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munde53

Ronnie Hillman 2014 Season Outlook

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Before everyone comes in and starts with the "Ball is the guy" in Denver rhetoric, I agree Ball is the guy to own. However, Ball was also projected last year to emerge as the lead back in Denver but was ultimately relegated to a change of pace role due to a lack of skill in pass protection. Knowshon Moreno was written off for dead and was scooped up very late in every draft or went completely drafted, and emerged as a top 5 RB in 2013.

Ball has been named the #1 guy in Denver and doesn't have Moreno's above average pass blocking ability to compete with anymore. Every year there is at least one guy who is a can't miss back who falls flat on his face.

Fast forward to August of 2014. Ball is sidelined due to a minor surgery and will be unable to participate in preseason games. Hillman and CJ Anderson will take over the lead back duties for these exhibition games. All of the off-season there have been reports of Ball's improved pass protection skills, however, we will not get to see those skills on display until week 1 of the regular season. What if these improvements are all coaches speak to help boost Ball's confidence and help to cover the coaches backs for letting Moreno walk? The #1 goal for the Broncos offense is to keep Manning upright.

If Ball has improved so much in pass protection, couldn't it be assumed Hillman could have done the same? If Ball struggles keeping Manning standing, I doubt the Broncos will leave him at RB. If Hillman can prove to the coaches he has improved in pass protection, who knows, he could be the next man up.

Ronnie Hillman will start the Broncos' preseason opener Thursday night against the Seahawks.

With Montee Ball recovering from an appendectomy, Hillman is a player to monitor closely this preseason. Practice reports have always been glowing on Hillman, but he's continually flopped in game action. At the same time, he entered the league abnormally young and isn't yet 23 years old. "I've seen great growth," said coach John Fox. "I have seen a drastically improved player."

Broncos RBs coach Eric Studesville has been impressed with Ronnie Hillman's camp.

"From when we started this spring in April forward, he has been unbelievable," Studesville said of Hillman. "He's a completely different guy in the best possible way and I'm just excited about what he's doing." Studesville's praise comes two days after DenverBroncos.com reported that Hillman, and not C.J. Anderson, has been running as the No. 2 behind Montee Ball. It will be a battle to monitor closely in the preseason, but Hillman's draft pedigree should give him a leg up.

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Hillman is talented, but he's too small to be an every down back. Plus, he's a poor pass protector. Definitely a must as a handcuff to Ball though. But there's not too much to get excited about here. Ball will be fine after a few weeks of rest.

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hillman needs to hold on the the rock or he wont see the field

This is also very true.

Fumbling issues are usually easily corrected, but we'll have to wait and see.

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Hillman is talented, but he's too small to be an every down back. Plus, he's a poor pass protector. Definitely a must as a handcuff to Ball though. But there's not too much to get excited about here. Ball will be fine after a few weeks of rest.

I agree he's probably too small to be the every down workhorse. However, we really don't know if he has improved in pass protection. All of the media has been so focused on Ball, Hillman has fallen by the wayside. The difference is we get to see if Hillman has improved when he plays in the preseason, Ball we just have to have faith he improved. I'm not worried about the surgery and what it will do to his playing ability. I am, however, curious as to how much he really has improved in pass protection. All we really have to go off of is coaches speak, while as I just stated we'll actually get to see Hillman in action.

More than likely Hillman will be a wasted roster space unless Ball goes down. The thing is Moreno was looked at the same way last year.

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He definitely needs to be owned, at least for the first couple weeks to see how things shake out. Probably CJ Anderson too. I think Montee Ball will hold off the backups this year though barring injury.

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Before everyone comes in and starts with the "Ball is the guy" in Denver rhetoric, I agree Ball is the guy to own. However, Ball was also projected last year to emerge as the lead back in Denver but was ultimately relegated to a change of pace role due to a lack of skill in pass protection. Knowshon Moreno was written off for dead and was scooped up very late in every draft or went completely drafted, and emerged as a top 5 RB in 2013.

Ball has been named the #1 guy in Denver and doesn't have Moreno's above average pass blocking ability to compete with anymore. Every year there is at least one guy who is a can't miss back who falls flat on his face.

Fast forward to August of 2014. Ball is sidelined due to a minor surgery and will be unable to participate in preseason games. Hillman and CJ Anderson will take over the lead back duties for these exhibition games. All of the off-season there have been reports of Ball's improved pass protection skills, however, we will not get to see those skills on display until week 1 of the regular season. What if these improvements are all coaches speak to help boost Ball's confidence and help to cover the coaches backs for letting Moreno walk? The #1 goal for the Broncos offense is to keep Manning upright.

If Ball has improved so much in pass protection, couldn't it be assumed Hillman could have done the same? If Ball struggles keeping Manning standing, I doubt the Broncos will leave him at RB. If Hillman can prove to the coaches he has improved in pass protection, who knows, he could be the next man up.

Ronnie Hillman will start the Broncos' preseason opener Thursday night against the Seahawks.

With Montee Ball recovering from an appendectomy, Hillman is a player to monitor closely this preseason. Practice reports have always been glowing on Hillman, but he's continually flopped in game action. At the same time, he entered the league abnormally young and isn't yet 23 years old. "I've seen great growth," said coach John Fox. "I have seen a drastically improved player."

Broncos RBs coach Eric Studesville has been impressed with Ronnie Hillman's camp.

"From when we started this spring in April forward, he has been unbelievable," Studesville said of Hillman. "He's a completely different guy in the best possible way and I'm just excited about what he's doing." Studesville's praise comes two days after DenverBroncos.com reported that Hillman, and not C.J. Anderson, has been running as the No. 2 behind Montee Ball. It will be a battle to monitor closely in the preseason, but Hillman's draft pedigree should give him a leg up.

All of the off-season there have been reports of Ball's improved pass protection skills, however, we will not get to see those skills on display until week 1 of the regular season. What if these improvements are all coaches speak...

Its not the coaches saying he improved in pass pro, it was PFF and other independent number crunchers. They don't grade based on coaches speak, they grade on what happened in games. If you want to see his skills, watch a couple games from late season last year.

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I want to see how he does in a preseason game first. Probably won't know much until the 3rd game, but I think he's someone to target.

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I want to see how he does in a preseason game first. Probably won't know much until the 3rd game, but I think he's someone to target.

Agreed. He was "the leader in the clubhouse" at this time last season and bombed. What's not apparent, however, is how Hillman and/or Anderson create enough noise to diminish Ball. Hillman has huge issues that are likely irreparable including, most importantly, size and ball security. Anderson is pretty pedestrian in every way although he has fewer holes in the passing game than Ball showed last season. I suppose if Hillman shows some juice in the passing game without the turnover issues there may be a third down role for him when Ball returns, but it seems to be more of a matter of Ball improving his skills than the backups having what it takes to steal Ball's role.

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Doesn't Ball have the exact same ball security issues everyone's harping on Hillman for? :huh: In 162 career touches, Hillman has fumbled 4 times and lost 2 of those, Ball has fumbled 3 times in 140 career touches and lost all 3 of them. Not really sure why everyone thinks Ball's fumbling has magically been cured but Hillman's fumbling is still a huge problem...

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Hillman is smallish, but there are some smallish backs in the league that have started (i.e.-Chris Johnson). Pass blocking and fumbles are the obvious thing to watch with Hillman, but also look at how well he performs as a receiver out of the backfield. Knowshawn caught 60 passes last year, it's a big part of the Broncos offense. Ball is said to be improved in pass catching and blocking in the offeseason. In college, he didn't do much receiving.

Watch how well the other Denver backs act as receivers as well as the pass blocking. If they drastically outperform what Ball can do it could be the key to an expanded role.

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Doesn't Ball have the exact same ball security issues everyone's harping on Hillman for? :huh: In 162 career touches, Hillman has fumbled 4 times and lost 2 of those, Ball has fumbled 3 times in 140 career touches and lost all 3 of them. Not really sure why everyone thinks Ball's fumbling has magically been cured but Hillman's fumbling is still a huge problem...

By no means am I a fan of Ball's skillset. He had a lot of issues in 2013 and, despite the glowing preseason reports we've all seen, I want to see how much he has improved, particularly in passing game areas.

My concerns with Hillman, however, are even more significant, particularly in ball security. To me Ball's fumble issues last year stemmed more from "body catching" passes than any inherent flaw in ball security during rushing attempts. Ball's flaws are likely more a matter of inexperience and more correctable than Hillman's repetitive failure to show the necessary strength to secure the ball from aggressive defenders. I believe Hillman has the better overall pure skillset of the 2 players, but, so far at least, his ball security issues are simply unacceptable and seem to be in significant part a product of size and strength issues.

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I'm more worried about Hillman in pass protection when the defenders are actually coming full speed during real games, intent to tear Peyton Manning's head off. You don't want a lightweight who "might" be "okay" at pass protection in that scenario. Can't see it coming to fruition.

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hillman needs to hold on the the rock or he wont see the field

This is also very true.

Fumbling issues are usually easily corrected, but we'll have to wait and see.

Unless your name is Stevan Ridley

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I'm more worried about Hillman in pass protection when the defenders are actually coming full speed during real games, intent to tear Peyton Manning's head off. You don't want a lightweight who "might" be "okay" at pass protection in that scenario. Can't see it coming to fruition.

Perhaps. I have similar concerns with Ball. Watch the later season 2013 games where Ball was seeing more action and an interesting aspect of his usage was that blitz pickup duty plays for RBs went much more frequently to Moreno and, to a lesser extent, Anderson than to Ball. Given Peyton's audible frequency who knows how much of that was by coaching design or pure happenstance, but the relatively small sample size so far isn't very reassuring for either Ball or Hillman in pass pro.

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That's the funny thing about the whole situation. We don't get to see what goes on in camp, but we hear that Hillman and Ball improved in Pass protection but it could just be coachspeak. I think if any of the RB's shows they're MUCH better at pass pro and receiving while Ball is out then Ball could lose his job, or at least lose passing down duties. Keep an eye on rookie UDFA Juwan Thompson too, a 230 pound RB who has been good at pass protection and receiving. CJ Anderson dropped down to 215 pounds in the off season.

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That's the funny thing about the whole situation. We don't get to see what goes on in camp, but we hear that Hillman and Ball improved in Pass protection but it could just be coachspeak. I think if any of the RB's shows they're MUCH better at pass pro and receiving while Ball is out then Ball could lose his job, or at least lose passing down duties. Keep an eye on rookie UDFA Juwan Thompson too, a 230 pound RB who has been good at pass protection and receiving. CJ Anderson dropped down to 215 pounds in the off season.

Yeah, I remember reading about CJ Anderson dropping weight.

My concern stems from simple mismatch. The defenders the RB typically has to block are either linebackers or defensive ends. Those guys can range from 240-300 lbs. Being under 210 lbs makes that a tall task, no matter your mechanics. You simply get bull-rushed into oblivion.

That's why the better pass-protection back tend to be at least 220, but more like 230+ lbs. Mike Tolbert, Peyton Hillis, etc.

That's why I expected CJ Anderson (before the weight loss) to get the easy nod over Hillman in the case of a severe injury to Montee Ball.

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That's the funny thing about the whole situation. We don't get to see what goes on in camp, but we hear that Hillman and Ball improved in Pass protection but it could just be coachspeak. I think if any of the RB's shows they're MUCH better at pass pro and receiving while Ball is out then Ball could lose his job, or at least lose passing down duties. Keep an eye on rookie UDFA Juwan Thompson too, a 230 pound RB who has been good at pass protection and receiving. CJ Anderson dropped down to 215 pounds in the off season.

That's why I expected CJ Anderson (before the weight loss) to get the easy nod over Hillman in the case of a severe injury to Montee Ball.

My thoughts exactly

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Doesn't Ball have the exact same ball security issues everyone's harping on Hillman for? :huh: In 162 career touches, Hillman has fumbled 4 times and lost 2 of those, Ball has fumbled 3 times in 140 career touches and lost all 3 of them. Not really sure why everyone thinks Ball's fumbling has magically been cured but Hillman's fumbling is still a huge problem...

Not a problem with Ball. He fumbled twice on 924 carries in college, and one of those was when he was knocked out cold. Fumbling isn't an issue with Ball.

http://host.madison.com/sports/college/football/nfl-former-badgers-rb-montee-ball-gets-fumble-fix-from/article_c86f745f-2c16-5372-a461-c430d4603339.html

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Doesn't Ball have the exact same ball security issues everyone's harping on Hillman for? :huh: In 162 career touches, Hillman has fumbled 4 times and lost 2 of those, Ball has fumbled 3 times in 140 career touches and lost all 3 of them. Not really sure why everyone thinks Ball's fumbling has magically been cured but Hillman's fumbling is still a huge problem...

By no means am I a fan of Ball's skillset. He had a lot of issues in 2013 and, despite the glowing preseason reports we've all seen, I want to see how much he has improved, particularly in passing game areas.

My concerns with Hillman, however, are even more significant, particularly in ball security. To me Ball's fumble issues last year stemmed more from "body catching" passes than any inherent flaw in ball security during rushing attempts. Ball's flaws are likely more a matter of inexperience and more correctable than Hillman's repetitive failure to show the necessary strength to secure the ball from aggressive defenders. I believe Hillman has the better overall pure skillset of the 2 players, but, so far at least, his ball security issues are simply unacceptable and seem to be in significant part a product of size and strength issues.

2 of his 3 lost fumbles(during the season, I didn't look up the preseason stats) came on rushing attempts.

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Yes, Ball has issues..a lot of them in my opinion, but the question is whether Hillman's most significant fatal flaw from last season is fixable. He simply lacked the strength to protect the football. He's only 22 and perhaps it's a maturity issue that experience and weight room work can help correct, but Hillman last season simply had the look of a rushing turnover any time the defense was intent on causing it and what was most troubling is there was no fundamental flaw in his carrying technique. That simply won't work for a starting RB.

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Quote by Peyton today on NFL Live:

"Hillman is taking a much larger roll in the offense."

"Hillman has stepped up."

If Peyton is praising this guy, we should probably take notice.

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I still think the job is Ball's once he gets back but I am drafting Hillman on most of my teams. I don't think he can step into Ball's role but if he does inherit a large role due to Ball's health or whatever reason I want a piece of that.

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Last year I grabbed Hillman super late in my draft as a sleeper. He has the speed to make the world go round. But for whatever reason, he never looked his potential really. Perhaps he had a couple of decent games where he showed flashes. I would take a chance on him again only because he has the right stuff to make me believe. But I'm not banking on him in any way.

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