RB Theorem: Rookie Stunner Series: Knowshon Moreno

Many different wrenches can slow the gears of an offense. What bucks can also halt. From a guy named Tebow, to a leader called Fox, this is the Moreno chapter of the Rookie Stunner series. For more in this series or more RB Theorem, click here.

Knowshon Moreno | Rookie Numbers – 247/947/7 | 3.8 YPA/59.2 YPG/15.4 APG | 28 rec 213 yards 2 TDs in 16 games (nine starts)

Moreno was a freshman sensation at Georgia. His 1,500 plus scrimmage yards and 14 TDs took the SEC by storm. Only Arkansas’s Darren McFadden had more rushing yards. Only Tim Tebow and McFadden and had more rushing TDs. He topped his fine frosh season by leading the SEC in rushing attempts, rushing yards, yards from scrimmage and touches as a sophomore. He dropped 1,792 yards and he scored 18 TDs. The Denver Broncos made him the 12th overall pick of the 2009 draft. His coming out after just two years was certainly a questionable move. However, he was redshirt sophomore who dominated in the SEC.

Moreno lit up the combine with a 4.45 40-time and a 6.79 three-cone. Donald Brown (27th overall) and Beanie Wells (31st overall) will also first round picks. LeSean McCoy (53rd overall) went in the second round.

By now you are probably thinking “wasn’t that the guy from the crying GIF.” You are 100% accurate and good memory!

Moreno just missed my 1,200 yards from scrimmage threshold as a rookie but let’s talk about him anyway. His rookie season was also the rookie season of now infamous head coach Josh McDaniels. Moreno shared backfield duties with Correll Buckhalter. Also, a tiny bit of LaMont Jordan and Peyton Hillis were sprinkled into the touch mix.

As a .500 ball club, the 2009 Broncos fed their rookie RB 275 touches. Moreno accounted for 52% of the Denver rushing yards. Meanwhile, Buckhalter accounted for 35%. Interestingly enough both factored into passing relatively the same.

It is also very possible Moreno would have received even more work had he not fumbled four times. Do not forget McDaniels is of the Bill Belichick coaching tree (where fumbles are a punishable sin).

As you take a more in-depth look at Moreno’s game logs nothing really overwhelms you. His zero 100-yard games make you realize it is possible to have a 1,000-yard season without a game over the century mark. In fact, you only need to average 62.5 yards per game (in 16 games) to achieve a thousand yard season. This is another reason why I am so beholden to 1,200 scrimmage yard seasons.

Moreno saw a pretty consistent touch total per game. In just two of 16 games did he see less than 12 touches. He had just three games with under 10 rushing attempts. It is also likely not a coincidence that after three fumbles in games, he was given a season-low five touches.

Moreno missed three games in year two. However, his 1,151 scrimmage yards were just nine yards shy of his rookie total (which was achieved in 16 games). He once again shared backfield duties with Buckhalter. He also lost carries to his QB Tim Tebow who had 43 carries in nine games.

The next two seasons Moreno played in just 15 games combined. A mid-November ACL tear cost him nine games the first year. After a fumble in week three HC John Fox benched and rendered Moreno inactive for eight straight weeks. In both seasons he shares touched with Willis McGahee. Fox clearly was not all in on Moreno as he only gave him 5.3 APG in their first season together. Also, it wasn’t until a season-ending injury to McGahee that Fox would let Moreno dress on game day again.

During the season that followed, Moreno was given a sensational. This was his fifth season in the league. The gift was the future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning. Through Manning, Moreno became a dump off/safety valve. He somehow received 74 targets on a team that featured Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas. Yes, the brilliant and alright Peyton Manning knew how to distribute the football. Prior to the start of the season, the Fantasy community had all but written the fifth year/26-year-old RB (Moreno). He was a late round redraft flier, mainly because the Broncos had spent a second round on Montee Ball. Moreno was simply viewed as a handcuff, especially considering his past history with HC Fox.

As you can imagine the holes were wide for Moreno in the rushing game. With Peyton and those pass catchers, it was almost too easy. The result was 241/1,038/10 rushing and 60/548/3 receiving; a career-high YPA (4.3), in receptions, touches (301) and yards from scrimmage (1,586).

The next year the Moreno story twisted downhill. As is the case with so many RBs north of the age of 25. He went to a different team, had a few highlights, then faded away. He played in his last NFL action on October 12th, 2014 at the age of 27 years and 88 days.


I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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