In 2012, the Denver Broncos posed a viable threat to opposing defenses with a balanced attack that was able to move the chains running or throwing the ball, as they became a top-five NFL offense. Peyton Manning was undoubtedly the catalyst of the offense, but for the better part of the year, Willis McGahee was the workhorse that coordinators could not ignore.
In 10 games for the Broncos, McGahee amassed 731 yards on 167 carries and four touchdowns. Although he only had three 100 yard games, he is a powerful back who has quick inside moves and was always a threat. Now, considering his penchant for knee injuries and being that he will be 32 years old in October, can the Broncos expect much from him this 2013 season?
Of course we all know that McGahee is on the wrong side of 30 as a running back, but he could be used as a viable back-up that can still give opponents fits. I do not feel as if he has the ability to be that starting back anymore, and the Broncos should consider filling the role with a player such as Reggie Bush or Jonathan Dwyer.
Considering the fact that Knowshon Moreno filled in admirably for McGahee for the last six games, he too, is often injured and can not be considered a full-time starter. Ronnie Hillman will still need some seasoning, and would be another good option, but is still a couple years away from being the “man”, if he ever becomes that player. With McGahee signed for another two years, many will begin to question if he can remain durable as a starter.
Bush, at 26, or Dwyer, at 23, would be better options to start, with McGahee and Hillman being the change of pace backs that can open up the holes. McGahee, barring career-ending injury will undoubtedly finish out his contract with the Broncos, and it would not be wise for them to cut him as he can still break tackles and move the chains in this league.
But the major concern has to be if his knees will hold up. The loss of McGahee, and then the injury to Moreno in the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens were reasons the Broncos could not advance. If we can learn anything from history as Broncos fans, it is the fact that without a better than average run game, a team is hard-pressed to win a Super Bowl.
I’d like to see them change direction now, than try to put something together in the middle of the 2013 season after another injury.