Steady, Montee. Keep it rolling, C.J.

The Broncos believe it's time to take the training wheels off their kid running backs, Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson.

"I can't wait," Anderson said Tuesday. "It's an opportunity. It's up to us to take advantage of the opportunity."

Knowshon Moreno gave the Broncos his courage, his toughness, his remarkable resiliency. He gave them more than 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in 2013, and he gave them 13 touchdowns rushing and receiving combined.

It appears unlikely Moreno will give the Broncos a sixth season.

A first-round draft pick in 2009, Moreno is a free agent, and the Broncos appear willing to let him go in exchange for pushing second-year backs Ball and Anderson up a notch.

Ronnie Hillman, a third-year back who was a third-round draft pick in 2012, will get a chance to re-establish himself as a change-of-pace backup, but the Broncos also are planning to sign a free agent who can push their young stable of rushers along.

The group of free-agent running backs includes New England's LaGarrette Blount, Oakland's Darren McFadden, Houston's Ben Tate, Indianapolis' Donald Brown and Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew.

But if those backs hope to start from the moment they sign their contracts, the Broncos probably aren't their team. The Broncos want to give Ball the first chance at becoming their No. 1 running back in 2014.

Selected out of Wisconsin in the second round of the 2013 draft, Ball is expected to move up from his backup role, where he rushed for 559 yards on 4.7 yards per carry as a rookie.