Even though they took Montee Ball with the 58th overall pick and cut Willis McGahee, the Broncos will open the season without a clearly defined pecking order in the backfield.
One of the reasons for that is Ball’s lack of polish as a pass blocker. Peyton Manning isn’t a player that Denver wants to see getting hit very often, which makes the ability to pick up rushers a crucial part of the skill set for their running backs. Like many rookies, it’s not a strong suit of Ball’s and he knows that he needs to get better at it after not being asked to do much blocking at Wisconsin.
“He’s not RG3. He sets his feet and gets the pass off,” Ball said of Manning, via Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com. “Great things happen downfield when you protect him. That’s the thing. When I mess up, I understand getting yelled at because you don’t want a big hit on him. He’s extremely valuable. Big plays happen downfield when everybody does their job.”
Garafolo reports that Ball, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman will all see time in the backfield with the latter two likely to see “plenty” of time because of their edge in the blocking department. Hillman has had a hard time holding onto the ball, though, and Moreno has had a hard time staying on the field, so there may be an opportunity for Ball to take the reins as soon as he can show the team that Manning won’t be at undue risk when the rookie is in the game.