Broncos Subtraction By Addition??
The Denver Broncos made a bit of an odd move yesterday in signing RB LenDale White to a two-year contract. Now I had fully expected the Broncos to add a running back given the injuries to their top two running backs Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) and Correll Buckhalter (back). Buckhalter’s injury isn’t too serious, though a back injury could easily flare up during the season. He is very much a quality backup and if needed a capable spot starter. Moreno on the other hand, is a bit more serious with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for at least the next 3 weeks. While it doesn’t sound super serious, hamstrings are extremely hard to predict and have a tendency to be a nagging injury all year. With Denver’s top two backs facing potential nagging injuries all year it was probably important for the Broncos to add a third back with some real NFL experience. I just don’t think LenDale White was the right choice.
For one thing LenDale White is facing a four game suspension to start the season so he doesn’t really help the team out if Moreno and/or Buckhalter can’t go in the first couple of weeks. So he doesn’t really fill that need, and given his history of bad attitude and work ethic, it remains to be seen if he will be worth it even after he serves the suspension. White also will take away carries in practice from whatever 3rd and 4th running backs that do make the team (at least until his suspension is over). Given the fact that right now the Broncos running options are Bruce Hall, Toney Baker, and Lance Ball I’d say they need a much practice/preseason work as possible. Also, with White’s signing, any remaining free agent running backs (Brian Westbrook), will likely find work else where, not wanting to compete for just a 4 week job. Finally, in an odd move, the Broncos decided to make room for White by releasing the one other running back with some serious game experience on their roster, Kolby Smith.
Now no one is going to confuse Kolby Smith with Chris Johnson or even Correll Buckhalter, but he has a good bit of game experience these last 3 years. Smith is no better than a third running back (and even that would be a stretch on most teams), but he has actually carried the ball in games which you would think would be a positive. Even if White was able to play week 1, I would have kept Smith around until I was confident that he could handle the role. And the team could have easily released a player from a position where they aren’t facing two major injuries. While Smith maybe would not have made the final roster, I would have at least waited until both Buckhalter and Moreno were 100% and game ready.
The Broncos further weakened their running game with this move and it is one that doesn’t really make sense to me. Denver needs to hope that both Moreno and Buckhalter don’t have any reoccurances or setbacks to their injuries, otherwise it could be a rough first couple of weeks this season.