Ronnie Hillman Has Earned Starting Job


Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Ronnie Hillman is the man.

Until further notice, he is the Denver Broncos’ starting running back. For two straight weeks, he’s made the running game a threat. For two weeks straight, he’s made the Broncos look like they know what they’re doing. And that doesn’t include what Hillman did in the Arizona Cardinals game.

Of all people, Hillman has made the Denver offense a balanced attack. What John Fox, Adam Gase and Peyton Manning have preached ad nauseum has finally happened. Again, it’s because of Hillman.

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No matter what happens with Montee Ball and his injury, you don’t mess with that mojo. Not with how terrible the Broncos were prior to Hillman giving them life. Hillman has earned that.

Added with the power attack of Juwan Thompson, opposing teams actually have to game plan for the Denver running game now. What the New York Jets attempted to do won’t work. If teams try to do that again, the Broncos will destroy teams on the ground.

There are still some who question Hillman. They say it’s only a matter of time until he coughs up another costly fumble. I was one of them.

But Hillman having the success he’s had is not an accident. At some point, you have to give him credit.

The more success Hillman has, the more Ball’s chances of getting the ball again this season are slim to none. It brings to light just how bad Ball is.

Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) runs the ball as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) attempts to take the tackle during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike Ball, Hillman doesn’t hesitate. And he can actually make the first defender miss. Hillman has a quicker first step. He has better vision.

The same is true for Thompson, only he is bigger and stronger.

What’s awesome is that the run game can get even better. The offensive line still has issues. If those five guys can get it figured out, Hillman has proven he’s capable and that he can do what Ball was incapable of.

At least there is some success coaches and players can see. It should build the confidence even higher as the success mounts. At least that’s the hope.

The offensive line can see what it did right and what it can improve.

We got a glimpse of what the Broncos look like when they play a complete game. It’s a beautiful sight for Broncos Country, but more importantly, the team. The flogging of the San Francisco 49ers was the first game since the Super Bowl in which Denver could say that. As I said after the win, the Broncos should expect to get even better.

Who would have thought Ronnie Hillman would have made that possible? As the Broncos prep for Thursday Night’s game against the San Diego Chargers, he’s the man.

Oct 12, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) runs against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports