Based on what Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman has done over the past four games — most notably his 109 yards on 20 carries Thursday — Denver coach John Fox may be hard-pressed to put Ball back in the starting lineup. Not only has Hillman been able to hang onto the football, he may just hang onto his job.
"You can see he's getting comfortable," Fox said. "The more you do it, the better you're going to get at it. And I think the more reps we give him and keep him on the field and kind of do the plays to his advantage which we're trying to do — he'll keep having success."
For the first time in his career Thursday, Hillman ran out the Broncos' tunnel — a tradition reserved for the team's starters. Based on what he's been doing, we may see a lot more of that of that to come.
Hillman has racked up 347 yards on 73 carries for a 4.75 YPC in the last four games. He looks quick, decisive and continues to run hard. Most importantly, he hasn't put the ball on the ground, which has been his issue in the past. Montee Ball wasn't exactly bad through the first three and a half games, but he had a couple of tough matchups and the line wasn't blocking very well at that point in the season. Our guess is that Hillman continues to run as the starter with Ball taking over the short yardage role currently occupied by Juwan Thompson. If Hillman's fumbling problems resurface, Ball could get another crack at the starting job this season.