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RB Ronnie Hillman - Denver Broncos

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

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News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 23): Hillman remains the lead back in Denver, but now in a very viable running game that should only get better as long as the team keeps Brock Osweiler in.

Week 12: vs New England Patriots

All RB vs NE

Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. The Broncos have a replacement quarterback under center again this week - last week, in Brock Osweiler's first start, Ronnie Hillman did well with a renewed credible threat to pass in the offense, posting 21/102/0 rushing with 1/2/0 rushing, while C.J. Anderson also played well, with 12/59/0 rushing and 2/13/0 receiving. We'll see if they can maintain those levels of production now that teams have some tape of the Broncos' offense with Osweiler running the show. The Patriots held off Buffalo though they gave up 30/94/1 rushing to their rivals. Two weeks ago, the Giants had 23/80/0 in this phase of the game. To date, the Patriots are ranked second in the NFL averaging 88.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with five rushing score handed over so far. Over the past four weeks (four games), this rush D has allowed the eighth-least fantasy points to opposing running backs (12.7). This is a tough matchup for Hillman and Anderson.

Recent Stats and Projections

8 vs GB 38 19 60 2 2 1 -5 0 0 17.5
9 at IND 24 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1
10 vs KC 34 11 42 1 4 2 9 0 0 11.1
11 at CHI 38 21 102 0 1 1 2 0 0 10.4
12 vs NE PROJ-Dodds * 13 * * 2 * * * *
12 vs NE PROJ-Tremblay * 13 * * 2 * * * *
12 vs NE PROJ-Bloom * 17 * * 1 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 11 vs CHI (21 / 102 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)

Given a favorable matchup, Ronnie Hillman responded with his best game of the season against the Chicago Bears. He was able to consistently pick his way through traffic on carries between the tackles, and used his speed to bounce a couple seemingly no-hope carries outside and reach the corner. Hillman logged his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, but most impressively did it with a long gain of just 15 yards. Hillman also performed well in short yardage, with his biggest blemish being a failed conversion on 4th-and-1 from the 2 yard line; even on this, Hillman deserves a pass, as Brock Osweiler accidentally tripped him while giving the handoff and Hillman was unable to recover before the defense closed in.

2015 Week 10 vs KC (11 / 42 / 1 rush, 4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)

Ronnie Hillman maintained his grip on the starting job against Kansas City, and even saw a larger role than he'd seen all season. Hillman played the majority of Denver's offensive snaps and dominated the workload with 15 carries and targets compared to just three for backup C.J. Anderson. While he struggled to gain any consistent yardage behind an offensive line that couldn't open any holes, Hillman did have a few nice runs when he could gain a crease. Seven of Hillman's runs, though, gained two yards or fewer, (including a 1-yard touchdown plunge late in the game). Hillman also split out wide and earned a target on 3rd-and-5, but pressure arrived early, the ball was thrown too far inside, and Hillman couldn't adjust in time to make the reception.

2015 Week 9 vs IND (7 / 1 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

For the second straight week after earning the starting job, Ronnie Hillman struggled to play through contact and was outplayed by his backfield-mate, C.J. Anderson. Hillman lost yardage on three of his seven carries and routinely left Denver stranded in 3rd-and-long situations. The speedy back, overly reliant on the home run, found himself instead striking out at every opportunity against a surprisingly active Colts' defensive front.

2015 Week 8 vs GB (19 / 60 / 2 rush, 2 / 1 / -5 / 0 rec)

Coming out of the bye, Denver decided to reward Ronnie Hillman for his early-season work with the starting job. For all practical purposes, this meant very little for Hillman's role- he still split carries down the middle with C.J. Anderson, but instead of coming off the bench on the first drive, he started on the field to begin with. Despite the misleadingly low yards per carry average, Hillman used his speed to gain the corner on several runs, including his second touchdown in which he danced through traffic at the line and then outran defenders at the second level to the corner of the end zone. Hillman also showed off a bit of power, slamming into the line to convert a 3rd-and-1 and tunneling under contact to sneak into the end zone on his first touchdown. All-in-all, it was a positive game, marred only by the fact that C.J. Anderson looked dramatically improved from his early-season form and made a strong case for more carries going forward.

2015 Week 6 vs CLE (20 / 111 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 4 / 0 rec)

Ronnie Hillman did not start the game against the Cleveland Browns, but it was apparent that the coaching staff was determined to work him into the rotation early and often. Hillman was on the field by Denver's 3rd offensive snap, and split the first half of action roughly 50/50 with fellow running back C.J. Anderson. Hillman's production was inconsistent as the line was unable to open clean holes, but when something was there, Hillman's speed helped him make the most of it, and his playing time increased in the second half. If there was one flaw in Hillman's game, it's that he continues to provide little in the passing game; one of Peyton Manning's three interceptions came on a pass that hit Hillman in both hands, but which he failed to bring in.

2015 Week 5 vs OAK (7 / 21 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)

Ronnie Hillman's role continued to expand against the Raiders, where he was still the second back on the field, but the rotation was nearly one of equals. Unfortunately for Hillman, it hardly seems to matter who is standing behind Peyton Manning at the snap, as the offensive line can't block anyone and neither running back can make anyone miss. Perhaps the lone bright spot, if it could be considered such, was that Denver has begun using Ronnie Hillman in the passing game more like C.J. Anderson; on Denver's first red zone drive, Hillman was split out wide and targeted in the end zone. But, as with all of his other opportunities in a frustrating afternoon, nothing came of it.

2015 Week 4 vs MIN (11 / 103 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)

In post-game interviews after posting his third career 100-yard rushing game, Ronnie Hillman said "We had three bad weeks of running the ball and tonight we got it started. This week it was just me and C.J. got tired of everyone trying to tell us that we can't run the ball." Unfortunately for Ronnie, outside of a 72-yard gallop on a stretch play where he beat every defender to the corner and then ran to daylight, that simply wasn't the case, as Denver's backs combined for 73 yards on their other 21 carries, a 3.48 per-carry average that was inflated by several draws against soft fronts in long yardage. Hillman's long gain was more than Denver had rushed for in any of its first three games this season, and it demonstrated perfectly why he's such an important part of Denver's rushing rotation. the rest of his afternoon showed why all of Denver's running backs have struggled, and will continue to struggle, until Denver's offensive line can begin opening holes with any consistency and keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield.

2015 Week 3 vs DET (7 / 13 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)

For a brief moment, after injuries to C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson in the first two quarters, it looked as if Ronnie Hillman might be the only running back remaining on Denver's active roster against the Lions. Anderson's sideline examination after a punishing hit ruled out a possible concussion, though, and Hillman split duties in the second half. Neither back was able to create any room to run against Detroit, with Hillman earning under two yards per carry. Hillman did score the team's only rushing touchdown on a 1-yard plunge where he managed to get small and plow through a slight crease at the goal line.

2015 Week 2 vs KC (9 / 34 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Nine carries for 34 yards is rarely cause for celebration, and his primary competition was nursing an injury, but Ronnie Hillman once again looked like the better back in Denver's rotation. With an overmatched offensive line, the holes Denver opened for its running game were often fleeting, and Hillman's speed better enabled him to reach them before they all-too-quickly closed again. In practice, this meant that he still got tackled at the line of scrimmage as often, but in the rare instances where something was there, he could squeeze out a couple extra yards before getting swarmed under. Anderson will have a long week to get healthy again, but Hillman is at least making a case that he deserves a bigger piece of the rushing pie.

2015 Week 1 vs BAL (12 / 41 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

As anticipated, Hillman parlayed a strong preseason showing into a job as a regular change of pace in the regular season. Hillman demonstrated strong running both between the tackles and outside of them. Hillman generally looked like the best back on the field, and was in the backfield for Denver's best drive, on which he gained three of Denver's four total rushing first downs of the day.


Latest News

Broncos | Ronnie Hillman finds end zone (Mon Nov 30, 01:45 AM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman rushed 14 times for 59 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the New England Patriots. He had one catch for no gain on his only target.

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Broncos | Ronnie Hillman finds running room (Sun Nov 22, 05:54 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman rushed for 102 yards on 21 carries against the Chicago Bears in Week 11.

Our View: The Broncos running game is finally resembling a Kubiak running game, and Hillman's speed to the outside and through his cuts is making him very effective. The Bears aren't a great run defense, but Hillman still has to be an RB2 heading into a matchup with the Patriots.
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Broncos | Ronnie Hillman officially probable (Fri Nov 20, 04:25 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (quadriceps) practiced in full Friday, Nov. 20, and he is listed as probable for the Week 11 game against the Chicago Bears.

Our View: Hillman's prospects as looking up as the starter in a Gary Kubiak offense that will finally get a full install of the running game.
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Broncos | Ronnie Hillman takes part in practice (Thu Nov 19, 06:13 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (quadriceps) fully participated in practice Thursday, Nov. 19.

Our View: This has been a pretty non-productive backfield, and as such even in a decent matchup we don't expect more than RB2/RB3 numbers.

Broncos | Ronnie Hillman will remain starter (Thu Nov 19, 03:27 PM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman will remain the starter again in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears, but RB C.J. Anderson will also see time.

Our View: Both running backs were trash last week, even allowing for the fact that the Broncos got behind by the end of the first half. Despite a few good moments here and there the Broncos backfield has disappointed. Hillman is the better play as an RB3 but Anderson is barely an RB4 and too risky to start.
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More News

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