ENGLEWOOD – Denver Broncos running back Correll Buckhalter missed his third straight day of practice today, putting rookie first-round pick Knowshon Moreno in line for his first career start this week.

Buckhalter and linebacker Spencer Larsen were the only two players to miss practice. Safety Brian Dawkins, who didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday, participated Friday.

Moreno has gotten plenty of playing time off the bench. He leads the Broncos with 60 carries, 23 more than Buckhalter. He should get a few more touches against New England on Sunday but said he was preparing the same way.

“Same week of preparation,” Moreno said. “Just trying to learn each and every week, and at the same time, trying to get better.”

Moreno said he’s ready, but acknowledged the Broncos have other backs who can fill in and play well too. Moreno has been pretty good in his first four NFL games. He has 249 yards, which puts him just short of a 1,000-yard pace for the season and is 101 yards more than Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy, who is second among rookie running backs in rushing yards.

Moreno hasn’t amassed yards in big chunks. His long carry of the season is just 17 yards. But he has been pretty consistent with his carries.

“Those are tough yards you have to get,” Moreno said. “It’s not always clear, so you’ve got to get those real tough yards. I think we do a good job as a backfield getting the tough yards we need.”