The overwhelming storyline in Broncos camp has been the Orton-Tebow quarterback battle. The following is my take on the situation:
I’m kidding. If you haven’t heard enough from the media then apparently you’ve been in hibernation for the past month. I’m tired of hearing about it. Most Denver fans are tired of hearing about it. Pretty sure any NFL fan has had enough of the overkill coverage. If you know anything about football and the team, you’d understand that there are more glaring concerns regarding the orange and blue. Plus, I’ve already produced an expert analysis when training camp first opened…(feel free to laugh…or go back and read it if you haven’t).
The talk regarding Knowshon Moreno has ranged from sheer disappointment through his first two seasons, to glimpses of optimism heading into this year. He’s cut 10-15 pounds, and according to reports, is much leaner and quicker than last year. I personally haven’t been out to Dove Valley for camp, but he does look more cut in his photos.
Problem is, he lacked the will and hard running style that any successful NFL back needs. Under McDaniels, the knock on Knowshon was a poor work ethic. The McDaniels staff seemed to call him a bust behind closed doors, and he hasn’t shown me much in his first two seasons to make me believe that he was deserving of his 12th overall selection in the 2009 draft. He hasn’t shown the athletic ability, agility, or explosiveness that made me drool over him at UGA.
Here’s the problem. McDaniels threw the ball 60 percent of the time last year, and 56 percent the year before. In his pass-happy offense, it seemed hard for the backs to get in any type of rhythm. It also was apparent that McDaniels used the pass to set up the run, which meant that defenses often knew when they would run the ball. By all accounts, McDaniels wasn’t exactly the most fun coach to play for either. Compound that with a poor offensive line and a few injuries, and Knowshon was poised for failure.
Under Fox, it’s apparent that the running game will be a priority, and with the selection of run-blocking sensation Orlando Franklin from the University of Miami, the run game should be improved. It also helps that a solid power back was signed to provide some aid to Moreno. Former Cane Willis McGahee (have I made it too obvious of my bias toward the U?) should provide relief, especially on third down situations, meaning Knowshon will be more fresh and effective on 1st and 2nd down. But, the main reason I believe Knowshon will be much improved is a support system. Having an offensive philosophy of “run-first” and a staff dedicated to pounding the rock should reinvigorate Moreno. He certainly has the ability, he just hasn’t shown it in the NFL (see the video below).
With less pressure and a positive support system, Moreno should at least turn some heads this fall. I’m not exactly guaranteeing a 1,500 yard season, but don’t be surprised if he becomes another one of Denver’s backs from the University of Georgia to eclipse the 1,000 yard plateau. Here’s to hoping that #27 can live up to his billing of a high first round pick.