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Yes, Montee Ball is a backup. Yes, the Broncos can survive if Ball doesn’t step up.
However, with an upcoming spike in carries likely, the Broncos would benefit from Ball helping his team down the stretch.
Knowshon Moreno has been phenomenal with nine total touchdowns, but he has handled a heavy workload. Denver wants to rest Moreno for the postseason, so it needs a reliable backup to share the workload.
Ball can be that reliable backup.
However, to do that, he will need to start picking up more yardage consistently. His fumbling concerns have been silenced due to his recent play, but he still hasn’t been able to break any big runs. Ball has just 197 yards and a touchdown on 60 carries, which is fewer than 3.3 yards per carry.
Those numbers are horrendous, and if Ball can’t improve them, he should lose playing time. C.J. Anderson is eagerly waiting in the wings and has the potential to do good things with carries. Unfortunately for Anderson, the Broncos are giving Ball every chance to improve.
Ball will keep running the ball as Moreno’s backup. The Broncos spent a second-round pick on him, and they want the pick to pay off. It might not seem like the best plan if Anderson is capable, but it’s what the Broncos will do.
And it’s up to Ball to make it work.
Denver needs to win down the stretch to secure a first-round bye, and it needs to do so without Moreno full time. To make up for Moreno’s expected dip in snaps, Denver needs more from its underwhelming rookie.