this offseason. I was disappointed that Xavier Omon wasn’t able to make a push for the roster, but I felt that Knowshon Moreno and his guaranteed money would be a major factor at the back end of the roster at running back. Jeremiah Johnson, I thought, had a better preseason than Moreno, but that last game may have given the front office enough hope to give Moreno one more shot at finding his role in the NFL.

Willis McGahee

The obvious starter here, Willis McGahee will continue to be the shifty downhill runner the Denver Broncos offense needs to keep things balanced and high powered. There is always talk about a running backs age and for good reason since most running backs burn out as they near the age of 30. My sense is that McGahee might be one of those rare running backs in today’s game that plays at a high level beyond that age. Guys like Emmitt Smith or Curtis Martin come to mind. The loss of Tim Tebow will hurt the running game, but going from #1 in the NFL in rushing to say #8 is still a Top 10 rushing attack and with Peyton Manning slinging the ball around, it should be a dangerous combination. (Profile)

Lance Ball

I really felt Lance Ball is a guy who was getting the most out of his talent, but to end the preseason second on the depth chart shows that he does a lot of things well and consistently. He’s gone from “meh” in my eyes to “he’s pretty good” in just a month’s time. His role will be to keep McGahee fresh throughout the game, so when the fourth quarter rolls around the Broncos will be able to keep teams on their heels and unable to mount comebacks. (Profile)

Ronnie Hillman

We didn’t get to see much of Ronnie Hillman in the preseason, but we all know what has been said about him. If he ends up being even close to a Darren Sproles type of back, then he will be a lock for playing time on both offense and special teams. (Profile)

Knowshon Moreno

The aforementioned Moreno, I think, did just enough to secure himself one last chance to make it happen with the Denver Broncos. An injury at all this season may spell doom for Moreno in 2013, so staying healthy and making significant impacts this year is a must for this guy. We’ll see how it plays out, since I’ve always liked Moreno as a good third down running back. Just because he doesn’t live up to his first round pick, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the talent to play in the NFL in some fashion. (Profile)

Chris Gronkowski

Chris Gronkowski blew his one shot at running the ball this preseason, but really he is there to bulldoze linebackers for the likes of the four running backs above him in this post. John Elway and John Fox probably understand well the importance of a solid full back for any kind of consistent rushing attack. (Profile)

BT Projected Starters: Willis McGahee, Chris Gronkowski

What do you think of the Broncos running back situation?  Let us know in the comments section. Go Broncos!

  • Greg Bays

    As far as Moreno is concerned, He’s got to run with the same intensity as he did vs Arizona because Jerimiah Johnson is nipping at his heels from the practice squad the whole season…

  • anthony33

    If Fox is picking the 53 man roster based on contracts and not perfomance, we are doomed.
    Weber has much more upside than Hanie
    Moreno has not produced in three years.

  • Tim Lynch

    All clubs consider guaranteed money when finalizing rosters…if Moreno and Johnson are pretty close…the money is the tie breaker. No doom involved…just economics. :)

  • AZDynamics

    Moreno proved a lot to me this preseason. He is far better than JJ, all the way around, IMO — a better blocker, a better pass-catcher, and a tougher runner. If he stays healthy, I fully look for him to displace Ball as the #2 RB. Ball might be “pretty good,” but Moreno is very good, IMO. All Moreno needs to do is to stay healthy . . . a tall order, admittedly, judging by his history.

  • TheTroglodyte

    People get way to wrapped up in “last years” eye test performances and ignoring the painfully obvious. Last year McGahee was last in the league (among starting RB’s) in yards after contact in short yardage situations.

    He is slow, stiff in the hips, old and he sucks in short yardage. There is a reason Baltimore let him go and there is a reason he looked extremely average until Tebow took over and the new offense was installed.

    One more injury to Moreno and he needs to be cut but the fact is if you are looking at the “current” situation and not past performances, he is the best RB on the roster by a mile. He gets so much hate because he was a McD pick and a 1st round pick. Like it or not though the guy has 1st round talent. This may be the year we finally see it but if not, we are paying him peanuts anyway.

    Lance Ball is so boringly average at everything he’s a perfect 3rd string RB. He will never do anything to win a game but he will never do anything to lose it either.

    Hillman should get 5 – 7 touches a game untill/unless he can prove his pass blocking skills. It was very clear he is the most explosive RB on the roster and he’s big enough to be the starter next year even if his touches have to be limited around 15 – 18 per game.

  • d_burgen

    A hidden reason Gronk made the team. To take his brother out for a night on the town before he plays us. Try to slow him up a bit.

  • Tim Lynch

    I tend to agree, but he has some work to do to displace Ball right now.

  • Tim Lynch

    I’m not sure I agree. McGahee had a 100 yards rushing in one of those games before Tebow started. He looks fast enough in preseason too. He would do well getting 15-20 touches, with the rest being spread around.

  • juice21

    The RB’s on the roster ended exactly as I would have chosen myself. Moreno has the chance to be special as a receiver out of the backfield. He has the most potential in this group.

    McGahee is my favorite college back of all time so I am biased… But he is a legit starter and was a great leader in the locker room last year.

    Ball went from bleh to meh for me… But he tries so hard he deserves it.

    These RB’s are made to compliment Manning.

  • TheTroglodyte

    I could be wrong. I just don’t see anything great out of him and he can’t be utilized like a Peyton Manning RB should be. I guess time will tell one way or the other though.

  • AZDynamics

    Anyone who claims McGahee is slow must have missed the Raiders game last year, when he ran away from their entire defensive backfield on a 55-yard jaunt, IIRC. And Oakland has one of the fastest backfields in the league. He may not have the 4.4 speed he had in college, but he is by no means slow.

  • Doom92

    PM will not be used as he always was before either, I think you are forgetting that. He will, I think, be great… But he will not be the same ole Peyton all around!

  • Tim Streker

    Without Mcgahee we wouldnt of even made the play offs last year. Moreno is far from the best runner and has never showed any evidence of being so. He does NOT have first round talent. He gets so much hate because he is either injured or NOT PERFORMING.

  • TheTroglodyte

    That’s true but doesn’t change the fact that a back who is a great blocker, route runner and catcher is far superior with him under center then a guy who can only run.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Haters gonna hate. There wasn’t an expert in the world that had Moreno going in the 2nd round then and while he has never been able to bring his talent to fruition, there isn’t 25 teams out there that wouldn’t immediately make him there #2 rb at the very least.

    He doesn’t get hate for being injured or not performing. If he was a 4th round pick, nobody would think anything of it. In fact most people would be screaming for him to move up the depth charts this year if that were the case.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Yeah I saw it. I also saw an ungodly fat and out of shape LenDale White break off an 80 yard TD run a year or two before he was out of the NFL. As I said, people see what they want to see and fail to look at the actual facts. Like the fact McGahee was the league worst in short yardage situations.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Besides that, we wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Tebow. Doesn’t mean he is a good QB. We probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs without a lot of people that were very average or had 1 decent skill set.

  • Jon


  • AZDynamics

    That’s true, and some people can look at one of the fastest defensive backfields in the league not being able to catch the RB and still see a slow RB. All because they obviously do not like that particular RB.

  • AZDynamics

    Yes, and he can block and catch very well, too.

  • Doom92

    Yeah to bad we don’t have one of those.. Knowshow isn’t Great at anything. I said he was a bust right here when we drafted him and he is still a bust and mark my words he will be this year as well.

    He has always shown a little here and there and simply cant deliver when the nut cutting is here and he wont now. Go ahead and dog me now but you’ll only have to apologize later ;-)…lol.

  • Doom92

    “As I said, people see what they want to see and fail to look at the actual facts”

    I love you man but you fall into this category yourself my brother from another mother when it comes to Knowshow, like the fact that he has never even come close to doing anything like you see that he has ;-)…

  • Doom92

    Money aside I agree with you fully on both accounts, but Weber would probably actually cost less than Hanie…

  • TheTroglodyte

    I’m not big on Knowshon. Anyone who denies his raw talent is just hating though. Whether he can deliver on his talent is another story. Name one SEC back who produced like Knowshon did in college to be a complete bust (that wasn’t severe injury related). It cannot be done. That conf is too good defensively. The raw talent is there and that isn’t up for debate.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Break aways are all about angles. He had the right angle and it’s as simple as that. Rewatch the run for yourself. Anyone with half way decent top end speed would have made it. Once again, LenDale White made an 80 yard td run as arguably the slowest HB in the NFL so trying to show someone one single play and saying “SEE” is just silly.

  • AZDynamics

    Well see, there you go. “Halfway decent speed.” Then McGahee is not slow, right? Glad you can see that now.

  • TheTroglodyte

    haha! I did say half way decent “top end” speed. I consider him a slow all around guy. His top end is decent, he is slow off the blocks.

    McGahee is a great backup and he may very well be our best starter. Moreno has A LOT to prove. All I am saying is Moreno is a much more well rounded back and McGahee’s best years physically speaking are well behind him. From a pure raw talent combined with currently proven ability (route running, catching, blitz pickup) Moreno is superior.

    Obviously someone else in the organization sees it too because 1 day after I wrote my comment, he goes from 4th to 2nd on the depth chart.

    If he can somehow figure out a way to stay healthy, I think he leads the RB group in touches this year when it’s all said and done. McGahee has never been a pillar of good health either though so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ball and Hillman splitting duties at some point either.

  • AZDynamics

    Nice discussion, and I essentially agree with you on Moreno. I don’t view McGahee as slow as you do, but I don’t think we’re far apart on our views here.

  • CehnadianBroncoFan

    Are we watching the same games? McGahee is by far the best RB the Broncos have on their roster. He has proven to be very durable given the number of plays they throw him in for. Gronk is underutilized in my opinion and needs to be put in the RB position more often if but for nothing else but to bulldoze the opposing defense to wear them down. That all said I think the Broncos NEED to cut Moreno, Cut Johnson and move Ball to 3rd string. After being stripped last game against SD, fumbling multiple returns and not being able to break away on runs as we have seen MaGahee do in the past, Ball has proven that he needs a bit more time to develop.The Broncos need to get another RB which is larger or the same size as McGahee from the available RB’s in the league. It is critical for their depth in that position.