It’s tough to explain why some rookies succeed, why some fail, and why some take a little kick in the pants to get going. At the Super Bowl, when you have complete access to every single player, you can find out the answer to those exact questions, if you want to.
For Broncos running back Montee Ball, it was a slow start to his NFL career. Throughout this season, he has worked his way up from being a third string back in the doghouse for fumbling to a key backup tailback in the Super Bowl. After a tough fumble cost the Broncos dearly on the road in New England earlier this season Ball has played, well, his best ball. He explains:
“Well, first off, it was overwhelming at the beginning just because it’s a difficult offensive play book, just because it’s Peyton Manning. He keeps a lot of players on his toes by changing the plays and all that stuff,” Ball said, via Pro Football Talk. “In our OTAs and that stuff. Every day at practice we would work on something. He would ask me, ‘What do you think you need help in?’ I would tell him I need help with this route or this play. Then we would work on it right after practice before we even go to our meetings.
The plus side of Manning’s abilities to read the defense is an ability to point his young running back in the right direction, where he can be most successful.
“That’s another way he has helped me out, really understanding what the defense is trying to accomplish and what they are trying to disguise,” Ball said. “In film and during meetings he really preached to me about watching the safeties and all that stuff. It really helped me out overall with my routes, with my runs and all that stuff.”
The Broncos’ second round draft pick is going to have a great career. He was one of the most fun players to watch in college football over the course of his final three seasons, and the touchdown machine should fit right in with the Broncos. He only had five scores in his first season with the team, but like I said, he really progressed as the year went along, and he’s playing his best football at exactly the right time of year. If Knowshon Moreno needs a breather, the Broncos can rest easy knowing this guy will be coming in in relief.