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Montee Ball: "I'm not taking anything for granted"

Denver Broncos running back, Montee Ball, met with the media after Friday's team drills to discuss his new role as the starting running back on offense.
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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Not long after the Super Bowl debacle it became clear that John Elway was going to go all in with Montee Ball as the Denver Broncos starting running back in 2014. The race now is for the backup position. After practice on Friday, Ball met with the local media to answer questions.

On his focus this offseason

Strength and speed and flexibility, that’s part of speed. ... So much easier the second time around. Now it’s just super easy. So I’m able to play a lot faster. I can play a lot faster back there which allows for me to make better plays and make bigger plays this year. But I’m really taking every single stretch and workout in the weight room. I’m not taking anything for granted because I’m sure it’ll help me out on the field.

On improving over last season

It took quite some time to adjust to the speed of the game, the intensity. And like I always told people, better late than never. ... I would have loved for it to happen early on, but that’s the emphasis that I’m putting on this year, just to start fast, which I’m doing now during OTAs and I’ll do it during minicamp next week, and roll into training camp with the same mentality. I think it’ll help me out preseason and the (regular) season.

On his body type

My focus is to really, really harp on the flexibility, which will prevent injuries, and will allow for me to play faster, run faster. And upper body strength, for protection. Right now I’m at 220. I’ll probably play at 218.

On when the game slowed down

It started happening around Week 12 and you started to see it. I started playing better. A lot more confidence. ... It’s still football. Still 100 yards, two field goal posts. Playing with Number 18 back there ... he’s capable of making any check at any time, with two seconds left on the play clock. And you’ve got to be able to comprehend and react. So what I’m doing is I’m really studying the playbook, really studying, watching film and kind of making my own checks while I’m watching film. Pausing it, seeing you know, what checks he possibly could make right here.

On who he looks to for leadership

The running backs coach (Studesville). He’s been doing it for quite some time. ... So he’s seen Tiki Barber, Marshawn Lynch, Knowshon. So I’m really able to pick his brain. And he’s done a great job of coaching me and giving me some tips, which allow for me to play better.