With starting running back Montee Ball sidelined after he underwent an appendectomy earlier this week third year running back Ronnie Hillman is in line to start todays preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
We all know the struggles that Hillman has gone through during his first two years as a Bronco, but Hillman has been having a good Training Camp thus far and is looking to continue that into the preseason.
With Ball being out the entire preseason, Hillman has a great opportunity to earn an important role in the Broncos offense.
"You've just got to take advantage of it," Hillman said. "Just come out here and try not to think about that stuff. Just come out here and do what you can and just try to be accountable for the reps that you do get."
It is often overlooked that Hillman is still a very young man. Hillman is still only 22 years old(will turn 23 in September). Hillman is still maturing and struggled through adversity last season. Per the Denver Posts Christopher Dempsy, Hillman was very down on himself after having fumbling issues last season, but they're seeing a more confident Hillman this year.
One man who is noticing this growth is the Broncos Head Coach John Fox.
I have seen great growth," Fox said. "I think he's been a different guy in the meeting rooms with a full offseason this year and attacking it the way he did. He is starting to see the benefits of that here on the field. I have seen a drastically improved player."
If Hillman is a "drastically improved player" as Coach Fox said, Hillman will be a very important piece to this offense. No back on the Broncos roster possesses the speed and elusiveness that Hillman has. The Broncos have been lacking in that area ever since Clinton Portis/Tatum Bell left the team.
Also another thing to remember is how often our running backs will be going against 5 to 6 man boxes because of Peyton Manning. If Hillman is improved, he'll have the opportunity to break off some very long runs this season.
This is all very exciting to think about, but first Hillman has to prove it on the field. His first test won't be an easy one. Hillman will be facing the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks who have one of the best defenses in the league. This will also be the same team that Hillman fumbled twice against last preseason.
Could this be redemption for Hillman? Or just the same old story?
I hope for redemption.
- New York Giants Running Back David Wilson gives an emotional farewell to his NFL Career. Tough break.
- In the Soap Opera that is the Cleveland Browns Quarterback Battle, Brian Hoyer will start the Browns preseason opener. Should it be Manziel?
- The Lions have waived former Kansas City Chief receiver Jon Baldwin.
- First round pick Teddy Bridgewater is getting first team reps with the Vikings. They got themselves a steal.
- NFL Network previews the Broncos vs Seahawks.