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The Triangular Table

June 19, 2008

Hi everybody! Garret here. I am happy to introduce our brand new column The Triangular Table. Jeff Winters of The Raider Hater Nation Official Blog will assist us in giving you guys our opinions on different subjects. This weeks will be on what the running back depth chart will look like. We will start with Jeff follow it up with mine and close it with Sonny.

Jeff Winters:

Wow, who should be the Broncos next starting running back? It seems like an almost impossible question to answer. I think running back, like 80% of the positions at this point should be an open competition going into training camp. If I were to break it down I guess it would be by what we do know. Let’s look at the candidates.

1. Selvin Young- 5.2 yards per carry is hard to ignore. This makes him the favorite to get the bulk of the carries early in the season. He is also very good out of the backfield. He is a little on the small side and had some injury issues late last season. He is also not a great short-yardage back. As evidenced, by one touchdown and the red zone is an issue of importance to focus on this year.

2. Michael Pittman- He is the veteran of the unit. He also averaged over 5 yards per carry last year in limited use and seems a perfect fit for the Bronco one-cut system. Of course, so did Travis Henry. He is also 32 years old and hasn’t been a regular starter in years. He is a little stronger than Young and can also catch the ball.

3. Ryan Torain- The most upside of the group. He is a strong, aggressive and powerful runner who looks like Terrell Davis when he has pads on. Torain rarely goes down with a singular tackler and has a knack for breaking loose. He can also catch the ball. Was very productive in college with over five yards per carry. All of these are reasons to think Torain could be the next big time Broncos back. Unfortunately, there are a lot of question marks. Torain runs straight up and is not very elusive. This leads to him taking a lot of shots and is the number one reason for the injury that allowed Torain to fall to the second day of the draft. With proper coaching, Torain could be a star. However, I think there is just as good a chance he is the next Chris Brown.

I think the Broncos running game should be good this year. I think it is going to take a rotation though. Young gets the most carries because he is the most versatile of the group. Pittman is the best blocker and a great receiver which makes him a solid third down back. Find ways to work Torain in when appropriate.

The Broncos need to find a great back to get back to what they did best. It’s often said that anybody can be successful in the Denver system, and I think that is true. However, you need a special back to dominate in it.  

Garret Barnes:

This is a pretty good question and like Jeff said this is a pretty hard decision to make. I absolutely love all 3 of our running backs and I am not totally sure for now but if I had to take a guess now it would be sort of like this:

1. Selvin Young: I agree that Selvin will probably win this starting job. Here is a little statistic that not many people know. Of all rookies in 2007, Selvin Young has the 3rd most rushing yards. He is truly a talent and it is amazing that an undrafted RB can do so well. He has great confidence and I am fine with any guy that says he will run for 2,000 yards. I love him on our team and am glad that he is finally getting the chance to start. He sure deserves it!

2. Ryan Torain: Earlier in my predicted depth chart I chose Pittman and I would not be surprised in the least if he got the job. But I think Mike Shanahan wants this guy to work with Selvin Young, they are a lot different which I think is the reason it could be so good and why Mike Shanahan would like it so much. Also as much as I hate to say it, Pittman is a bit washed up. I love his ability to break loose which is something that has stopped Selvin Young before. It may take some time for him to get this job but if this does not happen this year, it will eventually. 

3. Michael Pittman: I know all the angry comments that are going to be directed toward me but the truth is he is too old for the job. He is a great blocker and still has some years left in him but is not the same as he used to be. He can catch well and is really talented. Even though he is new the team like Torain I think that he is too old for the job. There is no doubt that he will compete and there is a very good chance he will win for he has proved himself multiple times. Don’t worry Michael, I still like you!

The running game will be a lot better this year. Now we have a much more solid starter and two solid backups. I don’t think we are going to be the best in the league or anything but we will return to our high status in the league. 

Sonny Anderson:

The Bronco line-up looks pretty good so far, but the real question is: Who will get the first spot in the depth chart. I decided to list who would get a better chance of starting.

(At the Beginning of the Season)

1. Michael Pittman: Michael Pittman is the going to start for the first few games and be like a role model to Selvin Young. I don’t see Pittman playing any more than that. I still think that it will be open to a change very, very early. 

2. Selvin Young: This young man has a good future ahead of him, and I think he will be the starter for the Broncos after a few games. I don’t think he can play a full season this year, but will become better as the year goes on. He has a lot of talent but I am worried that he is too young. 

3. Ryan Torain: I think he could have a future but I am still not solid on him. He is a bit too young to get a majority of the carries, and might get a chance near the end of the season. But he is way too much of an uphill type of runner for this franchise. 

(After 6-7 weeks into the season)

1. Selvin Young: He will get to start the last 8-9 games of the 2008 season. He will probably share the carries for the first few games with Michael Pittman. I expect him to start the whole season next year.

2. Michael Pittman: Will get a few carries and come in when Selvin needs to take a break during a long drive. He will not be too much of a player on this team. He will be worn out for he is already washed up like Garret said. 

3. Ryan Torain: I don’t think I will see this guy playing much during the beginning and middle of the season. I expect him to come in and get some playing time from the 14th-17th week of the season. He will be learning some tricks and tips with Michael Pittman during practice and will try to gain some experience from him.

Anything could happen and there will be changes during the season. I like this group of backs and in a couple of years they could be one of the best in the entire NFL. 

Consensus:

It will be quite and interesting year for the Denver Broncos RB squad as only one RB from last year and none from the year before that return. The Broncos are well known for there good play and will return to their status as one of the best running games in the country. 

Selvin Young will be the starter and if he is not right away (even though it is not likely) will be by the end of the season. Michael Pittman is the probable back up but if what Garret says is true, he will have to compete rigorously with Ryan Torain or else the job might just be stolen. Torain the rookie has a bright future ahead of him but may need to wait a year for some more carries.

This should be a great season for the Broncos running game and we all can’t wait to see them get out on that field. 

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