ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Running back Knowshon Moreno has been first back on the field in each of the Broncos' first two games.
Against the Giants, he broke out for 93 yards and two touchdown runs of 20 more yards – showing why the coaching staff was so willing to put the ball in his hands. While the Broncos have other backs in Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman – it's hard to take the ball away from the hot hands.
"Last week we were able to stick with Knowshon," Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said Friday. "He got hot, and what happens is you stick with the hot hand. Montee spelled him a little bit. Ronnie Hillman didn't get as much as probably we would like, but that's going to happen in a game. We're going to keep working on trying to rotate those three guys, but Knowshon has done a great job in the role that we have him in right now."
In Week 2, that role included 13 carries and three catches for his first two-touchdown game since 2009. But his role is more layered than that.
When the Broncos released Willis McGahee in the offseason, Moreno became the oldest and most experienced rusher on the team. Hillman and Ball have used Moreno's experience as something to learn from.
"Yeah, definitely," Moreno said when asked if the other backs ask him questions. "We all have different thoughts about things, have different questions. So all of us working together and asking (Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville) those questions, and to work with each other, it definitely helps us out."
Moreno's pro-level experience also makes him the most experienced pass blocker, something that will be especially important Monday night as the Raiders are leading the NFL in sacks.
"They do pressure a little bit," Moreno said. "But at the same time, we've got to make sure we're on our right keys to make sure we can pick those things up. They play tough, they play hard, they play to the whistle. If we don't bring our 'A' game, they could beat us, so we're definitely going to have to play our 'A' game."
During training camp, when the Broncos' plan for the running back position was still up in the air, Moreno's focus was just on learning and doing things right – not thinking about what the situation would be Week 1.
Now that the season has started, he's keeping that same mindset. Keep working. Keep learning.
"I'm still working," he said. "I'm still working on little things to get better each week. I feel like a competitor and a pro is supposed to be doing those things, working on those little things and getting better each week."