Broncos' Moreno has torn ACL

Posted Nov. 14, 2011 @ 2:43 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated Nov. 14, 2011 @ 10:19 p.m. ET

Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno will undergo surgery for a torn ACL and miss the remainder of the season, head coach John Fox announced on Monday.

Moreno suffered the injury during the team's Week 10 victory over the Chiefs after being tackled on a 22-yard run. He had four carries for 52 yards before being hurt in the second quarter. With starter Willis McGahee already out, Lance Ball became the Broncos' primary rusher the remainder of the game.

Fox said there is a possibility McGahee returns for the Week 11 game against the Jets, which is on Thursday evening.

 

The way we see it

Moreno, a former first-round pick of the Broncos, had fallen out of favor with the current coaching staff but still had a minimal role as a third-down back. Now that he's out for the year, the team signed RB Jeremiah Johnson from its practice squad. Johnson was impressive in training camp and during the preseason, and he'll battle with Ball for the No. 2 job behind McGahee.

 

PFW fantasy spin

Moreno did not have any fantasy value when he went down due to injury. His season average was 5.3 attempts for 25.6 yards and zero TDs per game. McGahee's emergence happened because his style fits the Broncos' run schemes better than Moreno's does. Moreno's future is in doubt as he's never been able to stay healthy. This last injury just confirms that.

Lance Ball is the beneficiary, and at 5-feet-9, 220 pounds, he may be short but has the size to be effective in a John Fox offense. He can read his blocks and has good vision but lacks power, elusiveness and doesn't break many tackles. When McGahee (hand, hamstring) and Moreno went down Sunday, Ball went 30-96-0, almost breaking 100 yards. However, his 3.2 yards per carry was not impressive.

Running backs are scarce at this time of the year, so Ball warrants a waiver-wire pickup and, depending on the health of McGahee and the matchup, a possible start. The Broncos use a run-heavy scheme as his 30 carries showed, and if McGahee isn't ready or suffers a setback, Ball could see his opportunity with Moreno gone. Jeremiah Johnson was brought up from the practice squad, but look for him to be the No. 3 as he lacks the ability to run inside and is best-suited as a change-of-pace back.