The third-year back's four fumbles over two seasons have all but squelched the hype over a player once touted as a third-down X-factor behind Peyton Manning.
"We've talked to him, (running backs coach) Eric (Studesville) and myself, as far as: 'Hey, this is a new start to the year. Whatever happened in the past, you've got to build off it. We've just got to start over,'" offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Saturday, per The Denver Post.
With Montee Ball primed for bell-cow duties, Hillman finished last season notched behind C.J. Anderson, who earned the team's trust down the stretch as a rookie. Asked if Hillman was in a fight for his roster spot, Gase told the newspaper: "I can't say make or break, because I don't know what that is. He's got to work his butt off and make sure he puts himself in a great position to contribute this year."
Coach John Fox in February called Hillman a "tremendous talent," but the Broncos were in no position to deactivate "tremendous talent" against a Seattle defense that mopped the floor with Elway's roster on the game's biggest stage.
Losing his job is unlikely but, after Hillman saw his carries and yardage decline in Year 2, no player on this offense is under more pressure to light it up come training camp.