Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 23 Hrs

Hillman did not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Cowboys.

Not that there was any doubt, but Hillman's absence from Thursday's game essentially confirms that he'll enter the season as Montee Ball's top backup. However, the undersized Hillman doesn't profile as a three-down workhorse, so he'd likely split touches with C.J. Anderson and/or Juwan Thompson in the event of an injury to Ball.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 6 Days

Working as the No. 2 running back, Hillman had 24 yards on seven carries and five yards on one reception in Saturday's preseason game as the Texans.

With Montee Ball (appendix) making his preseason debut, Hillman fell into the backup role that he figures to occupy at the beginning of the season. While C.J. Anderson also got some first-team work, Hillman remains the favorite to serve as Ball's top backup. UDFA Juwan Thompson could also be a factor in the event of a Ball injury.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 12 Days

Hillman started Sunday's preseason game against the 49ers and finished with four carries for 19 rushing yards and one catch on two targets for six receiving yards.

Hillman got the start in place of Montee Ball, who is still sidelined after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last week. C.J. Anderson, who is competing with Hillman for the backup job, ran for a touchdown, although his 3.2 YPC average fell well short of Hillman's 4.8 on Sunday. Neither back separated himself from the other, so Hillman remains the front-runner for the No. 2 spot through two preseason games.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 19 Days

Hillman will continue to be the Broncos' top running back, with Montee Ball possibly not playing at all in the preseason after undergoing an emergency appendectomy earlier this week, the Denver Post reports.

Ball is still expected to be the starter in Week 1, but Hillman has a great chance to show what he can do, as C.J. Anderson, who is competing with Hillman for the backup job, is currently sidelined after suffering a concussion in Thursday's preseason opener against the Seahawks. Hillman's best shot at regular playing time is as a third-down back, provided Ball is healthy, as he is a very good pass-catcher, which could make him valuable in many PPR leagues.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 22 Days

Starting in place of Montee Ball (appendectomy), Hillman gained 15 yards on six carries and five yards on one reception in Thursday's preseason opener against the Seahawks.

C.J. Anderson suffered a concussion, and UDFA Juwan Thompson rumbled for 59 yards on just six carries. Hillman is thought to be ahead of Anderson for the No. 2 role, but there's been some talk of Thompson getting occasional goal-line work with the second-team offense in practice. Should Ball unexpectedly not make it back for Week 1, the Broncos might use a committee at running back. If Ball is fine, Hillman could still handle some of the third-down work, in addition to spelling the former Wisconsin Badger.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 23 Days2 Comments

Hillman is in line to start Thursday's preseason opener against the Seahawks, the Denver Post reports.

With Montee Ball sidelined due to an emergency appendectomy, Hillman will look to take advantage of starter's reps during the Broncos first exhibition showdown. The 22-year-old back was listed in the No. 2 spot on the team's first preseason depth chart, so it's only fitting that he'll see a heavy workload in the opener. Holding on to the ball will be key for Hillman, as fumbling issues were the contributing cause to him being forced out of the mix during the Broncos' 2013 campaign. Along with Hillman, C.J. Anderson is another likely candidate to receive a meaningful workload Thursday.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 25 Days

Hillman will see more first-team reps during the preseason, with Montee Ball undergoing an emergency appendectomy Monday, the Denver Post reports.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 1 Month

Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman "has usually been the second running back up" during camp.

Montee Ball is the unquestioned starter in Denver, but the competition behind him is wide open. Despite C.J. Anderson being the crowd favorite to win the job, Hillman seems to be ahead at this point in camp. Hillman has all the tools to be an effective NFL back, but with four fumbles in only 140 career carries, he has to improve his ball security if he hopes to earn a role in Denver's offense. Hillman is currently going undrafted in standard fantasy leagues.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 3 Months

Broncos OC Adam Gase reiterated at OTAs that he sees Denver's No. 2 tailback job as "wide open."

Montee Ball is entrenched as the top back, with Ronnie Hillman, C.J. Anderson, and UDFAs Kapri Bibbs and Brennan Clay competing for scraps. "Everybody behind Montee is competing for the second spot," Gase said. "Whoever wants to step up and take that spot, that's what we're looking for." Anderson is the best bet, but Hillman has enough talent to keep the battle going deep into camp.

Ronnie Hillman RB DEN 3 Months1 Comment

Broncos OC Adam Gase has made it "clear" that improvement is needed from Ronnie Hillman.

"We've talked to him," Gase said. "We've just got to start over. 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." Hillman's roster spot should be secure, but he's going to have a heck of a time trying to fight off C.J. Anderson for No. 2 duties behind Montee Ball. Hillman needs to hang onto the football. He's fumbled for times the past two years.