Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Mar 2006

Broncos Re-sign Dayne, Who Might Start in 2006

This is it, isn't it? The ultimate test of Mike Shanahan's genius. How good is his offensive line scheme? Can he build a successful running game around a back that can't hit a hole unless it is directly in front of him? If Ron Dayne can gain 1000+ yards in Shanahan's system, Denver should just stop drafting or signing running backs altogether. I'd suggest a weekly radio contest where the 7th caller gets to be the starting tailback that week.

Posted by: Al Bogdan on 12 Mar 2006

20 comments, Last at 14 Mar 2006, 3:27am by PDBIP


by andrew b. lee (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 4:35pm

he DID thrive wen he did play, and ppl are discountin his skills a bit too much. dr. z said that dayne didn't make a single cut on his game-winnin td run against dallas. tho i respect the hell out of dr. z, i don't think that's true at all, ron dayne has looked smaller n quicker den ne time i saw him with the giants. he's not THAT great, but he's good enough to get 1,000 in the denver system. let's jus see, as FO dvoa measures, if those yards will actually contribute to them winning, or if its 1,000 earned with 7 yd runs on 3rd and 9.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 4:43pm

Other than Clarett, Dayne might be the ultimate test of the Fabled Denver blocking system.

If he wont keep trying to cut/sweep, as he did with NYG, ilo running straight and hard, he just might help them out against big DLs.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 4:56pm

pft sez fox glazer sez ARI bagged Edgerrin James.

Now all they need is a defense. A consistent running game could help with that, tho.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 7:11pm

its good to see FO publishing in foreign languages now!

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 7:25pm

I've often thought that some of the criticism levied against certain RBs is unfair. Why? Because it seems evident to me [:->] that of the many positions in football, RB is one where instinct plays the greatest role. You can, no doubt, train some RBs into your system. However, I believe that certain RBs run too instinctually to be taught a different way.

And so, I think Ron Dayne is much better than he ever showed with the Giants. The Denver vs Dallas game, I'm hoping, is far more illustrative of his abilities. I still remember the 16 yard TD run, where he moved so deceptively quickly that it almost seemed like he only went 5 yards. That was a strong defensive front who had successfully shut Mike Anderson down. His 55 yard run in OT has already been mentioned, and I tend to agree that he didn't have to do much on that one. But look at the rushing stats that game. Mike Anderson: 11/31; Ron Dayne: 7/98. Take away his two long runs, and he had a 5 ypc average to Mike Anderson's 2 ypc. For the year, he had a 5.1 ypc average, 53/270.

To me, Mike Shanahan's (and Bobby Turner's) "genius" is a function of a couple of things: recognizing the type of RB who works best in their scheme, and, equally importantly if not more so, putting together a very smart and agile O-line and keeping them together for years.

If Dayne wins the start for the Broncos, it'll be another year of turning purple over a RB for the FO writers. *grins*

by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 7:42pm

Count me among those who think Dayne can be a very good fit in the Denver system. I liked what I saw of him last year, and I think his style of running works with what Denver does. The Giants drafted him higher than he should have gone, but he's at least a competent back.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 7:48pm

Unlike some other backs, he should also be fresh.

by PDBIP (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 8:03pm

The more surprising move was Carolina making D. Foster their "star" running back. What exactly makes him a star? Is he going to improve?

Dayne and Denver will maintain the status quo of success.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 8:16pm

uh... how many games will Foster manage to play?

Get that Nick Goings handcuff...

by the K (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 8:25pm

Let me be the first to request, on behalf of Broncos fans (even though I'm not one) that you please not put Dayne on the cover of PFP 2006.

I always thought the biggest beef against Dayne was the fact that they tried to turn him into a finesse runner when he played in New Jersey instead of letting him be the north-south back he was in college.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 8:37pm

Did they do it to him or did he try it himself?

He sure isnt suited to it.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 8:48pm

I really like this move, but mostly because I'm focused on one number. 750. That's Dayne's signing bonus, in thousands.

I have faith that Denver's running scheme will continue to succeed, since it always has, so I like when it ties up as little cap room as possible, leaving more room for other acquisitions.

As for the Dayne doubters... here's another string of numbers. 3.4, 3.8, 3.4, 3.4, 5.1. That's Ron Dayne's ypc for the past 5 years. I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying is all.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 8:54pm

It isnt like they dont still have Tatum Bell. And a bunch of other guys. Denver determinedly uses rbbc...

We will get another chance to see whether it is the scheme, a svelter Dayne, or a change in his running approach... that determines an increase in ypc.

by tunesmith (not verified) :: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 9:38pm

as a broncos fan, tatum bell makes me nervous. I was really high on him earlier in the season, but he just seemed so hot and cold, and I became convinced that there was something to his lack of endurance - late in the season he was practically invisible. don't know if he needs to put on muscle or what. and if he does, I don't know how that would affect his quickness. He's got a bit of attitude - I just hope he works hard in the off-season.

by PDBIP (not verified) :: Mon, 03/13/2006 - 12:58am

Few people probably know who Cecil Sapp is, but now the Broncos are a little bit closer to the Van Pelt/Sapp all CSU backfield!

by RIck S (not verified) :: Mon, 03/13/2006 - 3:59am

For the money, (one thrid of what Anderson got from Balt)Dayne is a real bargain. He will easily get the starting job over Bell. Bell cannot do two things that Shanahan requires:

1 - Stay Heralthy.
2 - Bl;ock. His blitz pick up is atrocious.

Look for another 2nd or 3rd rounder to emerge. Shanahan and Turner always find them.

15. I think Sapp is pretty good and would not be surprised to see him get a chance. As for Van Pelt, I would feel more comfortabvle with him at RB instead of QB.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Mon, 03/13/2006 - 9:16pm

As for Bell, young (rookie, sometimes 2nd year) players also usually bog down around week 10 or so. Unless they are paced early...

They arent used to a 16 game grind, and against larger faster and more vicious opposition.

by Björn (not verified) :: Mon, 03/13/2006 - 11:08pm

Bell rarely had more than 12-15 carries per game though.

by empty13 (not verified) :: Mon, 03/13/2006 - 11:34pm

For some reason it seemed that the Genius didnt give him that many carries late in the year.

Maybe it was the playoffs...

by PDBIP (not verified) :: Tue, 03/14/2006 - 3:27am

The way the local media reported it was that Tatum Bell's ypc drops dramatically after his first 6 carries or so. So, Shanahan is a genius for only giving him 6 carries per game.