DENVER (CBS4) – Broncos head coach John Fox comes from the defensive side of the ball. It’s a big reason he was hired and he knows he’s got to get the defense fixed. But Fox also likes smash-mouth football — line it up and run the ball — a lot.

Running the ball is something the Broncos did so well in their glory days. They were committed to the run, and by the third and fourth quarters they would wear down opposing defenses. Now it looks like Fox’s offense is moving forward by returning to the past.

The Broncos ran the ball less than 400 times last year, and they didn’t run it very well. They passed close to 600 times, in large part because their running game was stuck in neutral. Most coaches will acknowledge that’s not the formula for winning football games.

The quarterbacks agree, even though they make their living throwing the ball. Most quarterbacks understand that handing the ball off and having a successful running game is essential to a team’s success.

“It’ helps you in the key situations, you know, the red zone and third down,” Kyle Orton said. “If you can hand the ball off on third and four, rather than getting all these crazy blitzes and coverages, it’s going to help the whole offense.”

“The running game opens up a lot of things. It allows the passing game and the play-action passes really to be more effective,” Brady Quinn said. “So believe me, that’s something, as a quarterback, you love. You’re controlling the clock; you’re giving your defense time to rest.”

It looks like the Broncos have a few backs that will be able to move the ball this year. Knowshon Moreno has been noticeably faster and stronger this preseason. Young Jeremiah Johnson looks like he could be a keeper, as well as Brandon Minor. But the biggest difference in the running attack is veteran Willis McGahee.

“This is a great offensive scheme we’ve got going on. Coach Fox — he’s run first, then pass. You don’t get too many coaches like that,” McGahee said.


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