Montee Ball knows most of his job is protecting Peyton Manning


Montee Ball is a running back, but the Denver rookie knows the Broncos didn’t draft him just to run.

In fact, Ball says the coaching staff has impressed upon him that quarterback Peyton Manning is the man who makes the offense go, and that Ball’s first priority is knowing how to pick up a blitz and keep Manning from getting blasted.

“Honestly, it’s 60 percent pass protection, 40 percent running the ball,” Ball told the Denver Post. “In the NFL, it’s no secret: It’s a passing league. And on this team, when you have a great quarterback like we have, you’ve got to protect him.”

Ball is in a three-way competition with Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno for the starting running back job. Moreno, as the veteran of the group, said he has learned what really counts in the NFL is what you can do in the passing game.

“We all got here by running the ball in college,” Moreno said. “Everyone here can run the ball. It’s those little things, what can you do besides run the ball. Pass protection. Catch the ball out of the backfield.”

The winner of the running back competition won’t necessarily be the best runner. More likely, it will be the one who does the best job in the Broncos’ passing game.