Nov 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) pressures Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Fumbling Woes, Montee Ball Showing Signs of Improvement


Despite looking like a completely lost rookie to start off his NFL career, Montee Ball has the favor of the Broncos’ coaching staff and has shown some serious signs of improvement over the last few weeks, at least in my estimation.

Ball scored two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs to bring his total to three on the season, scoring his first in the Broncos’ win against the Washington Redskins.

Aside from scoring three touchdowns in the last three games, Ball has not fumbled since the game against Oakland when he fumbled late, although you could consider the fumble against the Chiefs at least partly his fault.

The stat sheet doesn’t show a big number of carries, yards, or yards per carry, but what the box score doesn’t always tell is the whole story.

Ball has shown some nice second effort, and after watching so many different running backs struggle through the same thing he is behind the same or similar offensive line, it’s hard to blame just the running backs anymore for the Broncos’ inability to gain big chunks of yards on the ground.

Right now, the Broncos are going to continue to integrate Ball into the rotation with Knowshon Moreno slowly, but he is obviously gaining steam as the team’s full-time goal line back.

That’s not good news for Knowshon Moreno’s touchdown numbers, but it’s a good way to get Ball involved, and get him some positive momentum going down the stretch of the season. At Wisconsin, Ball was the most prolific scorer at the running back position in college football history, and the Broncos are obviously trying to get some of that to translate to the next level.

He’s not putting out performances like Gio Bernard in Cincinnati, Eddie Lacy in Green Bay, or Zac Stacy in St. Louis, but the Broncos aren’t placing an emphasis on running the ball like those teams, nor are they phasing out Moreno like other teams have phased out other backs.

I don’t think very many have been patient with Ball to this point, but even the biggest of skeptics can’t deny the strides he has made in recent weeks. The Broncos are increasing his workload and he’s answering the call, scoring two touchdowns in the biggest game of the season to date. Now the Broncos go to New England, a team that has given up only three rushing touchdowns all season. If the Broncos get looks inside the red zone or in goal line situations, Ball will be a guy that is counted on to make big plays.

It’ll be up to the rookie to prove that these recent improvements are no fluke.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Montee Ball

  • anon76returns

    People keep talking about Ball becoming the goal line back – which I kind of understand, given his collegiate history – but nobody ever says why Knowshon should relinquish that role. Moreno has not been stopped at the goal line ever this season, except for when he intentionally did so at the end of the Dallas game. 6 of his 8 touchdowns came from inside the 10 yard line, and 5 of them came from inside the 5. Considering that he hasn’t had a 100 yard game yet, and he’s only averaging 4.0 yards per carry in spite of playing against 6 of the bottom 10 defenses in terms of ypc allowed, I view him as a very competent short yardage/goaline back (maybe I’m still just spoiled by Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, and Clinton Portis).

    I like the improvement I see from Ball. He still tends to get hit behind the line more than Moreno, and his pass-blocking mistakes are about what you’d expect from a rookie, but given the fragility of Peyton, I’d rather not see him in there on pass blocking situations.

    • AllOrNothin

      Peyton was untouched against the Chiefs!! Peyton spent the night on his back in Indy and Ball never touched the field. I haven’t seen any recent issues with Ball in pass blocking. He made rookie mistakes in the beginning of the season. Every RB that came into the draft has done the same. I believe once he catches up with the speed of the game he will be fine. And the game against the Chief may be the start of it, we hope! As for Knowshon…he is the leader in RB department at this time. Can he take on an entire season in that # 1 spot? We haven’t seen that yet. If he can Great, If not Ball better get ready!

  • OldCobraGuy

    Elway hasn’t made many mistakes in his career…but he blew it big time with this one. Could have had Eddie Lacy…and instead took this guy. Can’t hold on to the football…about half the runner. I can only imagine where we would be with Lacy and Moreno in the backfield. WHERE IS C.J. ANDERSON????

    • DXW

      You’re out of your mind. This kid was an absolute beast in college, and if he brings even half of what he showed in Wisconsin to the NFL he will be a regular pro bowler and well worth the pick. It’s only a matter of time. Be patient.

      • OldCobraGuy

        You have got to be kidding. You are delusional. Ball racked up his yardage against the most inferior conference in football while Lacy built his against the SEC and winning championships. I think it’s being proven now. Ball is the most overrated running back in the country.

        • DXW

          We’ll see… I trust that Elway knows more about what works than you or I, and there’s no point wasting time thinking about Lacey. I think Ball is the best RB we have, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the kid can do.

          • OldCobraGuy

            Looks like your “beast” did it again. Seriously…he’s playing the wrong sport. He should be playing basketball as often as he dribbles the ball around. I don’t care if he’s Earl Campbell…if you can’t hang on to the ball, you’re worthless. Crap…and we could have had Eddie Lacy.

          • DXW

            You might be happier if you stop pining for Ed Lacey and just let it go. It didn’t happen. It’s not going to happen. These are the backs we’re stuck with, and yes, last night did put a pretty big dent in my opinion of Ball, which is upsetting, but it doesn’t diminish what the kid did in college where he was very much a “beast” and you know it.

            Based on what Ball did at Wisconsin (and because Lacey is injury prone), I can still see why Denver drafted him. I’m still hopeful he’ll pull his head out of his ass, but I’m worried after last night. A lot of great backs had fumbling issues their rookie year and recovered, but a lot never did. He can come back. Moreno came back from his fumbling issues, and now he never fumbles.

            It’s not the end of the world. Denver is still the #1 team in the AFC, and they have nothing but fairly easy games remaining. They’ll get home field in the playoffs, and clean this mess up next year after they win the SB.

          • OldCobraGuy

            Injury prone?? He had turf toe…that’s it. His entire collegiate career. This year he had a concussion from one of the cheapest shots I’ve ever seen. One that would have put most guys down for a long time.

            I’m sorry, but I have no respect for Ball’s credentials. He garnered them playing in an inferior league against inferior defenses. He can’t hold on to the football. What is aggravating as hell is they won’t play C.J. Anderson. This kid has some upside. They may have to now if Moreno is out.

  • Michael Tripodes

    Ball is good going to get better watch…

  • AllOrNothin

    OldCobraGuy….. your weak arguement has been proven INCORRECT over and over and over again!! The SEC has what TWO/THREE teams with top defenses, Just as the BIG 10 with Michigan State and OSU!! Also Top defenses in the country incase you didn’t know. Last time I checked BIG TEN lineman are standing right beside the SEC lineman in the draft!!! Ball RAN over 100 yrd games on both of those teams including Michigan. GIVE MONTEE THE BALL 30 PLUS CARRIES A GAME AND SEE WHAT KIND OF YARDS HE GETS!! It would be the same as Lacy… you know it and we all know it!! That is why he won the hardware to prove it!!! Should have won it twice but we won’t go there today! So get out of here with that bullcrap you’re trying to speak on here. YOU ARE DELUSIONAL IF YOU THINK YOU CAN COMPARE THEIR RUSHING YARD WITH TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF OFFENSES IN THE NFL!! Lacy would still be trying to read half the things Montee has already learned in Peyton Mannings offense. Ball will shine. Sit back and get your plate of crow ready bro just like all the other non believers did when he was in college. Enjoy the rest of the Packer season. Denver will enjoy theirs!

  • AllOrNothin

    OldCobraGuy….. your weak arguement has been proven INCORRECT over and over and over again!! The SEC has what TWO/THREE teams with top defenses, Just as the BIG 10 with Michigan State and OSU!! Also Top defenses in the country incase you didn’t know. Last time I checked BIG TEN lineman are standing right beside the SEC lineman in the draft!!! Ball RAN over 100 yrd games on both of those teams including Michigan. GIVE MONTEE THE BALL 30 PLUS CARRIES A GAME AND SEE WHAT KIND OF YARDS HE GETS!! It would be the same as Lacy… you know it and we all know it!! That is why he won the hardware to prove it!!! Should have won it twice but we won’t go there today! So get out of here with that bullcrap you’re trying to speak on here. YOU ARE DELUSIONAL IF YOU THINK YOU CAN COMPARE THEIR RUSHING YARD WITH TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF OFFENSES IN THE NFL!! Lacy would still be trying to read half the things Montee has already learned in Peyton Mannings offense. Ball will shine. Sit back and get your plate of crow ready bro just like all the other non believers did when he was in college.