The hiring of Gary Kubiak as the Denver Broncos head coach figures to have a dramatic impact on the Denver Broncos rushing attack. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator of the Broncos from 1995 through 2005, and with Kubiak back in the fold, the Broncos will transition back to a zone blocking scheme. Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme, or zbs, has helped running backs like Terrell Davis and Arian Foster achieve superstardom in the past.

The Broncos ran for 15 touchdowns during the 2014 NFL season. C.J. Anderson accounted for eight rushing touchdowns; Ronnie Hillman ran in three scores, as did Juwan Thompson, while Montee Ball, the NCAAs all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, managed only one.

Late last season, the undrafted Anderson exploded onto the scene with a 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown off a screen pass against the Raiders, breaking about six tackles on the play. In the seven ensuing weeks, Anderson rushed for eight touchdowns as the Broncos starting tailback and accounted for 849 rushing yards on 4.7 yards-per-carry. Anderson’s impressive half-season ended with a trip to the Pro Bowl.

But that was last year. With the renewed focus on the run game, it stands to reason that the backfield will be seeing the end zone far more often in 2015. So, who’s likely to score the most rushing touchdowns for Denver?

The Broncos open the 2015 NFL season on September 13, playing host to the Baltimore Ravens. Anderson may have led the team in rushing TD’s last season, but there are no guarantees for the upcoming season.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak told Andrew Mason of that Anderson will begin the offseason program as the starting running back. 

“He made a big jump as a player, and I think he’s earned the right to walk in to the offseason program — the OTAs — and line up as our starter,” Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. “But he’s got to continue to earn it on a daily basis.”

Kubiak said he will give the other running backs on the roster the opportunity to earn touches.

“We’ll give them all a chance and see how it pans out, but C.J. obviously has a good head start on things,” Kubiak said.

Though Anderson has the head start, there are other talented players in the Broncos backfield.

Juwan Thompson is a fan favorite. Undrafted out of Duke, Thompson ran for three scores last season, and did most of his work in short-yardage situations. Thompson, who may make the transition to fullback, is a bruiser who embraces contact. If the Broncos find themselves on the 1-yard line often, Juwan Thompson could be the one doing the scoring.

Montee Ball has a nose for the end zone, indicated by his NCAA-record for touchdowns. Ball entered the 2014-15 season as the Broncos starting running back. Lackluster results and groin injuries paved the way for CJ Anderson, but Ball is ready to attack next season with ferocity. He is working to regain his starting position, and according to what Demarcus Ware told the Denver Post, “He’s really coming out with a tenacity like, ‘You know what, when you give me that ball, I’m trying to get to the end zone.'” That attitude, coupled with the talent that led to the Broncos selecting Ball in the second round, could mean very big things this season, and a whole slew of touchdowns.

The most-likely way Ronnie Hillman leads the team in rushing touchdowns is if the injury bug bites the Broncos and both Ball and Anderson go down. Hillman is the change-of-pace back, built for speed, but with the talent available in the Denver backfield, the touches likely won’t be there.

So, who will have the most rushing TDs?


Bryce Rudnick, a Mile High Sports intern and CU-Boulder student, contributed to this report.