The Denver Broncos made a not-so-shocking move this past week when they released running back Willis McGahee. The veteran had been battling injuries throughout his entire career, and it just got to a point where the Broncos didn’t want to risk another season being cut short. The reason they were able to make this move without thinking twice about it? Montee Ball.
The Broncos knew just what they were doing when they took the speedy back in the second round of this year’s draft, as they knew eventually he’d become the man in the backfield. It only ended up taking a few short weeks for the team to realize that Ball was indeed their man, and McGahee became expendable.
With most teams, a rookie running back would be a concern, but not with the Broncos. With Peyton Manning running the show, and a ridiculous group of receivers in place, running backs are just complimentary in Denver right now. But with Ball, the Broncos have a guy who should flirt with 1,000 yards, right out of the gate.
I ripped Ball last year when he decided to return to college for his senior year, and while I still don’t agree with his decision, he ultimately ended up in a great situation. During his Heisman finalist season in 2011, Ball finished with a whopping 39 touchdowns and 2,229 yards from scrimmage. He amassed over 300 yards through the air, a number which should increase in Denver.
Ball will fit in nicely with Manning and his crew of receivers, and there really won’t be too much pressure on the rookie in the pass-first offense. Fans shouldn’t expect any drop in production with the rookie getting the bulk of the carries this season, and if anything, he probably makes the Broncos a better overall team.
Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter