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Published on 11/22/2012 at Thu Nov 22 08:00.
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The Broncos placed starting running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve yesterday, leaving no short-yardage backs remaining on the roster.

Denver will likely have a rotation of Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and Lance Ball on Sunday, but none of those three backs can run between the tackles or pass block as well as McGahee.  For that reason, the Broncos have been looking into other options.

Free agent running back Tatum Bell threw his name into the conversation, but the Broncos probably didn’t even notice.  This week, the team worked out free agents Steve Slaton and Jacob Hester, formerly of Houston and San Diego, respectively.

According to Mike Klis of ESPN 102.3, the Broncos worked out Hester on Wednesday and are likely to sign him either this week or the week following.  A former third-round selection out of LSU, Hester was a special teams ace for San Diego from 2008-2011, while also providing depth to the Chargers‘ backfield.

A fifth-year player who weighs in at 235 pounds (the same weight as McGahee), Hester could provide the Broncos with a versatile short-yardage option, while also contributing as a receiver out of the backfield and as a blocker in pass protection.

Would you approve of the Broncos bringing in Hester?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

  • anthony33

    If he can pass protect and gain short yardage, bring him in. I like his size, but really don’t remember noticing him on the Chargers.

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    I do, but that’s only because was a big fan of him coming out of college.

    He was great on special teams and I remember at least one occasion that he scored against us. He’s versatile, so I’m not sure why nobody has picked him up.

  • Big_Pete

    I’m for bringing in anybody who will make our team better.
    I know that there is a growing sentiment around here and in the media that anyone out there isn’t worth having, because if someone available was good, they’d be on a team already.

    Well, I’m a touch more optimistic. I mean, how can I not be? Do you realize that if Terrell Davis DIDN’T make that 1 special teams tackle in Tokyo, the best RB in our history, and one of the best ever would have been buried on the practice squad, special team squad, or bounced around as a special teams player for a few years till he was booted out of the NFL? He never would have been given a shot, and if he was available and a team needed an injury replacement, these same media types would be saying “if he was any good, he’d be on a team”…. It’s a lie that people say because they are too lazy or stubborn to think that there are people out there who are good, but just haven’t been given a real, genuine shot.

    It wasn’t for lack of talent that TD would have been bounced around, it’s because coaches like who they like. They like who they think they should like, and they give chances to draft picks that they picked, or are picked high, not to those undrafted or lower round drafted unless ridiculous circumstances force them to play them.

    It took TD making a fantastic special teams tackle in Tokyo. It took Shannon Sharpe getting a chance because of injury (a few days before he was set to be CUT). It took Tom Brady coming in for an injured Drew Bledsoe. It took Harris and Carter coming in for Tracy Porter… It takes a fool to state that there is no exceptional talent burried on rosters or bouncing around the league. It takes an exceptionally brilliant, bold, and brave coach to give this talent the shot that they never got in order to see if something special while running with the starters (not backups) is truly there.

  • anthony33

    Agree with TD and SS, but not sure those guys are relevant for this discussion. I think you need to look no further than Koppen and Holiday to see where we’ve picked up some guys that are contributing in a big, big way.
    Like I said, I don’t remember the guy, but our pereonnel department has done a great job this so far this year. And you can never have too many good special teamers.

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    Exactly. Keith Brooking should be mentioned as well.

  • areferee

    He can block well, as many fullbacks can do and they tend to go unnoticed. I’m not convinced he is the answer to replace an injured running back. We seemed to think we didn’t need Spencer Larsen back then. Why has that changed?

    Do we need a running back or a blocker? The answer determines the decision. I believe we need a running back who can block. A fullback wasn’t the answer before and it isn’t now.

    LenDale White is more familiar with this system and he is still available. He is from Denver to boot. Give him a call. The point is, there are better options, unless the running game is to give way to an all aerial assault.

  • Big_Pete

    Those are all very good and current examples. I was going with more historical/HOF examples to really drive the point home. Point being that just because you aren’t on a team, it doesn’t mean that a) you suck, b) you suck, or c) you’re washed up. It simply means that a coach has his head up his ass, or hasn’t given you a genuine shot to show him what you have.

    I can guarantee that there is a RB floating around out there that can make us say “McGahee who?” The problem is finding him and giving him a shot.

  • areferee

    Omon is only 27 and reasonably familiar with the system, as it existed before Manning, but a player who has been with 6 NFL teams has likely been given a fair shot, but we are in a bit of a fix and may be running out of options… (pun intended)

    What about Ryan Grant as another option?

  • Big_Pete

    I’m down for anyone who will help. But I have to correct you… Omon has been in the league 3 years. He was drafted in the 6th round by the Bills. He’s had 11 career carries (6 his rookie year, 5 the next). He’s only been on 1 team, which is the Bills (not counting training camps as making a team).

    So I ask again, how “genuine” of a shot has he gotten? In his second year, he got 5 carries… 5. Not 55, not 105, but 5, and he averaged 4.4 ypc on an absolutely pathetic Bills team.

    All I’m saying is I wish we gave him a shot, a real, honest shot.

    But I’m sure we’ll sign Hester, or bring Johnson up from practice squad.

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    I agree.

  • Doom92

    He wasn’t overly noticeable but I remember him for sure. I actually remember him being better than his stats say that he he is. His stats are not near as glaring as Salton’s but he doesn’t have the fumbles either. I don’t think he is the guy we are looking for either though. He is about the same caliber as Ball in reality…

  • Doom92

    I’d feel much better about LenDale myself, at least he is a load and can break away at times. Much more in the mold of Willis. Hester does nothing for us!

  • Doom92

    Not many teams are looking for a “good” SP Teams guy!

  • areferee

    I’m splitting hairs perhaps, but he has been signed to the Practice Teams for Seattle, the Jets, the 49ers, the Browns and Broncos, as well as making the team with Buffalo… so he HAS been “with” 6 teams. Your point is well taken as to whether he has or has not been given a fair shot.

  • TheTroglodyte

    lol split those hairs baby!

  • RSKelley

    If his roles are pick, Hester is a near ideal fit for what Denver is looking for. He has great hands, is a very solid open field blocker, can pick up the blitz and he runs with explosiveness through the line of scrimmage. He’s also a top notch special teams coverman, tackler and he’s a great lead blocker for the return game.

    He gets labeled as a role player, but really, he’s more talented than that. He wasn’t a great fit for Norv Turner’s offense, as he wasn’t a true receiving fullback. Instead, Hester is an all-around contributor, and even though he lacks the agility and downfield speed of a first rate halfback, he has all of the ingredients to be a very solid short yardage/blocker/pass formation back. He could be Montel Owens or even Reuben Droughns.