Week three of the preseason is largely considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season. Starters play into the third quarter and this is the week of the preseason that looks most like a regular season contest. The Broncos played the Rams on Saturday night at Sport Authority Field at Mile High. The final score isn't as important as what we saw unfold on the football field. In the game there were some questions answered some questions raised and we now have a better feel for what kind of team we'll see in week one against the Baltimore Ravens. Here's what stood out to me at the RB position.

Running backs

Ronnie Hillman or Montee Ball? And what about Knowshon Moreno? Those are the questions surrounding this ground game. In the game against the Rams we saw both positives and negatives from both.

Hillman looked good as a runner and receiver early on in the game but a fumble in the second quarter may have cost him the starting job. Before the Rams game new Broncos Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said fumbling (like Hillman did against
Seattle) was unacceptable.

I asked Gase which was more critical for the young RBs pass protection or ball security.

“I’d say both are equally as important. For ball security when the ball is in your hand it can’t be on the ground. What happened the other day? I’m telling you —unacceptable. It’s not going to happen; it’s not going to happen anymore. We’re not going to put the ball on the ground or else they’re not going to carry it." Gase continued "In pass protection their job is to make sure ‘18’ (QB Peyton Manning) doesn’t get touched and that’s what they’re going to do.”

After the game John Fox answered questions immediately about Hillman and his fumble.

On RB Ronnie Hillman:

“I still have great confidence. I mean we ran the ball pretty effectively –– I think we had 30 carries for 140-plus yards about 4.5 yards per carry. I think it’s very evident that we still turn the ball over four times and we’re still able to win. That’s the bright side. The not-so-bright side is we had four turnovers. The stuff that we worked so hard on last week we will work very hard again on it this week. When we have young players learning to play in the league for the first time it can happen. We just have got to eliminate that before the regular season.”

On if Hillman has put himself in a tougher spot after multiple fumbles:

“Well I think the (fumble) this week was altogether different. I personally thought his progress was stopped; otherwise he’s got to get on the ground faster or do a better job of holding onto the ball when guys yank on him late in the down. Again every one of these things is a learning experience for these guys. I think he will work on it so I have not lost confidence in him whatsoever.”

Taking the coach at his word it sounds like Hillman could very much still be in the mix at RB.