Denver Broncos: 4 Reasons Knowshon Moreno Can Still Make a Difference
The topic of Knowshon Moreno has been discussed in Denver bars, for various reasons, this entire offseason. Will he make the team? If he does, can he make an impact?
The questions are all valid, but there are certain aspects of his game that may point to the answer being on the positive side instead of the negative side.
For the Broncos to find success, they will need every ounce of potential that they possess on the roster to show itself. Here are four reasons why they may get that from Knowshon Moreno.
He Still Has Low Mileage
Assuming that Moreno comes back from his ACL injury adequately, he has only averaged 155 carries per year in his three-year NFL career. That number is far less than most feature backs, and still lower than someone like Jonathan Stewart who shares time with Deangelo Williams—which could be similar to Moreno's situation in Denver with Willis McGahee.
These days in the NFL, the running backs are the players with the shortest shelf life. Ball carriers are averaging less than three years in the NFL—according to the NFL Players Association—and that means that fresh legs are hard to find.
Denver is bringing in Ronnie Hillman who is as fresh as they come, but in a lot of ways, there is reason to believe that some of Moreno's best running days are still inside of him.
He Can Come Out of the Backfield With the Best
In the past three years, which of these players has the highest yards per catch average: Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles or Knowshon Moreno?
If you guessed Knowshon Moreno, you were close, but it was actually Darren Sproles at 9.3 yards and Knowshon Moreno at a close second with 9.0 yards, with Reggie Bush at 6.7.
It may be surprising to see that Moreno ranks so highly amongst those players who are considered elite at that portion of their game. Some of it comes with a grain of salt since Moreno does not have the same sample size as the others, but he still had to gain the yards to get the average.
The promising fact about both Sproles and Bush that bodes well for Moreno, is that when they were paired with an elite QB in Drew Brees, they had career years in receiving.
Peyton Manning could be just the thing that Knowshon Moreno has been waiting for.
His Yards Per Carry...is Actually Good
Another surprise about the perhaps unfairly labeled "bust" is that his last four games prior to injury (especially the Kansas City game where he was actually injured) were showing a lot of promise that he may have found a groove.
The addition of Tim Tebow meant that his carries were lessened, but the four games combined brought about 27 carries—an average load for a feature back—and netted Moreno 153 yards for a 5.7 average yards per carry, according to Yahoo! Sports Statistics.
Chalk it up to scheme or being the product of a system, but the truth of the matter is that Moreno is not bereft of talent as many believed, and Mike McCoy may now know much better how to tap into his potential.
He Has Something to Prove
Every unsuccessful year that comes and goes, along with every injury that sets back his career, has caused Knowshon Moreno to be labeled another "mistake" from the Josh McDaniels era.
The revitalization of the running game last season was a shining chance for Willis McGahee to rejuvenate his career, and for a time it looked like Knowshon might be able to do the same.
Unfortunately, injury and fate had other plans for Moreno and he missed the opportunity to ride the wave of success that McGahee did.
Combine that missed opportunity with the disastrous PR nightmare that Moreno created for himself in the offseason, and this is a player who desperately wants to return to the field and put the focus on his game and nothing else.
As if those factors weren't motivating enough, Moreno is at a point where he could easily be cut if he doesn't play to a level that will justify his cap number this season, or next.
Knowshon is literally playing for his livelihood in Denver, and if that doesn't bring out his "A" game, then there's no telling what will.