Montee Ball expects more playing time in Denver


There was a time when pairing rookie running back Montee Ball with Peyton Manning seemed like a no brainer; a way to diversify Denver's offense and take pressure off the aging All-Pro.

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Three years later, Ball is still buried on Denver's depth chart. With 175 rushing attempts in two seasons, he has yet to take off the way the team had hoped.

During Denver's latest preseason game, he was essentially the fourth-string running back.

"I was expecting a lot more playing time," Ball said, via the team's website. "It caught me off guard. But my head's not down; I'm going to keep it up and keep fighting."

It might be easy to forget that Ball, a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, was selected a few picks ahead of Green Bay's Eddie Lacy and hundreds of picks before C.J. Anderson, the undrafted running back who has overtaken Ball's spot on the Broncos' depth chart.

And while this doesn't seem to matter now -- so long as Denver has a capable option behind Manning, they'll be fine -- remember a year ago when Manning was injured and desperate for a running game to pick up the slack.

That takes more than one all-around power back.