clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2007 Best and Worst Broncos' Moments #4

Moment #4 -- One of the Best

-- Denver Broncos Rushing Attack

We were actually hanging with Indianapolis, the defending SuperBowl Champions.

As the first half ended, Travis Henry pounded forward on first down for 6 yds and then gobbled up another 5 yds on second down. And that was par for the course. We had come into the game without Walker on offense, and Marshall hadn't yet exploded into the superstar he was to become. It was clear before the game that we needed a big rushing game, and as the half closed the scoreboard read 13-14 with only one point separating us from the Colts. Henry already had 106 yards and was averaging 6 yds a carry. The game didn't just look competitive, but emminently winnable!

In the end we would close out the day with 223 rushing yards and a loss, but there was no doubt that our rushing game was alive and well and churning out the yards. Mistakes by Cutler, the continuing ineffectiveness of our redzone offense and defensive struggles were our downfall against Indy, but the vaunted Denver rushing attack did enough to keep us in that game and keep us within a score right up until the end.

We had no idea what sort of tribulations awaited us in the season, but for a moment, we had rediscovered our Broncos identity, and were in the process of establishing it by force.

Return of the Orange Rush in 2008?

What we gave up in Henry was a bruising back that could take punishment, the kind of guy that could take the brunt of the beating on a team's 200yd rushing effort. The effort to replace him is unique and multifaceted, and allows me to believe that the glimpse of rushing game dominance that flashed in 2007 will emerge full force in 2008.

In person, we are attempting to replace Henry with Pittman and Torain. One proven, one young, this is the perfect balance of experience and potential that will give us longevity at the bruising back position. In terms of strategy, we have emphasized our upfront blocking with the addition of an elite draft pick on the offensive line and a solid backup at center, the most pivotal run blocking position. We also added two young players who can take the brunt of the physical rushing attack in Hillis and Larsen, in a bold move that is typicla of Shanny and his multi-headed offensive threats.

Add to this mix the personal motivation of returning TB Selvin Young who needed to bulk up as a first step towards getting more carries in a game. This he has done, while showing an invigorating response to the challenge of competition he will face for reps in Shanny's offense.

Together these moves tell me that consistency will once again be a hallmark of the Broncos rushing attack in 2008. I expect more than the Anderson/Bell days but as always the first requirement will be health. The renewed emphasis on blockers tells me that we might be able to really protect our RBs for the first time in a long time. I expect a real rushing attack this year, and with consistency will come red zone production.