Broncos’ Moreno plans to rein in eagerness a tad
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado – At Georgia, Knowshon Moreno was known for his flash and his dash. The same couldn’t be said for his NFL debut.
The Denver Broncos rookie was overanxious, missing assignments and holes alike. Moreno has vowed to rein in some of that eagerness.
Just not too much, though.
After all, one of the qualities that led Denver to select him with the 12th overall pick in the draft was his ability to make something out of nothing. The Broncos don’t want to bridle that, just corral it a little.
“We always can improve and I’m going to let him go at that,” said Broncos running backs coach Bobby Turner, one of the few assistants retained after the firing of Mike Shanahan.
Coming out of Georgia, Tuner liked what he saw in Moreno – a lot. Moreno averaged 105 yards rushing a game, displaying dazzling moves and jukes that quickly became Internet sensations.
“He can do everything,” Turner said. “He can block. He can catch. And then, obviously, to be a running back you’ve got to be able to run the ball. But I saw a person that was the complete package.”
Moreno is striving to reach that level with Denver. He ran for just 19 yards on eight carries in a win over Cincinnati.
“I just missed a lot of reads – making the wrong ones, going outside when I needed to go in, things like that,” said Moreno, who had 13 100-yard games in his days with the Bulldogs. “But I got the first one under my belt and I’m going to move on from here and try to get better.”
Moreno didn’t have much of a training camp or preseason to prepare. He held out at the start of camp, then hurt his left knee on his second carry in his first preseason game.
He didn’t play again until Sunday.
“Knowshon is in that group where if we can limit the mistakes, then the production definitely goes up,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. “If you don’t, then you are going to have trouble no matter what.”
Moreno said he was simply trying to do too much in his first extended playing time.
He’s pledged more patience against Cleveland.
“Let the game come to me, stop trying to make too many big plays on my own,” Moreno suggested.
His learning curve remains steep, though. Holding out and getting hurt put him behind the other running backs, Correll Buckhalter, LaMont Jordan and Peyton Hillis.
Just how far behind Turner wouldn’t say.
“A guy has to be here and we need to practice every day, so it’s going to hold him back a little bit,” Turner said. “I’m going to let it go at that.”
Moreno’s first-ever NFL carry went for 5 yards, a little burst through the left side of the line. Even more, he absorbed a hit for the first time in nearly a month.
That only bolstered his confidence in the knee.
“Had to shake some of the cobwebs out,” Moreno said.
Cincinnati safety Roy Williams helped with that as well, clobbering Moreno in the third quarter after Moreno sprung through a hole. Moreno staggered toward the sideline, only to return for one more carry in the final quarter.
A welcome-to-the-NFL moment?
“Could’ve been,” Moreno said. “But I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be the last one.”
Slip-ups aside, Buckhalter liked what he saw out of Moreno.
“He was poised, real poised,” Buckhalter said. “I think the game might have got to him a little bit. He had a couple of errors. But all in all, he did pretty good. I’m looking forward to him doing even better things.”
The entire refurbished backfield is getting used to a new way of doing things. The Broncos still employ their famed zone-blocking scheme, but not exclusively.
“We’re all looking to grow and we want to improve, so I don’t really see a big change in philosophy,” said Turner, who’s been the Broncos’ running backs guru since ’95. “We’re still going to run the ball and we still use and have that philosophy that I have had all of my life: Hey, get the ball downfield, one cut.”