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9/12/2018 6:38 am  #1

en Albertas Kevin Koe and B.C.s John M

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Montee Ball acknowledges he was "a little bit" intimidated by Peyton Manning last year, something he says contributed to his slow start. Trying to please the famously meticulous quarterback is enough to unnerve any rookie, even one who ran for an NCAA-record 83 touchdowns at Wisconsin. "He did a great job of calming me down, though, keeping me comfortable, working with me after practice," Ball said. "But Im still a little nervous, of course. Im only human." A jittery Ball failed to win the starting job last year after he whiffed on Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner in the preseason and Manning got squished. Then, after fumbling just twice in 924 carries in college, he matched that total in his first 31 runs in the NFL. Again, butterflies. "I was nervous, trying to do too much," Ball said. That Ball was a bundle of nerves around Manning came as somewhat of a surprise to offensive co-ordinator Adam Gase. "You dont usually hear anybody saying anything when theyre going through it. Now that were a year removed, Im sure hes kind reflects back and says, man, I felt like this. But if he was like that, he hid it pretty good," Gase said Friday. "I just kind of looked at it like he was a rookie and there were a lot of things going on and he just locked up a little bit. "And I watch him now and I feel like he can just play football now." Ball finally settled down and by December he had a tight grip on both the football and his role in Denvers record-breaking offence. He finished his rookie year with 559 yards rushing and four TDs. "The first half I was a little shaky in there," Ball said. "Im man enough to admit that I was making terrible mistakes early on. But it finally came along. Like they say, better late than never. And I took off from there." When Knowshon Moreno took his 1,586 all-purpose yards, 14 touchdowns and balky knees to South Beach this off-season, Ball assumed the featured role in the Broncos backfield. Money, health and Balls emergence all played a role in letting Moreno leave even though none of the Broncos remaining running backs had started an NFL game. Running backs coach Eric Studesville shrugged off the notion that heading into a Super Bowl-or-else season without any starting experience in the backfield is risky business. "Oh, the whole starting thing is hard for me, because really the guys that start the game are either on kickoff or kickoff return, you know?" Studesville said. "Thats kind of inconsequential to me." Gase also called it a non-issue, suggesting he could even start bruising tight end Virgil Green, who had a 6-yard run in the playoffs: "I never even think about it. Ill put Virgil out there. These guys are NFL players." Ball downplayed any concern, too, noting that by last seasons end, "it was pretty much 1A and 1B, Knowshon and me." "We felt good about both of them at the end," Studesville agreed. "We felt like we had two really good backs that we could trust in there at all times, and they were kind of interchangeable." Joining Ball in the backfield are third-year pro Ronnie Hillman and second-year C.J. Anderson, who have one combined career touchdown run, along with undrafted free agents Juwan Thompson, Brennan Clay and Kapri Bibbs. This youth movement has forced Studesville to alter his coaching style. "You cant say this is a veteran guy whos seen this for six years, so he knows what this is. No. Weve got to talk about everything from Square 1," Studesville said. "And that makes it fun to go back to the beginning because now youve kind of got to defend all of your techniques and all your philosophies and everything. And its good for me. Its rejuvenated me as a coach in a lot of ways just because I love going back and teaching the basics." Notes: LB Von Miller (ACL) is increasing his workload at practice. "My knee is not my issue when Im out there," he said. "Its just connecting the mind with the body and getting that reaction time down." Daniel Winnik Jersey . Meanwhile, the Jets extended their winning streak to four and remain perfect under Paul Maurice. Its the Jets second four-game winning streak of the season, the other coming in mid-November. Jared Spurgeon Jersey . After just two league games in June, Toronto (6-4-1) will go on to play seven in July plus a friendly against Tottenham. Five of those contests are against Eastern Conference opposition, meaning valuable points in the playoff race are on the line. Everton Preview West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has been around the game long enough to not get too high when things are going well and not get too low when they arent. Mikael Granlund Jersey .500 ball against teams with winning records, so they needed a huge lift from somebody Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders. Matt Dumba Jersey . LOUIS -- Julius Randle had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Aaron Harrison finished with 18 points and No. KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- Two veteran skips were both left scratching their heads at the Canadian mens curling championships Saturday night, as a change in ice conditions saw crucial draw attempts in an extra end fall at least five metres short of the house. Newfoundland and Labradors Brad Gushue, who lost the game 6-5 to Manitobas Jeff Stoughton, was more than a little peeved as the opening day of the Tim Hortons Brier ended. Gushue expressed his clear frustrations with the ice conditions. "They lost the ice," said Gushue, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist who, like Stoughton, is curling in his 11th Brier. "You see two world class skips throw draws to the four foot that end up 20-feet light. Its embarrassing. I think the ice is just (terrible). Its unfortunate that it came down to that." He said he saw it happen to a lesser degree in an earlier game between Albertas Kevin Koe and B.C.s John Morris. Stoughton was just as mystified. "We were going to draw probably half in the top four and I let it go, the guys said good weight and it just ground in," he said. Although, for him, the result was a little more satisfying as he left his shot stone in the house to win the game. "I guess that side of the sheet got lost somehow but well take it. We had one in there and he missed both his last two shots, what are you going to do?" Stoughton and Morris sit at the top of the standings with two wins apiece after Saturdays draw, followed by Brier rookie Greg Balsdon from Ontario and Steve Laycock from Saskatchewan with one win each. Gushue joined Northern Ontarios Jeff Currie at 1-1 while five rinks were wiinless after one game, Alberta, New Brunswick, The Northwest Territories-Yukon, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.dddddddddddd In the evening draw, Morris beat Currie 8-2 in eight ends, after struggling earlier to edge Albertas Koe 7-6. Currie split the day, beating New Brunswicks Jamie Grattan 13-5 in the opener. Balsdon opened his first Brier by topping Quebec veteran Jean-Michel Menard 9-7 and Saskatchewans Laycock beat the Northwest Territories-Yukons Jamie Koe (Kevins brother) 8-5. Morris, curling for his third province at the Brier, was glad to get off to a good start. "The first one was a little tough on the melon, that one was a little nicer," he said, referring to the difference in the two games. "We played a little better this team, a good solid team effort." He also said he found the ice on the sheet he played on a little more consistent at night. Laycock said his first win wasnt without its scary moments. "Especially in nine there, there was a chance we could have blown a three-point lead in a hurry," he said. "It was nice to sneak out of that with only giving up two." He scored two in the final end to seal it. So did Balsdon, playing in his first Brier after managing to beat Ontario veteran Glen Howard to win the right. "We all felt pretty comfortable. The speed was good, the ice was very consistent, what youd expect from the Brier," he said. He says it helps in a way being a rookie. "Because Im a rookie here I dont really feel a whole lot of pressure for myself and the team. . . Were just hoping to scrap out some games." 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