Broncos make a minor addition to backfield

November, 10, 2008
11/10/08
9:45
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Broncos are unlikely to do anything drastic at running back before playing at Atlanta on Sunday.

There is still time for Denver to make a splash at the position in which three players went down for the season in a four-day span. However, there isn't much splashing to do in an underwhelming free agent pool.

Denver signed running back Alex Haynes after he worked out with five other running backs in Denver on Monday. Denver looked at veteran Musa Smith and former Chargers Marcus Tomas and fullback Andrew Pinnock.

But Haynes, who had three career carries with Carolina, won the job. He will backup Peyton Hillis, Selvin Young and P.J. Pope, who was just promoted from the practice squad. Young has been dealing with a groin injury for more than a month and is not 100 percent.

That means Hillis will likely be the starter. Hillis finished the game as the tailback in Cleveland last Thursday after Ryan Torain went down for the season with a torn ACL. Four days earlier, Michael Pittman and Andre Hall went down for the season. Denver had the weekend to consider what it wanted to do and decided to have the mass workout Monday.

With very little available on the open market, Denver really had no choice but to stick with what they have, for the most part, even though it is a gamble. Hillis, a seventh-round pick, is primarily a fullback. He was the led blocker for Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at Arkansas.
After Torain was hurt, Denver went to the spread offense and it worked as quarterback Jay Cutler, who is very comfortable using the shotgun offense, threw for 447 yards. All three of Cutler's touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter of Denver's 34-30 comeback win.

At Atlanta, expect Denver to throw the ball more than it runs again as Hillis is eased into his new role and Young is eased back from his injury.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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