Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) is injured on the field during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox won’t address it until Wednesday, but rumor has it that running back Montee Ball, who suffered a groin injury in Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals, will miss up to three weeks. Ball’s injury was originally expected to be really serious, but it now appears as though that grave prognosis was a bit premature.
The Broncos need someone to step up in Ball’s absence, but even more than that, they need Ball himself to step up when he returns. The offensive line has to take a lion’s share of the blame for a lack of running lanes for Ball to get through, but without a solid running game, it’s difficult for the offense to get any sort of rhythm and flow because they keep going back to it no matter what so it would help if they could get some positive yards.
When Ronnie Hillman entered the game, he immediately provided a spark and the running game came alive, and the Broncos were able to score 17 points in the fourth quarter and bury the Cardinals, making an otherwise close game on the scoreboard appear to be a complete bludgeoning.
Ball has struggled with his health this year in incredibly unlucky fashion. After playing all 19 games last season, Ball missed part of the preseason recovering from an appendectomy procedure, and now will miss some time with the groin injury.
I still have faith in Ball, but some have already completely given up on him. I am not in that camp. I really liked Ball coming out of Wisconsin, and don’t think he was the product of some inflated system. If that’s the case, you better have Melvin Gordon look for some other work, because he’s been incredibly productive as a Badger.
The history for Wisconsin running backs is undeniable in the NFL, and Ball is certainly not doing anything to calm those concerns, but after a really strong rookie campaign I think perhaps we’re dealing with a bit more of a sophomore slump than anything else. When he comes back from injury, hopefully the Broncos’ offensive line has been able to get things going in the running game and everything can click.