Montee Ball was expected to eventually take over the featured back roll in the Denver Broncos' offense after Willis McGahee was cut loose before training camp, but the Wisconsin rookie first had to convince the coaching staff he could handle blocking assignments.
Just how far he has progressed with his blocking is still up for debate, but Ball practiced with the first-team offense Monday.
"I've been getting reps with them prior to today. Today, I got a little bit more," said Ball. "There are just some things that I need to work on that I'm really looking forward to attacking right now."
Head coach John Fox said it was "just practice," trying to downplay the significant of Ball's increased practice time with the starters.
"I wouldn't read too much into anything. We're evaluating everybody regardless of who gets what reps at what numbers," said Fox. "He's a guy that we want to get touches and we'll go from there."
Ronnie Hillman has fumbled three times through three preseason games, and was seen walking around Monday carrying a football everywhere he went.
Knowshon Moreno remains on the roster, and at least provides a veteran presence who knows the blocking schemes and doesn't have a burgeoning history of turning the football over.
Despite looming roster cuts, Fox cautioned not to overreact to Ball's reps Monday.
"I wouldn't read too much into that," said Fox. "Whoever we keep we're going to lean on and we'll play and I think our track record says that."