The hiring of Gary Kubiak has altered the offensive focus of the
That is no problem for
"With the situation right now, you got to use me and C.J.," he told the Denver Post. "I think you have to use two backs. It's a two-back system based on what he did last season."
Ball was referring to Kubiak's 2014 season as offensive coordinator in Baltimore in which he turned Justin Forsett into a productive back with a system that featured the running game. Kubiak used a two-back situation with Denver in 2005 (Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell) and Houston (Arian Foster and Ben Tate) in 2011. Both teams received strong production from both backs, but not necessarily in the backfield at the same time.
Kubiak, however, employs a stretch-run, zone-blocking scheme that depends on multiple running backs.
Ball, who was limited by injury to o 52 carries last season, might be optimistic in his belief that he is one of the top two backs on the roster. Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson are also in the mix for playing time.
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
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