Moreno: Another Cog In Denver's Runing Back Factory

Josh RhotenContributor IMay 29, 2009

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 03:  First round draft pick running back Knowshon Moreno #27 of Denver Broncos participates in practice at minicamp at the Broncos training facility on May 3, 2009 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

While most fans are probably focusing on the continuing quarterback saga in Denver, Knowshon Moreno is poised to take the NFL by storm.

Denver has been a running back factory in recent years, turning out both big names like Clinton Portis and Terrell Davis and low-key role players like Tatum Bell and Selvin Young.

In that group you have Pro Bowlers—Portis ran for more than 1,000 yards both years in Denver—and grinders like Anderson, who played five years in various roles.

With Moreno's considerable talents, that streak of great backs should continue through this season. Moreno can beat you many ways with his game, going over, through, and around most defenders.

Moreno averaged five yards a touch in a conference that does not normally give up lofty offensive numbers.

Because Moreno can catch and run with the best of them, I can see Denver focusing on the run and play-action even more than last season, especially with a new quarterback that did not put up breathtaking passing numbers with his old team.

Another personnel shift that dovetails with Moreno's arrival is the loss of former Pro Bowl center Tom Nalen. Nalen had been an important and steady hand for the Broncos since their last Super Bowl run but recently decided to go into retirement. 

While not the player he was during those playoff runs, Nalen certainly was a force in the middle, and Denver will need some young guns to step up if their ground game is to remain dominant. 

But how will this run first offense fit into new coach Josh McDaniels plans?

McDaniels has made his name though his work with quarterbacks, most recently making Matt Cassel one the most sought after players of the offseason.

Most agree that he is an offensive-minded coach, but with no NFL head coaching experience, no one is sure how his team will actually come together.

It should be interesting to see how McDaniels makes his own team while trying to keep the franchise identity intact.