May 21, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) during organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Running Game Takes Pressure Off Manning

The assumption from many fans since the Broncos signed Peyton Manning has been, the offense will feature Manning throwing all day long. A few fans even went as far to say the Broncos didn’t need to worry about drafting a running back at all in Aprils’ draft. The argument was, there is no need to add a running back because Manning will throw 30 plus times a game, something he did many times in his career with Indianapolis.

Another fan told me that people need to stop pointing to how strong the running game was last season, as a reason why Manning will succeed in Denver. This same fan went on to tell me the only reason the Broncos had the best running game in the NFL, was because of Tim Tebow.

Tebows’ positive effect on the running game was well proven in games last season, however if you take him out of the equation and look at what Willis McGahee and Lance Ball accomplished, it’s obvious how much they produced as well. Between McGahee and Ball, there were 345 carries and 1,601 yards, with the majority going to McGahee with 249 carries and 1,199 yards. What jumps out is McGahee had 4.8 yards per carry and Ball had 4.2. The Point is, this running game can take a lot of pressure off Manning.

Yes, I understand the Broncos finished the season with 546 total rushing attempts and the offense was centered on the running game, but they were the best running team in the league when teams expected the run. Just think how dangerous the offense can be when there is the threat of Manning’s arm and the best rushing attack. The potential balanced attack is an Offensive Coordinators’ dream.

Throw in the big play ability of rookie Ronnie Hillman and it’s very possible the running game won’t miss a step without Tebow.

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