When football America watches the telecast of the Broncos' Sept. 5 season opener in Denver against the Baltimore Ravens, Ronnie Hillman knows what he'd like everyone to see.

"Come the opener, I want to be the guy back there," Hillman said. "I can't lie. I want it to be me and I'm pushing to be that guy."

Running back will be one of the biggest depth chart issues to be resolved when Denver's training camp opens July 25.

The Broncos released Willis McGahee, their most proven tailback, on June 13. That leaves Hillman, a 2012 draft pick, rookie Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno, a 2009 draft pick coming off knee surgery, battling for the starting job. The Broncos made it clear during organized team activities and minicamp, when Hillman spent the majority of the time with the No. 1 offense, that he's earned the first look.

But with quarterback Peyton Manning having had one-on-one tutorials with Ball about pass protection and pass routes, the Broncos appear ready to use the former Wisconsin star in some of those situations.
"We're all just in there doing our thing," Hillman said. "Everybody wants to play and I think all of us feel like we can play. I know it's about production, that I have to produce to be in there. That's how they'll decide: who's producing."

Hillman needs to maintain his weight during the season, prove he can run between the tackles and avoid missteps in pass protection. He fell victim to the NFL grind last year. His weight had dropped below 180 pounds by the time the Broncos met the Ravens in the playoffs.