A groin injury that forced Ball onto injured reserve last year limited him to five games and allowed C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman to leapfrog over him. Juwan Thompson is also in the mix, so Ball understands his predicament.
"C.J. deserves the No. 1 spot right now," Ball told The Associated Press. "I like coming in and being the underdog, just keeping my head down, my mouth shut and just working."
Ball averaged just 3.1 yards on 55 carries a year ago. But he seeks to prove he's better than that, which he must do to supplant the others and nail down the featured back spot.
"Every player should be saying, if they're second or third on the depth chart: 'I'm better than that player. I'm better than him," Ball added. "Because I believe that I am. But there's no reason for me to be chanting that and yelling that. I'm just going ... to work and work and work."
"He made a big jump as a player, and I think he's earned the right to walk in to the offseason program -- the OTAs -- and line up as our starter," Kubiak said, per DenverBroncos.com. "But he's got to continue to earn it on a daily basis. I think he's shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we're really looking forward to working with him."
Anderson rushed for 849 yards and eight touchdowns last season, most coming late in the season, after
"All those guys are young. I think all three of those guys ... have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they've had their opportunity," Kubiak said. "But they're all young. Who's going to be the bell cow, who's going to play every down, who's going to be the three-down player, they've got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that."
Ball also must compete with
"I have known about his system for a while, and what he accomplished," Anderson said of Kubiak. "One cut downhill and go get it. It fits me and the offense well. It's always been successful. He knows the team we have and what we can do. I can't wait to get started working with him."
Anderson will enter next season as the team's No. 1 back, though he'll have to fight off challenges from
Ball, a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, rushed for 559 yards behind Knowshon Moreno his rookie season. He underwent an emergency appendectomy 19 days before the start of the season. He was the uncontested No. 1 back for the first four weeks before suffering a groin injury Week 4 against Arizona. The injury cost Ball six weeks of game action, and he aggravated on the second play against St. Louis in Week 11. His 2014 campaign ends with only 172 yards and a score on 55 carries.
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