by Jason Butt
May 22, 02014
If it wasn't for Knowshon Moreno's resurgence in a contract year, Montee Ball might have been Denver's starting running back when the 2013 season opened.
But Moreno won the job and never looked back, posting the best season in his career to this point. Now that Moreno's in Miami, the job is up for grabs, with Ball the favorite to win it. As of now, that appears to be the case, with Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, via ESPN.com, stating that the second-year back out of Wisconsin is the starter during offseason workouts.
"We drafted [Ball] to be a guy that was going to be a big contributor for us," Gase said. "But at the running back spot, it's hard to just have one guy and say, 'Hey, we're going with him for 350 carries.' It's really not what we're looking for. We're looking for a guy that can start those games out, be consistent all year, make sure that he's great in pass protection, great in route concepts, which he's shown us that he has the ability to do. We just need to make sure that he continues that through this season."
Ball carried the load at Wisconsin, posting monstrous rushing totals as a junior (1,923 yards, 33 touchdowns) and senior (1,830 yards, 22 touchdowns). With Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson his main competition, it's probably safe to say that Ball opens Week 1 next to Peyton Manning in the shotgun.
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