Denver Broncos rookie running back Montee Ball is getting some extra attention from quarterback Peyton Manning, who is doing all he can during OTAs to get Ball prepared to play in the regular season. Manning expects Ball to be an important part of Denver's offense this season (via USA TODAY's Lindsay H. Jones):
"We're just kind of going through plays, going through games, getting him comfortable hearing audibles at the line of scrimmage. Because we are going to count on him in a big way this year," Manning said. "He's a rookie, but coach (John) Fox isn't going to bring him along slowly."
The team's top two rushers from a year ago, Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, are not participating in the voluntary workouts, which is one reason why Ball became a priority for Manning. McGahee is in Miami rehabbing the knee injury he suffered last season, and Moreno is recovering from a knee injury sustained in the playoffs.
With those two absent, the bulk of the work is left to Ball and Ronnie Hillman, who was third on the team in rushing as a rookie in 2012.
Ball had a prolific college career, rushing for more than 5,100 yards in four seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers. His best season was 2011, when he ran for 1,923 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. He scored 39 touchdowns that year, which tied the NCAA single-season record.