As in he believes he had to prove, and has to keep proving, to Broncos coach Gary Kubiak that he isn't just some one-down, speed option. That he's isn't just a first- and second-down player, a change-of-pace guy.
Hillman can play in the Broncos' backfield in whatever situation the team is in. So while his 7.4 yards per carry average certainly got the Broncos' attention in the preseason -- most by any player in the league with at least 20 carries in preseason games -- it was what Hillman did when he didn't have the ball that has put him getting most of the carries C.J. Anderson doesn't.
"I like what I've seen, I'm expecting him to have a great year," Kubiak said. "I think he's come into his own, think he's a very dynamic player, got big-play ability. But the thing I like about him is he's proven to me he can stay on the field for all three downs. I like the way he's picked up blitzes in the preseason, I think that's where he's improved the most."
When the Broncos waived Montee Ball, their second-round pick in the 2013 draft and the guy who was the starter when the 2014 season opened, it was an indication of how much faith the they have put in Hillman, who has been such a hot name this offseason. In his previous three seasons, Hillman has alternately flashed both talent and immaturity in how he went about his football business. But with the arrival of a new coaching staff, along with perhaps his 24th birthday, Hillman flourished in the new offense in the preseason and moved from the we'll-see spot of No. 3 running back to No.2 and that-guy-has-to-get-some-carries status, the story said. Hillman believes it happened because he showed the Broncos he can do more than just be a fast guy who gets a few touches.