Broncos Young Running Backs Need Better Production

Montee Ball (38) avoids a tackle by St. Louis Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

The Denver Broncos’ backfield is sort of an after thought when it comes to defenses preparing for their offense. After all, defenses have to worry about stopping Peyton Manning and his army of receivers including Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas.

That’s what Knowshon Moreno is trying to change. He wants the team’s running game to be just as threatening. He made a statement in week two’s win against the Giants when he rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. Moreno, thus far, has been the Broncos only consistent running back, which presents a problem.

Moreno is averaging 5.5 yards per carry through two games, but his young backfield teammates still have a long ways to go.

Rookie Montee Ball has just 40 yards on 20 carries and one fumble. The fumble came on the Broncos’ opening drive against the Giants in the end zone. John Fox and staff still gave Ball plenty of opportunities to redeem himself, but he only had 16 yards on 12 carries when all was said and done.

With Ball’s lack of production, many wondered where second-year back Ronnie Hillman was. Hillman had just one carry for 3 yards on the day.

“It’s just hard to get three people in there, whether you’re talking about quarterback, defensive back or any position,” Fox said of whether their was a conscious effort to limit Hillman’s carries. “You’ve just got to go with how you’ve prepared guys during the week. Some guys get more reps than others.”

Hillman had those two fumbles in preseason that went for touchdowns, so perhaps the Broncos aren’t entirely comfortable with him yet. He has just five carries for 18 yards through two games.

Meanwhile Moreno has been nominated for the Ground Player of the Week award on NFL.com (go vote!).

It’s time for the younger backs to step it up. God forbid if Moreno goes down with an injury. Then what? That’s the question we’d be asking right away.

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Topics: Denver Broncos, Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball

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