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Sunday, August 30, 2015, 11:49pm
Montee Ball doesn't see the fire yet, but he sure smells the smoke. Despite being listed as the No. 2 tailback on the Broncos' depth chart, Ball didn't get a carry until the fourth quarter of their 19-12 preseason victory over the 49ers on Saturday.
The third preseason game usually is the one that best models the regular season, and Ball was stuck without a significant role in it.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who has built a career out of getting the most out of running backs, defended his decision to not play Ball much by saying it's difficult to give carries to four running backs during a game.
"Special teams is a big factor with him and (Juwan Thompson)," Kubiak said. "We'll see. I'm fine with Montee."
C.J. Anderson, the Broncos' starting tailback, controlled most of the carries in the first half Saturday with Ronnie Hillman spelling him occasionally. Hillman and Thompson were the go-to backs to start the second half.
It's possible that on gameday, the Broncos will dress only Anderson, Hillman and Thompson, due to Thompson's role on special teams. The team could attempt to trade Ball, or just wait for an injury further up the depth chart before making him active on Sundays.
Posted by Scot Berggren
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 6:33pm
In just his fourth season, Ronnie Hillman has the most experience of the Denver RBs. After being drafted in the third round in 2012, he saw his most productive campaign last season – in only eight games - rushing for 434 yards and three TDs. Ronnie also caught 21 passes and registered another score. The slashy runner totaled career-bests in carries (106), yards, yards per carry (4.1), receptions and touchdowns. He posted two 100-yards games – just 11 days apart in October.
Hillman got off to a slow start last season and was behind Montee Ball on the depth chart until October. By the time Ronnie was able to get things going, a foot injury slowed him, which led to the breakout performances by C.J. Anderson.
Ronnie has had an excellent preseason so far and has bumped himself up to No. 2 on depth chart, passing Ball. While, at just 5’ 10” and 195 pounds, he's not going to be an every down back in the NFL, his style fits well in Coach Gary Kubiak's system. It looks like he'll see some decent playing time, but Anderson will remain the starter.
2015 Strength of Schedule - DEN
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2014 Game Stats