Ronnie Hillman prepping for 'responsibility' as starter


Ronnie Hillman will need to update his LinkedIn page after Sunday. It should read: Ronnie Hillman: Starting NFL running back.

For at least the next several weeks the third-year back will start in place of Montee Ball for the Denver Broncos.

"You feel a little more responsibility to go out there and perform right away, not watching somebody else go out there," Hillman said of the difference between starting and coming off the bench, per The Denver Post.

Hillman was supposed to be the Broncos' change-of-pace back last season, but the role never fully materialized after a fumbling issue arose and he was buried on the depth chart.

Peyton Manning sounded comfortable with Hillman's skill set, even if Sunday's game against the Jets will be the back's first career start.

"Ronnie has played at different times, in different amounts, but when you're the starting back and running out there in pregame warmups as a starting back, it's a different hat that you wear," said 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."

Hillman showed that burst through the hole last week against a stingy Cardinals run defense. If he does similarly against the Jets on Sunday he could turn that part-time starting gig into a larger timeshare when Ball returns.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses the top 10 disappointments and breaks down the surprising NFC East. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.