Through his first nine games as a pro, Knowshon Moreno’s versatility has surfaced early and often.
No rookie has recorded two 100-yard games from scrimmage — except for Moreno. He’s also set himself apart through the air, as the lone NFL newcomer with both a rushing and receiving touchdown this season.
Moreno turned in a career-high 97 rushing yards against Washington on 18 carries. Week by week, the rookie is improving in an area the Broncos stress to their backs — gaining yardage on every play.
“There were some plays where there wasn’t much there, but he didn’t go negative,” Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. “He went, got a yard, got a two-yard gain here or there and kept us in positive situations. That is something that he’s doing better and better as the year goes on.”
Moreno’s 520 rushing yards are the eighth most by an NFL rookie through a team’s first nine games in the last five years. He has four more yards than then-Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cadillac Williams did at this point in 2005. Williams was eventually named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Of those 18 carries, four went for 10-plus yards, including a 28-yard scamper on the opening play of the game. Moreno took advantage from sound blocking by Spencer Larsen, who was in at fullback.
Fully healed from a shoulder injury that sidelined him earlier this season, McDaniels exuded full confidence in Larsen being a piece to the backfield puzzle.
“(We have) no hesitation putting him in the game in that role because he can bring some level of physicality as a lead blocker to our backs,” McDaniels said. “He did a good job yesterday.”
After missing the second half at FedEx Field due to an ankle injury, Kyle Orton is questionable for the Broncos’ Week 11 battle with the division-rival Chargers.
“We’re not sure exactly how that’s going to go,” McDaniels said of Orton’s status. “We’re going to see how he progresses during the course of the next few days.”
As for whether Orton will hand over reps to Chris Simms in practice, McDaniels added that it will be evaluated over the team’s three days of preparation this week.
“He’s definitely not out for the game,” he said. “We’re certainly hopeful that we can get him ready to go. But if he can’t practice, then it will be Chris, for sure.”
McDaniels also announced that right tackle Ryan Harris (toe) will not be available to play in Sunday’s game at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Tyler Polumbus has started each of the last two games in his place.