With Peyton Manning calling the shots behind center, it’s hard to expect the Denver Broncos to have a dominant rushing game and a superstar rusher. But they do plan on trying to do a bit better on the ground this season, with John Fox using the running back by committee approach, with Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball leading the way.
Last season the Broncos averaged only 3.8 yards per carry, averaging only 114.3 yards per game in 2012, while Manning, obviously, turned the team into a much better passing one than it was during the Kyle Orton – Tim Tebow reign. The addition of Montee Ball, who had an impressive career with Wisconsin in college, gives Fox a few more options in the backfield, and probably something of a committee approach to the carries thing.
While fantasy owners (who usually expect this kind of thing from the Broncos) aren’t in love with the idea, that’s probably the best thing for the Broncos, hoping that another 13-3 season (more or less) doesn’t end in heartbreaking disappointment in the playoffs.
Ronnie Hillman ran for 327 yards on 84 carries last season, but the Broncos expect much more from him this season. He moved through the offseason workouts as the solid No. 1 in the backfield, carrying the momentum of the number one back into training camp. As long as he keeps his weight around the 190-195, the Broncos feel that his combination of speed and size is perfect for their uses.
Ball is different – he lacks the speed Hillman can reach, but when looking for a more bruising type, who’ll wear defenses down, Ball should bring that flavor to the Broncos’ offense. Fox used the same philosophy during his time with the Carolina Panthers, handling Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams the same way. It didn’t work out that well for him with the Panthers in the end, but he has a better surrounding environment in Denver to make sure this time it works.