Unit-by-Unit Analysis: QBs and RBs

Take an early look at the returing players in the Denver Broncos' backfield.

UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS
QUARTERBACK:
Starter -- Jay Cutler. Backup -- Darrell Hackney. Injured reserve -- Patrick Ramsey.

The move to hire Josh McDaniels as head coach might not have been done solely with Cutler's future in mind, but it won't hurt. McDaniels did a great job with New England's offense the past few years and he promises a quarterback-friendly scheme in Denver. Cutler was already developing nicely under Mike Shanahan, but he needs to cut down on mistakes to take the next step. He did pass for 4,000 yards in his third year and make the Pro Bowl. Ramsey, a free agent, could return. The Broncos could also draft and develop a backup for the future.

RUNNING BACK: Starter -- RB Tatum Bell, FB Spencer Larsen. Backups -- Cory Boyd, Alex Haynes, FB Andrew Pinnock. Injured reserve -- RB Michael Pittman, RB Selvin Young, RB Andre Hall, RB Ryan Torain, RB P.J. Pope, RB Anthony Alridge, RB/FB Peyton Hillis.

Bell ended the season as the starter because seven tailbacks were on IR. It's anyone's guess who will begin 2009 as the starter, especially since there is a new coaching staff. While some tailbacks had moments, even for about a quarter and a half like Torain, none emerged as a clear-cut option to be the workhorse next season. The most complete back might be Hillis, who should be recovered from a torn hamstring by offseason camps. He might be pigeonholed as a fullback or even an H-back, however.



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