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RB Ronnie Hillman - Denver Broncos

5-9, 200Born: 9-14-1991College: San Diego StateDrafted: Round 3

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Photo: Kelley L Cox, US Presswire

Preseason player page

News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Oct 20): Hillman continues to run with confidence, burst, and quickness that was not seen from him in his past attempts to win part of the Denver backfield workload. He looks like a solid RB2 with weekly RB1 upside for as long as Montee Ball is out (which could be a while) and maybe even after Ball returns.

Week 8: vs San Diego Chargers

Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. This is a crucial AFC West showdown between two of the hottest offenses in the NFL - it should be an exciting, fast-paced game under the Thursday Night lights in Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium tomorrow. The Broncos will bring throw new lead back Ronnie Hillman (55/240/2 rushing and 8/52/0 receiving this season) to the forefront of the war in the trenches on Thursday night - he's been outstanding since Montee Ball suffered a multi-week groin injury. He went over 100 yards combined as Denver crushed San Francisco last weekend (14/74/2 rushing with 4/29/0 receiving), while backups Juwan Thompson (6/30/0 rushing) and C.J. Anderson (2/9/0 rushing) chipped in around the edges. Look for Hillman to be the main man again this week. The Chargers' rush D is ranked 13th in the NFL this year, averaging 106.9 yards given up per game, with three rushing scores surrendered to date. K.C. upset this team 23-20 at San Diego last week (with 39/154/1 rushing to their credit), and Oakland gave them a scare two weeks ago (20/114/0 rushing during a narrow 31-28 win for the Chargers). Lately, the San Diego defense has been slipping in this phase of the game. Advantage, Hillman and Denver.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPRSHYDTDTARGRECYDTDFumL
5 vs ARI 15 64 0 1 0 0 0 0
6 at NYJ 24 100 0 5 3 16 0 0
7 vs SF 14 74 2 4 4 29 0 0
8 vs SD PROJ-Dodds 16 * * 3 * * *
8 vs SD PROJ-Tremblay 17 * * 3 * * *
8 vs SD PROJ-Bloom 16 * * 3 * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2014 Week 5 vs ARI (15 / 64 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

After being inactive in each of the first two weeks, Hillman served as the primary backup to Montee Ball for the second consecutive game against Arizona. Hillman didn't play until the final drive of the first half, when Denver was running down the clock before halftime. After Ball's injury, though, Hillman took over as the primary back and delivered perhaps the best game by a Denver running back this season. Hillman was decisive and showed good explosion between the tackles. Initial reports from Denver beat writers suggest that, should Ball miss substantial time, Hillman would be given the first opportunity to move into the "lead back" role.

2014 Week 6 vs NYJ (24 / 100 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 16 / 0 rec)

With Montee Ball out, Ronnie Hillman received his first career start and responded with his first career 100-yard game. Hillman showed flashes of his strong play from a week ago, but all was not as well. Hillman gained much of his yardage in big chunks, leaving long stretches of ineffective running. Hillman received a lot of work from behind the chains, such as a 10-yard run on 3rd-and-24 or an incomplete target on 3rd-and-15. Most troublingly, Hillman's fumble problems popped up again as he lost the football on a 26-yard gain. The ball was recovered by receiver Andre Caldwell and Hillman sat for the remainder of the series, but he returned to begin Denver's next drive.

2014 Week 7 vs SF (14 / 74 / 2 rush, 4 / 4 / 29 / 0 rec)

Last week against the Cardinals, Ronnie Hillman had a performance that wasn't quite as good as the numbers suggested. This week, Hillman had a game that was even better than the numbers said. While he's not a power back and he didn't run through many tackle attempts, Hillman repeatedly used his agility to get defenders off balance, drawing glancing contact and continuing for extra yardage. He repeatedly diagnosed the proper opening at the line of scrimmage and did a good job of setting up defenders at the second level, allowing him to rip off big gains even on carries between the tackles. Hillman has looked like by far the best back on Denver's roster, and is making a strong case to retain the starting job once Montee Ball returns from injury.

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Latest News

Broncos | Ronnie Hillman continues to impress (Fri Oct 24, 01:25 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting job back when he's healthy. He showed impressive footwork and showed breakaway speed in the team's Week 8 win over the San Diego Chargers Thursday, Oct. 23, and he could have easily finished with two touchdowns.

Our View: Hillman is established as a strong RB2 going forward. Montee Ball is not going to get a full feature back job when he returns, if he is even the starter.
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Broncos | Week 11 Return for Montee Ball? (Tue Oct 21, 08:45 PM) - In a recent interview on ESPN Denver radio, Mike Klis of the Denver Post speculated that Montee Ball might be able to return by the Week 11 game against the St. Louis Rams. At this time, it seems like Ball is still a couple of weeks away from returning from the groin injury he suffered in the Week 5 game against the Cardinals.

Our View: Ball might return to a much different role. Ronnie Hillman has been productive as the team's starter over the last two weeks. If Hillman continues to produce (and hang onto the rock), we could see Ball as a backup. Right now, Juwan Thompson serves as the primary backup behind Hillman.
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Broncos | Ronnie Hillman propels running game (Mon Oct 13, 02:12 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman ran for 100 yards Sunday, Oct. 12, against the New York Jets while RB Juwan Thompson gained 38 yards on the ground. It was the team's highest single-game rushing total so far this season.

Our View: We got some clarity in the Broncos running back situation this week. Hillman is the main back, and he's not losing many touches to rookie Juwan Thompson. Expect this split to get a bit closer together in the near future. Hillman's 24 carries will be difficult to repeat each week because of his small size.

Broncos | Committee to replace Montee Ball? (Sat Oct 11, 08:43 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman, RB C.J. Anderson and RB Juwan Thompson (knee) will all be leaned on while RB Montee Ball (groin) is out with a groin injury, according to head coach John Fox. Anderson said he feels that the back that has the hot hand will receive a majority of the carries.

Our View: It's hard to trust any Broncos back as more than a what the heck flex against the stiff Jets run defense, although a short touchdown or three is certainly possible. This is also a situation that will likely resist being clear both while Ball is out, and even after he returns.
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Denver Broncos Team Links

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Staff Dynasty Rankings

RB Dynasty - 63, 51, 64, 68, 69

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Schedule

8vs San Diego Chargers
9@ New England Patriots
10@ Oakland Raiders
11@ St. Louis Rams
12vs Miami Dolphins
13@ Kansas City Chiefs
14vs Buffalo Bills
15@ San Diego Chargers
16@ Cincinnati Bengals
17vs Oakland Raiders