Perhaps the Denver Broncos' rookie running back should be called No-Gain Moreno, or his name possibly should be written as Kn0wsh0n M0ren0.

Here are statistics the Broncos won't tell you, and you may not believe:

Of Knowshon Moreno's 224 runs this season, 35.2 percent have been stopped for zero yards, minus yards, or a measly 1 yard. A startling 22.7 percent of his rushes have produced minus-39 yards.

Knowshon had no gain on five carries against the Raiders. He lost yardage on four attempts. He picked up 1 yard twice. His other eight runs resulted in 3, 8, 7, 5, 7, 8, 6 and 4 yards. Nineteen rushes for 42 yards, a 2.2-yard average.

No wonder the Broncos' offense is struggling, straggling, sprawling, straining, stressing. The running game is running aground with Moreno.

When will somebody admit it?

On 51 plays in 14 games, Moreno has been shut completely down at or behind the line of scrimmage. On another 29, Moreno has managed to go the shortest yard.

If Moreno, who has 879 yards with two games remaining, reaches a thousand yards, he will have no honor among NFL runners.

Real rushers don't fail to surpass 100 yards once in a season. Real running backs have at least two runs in the 30-plus category in a season. Real members of the Broncos' 1,000-yard club don't have five games in which they net fewer than 50.

Welcome to the NFL; this isn't the SEC, Moreno.

And he held out for more - or Moreno - money.

Sure, he's a rookie, and he's getting his footing, and he doesn't have enough help, but he was the highest-drafted running back, and he was supposed to be a big-time player immediately. The Broncos have a full history of running backs who averaged higher than 3.9 yards per carry in their first season. Moreno can't be mentioned in the same column.

Even last year, when the Broncos were a dead team walking toward the end, and running backs were falling on the field everywhere, and often, seven different running backs averaged more than 4 yards a carry. All except one were jettisoned. The leftover running back averaged five yards a carry last year and is averaging 4.5 this year.

Peyton Hillis did rush for 129 yards in one game on the road in 2008. And he did rush for 47 yards in one series at Kansas City.

But Josh McDaniels and his assistants act as if Hillis is the Invisible Man. "Why doesn't McDaniels like him?" is the most common question in Denver, and is a reasonable question. McDaniels is not answering, except to say that he wants "my best player on the field."

Moreno, honestly, hasn't been that best player.

It has been documented regularly that the Broncos have serious troubles on third and fourth and short, and near the goal. (They couldn't score from the Raiders' 2-yard line to put the game away Sunday.)

But, just as important, Moreno again wasn't effective on first down in the latest debacle.

The Broncos had 27 first-down situations in the Raiders game. Moreno was called upon to carry on first down - left, right and up the middle - 14 times. He got 23 yards on four first-quarter runs, 6 yards on two attempts (one a no-gainer) in the second quarter, 1 yard in the third quarter on five carries, and minus-1 yard on three rushes in the final quarter.

On first down, as a runner, Moreno accounted for 29 yards.

As McDaniels stated Sunday evening, the blame can be spread around. The offensive line is not doing its job on the right, the left or in the middle. The screwy combination of old and new blocking schemes isn't succeeding. Because Kyle Orton doesn't stretch the field - and isn't asked to - defenses can pack the box with linebackers and safeties and cheat cornerbacks up.

And the play-calling from McDaniels and his lieutenants - notably Mike McCoy, in his first year as an offensive coordinator - has been predictable, conservative, and boring. If we know that Knowshon's coming half the time on first down, so do the opponents. McDaniels promised to reveal offensive concepts never seen before. We've seen all this over and over before.

Offensive line coach Rick Dennison and Bobby Turner, holdovers from the Mike Shanahan era, probably will be dismissed, but there was nothing wrong with their running backs and offensive lines in the past.

If McDaniels rigidly intends to stick with Moreno, the coach must call for the pass 50 times in Philadelphia to have a chance to win. The Eagles are 10th in the league against the rush. The Raiders are 28th.

Less Moreno, please.

Woody Paige is a columnist for the Denver Post.