Denver Broncos Analysis: My Argument for and Against Knowshon Moreno

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Denver Broncos Analysis: My Argument for and Against Knowshon Moreno
Jordan Strauss/Getty Images
Is he the guy for Denver?

Me: Go ahead and toss Knowshon Moreno into the same dustbin as Ashton Kutcher films, uncooked broccoli and the Montreal Expos. The label on the outside should read: “Experiments - failed.”

Moreno had two years to show us that he could play with the same kind of burst, elusiveness and vision that made him a star running back for the Georgia Bulldogs. And after two full seasons, we can say, unequivocally, that Moreno has the skill set of a baby giraffe, though not quite as elusive.

We demand a full refund, and if we can’t have back the No. 12 pick used on Moreno, then we would like to find a way to deal him to the Oakland Raiders. Should Al Davis nix the offer, then out of sheer desperation we will trade him to the New York Yankees for one or more prospects and cash considerations.

We will also throw in Richard Quinn to make the numbers work.

Surely, the Yankees can find some use for Moreno. Last time I checked, you don’t really need a hamstring to play baseball.

Me: Knowshon Moreno is terrible, blah, blah, blah.

Rather than engage in hyperbole, I’ll just stick to the facts.

In 2009, Moreno was considered the top rookie running back for much of the season. The more hyped back of that draft class was Chris “Beanie” Wells, who was having trouble holding on to the ball for the Arizona Cardinals. (Now there is a bust!) But Moreno was showing flashes of brilliance in Denver, at least until he hit the inevitable rookie wall, which basically coincided with the team’s collapse under first-year head coach Josh McDaniels.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Perhaps we should keep pointing the finger at Josh McDaniels, and some very questionable game-planning and personnel moves, rather than blame a guy who has only been in the league for two seasons. I digress.

Moreno, let’s recall, was sharing duties with Correll Buckhalter. But in Week 2 against Cleveland he still ran for 75 yards on just 17 carries. The next week against Oakland he ran for 90 yards and scored his first career touchdown. Not bad for a rookie playing in the first few regular season games of his NFL career.

Then 2010 came, and unfortunately Moreno was dealing with a hamstring injury. I firmly believe that Moreno would have had an amazing, break-out type season if not for the hamstring problem.

Yet, Moreno still improved in many areas.

His rushing average went from 3.8 to 4.3 yards per carry. In 2009 he lost four fumbles, but he cut that number in half by 2010. He also showed more explosiveness as a receiver and caught more passes (37 catches for 372 yards) in 2010, despite playing in three less games due to injuries.

So in sum, he had a decent rookie season, an even better sophomore year, has shown a lot of improvement in several key areas, and he has done it all despite Josh McDaniels and all the distractions that Josh brought to the team.

And here we are comparing him to broccoli and a baby giraffe?

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Me: Sorry pal, but the media is in full agreement with me on this one: Moreno stinks.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc said: “As starting NFL running backs go, Moreno has average run instincts, elusiveness and burst. He isn't particularly fluid with the ball in his hands…durability might be an issue.” He also notes that the longest run of his career is just 36 yards. Hasn’t Kyle Orton scrambled for 36 yards at some point in his career?

It gets worse.

Woody Paige of the Denver Post has written that Denver’s brass doesn’t view Moreno as “a big-time running back”, but as more of a situation or third-down guy because “he doesn't have the skill set or the mindset” to be a featured back.

Meanwhile, ESPN blogger Bill Williamson ranked Moreno as the eighth best running back in the AFC West! Only one player ranked below him on this list, and that happened to be a full back for the Oakland Raiders whose name doesn’t ring a bell (sorry Marcel Reece). Oakland’s other two backs, McFadden and Michael Bush, ranked well ahead of Moreno. If Kansas City’s Dexter McCluster gets a handful more carries next season, I’m sure that he will be added to the list, which may bump Moreno into the great void of football nothingness for good.

So, why eighth Bill?: “Frankly, Moreno hasn’t done much to impress me.”

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Thems the facts.

Now if we could, I’d like to get back to broccoli. Steamed broccoli, drizzled with melted butter.

Me: Are we suppose to believe everything we read? Remember all that talk about the Broncos seriously considering a quarterback in the first round of the 2011 draft?

I just know what I see, and last season there were plenty of occasions where Knowshon Moreno would get hit, but show a lot of tenacity and fight for extra yards. Again, he showed a lot of maturity and development as a football player last season, and he will continue to improve in all areas—running, catching, blocking. Don’t be surprised if he breaks off a couple very long runs in Week 1 against Oakland. What will all the anti-Moreno, bandwagon-ers say then?

Nothing.

They will just cheer him on and forget that we ever mentioned signing DeAngelo Williams to take over for his spot.

Me: The only reason why Knowshon was fighting for extra yards after the first guy gets to him is because that’s the only way he will get any yards.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Knowshon is sssslloooowww.

He was slow coming out of college when all the draft experts were wondering why Beanie Wells was able to run a faster 40 time than Moreno, despite Wells being much heavier and more of a power back than Knowshon.

Michael Buckner/Getty Images
And he was slow last season when everyone was giving him a pass for being “hurt.”

Me: You know, you're kind of a jerk.

Me: Whatever...Knowshon Moreno fan-boy.

Me: Your mom's a Moreno fan-boy.

Me: What does that even mean?

Me: Let’s talk about something else now. I know, how about Tim Tebow?

Me: ....

(Source: Denver Post and ESPN.com)

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