|08-17-2005, 01:13 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
Out to be ringleader
Out to be ringleader
Bell making case to be Broncos' No. 1 back
By Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News
August 17, 2005
ENGLEWOOD - The hole opened fast and Tatum Bell shot through the back-side lane even faster, leaving the Houston Texans defense in the dust.
The breakaway play, which occurred last week as the Denver Broncos and Texans practiced in preparation for their preseason opener, was commonplace late in the 2004 season, when Bell got his chance in the backfield. But this year, through three weeks of training camp, it has been a rarity.
While Mike Anderson has been the most consistent and, by far, the best short-yardage and goal-line runner of the Broncos' backs and Ron Dayne consistently has raised his stock while flashing surprising quickness, Bell has managed to be solid, if unspectacular.
The flash that defines Bell has been seen only sporadically.
"I've still got it, man. . . . I've still got my speed," Bell said Tuesday after the morning practice. "I'm just trying to run with a little more power and to do all the little things right to keep myself in the running."
Bell was alluding to being in the running for the starting tailback job. The race has turned into a sprint, with Bell needing to hustle if he is to make a push to displace Anderson.
Some eye-catching moments would help, beginning with the Broncos' game Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers at Invesco Field at Mile High (7 p.m., CBS 4).
Being solid is well and good, but it's the big play that probably will differentiate Bell from Anderson in the quest for the No. 1 job.
"I'm not going to do nothing that's outside of me," Bell said. "I'm just going to keep practicing hard, being a team guy and doing what I can do. I know my time will come and whenever it comes, I've just got to take advantage of it."
Bell has split time behind the first-team offensive line this week and hasn't been with the second unit, as he had previously in camp. But, as has been the case all camp, Anderson takes the snaps first, then Bell.
Dayne has solidified himself at No. 3, though Quentin Griffin also still could be a factor there.
"It's been real competitive," Bell said. "While I'm worried about Mike, Dayne, he's pushing me. We're all pushing each other. And the best will come out. It's all going to hit the fan pretty soon."
None of the candidates for the starting job particularly distinguished himself Saturday against the Texans.
Dayne was the top performer (11 carries, 56 yards) but did it against the Texans' second- and third-stringers. But it at least earned him a longer look.
Anderson carried six times for 12 yards playing behind the first-team offensive line. Bell ran behind a blocking group comprised of starters and reserves beginning in the second quarter and finished with eight carries for 11 yards.
"There were a lot of things on the film that were collective mistakes, but everyone was going hard," Anderson said.
Anderson, playing in his first game in almost one year after tearing two left groin muscles, was so excited before the game it prompted Bell to ask if something was wrong.
But Anderson's emotional high lasted only until the game started and the Texans began stacking Anderson near the line of scrimmage.
"I did the best I could," said Anderson, whose longest run was 5 yards and belied the sharpness he has shown in practice. "I ran hard and I was mad at myself a couple times because I got tripped up and I know I run a lot harder than that. Even my position coach told me that."
Bell and running backs coach Bobby Turner had a chat after the second-year back fumbled when he was blindsided after catching a screen pass in the third quarter. He failed to protect the ball with two hands, something Bell was well aware. His longest run was 6 yards.
"I feel like I was making the right reads, but they were playing our run so tough . . . ," Bell said "They kept closing back the back side on our cutbacks. And we were killing them all week in practice, running all over them. They changed some stuff up and focused on taking away the run, and there wasn't anything there for us."
The Broncos again will face a 3-4 defense when they play the 49ers, so they should be able to gauge their progress in the running game.
The tough call regarding the starter's job in preseason or when the season begins ultimately should come down to the comfort level of consistent 4- and 5-yard gains Anderson or Dayne can offer versus the demoralizing effect a long run by Bell might provide in the mold of Clinton Portis.
Bell insisted all he has been trying to accomplish in camp is to be consistent on a daily basis and make his presence felt behind Anderson. His hope is Anderson "slips," allowing Bell an opportunity to move up the pecking order and, eventually, stay there.
At least Bell has been able to remain healthy. His first training camp with the Broncos was disrupted by a fractured right middle finger. Once the season began, he was inactive one week after tearing rib cartilage and missed another game because of a pulled hamstring.
He did not regularly get a chance in the backfield until December, so waiting three weeks of camp for another chance is easy by comparison.
"I figure I'm the best back and I figure like (another chance) is going to come again," he said.
|08-17-2005, 01:31 AM||#2|
Mostly dead all day
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ceti Alpha V
Wow that's interesting. They played them all soft in practice and "feel them out" and then play them like its a real game at showtime. Well I guess practice makes perfect, but maybe this week when we play against a weak team that hasn't had multiple practices to feel us out our run game will look good again.
|08-17-2005, 01:45 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hot Springs, Ouachitah
Why not take your shades off and open your eyes to see the hole instead of running like a blind rabbit? God, even a blind rabbit can find a hole by smell and avoid a predator.
"I've still got my speed"...He's a freaking sophmore without any leg injury...did you suffer an brain contusion or eye injury or hand injury is what I want to know. We all know you can run fast Tater. That comment has to make Shanahan literally cringe. I bet Trung Candidate can still run pretty fast too, and Tai Streets.