Denver, CO. The odds are firmly stacked against him at this point. With the third and most important preseason game just a few days away, Knowshon Moreno and his status on the Denver Broncos is very much up in the air. The fourth year running back, who was selected 12th overall in 2009, is simply fighting to make the final roster now. It’s not a very comfortable position for any player to be in at this point in August, but it is a reality for the former University of Georgia standout. Not only is he struggling to make the team, but he is also dealing with coming back from one of the toughest injuries any player can have, an ACL tear. This weekend has all the makings of being a make or break situation for Moreno. With an average or sub par performance against San Francisco, it could be the final time anyone sees him in a Denver Broncos uniform.
When the Denver Broncos, with Josh McDaniels as head coach at the time, chose Knowshon Moreno in the 2009 NFL Draft, it had a very mixed reaction from fans. Some were excited that the Broncos landed a player who electrified college football in his two years at Georgia. Keep in mind, as it seems in the distant past now, but Moreno ran for 1334 and 1400 yards as a freshman and a sophomore, respectively. He also showed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, hauling in 53 balls at Georgia. But some fans wondered why Denver selected a running back, when the team had so many other glaring holes at the time. Factor in the fact that running backs have such a short shelf life in the NFL, and defensive help was something this team needed big time three years ago. Knowshon Moreno had a pretty nice rookie year in Denver, rushing for almost 1,000 yards and 7 TD’s. His stats went backwards a bit in 2010, as he missed a few games due to injury. Then came 2011. After a disappointing first half of the year with just 179 yards total on the ground, Moreno suffered a torn ACL which ended his season. By the time the injury occurred, he had also already lost his starting gig to Willis McGahee. Prior to the injury last fall, the organization and fans were growing tired of his running style, which included way too much indecision and dancing in the backfield. So here we are now, in late August, and Moreno’s status as a Bronco is very iffy. With McGahee, Lance Ball, and Ronnie Hillman listed higher on the depth chart, Knowshon is in the battle of his professional life. Some would even say Jeremiah Johnson has had a better camp and has a leg up as well. It’s likely that the Broncos keep four running backs on the active roster, but five? Not so much. Does Denver cut ties with a talented guy who was a first round pick just three years ago? The answer to that is to be determined, as this game this weekend could be the final chance that Moreno has at staying in Denver.
Will Knowshon Moreno make this team? My gut tells me…..no. There just isn’t anything that he can do, that other running backs on this roster cannot do. Once Ronnie Hillman gets on the field, his one cut style of running is more of what Denver is looking for. Willis McGahee provides a tough brand of between-the-tackles running on first and second down. Lance Ball and Jeremiah Johnson are versatile guys who have experience on special teams as well. This team will undoubtedly pass a lot more than they run in 2012, with #18 under center. If Knowshon Moreno doesn’t make this team, some other team will probably pick him up before long. Has he been a bad player as a Bronco? No. But he hasn’t made it easy to say he should definitely stay on this roster, either.
Denver Sports by J Simp