The Denver Broncos, undefeated so far this season, are still trying to figure out what it’s going to take for their offense to catch up with their defense’s performances. Maybe making Ronnie Hillman the clear cut number one running back over C.J. Anderson will do the trick.
The Broncos are 14th this season in scoring (23.2 points per game) while being only 29th in yards per game (325.8), with the best defense in the league making up for that. While Peyton Manning’s numbers have been horrendous, it’s helped mask the problems in the running game. They’re only 30th in the league with 85 rushing yards per game, and at the same place in yards per carry. Only one team has less rushing touchdowns than them, so far scoring just two.
Anderson was brought up last season to be the one helping Peyton Manning take a load off of his shoulders. So far this season he has shared that “burden” with Hillman, and there’s a clear winner in the competition for more touches. Anderson has 180 rushing yards through six games, averaging just 2.7 yards per carry and no touchdowns. He hasn’t done anything special in the passing game as well with 13 receptions for 100 yards.
Hillman has 66 carries (Anderson with 67) but has been a lot more productive, with 4.9 yards per carry, 323 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos still think Anderson has a lot to give them but as of now, him touching the ball is costing them, and a team with a dysfunctional quarterback (as weird as it is to say it about regular season Peyton Manning) can’t afford so little production from its leading running back.
The Broncos won’t turn Hillman into a 25 carries a game kind of back, but probably a two-down running back with Anderson, who is the better blocker and receiver, into the guy who tries helping out on third downs. As good as their defense has been, the schedule does get tougher, and they somehow need to squeeze more out of a struggling offense.