Moreno ready

Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno hasn't played since a handful of plays in the preseason opener, when he injured his knee.

The team and Moreno thought he probably could have played last week in the preseason finale, but the smarter decision was letting him sit out and heal. This week Moreno should be able to play, but doesn't know how much or in what order with the rest of the tailbacks.

"I'm really not sure," Moreno said. "Whether they need me to be, I'm going to be."

Moreno is feeling better, although he practiced on Tuesday with an orange "non-contact" jersey. He said he isn't hesitant, although he also wouldn't proclaim himself fully healthy either.

"I wouldn't say 100 percent but I feel real good," Moreno said. "Each day I'm getting better and we have a couple more days before the game so we'll see how things go."

Moreno's role could be limited by Denver's other options. The Broncos have the depth at tailback, with Correll Buckhalter, Lamont Jordan and Peyton Hillis, to work Moreno back slowly. Moreno's ability to play a significant portion of the regular-season opener could also be affected by how comfortable he feels in the offense. In addition to having little playing time, he didn't have a full training camp because of a holdout that lasted more than a week and then the injury.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

-- QB Kyle Orton hasn't been declared the starter by the Broncos, although he did practice Tuesday and coaches said he was able to do everything asked of him. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said he wants to make sure Orton's injured right index finger continues healing and he can be effective all week in practice.

-- QB Chris Simms will be ready to go if Kyle Orton can't start Sunday. Simms, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Denver's second preseason game, is moving fine and said he feels good. The Broncos would feel comfortable with Simms if he had to start against the Bengals.

-- RB Correll Buckhalter is listed as the starter for the regular-season opener. The team is unlikely to throw Knowshon Moreno right into the starting lineup after he barely played in the preseason, and Buckhalter averaged four yards a carry as the starter in preseason.

-- RB Peyton Hillis seems poised to be the team's short-yardage option. Hillis is tough and has a straight-line mentality when he runs the ball. He is also a great receiver, which gives the Broncos more options on short-yardage and goal-line plays if he is lined up at tailback. -- WR Brandon Marshall has been on good behavior since his suspension for conduct detrimental to the team was lifted. He didn't play at all in the preseason, but the coaches seem willing to give him a big role if he performs well in practice this week.

-- WR Eddie Royal had 13 catches for 134 yards in the preseason. Royal will get many underneath routes in the offensive scheme. He might not have a huge average at the end of the year, but 100 catches is a possibility.

-- TE Tony Scheffler only caught three passes for 17 yards in the preseason. He could end up as a big part of the offense, but that could change week-to-week depending how the Broncos want to attack the opposing defense.

-- LB D.J. Williams led the team with 16 tackles in the preseason, and nobody else had more than 12. Williams could end up as one of the NFL's leaders in tackles this season now that he is back on the inside.

-- CB Andre Goodman should have a busy day Sunday. Unless the Bengals decide to target Champ Bailey often, Goodman will be tested. And Cincinnati has the depth at receiver that the Bengals could use Chad Ochocinco as a decoy if he draws Bailey in coverage.

-- DE Vonnie Holliday knows some of the Broncos' basic schemes on defense, but wasn't in a camp all offseason and might be a bit rusty. If he plays with the Broncos right away, he'll probably be limited.



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