The Broncos haven't said "so long" to Knowshon Moreno just yet. But if they let him walk in free agency, Montee Ball wants everyone to know that he is ready to run with the starting job next season.
"Of course, obviously I have no idea what's going to happen with [Moreno] and this organization, but I do want to be a starter, and yeah, I want the football every time," Ball told Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post. "I think I'm going to have a great offseason, and I'm going to have a better season next year for sure."
Ball's first season was a little topsy-turvy. He was rarely used during the first half of the season, mostly due to fumbles in consecutive games early on and his struggles as a blocker. Ball then saw his usage increase in the second half of the season, and he averaged 6.5 yards per carry over 52 carries in the final six regular-season games.
Ball went through typical growing pains as a rookie, and he acknowledged to Hochman that he has much more confidence and understanding on being a successful running back at the NFL level than he did six months ago. Moreno is probably going to cash in after a career year, and the Broncos know that they probably won't hang on to him. If that's the case, expect them to turn the running game over to the 23-year-old Ball. He won't receive every carry, but if he gets as many touches as Moreno did this season (302), Ball should produce strong RB2 numbers in this offense. And he is definitely built to take on that kind of workload. If Ball makes standard progressions from year one to year two in his areas of weakness, he should have a true breakout season in 2014.