January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) runs after a hand off from quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the first half against the New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Montee Ball has made big improvements in passing game

Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball is one of the biggest breakout candidates in the league right now, and he has one of the best opportunities in the league at the running back position. While the Broncos will always be a passing team with Peyton Manning and his group of weapons, the Broncos elite passing game does wonders for the rushing attack. Knowshon Moreno had a career year against soft fronts last season, and Ball was a beast near the end of the season when given a chance. He was rated highly among fantasy experts before the season started, but he didn’t take the starting role at the beginning of the year, as the Broncos seemed to prefer to ease him in to things.

According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Jeff Legwold, Ball has made “vast improvements” as a receiver and a pass protector this offseason, and this could make him the unquestioned three-down, feature back in the Broncos passing game. Ball looks like an underrated receiver from this view, as he caught 20 passes last season and is making improvements on top of that. Moreno was an elite pass protecting running back last year, so the focus is on Ball to at least be adequate in that regard.

There’s little doubt in my mind that Ball is a more talented rusher than Moreno, and he has a real nose for the end zone. With better ball security and more well-rounded play, the former Wisconsin star will be well on his way to a big season in Denver. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t shatter the 1,000 yard mark, and the number of carries he gets might dictate how he goes. With the Broncos figuring to jump out to early, big leads with their potent passing attack, Ball has plenty of garbage time potential as well.

Tags: Denver Broncos Montee Ball

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