Broncos running back Montee Ball said in February that he expected to play a "huge role" for Denver this season, but he isn't under the impression the team will award him the starting job without a fight.
"I know for a fact they're not going to hand it to me. They're going to make sure we all get our opportunities throughout camp and throughout OTAs, but it's going to be who's the most productive," Ball said this week, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold. "But for me, my mentality is that it is my job."
The departure of Knowshon Moreno all but paved the way for Ball to shift into the bell-cow role in Denver's backfield. He called the roster shuffling a "great opportunity for me and the other running backs to step up to the plate," but it was Ball who outpaced Moreno down the stretch last season, piling up 393 rushing yards (5.4 yards per carry) to Moreno's 375 (3.9 YPC) from Week 13 through the Super Bowl.
Ball was a workhorse at Wisconsin, amassing 924 carries for 5,140 yards and 77 touchdowns on the ground over four seasons. Elway labeled him a Terrell Davis clone last spring and Denver's current quarterback, Peyton Manning, praised Ball's "work ethic" and "mental capabilities to handle the workload."
Barring a stunning tumble in the lead up to September's opener, Ball is poised for major production in Denver's quest to return to the Super Bowl.