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Montee Ball fighting for roster spot on Broncos

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Is Montee Ball on the bubble in Denver?

Buried down the depth chart, the third-year Broncos running back is scheduled to see major time in the team's fourth-and-final preseason game on Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals.

"Montee and Kapri (Bibbs) are going to get the bulk of the work in the game," said coach Gary Kubiak, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold. "They both deserve plenty of touches and they should get them coming out of this game, and they will both play special teams a great deal, too."

Kubiak vowed to get Ball "a bunch of carries" in what boils down to an acid test for the former second-round pick who was selected ahead of Eddie Lacy, Joseph Randle, Latavius Murray and Andre Ellington. Once seen as Denver's workhorse in waiting, Ball has fallen behind C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson in the pecking order. 

Ball pumped out 559 yards at 4.7 yards per carry as a rookie in 2013, but fell off the map last year with just 172 yards at a disappointing 3.1 yards per pop. A preseason appendectomy sapped him early in the season before Ball was sidelined with a string of groin injuries.

Set to count $944,816 against the cap, Ball promised this offseason that he'd be "ready to win the job" after watching Anderson tear it up down the stretch in 2014. He was visibly frustrated after failing to see a carry until very late against the 49ers last week, saying, per The Denver Post: "I was really surprised by that. I barely got any touches. I guess that's the way they wanted to do it."

Ball's shot to make the team likely boils down to whether he or Bibbs shows more on special teams. Plugged in beat writer Mike Klis doesn't expect Ball to make the cut, but either way, his tumble is another reminder that draft stock alone means very little three years into one's NFL career.

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