Why the Denver Broncos Must Go with RB-by-Committee in 2013

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Why the Denver Broncos Must Go with RB-by-Committee in 2013
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The rest of the NFL is doing it, so it's time the Denver Broncos caught on. 

After all, it's a copycat league, right? 

The trend? 

Running back committees. 

In order to keep feature backs viable for as long as possible during their already short careers and show the defense a change of pace, clubs are frequently using two and sometimes three running backs.

(Teams are simply not running the ball as much as they did in the past anyway.)

Peyton Manning's pass-happy Broncos—who boast one of the best and most diverse receiving corps in football which now includes run-game stand-in Wes Welker—has to evolve to a more collegiate-esque running back committee.

They distinctly did not implement a running back committee in 2012, until they had to. 

Before Willis McGahee was hurt on November 18 against the San Diego Chargers, he was averaging 17.7 carries per game. 

Meanwhile, Ronnie Hillman was averaging 5.2 carries, Lance Ball was averaging 2.1 carries and Knowshon Moreno had eight total carries. 

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

McGahee's injury forced the Broncos to implement a makeshift running back committee that featured Moreno and was supplemented by Hillman and Ball.

After the Week 11 game in which McGahee was lost for the remainder of the regular season, the newly formed Denver running trio averaged 3.91 yards per carry, which was a respectable yet unspectacular figure. 

The Broncos know and probably like that their main means of moving the football is through the air, but there's a chance they selected Montee Ball in Round 2 of the 2013 draft due to their relative run-game inefficiency without the elder McGahee last season.

With the addition of Ball, it likely means the team has plans to keep one or maybe two of McGahee, Ball, Moreno or Jacob Hester off the final 53-man roster come September. 

Should the Broncos use a running back committee in 2013?

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While there's no way to tell which player or players won't make the cut, whatever Denver ultimately decides to do with its incumbent running backs, a more evenly-balanced running attack is essential. 

If McGahee is kept along with any of the other youthful backs, the elder veteran who's closing in on 2,000 career NFL carries should have his attempts scaled back. 

If McGahee is cut, any remaining combination would be extremely unproven, so it would be somewhat foolish for the Broncos to rely on one primary runner. 

In a pass-predicated offense that will mainly be operated from the shotgun, smaller speed backs who excel in space, pass-block well and are comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield will be ideal.

Using them as a complement to what likely will be a prolific passing attack will be vital in keeping defenses honest.

The Broncos should accessorize their aerial-based offense with the two or three most complete backs on their roster and utilize the popular running-back-committee approach that keeps everyone fresh and typically yields efficient results. 

 

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