Q: I would like you to go into more detail on (Broncos running back Knowshon) Moreno in light of his production in the Chiefs game. Peyton Manning seems comfortable with him, he catches everything thrown in his direction and he even pointed out some defensive alignments from his running back position. Is it surprising the coaches used him extensively and were rewarded given his inactivity for the last six weeks?
A: Andy, it was pretty clear in the days leading up to the Chiefs game Moreno was going to be a big part of the game plan. And as things rolled on through Friday and Saturday, the rumblings were he would start the game.
Essentially, the Broncos moved him from being a gameday inactive for eight games into the starting lineup because they felt Moreno offered them the best size-speed combination with Willis McGahee on injured reserve to go with the things they needed in the passing game.
Broncos coach John Fox wants a bigger back in the lead role if possible. And when McGahee was injured, that left Moreno as the most physical runner available on the roster. And while Moreno took part in training camp, the preseason and the early part of the regular season after surgery to repair his ACL last December, Fox said this week Moreno is really just nearing 100 percent on the leg now.
It often takes at least a calendar year, sometimes even into the second calendar year, before a player feels as if he has regained his explosiveness in the repaired knee and more importantly the confidence to run on the repaired leg the way they did before the injury.
Or as John Fox put it:
"It does take time until you're 100 percent. You're cleared to play but you're not as exact as you probably think you should be. He needed some time and he had a great attitude, great mindset throughout that period of time and just by the nature of this league and injuries are part of the game, we knew we needed him and he went about it right so that's why he looked so good."
He was not running with confidence early in the season, was impatient at times with the ball and too hesitant at others. A fumble against the Falcons certainly didn't help his cause. He had just three carries in the game . And he was then a gameday inactive for eight consecutive games.
The time away seems, at least for one game, to have helped. He looked physically stronger against the Chiefs and ran with the most patience, setting up blocks effectively, that he's shown in his time with the Broncos. One of his biggest challenges moving forward will be to consistently show that patience and vision, because he has routinely run himself out of plays by ill-timed cuts.
When the Broncos moved him up to starter this past week, it was a combination of his improving health, their desire for some size in the backfield and, perhaps most importantly, Moreno's work in pass protection.
Read more: Knowshon Moreno's pass protection a big part of his move into offense - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci...#ixzz2Dcp16dqd