Following day one of training camp, one of the biggest questions we all face is who will be the starting running back for the Denver Broncos 2005-2006 season. It is no secret that the team has had one of the best running back systems in the past decade. Between 1995 and 2004, the Broncos had more rushing yards than any other NFL team with a total of 22,483 yards.
Denver is a virtual running back factory, stemming through the last decade, and this system continues to produce top-quality running backs. The system the Broncos have consistently works, and no other team in the league has come close to duplicating what the Broncos have done with backs.
The starting running back position is stacked with competition from familiar names as well as a few that may not be so familiar in Bronco country. One of those new faces belongs to a guy Bronco fans may not know at all, Ron Dayne. Dayne is a sixth year man out of the University of Wisconsin. As a senior, Dayne won the Heisman Trophy as college football's best player. Dayne was signed as a free agent by the Broncos this off- season. Originally selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft; Dayne in his rookie season, was the third leading rusher among rookies with 770 yards. The top rookie rusher during Dayne's rookie season was future Bronco teammate Mike Anderson who had 1,487 yards.
Training camp kick-off is the first time Dayne was able to showcase his abilities to Bronco fans. Dayne did not disappoint. Speed, agility, and the ability to break several tackles during the afternoon session, Dayne showed there was no question he is right in the thick of the running back competition.
Field time put Dayne in a near euphoric state. Dayne's happy with the changes and excited about coming into a system where he will be given an opportunity to play. During five years as a New York Giant, he didn't get as much playing time as he wanted. Dayne said about being a Bronco "to come here and be given an opportunity is great!" Dayne also said he was glad to be able to finally play some football.
Dayne considers himself "more of a power back, while Tatum (Bell) and Quentin (Griffin) are more like quick and flashy guys. Mike (Anderson) is more a guy who does a little bit of everything. Maurice (Clarett) is more of a power back too." Ron Dayne not only brings his ability as a power back, but also his ability to find open holes, which is another reason Dayne will contribute to the Broncos offense this season.
The competition for the starting running back job has been friendly so far. Dayne said, "We all have different things we bring to the team. So it's going to be really hard to see what comes down in the end. Right now, we're all out there having fun, helping each other out, just working hard."
No need to fear Bronco fans, the future of the Bronco running backs is once again as promising as it has ever been. Ron Dayne will help continue the tradition of success the Broncos have had with their running game.
Dianne Harrison and Brian Tippet also contributed to this article
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