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Montee Ball to be Denver Broncos' lead running back?

With Knowshon Moreno prepared to test the open market, the Denver Broncos are fully prepared to get younger at running back.

Mike Klis of The Denver Post believes the team will furnish second-year runner Montee Ball with "the first chance" at becoming their lead back in his second season.

That scenario makes plenty of sense for Denver's offense after the way Ball closed last season.

After failing to top 40 yards rushing from Week 4 through Week 12, the rookie exploded for 117 yards on the ground at nine yards per clip against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13. He closed the year by topping 70 yards twice down the stretch and stealing carries away from Moreno deep into the postseason.

Ball went from averaging 6.6 carries over his first 11 games to 9.1 over the final eight, including Denver's Super Bowl run. After averaging three yards or fewer per tote in seven of his first 10 outings, Ball rumbled for five-plus yards per attempt in five of his six final regular-season appearances.

Denver also has young C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman to feed the rock to, but Ball is an ideal candidate to take the lead and eclipse Moreno's 241 carries from 2013.

Broncos general manager John Elway said at the combine that he'd like to take pressure off Peyton Manning with a more powerful run game. In an offense that gives backs plenty of appealing looks from defenses wedded to stopping the air attack, Ball is a candidate for a breakout campaign.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" weighs in on Monday's franchise-tag surprises and unpacks all the 49ers drama out west.

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