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Montee Ball gets first-team snaps with Broncos

Montee Ball, Robert Steeples

Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (38) pushes through St. Louis Rams defensive back Robert Steeples (36) in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)


Denver Broncos head coach John Fox insists he hasn’t lost faith in running back Ronnie Hillman after three fumbles in two games.

However, Fox’s decisions as to who gets first-team reps in practice may tell a different story.

According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, it was Montee Ball, not Hillman, that received the first-team carries for the Broncos in practice on Monday. Hillman meanwhile was relegated to the old school treatment of carrying a football around with him wherever he went.

Hillman fumbled twice, losing one, in the Broncos’ second preseason game in Seattle two weeks ago. He coughed up the ball again against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The fumble was returned for a touchdown by Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree. Hillman had carried six times for 34 yards before losing the fumbling and finding a seat on the bench.

Hillman is a talented runner but constantly putting the ball on the turf will quickly outweigh the benefits of having him on the field. Perhaps Ball’s opportunity to run with the first-team will help drive home that point even more.