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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 13): Hillman ran hard, didn't fumble, and didn't otherwise do anything to lose his hold on the starting job. John Fox has been tough to predict, but there's no reason for him to go away from Hillman at San Francisco, or until Hillman has a meltdown (which he has before). Consider him a solid RB2 as long as Denver keeps the 50/50 balance they had against the Jets (which is not a given).

Week 7: vs San Francisco 49ers

Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. With Montee Ball shelved due to a torn groin muscle, Ronnie Hillman elevated his game against the Jets' formidable defensive front and posted a solid 24/100/0 rushing with 3/16/0 receiving - he did have one fumble during the game (a special problem of Hillman's), but Denver didn't lose possession of the ball due to his miscue. All in all, it was a great effort from the backup running back. Juwan Thompson had 8/38/0 rushing and 1/0/0 receiving in a change-of-pace role for the Broncos, while C.J. Anderson got in for one snap of the football and no touches. It looks like the Broncos will go with Hillman/Thompson as their main duo of backs moving forwards. San Francisco allowed 24/93/1 rushing to the St. Louis committee of backs last week, and 20/107/1 to the Kansas City rushers two weeks ago - the 49ers are currently ranked fifth in the NFL averaging 79.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with three rushing scores given out to date. Recently, the 49ers' rush D has shown cracks compared to their early-season dominance. This is a tough, but not impossible, matchup for Hillman and Thompson.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPRSHYDTDTARGRECYDTDFumL
3 at SEA 2 2 0 3 1 7 0 0
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
7 vs SF PROJ-Dodds 16 * * 2 * * *
7 vs SF PROJ-Tremblay 15 * * 2 * * *
7 vs SF PROJ-Bloom 18 * * 2 * * *

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.

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Latest News

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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Broncos | Ronnie Hillman the guy (Thu Oct 9, 10:40 AM) - Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman will serve as the lead running back in RB Montee Ball's (groin) absence. 'Ronnie has played at different times, in different amounts, but when you're the starting back and running out there in pregame warm-ups as a starting back, it's a different hat that you wear,' said QB Peyton Manning. 'There's no question he has a burst that is pretty unique when he gets the ball in his hands. It's our job to give him space.'

Our View: Hillman has had his shot before and (literally) dropped the ball, so we'll believe he keeps it when we see it. C.J. Anderson could still see plenty of work of Hillman can't keep it together. Neither one is more than a Flex/RB3 until we see how this shakes out.
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Broncos | Montee Ball likely out three games (Tue Oct 7, 10:08 AM) - Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball (groin) is likely to miss the next three games because the team plays those three games in a span of 12 days.

Our View: Nobody is exactly sure how long Ball will be out. Three weeks seems like a minimum for Ball, but it may be longer. In the meantime, roll the dice on this backfield. There is no way to tell what John Fox is going to do here. C.J. Anderson might be the best fit, but we could see Ronnie Hillman get the first crack at the job. Throw in rookie Juwan Thompson and you have a mess.
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Broncos | Montee Ball has major injury? (Mon Oct 6, 04:04 PM) - Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball (groin) is expected to be out for a significant amount of time after suffering a groin injury in the team's Week 5 game, according to a team source. In his absence, RB Ronnie Hillman will step into the lead running back role, with RBs Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson also seeing action.

Our View: This report has now been somewhat shot down by local Denver reporters. At this time, Ball could be out a couple of weeks. We'll see if that changes when more information is revealed about the nature of his injury.
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Schedule

7vs San Francisco 49ers
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