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mrsolo
08-12-2005, 11:21 AM
"As usual, the Broncos have their cast of thousands -- or, more accurately, potential 1,000-yard rushers -- at tailback. And, per the norm, no one seems certain who the starter will be when Denver opens the season at Miami on Sept. 11. One guy it won't be is surprise third-round draft choice Maurice Clarett, who didn't travel here for the mixed practices or Saturday night's preseason game because of a groin injury. According to sources, even before the injury, the erstwhile Ohio State back was struggling in several aspects of the game, and likely will not be much of a factor in 2005.

That leaves Mike Anderson, who is currently working with the first unit, and challengers Tatum Bell and Quentin Griffin. Here's one for all you trivia buffs: Anderson had more rushing yards and touchdowns as a rookie in 2000, when his 1,487 yards ranked as the sixth-most in history by a first-year player and he scored 15 times, than he has posted in the four years since then. Since that terrific 2000 campaign, in which he was named rookie of the year in many polls, Anderson has only 1,321 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Some physical setbacks, like the groin injury that cost him the entire '04 season, and the annual revolving door at tailback in Denver, all but relegated Anderson to afterthought status for a while. But by all accounts, Anderson, who will turn 32 a few weeks into the season, has enjoyed a superb camp. And there is no denying that he is a talented runner between the tackles, a guy who will get the tough yards inside, and one who gives the Broncos an attitude.

Although Anderson will get what's there on the run, his 4.5-career average might be a little misleading since he will leave some yards on the table. He doesn't often get to the second level of the defense and, despite four career gains of 40-plus yards, isn't a burner in the secondary. Arguably the most talented back, and the player Denver coaches seem to want to win the job at some point is Bell, but the Broncos aren't going to simply anoint the second-year veteran. The coaches want Bell to work for the No. 1 perch -- which is not to say that Anderson's spot atop the depth chart is meant merely as a motivational ploy -- but Bell hasn't demonstrated yet the consistency of effort that they're looking for.

Bell is explosive, and both he and Griffin are more typical of the slashing-type, one-cut runners who have had so much success working behind the NFL's most detested and devastating blocking scheme. Griffin is still recovering from knee surgery, but Bell did flash nice vision, and the ability to get to the perimeter on some plays during the two days of workouts. At this point, the guess is that the proven Anderson opens the year as the starter. But that rarely means anything with Denver, where head coach Mike Shanahan has never been shy about making changes or playing talented young runners.

One pretty safe bet, especially after 2004, is that some Denver back will rush for 1,000 yards in '05. Out of desperation last season, Shanahan turned to career fullback Reuben Droughns, who had just 40 rushes for 97 yards total in the previous four years. Because of injuries, Droughns started 15 games, carried 275 times and registered 1,240 yards. In Shanahan's 10 years as the Denver coach, the team has had a 1,000-yard rusher nine times, with five different tailbacks (Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis and Droughns) accomplishing that benchmark. "

Interesting article. I think it's kind of funny that they referred to Q as a typical "slashing-type, one cut-runner."

I can't wait till we get to see them in game action, see if Tatum can unseat MA, and to see if Q's knee is "game ready". Come on season......come on!!!

:beer:

topscribe
08-12-2005, 11:27 AM
Good read, mrsolo. Thanks!

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