It was just over a year ago when Ronnie Hillman had the starting job as the Denver Broncos running back. That was until he fumbled away the opportunity and became the #2 RB. Then again as he fell to the #3 RB spot. After a fumble as the worst time in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, he found himself riding the bench as the #4 RB.
The Broncos fans turned on him, many of them calling for him to be cut from the team, I was one of them. I had my doubts about Hillman being able to right the course and stop the fumbling, something he struggled with for a while. Needless to say, by the time the 53-man roster was created, I did not see him being a part of it.
I was wrong. Not only did Hillman prove me wrong and make it, he did so as the #2 RB. When Montee Ball was out, it was Ronnie Hillman who stepped it. I am still not his biggest fan, and will continue to worry when he touches the ball.
In the preseason, he slowly turned me around. He looked better than many realize. The biggest thing was he didn’t fumble. He took some big hits and held onto the ball. One may look at his stats, 17 attempts for 58 yards for a 3.4 YPC, but preseason is not always about the stats. Also, it may have been just the preseason, but you can see a lot during the games.
His biggest issue was the lack of running lanes. He is a speed back that can burst through the hole, but the hole has to be there. A few times he got to show that speed and burst, but most of the time he was dealing with no running lane. He isn’t a power back, so the lack of running lane is killer. He isn’t going to plow his way through defenders. His hands as a receiver were great, the few times he got to show them.
He showed enough to earn that #2 spot, but he will likely be on a short leash from the coaching staff. For now though, I was wrong about Hillman while other Predominately Orange writers were right. Now let’s hope he preseason form wasn’t a fraud and he maintains ball security during the season.
Were you wrong as well?