Montee Ball, C.J. Anderson Give Broncos Dynamic Duo


‘Tis the time of year for players to be showing up to OTAs ‘trimmed up’ looking like they are in great shape, and generally keeping optimism at all all-time high for themselves and the team.

That’s the case for both Pro Bowl running back C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball of the Denver Broncos, who showed up to this year’s OTAs looking like they are in great shape, focused, and ready for a big time competition.

What’s that? Competition? You mean to tell me that C.J. Anderson isn’t going to be handed the starting running back job for the Broncos after what he did last year?

Nothing is going to be handed to anyone, though the starter carries are certainly going to be Anderson’s to lose. His goal this year is to prove every high expectation correct, while backup Montee Ball is gunning to steal his job, but not in a hostile way.

Ball and Anderson came into the league together in 2013, the former a second round pick and Heisman candidate out of Wisconsin, the later an undrafted free agent out of Cal who shared carries with a guy named Isi Sofele.

Needless to say, they’ve taken different career paths in the NFL.

Ball had a nice rookie season when the Broncos went to the Super Bowl, backing up Knowshon Moreno and doing a really great job of it. He looked like the great one-cut runner he was in college after fixing up some out of character fumbling issues, and appeared well on his way to taking over lead duties as a sophomore in 2014.

We’d always seen flashes in the pre-season from Anderson, who made the team as a UDFA in 2013, but the backfield was too crowded for him to get a legitimate opportunity in regular season play…until last year.

Anderson exploded onto the scene after injuries to both Ball and Ronnie Hillman (who is another player we need not forget about) pushed him into the starting lineup, and he ended up taking the NFL by storm and making the Pro Bowl as an alternate with a stellar second half.

Ball wasn’t so bad himself as a rookie, putting up nice numbers as the team’s number two back, but an appendectomy and groin injury hampered his 2014 season, made him look like an out-of-shape shell of his former self, and sparked a lot of doubt about the Broncos’ decision to draft him in the 2nd round in 2013.

Now entering year three with the Broncos already, it’s time for Ball to, as he put it, ‘put up or shut up.’

Both players seem extremely focused. Both guys are ready to compete. For so many Broncos fans, it seems to be a ‘rivalry’ between which running back should be the best one and I always find it funny that no one wants multiple running backs to be good, they’d rather just have the one.

Personally, I’ll be rooting for both guys to do great. We’ve seen in the zone blocking scheme multiple backs have near 1,000 yard seasons, and the Broncos have the talent at running back for that to happen again. They are loaded from top to bottom, and we’ve only really touched on Anderson and Ball, we haven’t talked about speedy Ronnie Hillman, powerful Juwan Thompson, or coach favorite Kapri Bibbs, who can do a little of everything, including score the ball. A lot.

The Broncos are allowed to have multiple good running backs. We don’t have to hate Montee Ball for having a poor sophomore campaign, nor does it have to be a predictor of his future in Denver.

This will be a fun competition to watch unfold. The coaches are obviously giving Ball every chance to be the back he was in college, and if he is, the Broncos will be better for it.

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