Broncos Need To Get The Running Game Straight


By S.C. Hunt

These last few weeks have been trying for Bronco fans. A sense of humor has proven incredibly valuable of late, as we’ve watched our team drop four straight and come to the realization that, no matter how we optimistically justify the outcomes, the team is just not very good.

I have some serious heartburn with Josh McDaniels—I think he’s a pretty average judge of talent. I also have issues with the way he prepares a team—it’s wildly inconsistent. How can a team that can go into Nashville and beat one of the best defenses in the league and then all but defeat the Jets, lay two big, brass eggs in a row against two teams with average (or worse) talent?

His eye for talent and his team’s preparation and discipline have been on full display the last two games.

Back to the sense of humor.

Last week, when it became obvious the Broncos wouldn’t beat the Niners—and let’s be honest, here, those penalties were legit, and cost the team two TDs that might have made the difference—my brothers and I still managed to have a little fun while watching the game.

In the spirit of “Dances with Wolves” (good movie for its genre, but let’s face it, “Silverado” is the best Western made in the modern era, with apologies to “The Unforgiven”), we assigned some nicknames to some of the least-impressive Broncos who helped deliver the team’s latest loss.

While we offered up a few names that were downright awful—we were in a bar, and we had been imbibing a bit—the bulk of them seemed to be reserved for Knowshon Moreno. Or, as we refer to him, Falls When Touched. I fail to see the upside of this guy—he’s either hurt, or wildly celebrating a three-yard run that doesn’t end with a fumble.

Sure, give him the ball in space, and he can be dangerous—but he’s a starting NFL running back. Isn’t that his job?

Harsh? Sure. But I was at the Raider game. I’m still bitter.

It doesn’t help, either, that Peyton Hillis rumbled for 184 yards in Cleveland last week. I bet any Bronco fan out there right now would take Hillis back and gladly ship Knowshon “Dances For Nothing” Moreno to the UFL, where he belongs. Most of us would ship Napoleon McDaniels off to a Corsican exile in return for liberating Hillis from the Mistake by the Lake. At least Hillis can talk to reporters with a smile on his face. Oh, and he can get a yard or two on third and short.

I know… harsh.

Let’s hope Moreno’s finally healthy after a couple weeks off. I’d love to see some of the potential McD apparently saw in the running back after using (I’m withholding “wasting,” but just barely, and not for much longer) the 12th pick in the draft on him two years ago.

Better yet, I’d love to see Lance Ball get a carry or two—he looked great in preseason, and, at 2-6 at the halfway mark, what on earth is McD waiting for?  The Colts wanted to take the running back off the Broncos’ practice squad. Somebody thinks the kid’s worth a roster spot, and apparently that was enough to pull McD’s eyes off his play sheet and do something to keep talent on his roster.

“We like the way he has progressed in our system,” McDaniels told the Denver Post, “and you have to make a choice sometimes.”

Prophetic words, Coach. Here’s hoping your team greatly improves before Pat Bowlen has to “make a choice.”

Of course, can you imagine the mob of angry villagers outside Josh’s Dove Valley office if Ball was plucked from the practice squad, installed behind Peyton Manning in the Indy backfield and then seated in front of reporters after a 100-yard rushing game?

So give the guy the ball and see if he can break an arm tackle at the line of scrimmage. Lord knows, to beat the Chiefs at home on Sunday, the Broncos are going to have to be able to run the ball—just a little. You know the Chiefs with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are salivating at the prospect of facing the Denver defense that’s been getting completely pushed around of late. If Denver can’t keep the KC running backs on the bench for a reasonable amount of time, they’re in for a long day.

To sum up: McDaniels… wearing thin in Bronco Country; Hillis … heartbreaking to watch him succeed elsewhere (but good for you, PH); Moreno … let’s see him celebrate after doing something worth … celebrating; Ball … the Colts wanted him, so why not give him a shot? Positive yardage would be an improvement.

Prediction: Broncos 24, Chiefs 21. Overtime (I’m still a Broncos fan, after all).

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Tags: Denver Broncos Knowshon Moreno Peyton Hillis