Denver Broncos: 5 Things Willis McGahee Brings to the Mile High City
The Denver Broncos had a slow start to free agency, making Bronco Nation upset, frustrated, and confused. A couple months ago John Fox, John Elway, and Brian Xanders all came out and said how they had a plan for free agency, and that their top priority in free agency was the running back position.
Everyone was hoping that DeAngelo Williams would reunite with Fox, but it turned out the team didn't offer enough (or unwilling to offer enough) and lost out on that front. It seemed the Broncos never had interest in Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants or even Ronnie Brown of the Dolphins, but there was one player who they were watching the entire time. Enter Willis McGahee.
The ex-Buffalo Bill/Baltimore Raven is entering his ninth year in the league and he is just two years removed from a 12 touchdown season. The Broncos like what they have seen in McGahee, and are hoping that he has a couple more years left in the tank to help produce for the Denver Broncos and improve last year's awful rushing attack.
EFX are hoping that McGahee can do a few more things than just collect what seems like his last contract.
Light a Fire Under Knowsho Moreno
Many football fans, mostly Broncos fans, are calling for the bust card to be placed on Knowshon Moreno after an injury-riddled early career. Moreno has not yet played up to the first round-caliber level that was expected of him coming out of Georgia.
Moreno has been able to muster only one 100-yard game since being drafted back in 2009. Now that John Fox is running the show, the future looks promising for Moreno now that he will be involved in a run-heavy offensive attack.
Moreno is expected to be the number one back when the season starts, but you better believe that McGahee will be competing once he gets on the field (Aug. 4th). McGahee will be pushing Moreno, who has slimmed down to 200 pounds this offseason, and that can only make Moreno play better.
I expect Moreno to have a big year, maybe even the best of his career with the addition of McGahee and the great run scheme brought in by John Fox.
As stated earlier in this article, McGahee is just two seasons removed from a 12-touchdown season with the Baltimore Ravens. In only 100 carries last year McGahee scored five touchdowns.
In short, the guy has a nose for the end zone. Denver has been lacking a running back who, when in the red zone, has an eye for the pylon. McGahee brings that to the Broncos and he can be the difference between three points and seven points.
McGahee will definitely get a lot of carries in goal-line situations because he knows how to get in. He is a bigger back that will power his way between the tackles, and he can be a threat catching the ball as well, providing another option for whoever ends up as starting quarterback.
Short Yardage Situations
If Moreno is going to strike defenses like lightning this year, then McGahee will definitely be the thunder. McGahee is the power back compliment to Moreno that Fox loves.
The Broncos were downright disgraceful on short-yardage situations last year, failing most of the time to convert and further frustrating Broncos Country. McGahee is going to be the fix for the Broncos (or at least they hope so) and this will create a more balanced offensive attack.
Bring Experience to a Weak Position
The Denver Broncos currently don't have much experience at the running back position, but once they add McGahee they do. Their running backs right now consist of:
Knowshon Moreno - 3 years
LenDale White - 6 years
Lance Ball - 3 years
Brandon Minor - 1 year
Sylvester Austin - Rookie
Jeremiah Johnson - 2 years
Mario Fanin - Rookie
Willis McGahee - 9 years
Aside from White, who is coming off a season-ending injury from last training camp, there is no experience on the Broncos roster. McGahee will not only be able to produce, but he will be able to mentor the younger backs and show them how to become productive backs in the NFL.
Fanin is the most similar to McGahee and can turn a lot of heads this season if he gets a chance on the field. McGahee will be serving dual roles: mentor and power back.
Brings a New Running Attitude
In short, McGahee will be bringing a new attitude in the city of altitude.
The Broncos have not been able to get the tough yards in quite a few years and we are a long ways away from the days of just plugging in whatever back was healthiest on that day (i.e. Mike Anderson, Reuben Droughns, Olandis Gary, Selvin Young, etc.).
McGahee now brings some of the nasty running he sported in his days with the Ravens, who themselves have a tough attitude. McGahee will be a leader on the field regardless of who the quarterback is for the Broncos. He is going to bring hard nosed football back to the Mile High City and bring the swagger back to the running back position.
I am excited to see the type of play and the spark he brings to the Broncos offense come Monday NIght Football against the Oakland Raiders.
McGahee will be the reason the Broncos are able to turn their run offense around, and hopefully he can help extend the career of Knowshon Moreno.
Follow me on twitter: @vincesapienza
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!