One More Chance for Ronnie Hillman


Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) runs the ball during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman has one more shot to prove he can be a contributor, I can’t believe I just wrote that. It was just two weeks ago that I was leading the campaign for him to be released and now I believe he has a shot to save his career.

Before we get too far into Hillman, it’s important to remember that the Broncos will use three backs in the absence of starter Montee Ball who is out for 3-4 weeks with a groin injury. Both CJ Anderson and Juwan Thompson well get plenty of opportunities as well.

However it is Hillman who has the most to gain and the most to lose.

In the second half versus the Arizona Cardinals, Hillman did all of the things that he had struggled with through his first two seasons. He put one foot into the ground and hit the hole. He didn’t spend time dancing in the backfield or trying to bounce everything to the outside. Hillman also brings something that might help a struggling offensive line, speed.

Ball, for whatever reason, was struggling to get to the line of scrimmage so when there was a hole, it was closed before he got there. Hillman was getting to the holes much quicker and as a result he turned in some decent runs versus a very good defense.

The Cardinals were worn down in the second half and that certainly contributed to some of those holes, but the running game had life for the first time in 2014.

At the risk of repeating myself for the 100th time, Hillman has always had the talent and his skill set is perfect for this offense. However he refused to grow up and learn how to be a professional. Most people believed the last straw was the incident in Dallas that landed him in the doghouse again. We may never know what happened but maybe that was the thing that finally hit home for Hillman.

For the first time in his career, Hillman looked like he had a grasp of the offense. He hit the holes as we touched on already and even looked decent in pass protection. He also showed that burst of speed that was supposed to be his number one asset coming out of San Diego State.

There were a couple of runs where he got to the second level and was one move, or broken tackle away from breaking a really long run. Hillman can also be a threat in the passing game out of the backfield especially with all of the threats the Broncos have down the field.

Now I’m not crazy, I don’t think Hillman is going to be the next great dual threat back but he has a chance to save his career and help the Broncos in the process. This is it though, if he blows this then it will be time to pull the plug and admit he was a bust.

The Broncos have shown a lot of faith in Hillman, probably too much, and now it’s time for him to be a professional and repay that faith.