Second-year running back Ronnie Hillman entered the preseason as the favorite to win the Denver Broncos‘ starting running back job after the team released veteran Willis McGahee this offseason. The team did draft Wisconsin rookie Ronnie Hillman in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but he’s more of a power-back, and Hillman is a much-better receiver, which fits better into a Peyton Manning-led offense.
But a disastrous preseason had many wondering if Hillman would even get significant playing time once the preseason ended and the Baltimore Ravens were in town for the regular-season opener. He’s fumbled away the ball three times in the past two games, and they all came in critical moments that could ultimately decide a game in the regular-season.
One week after he fumbled while trying to dive into the end zone against the Seattle Seahawks, Hillman was stripped by a St. Louis Rams defender after catching a swing pass from Manning in Saturday’s preseason game vs. the Rams, and he returned the fumble 13 yards for a touchdown.
Broncos Head Coach John fox made Hillman the first-team RB today at practice, and it apepars he still has complete faith in his young back:
“I still have great confidence,” Fox said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “It’s something we worked very hard on last week, something we’ll work very hard on this week. I think the one this week was altogether different. I personally think his progress was stopped otherwise he’s got to get on the ground faster or do a better job hanging on to the ball when a guy’s yanking on it late in the down.”