|08-28-2006, 04:44 PM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
Broncos starting RB is..... No one knows.
Denver running game still a mystery
Posted: Monday August 28, 2006 3:49PM; Updated: Monday August 28, 2006 3:49PM
DENVER (AP) -- The only certainty in the Denver Broncos' offensive backfield is that Ron Dayne has his work cut out for him this week as he tries to make the roster after missing most of training camp.
The former Heisman Trophy winner was the projected starter when camp began but he quickly lost that status to undrafted rookie Mike Bell and then got hurt in the first preseason game.
He sat out 12 days of practice and two games with turf toe, and so it would appear his only hope now is to have a monster game Thursday night at Arizona in the preseason finale.
Otherwise, Dayne could find himself among the casualties when final cuts are made.
The bigger question is just who will follow in the footsteps of Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Rueben Droughns and Mike Anderson and be the Broncos' workhorse running back this season?
Bell had a nice showing last week but was stymied by Houston on Sunday night, gaining just 20 yards on nine carries, throwing the tailback position into an unexpected scramble heading into September.
Tatum Bell, who has been miffed for months about coach Mike Shanahan's distrust in his ability to be the featured back, showed much better explosion through the holes and gained 36 yards on 10 carries, including a spinning, 1-yard touchdown in the first half of Denver's 17-14 win.
But just like last week, when Damien Nash (14 carries for 72 yards) was the surprising ball carrier, another dark horse shined brightest against the Texans: Cedric Cobbs, who gained 54 yards on seven carries, including a 26-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos had hoped to use their third preseason game as a tuneup for the regular season, but Shanahan acknowledged afterward that he wasn't sure if Mike Bell would be among the veterans held out of the preseason finale against the Cardinals.
"I'll let you know a little bit later after we look at the film," Shanahan said. "Sometimes we go with some of these young guys to get them more experience and more confidence just like we did with Clinton Portis a couple of years ago."
Among the bevy of backups fighting for a few roster spots is Dayne, a six-year veteran and seldom-used third-stringer in Denver last year before leapfrogging Tatum Bell when Anderson was jettisoned in a cost-cutting move last winter.
His injury, however, opened up the door for all the others to make a case for carries.
So, just who's going to be taking handoffs from Jake Plummer this season and who might end up as a waiver wire pickup for some other team?
• Cobbs is the Broncos' leading rusher this exhibition season, carrying 28 times for 161 yards, a 5.8-yard average. His numbers have come against backups.
• Mike Bell is next with 113 yards on 26 runs (4.3), two TDs and a team-best 34-yard run. Another solid game Sunday night would have cemented his hold on the starting job, but now it appears tenuous.
• Tatum Bell has rushed for 86 yards on 22 carries (3.9) and a touchdown and could still end up as the featured back if he can convince his coaches he won't fade late and can be more consistent early.
• Nash is averaging 5.1 yards a carry (14 for 72) and also scored a TD. Again, his numbers didn't come against the opponents' top line of defenders.
• And Dayne gained just 12 yards on five carries before getting hurt. The Broncos will have to determine if the gimpy veteran is worth keeping around while so many others have taken turns making a splash.
The latest was Cobbs, who spent last season on the Broncos' practice squad after suffering nagging leg injuries each of his two training camps in New England.
"I'm just trying to get into the mix," said Cobbs, whose touchdown jaunt was his first as a pro after scoring 26 times at Arkansas. "I hadn't been in the end zone in a while and to get in there made me think of the old days and reminisce of when I used to always score."
Cobbs missed all of training camp his rookie season with a leg injury and then played in four games, running 22 times for 50 yards for the Patriots in 2004.
"I've just been fortunate to be healthy enough to go through the whole preseason," Cobbs said. "It feels real good to be able to go out there and give it your best shot."
And muddy the waters even more.
|08-28-2006, 04:51 PM||#2|
RIP Darrent Williams
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Glendale, AZ
Like i said in the other thread this Thursday we will get a good look at Cobbs and Nash vs the Cards Starters..
So after that we should know more about who our starter should be.
Mike and Tatum will probably play thursday as well.
|08-28-2006, 04:52 PM||#3|
YES A DT!!!!!!
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: From Calgary, in Halifax for School
I'm indifferent. Whomever Shanahan chooses will suceed, so my opinion is forfeit.
Come on guys, drink the kool-aid.
|08-28-2006, 04:55 PM||#4|
How about some Tapenade!
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: The Coaches Cradle...Eastern Illinois University
I feel the first avatar bet of the season coming on any day now.