Leaner, stronger Moreno hopes to finally meet expectations

Knowshon Moreno was drafted 12th overall by the Denver Broncos in 2009, but his production in his first two seasons likely has left team brass wondering if they made the right choice.

Moreno suffered a knee injury in his rookie training camp, then experienced serious hamstring issues last year. When he has been on the field, he has shown little of the explosiveness that the Broncos believed would make him a star, managing just three runs of more than 20 yards last season.

But Moreno has spent this offseason trying to change both perception and performance. The 24-year-old has logged serious hours in the gym, reshaping his body with the hope of finally fulfilling expectations. He has dropped from 215 to 200 pounds while adding strength, especially in those troubled hamstrings.

"I want to come into the season in the best shape I can be," Moreno told The Denver Post in a story in Saturday's editions. "I want my body to be in great shape so I can go out there and practice hard, practice to the best of my ability."

The Broncos could add new elements to their backfield after the NFL lockout ends, with several notable running backs set to hit free agency. But Moreno told The Post that he welcomes competition and even used the 2009 Carolina Panthers as an example of how two runners can thrive in one system.

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart each ran for over 1,100 yards in then-Panthers coach John Fox's system that year. Fox now is the Broncos' coach, so Williams is one of the notable free agents who could be on the team's radar.

"It's always good to have more people on the team that can help out," Moreno said. "You shouldn't look at it like, 'Oh, damn, someone else is coming in.' You should look at it as a challenge. If you're not going to compete, you shouldn't be playing this game."

Despite an inability to create big plays, Moreno did put up respectable numbers last season. He amassed 779 yards on 182 carries for a 4.3-yard average, and he scored five touchdowns on the ground and three more through the air.

Those are good numbers but not great, so Moreno is seeking to make the leap from servicable player to star. His trainer, Matt Chan, said he's "absolutely stronger." Now, Moreno must translate that to the field.

"I know I've got more in me," he said.

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