ENGLEWOOD, Colo. Milwaukee Bucks Shirts . -- 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." Milwaukee Bucks Gear . But its also a smart game. Theres more to the Kings than banging bodies. They take a toll mentally on their opponents. Lucius Allen Jersey .com) - The Calgary Flames are spoilers once again.ALAMEDA, Calif. - Already down two starters due to season-ending injuries, the Oakland Raiders could be without cornerback Tarell Brown for Sundays game in Kansas City.Brown aggravated a foot injury and hurt his ankle while trying to break up a pass last week against San Francisco. He came out briefly then quickly returned and was able to finish the game.The veteran cornerback was held out of practice earlier this week and was limited in the teams light practice Friday. Brown is questionable to play against the Chiefs.It was a red zone day today and a short-yardage day so he was able to do whatever we needed him to do at this point, interim Oakland coach Tony Sparano said. We didnt ask him to do a whole lot but he was able to do enough.If Brown is held out, it would be a significant blow to the Raiders already thin defensive backfield.Safety Tyvon Branch has been out since Week 3 with a broken foot while cornerback Carlos Rogers joined him on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.Brown and safety Charles Woodson have been the two constants in Oaklands secondary. The two have started every game and are among the teams top tacklers.In Browns case, he has also been the Raiders most reliable player. He has taken all but eight of the teams 931 defensive snaps, including the three plays he sat out after getting hurt against the 49ers.Rookie TJ Carrie will start against Kansas City if Brown is held out.If T-Brown dont go, TJs going to be right in there, cornerback DJ Hayden said. Whoever gets called up, theyll be ready. I feel confident in our group, in everybody.Haydens progress this season has helped make up for the injuries.The 12th overall pick in 2013 who was beset by a variety of injuries during his rookie year, Hayden spent the first six weeks of this season on the phhysically unable to perform list after undergoing foot surgery during the off-season. Bucks Jerseys 2020 . . He played in a reserve role his first two games back then inherited the starting left cornerback job when Rogers went down.Since then, Hayden has been on an upward climb. He has only one interception — coming in his first start of the year against Denvers Peyton Manning — and has graded out very well overall, according to ProFootballFocus.com.Hes right where he needs to go, and this week well see, Raiders defensive co-ordinator Jason Tarver said. We want him to stay in that passionate I can cover you, Im going to stay in my technique mode in another environment.Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie took a lot of heat when he drafted Hayden, who had suffered a near-fatal heart injury during his senior year in college. The criticism continued to build last year when Hayden went on injured reserve midway through the season.With Hayden finally showing signs of progress, that criticism has started to subside.Im comfortable, Hayden said. I feel like Im doing good. Im getting better each and every week. I just have to take care of the opportunities that come my way.Notes: One day after a heavy storm forced the team to move practice to a nearby indoor facility, the Raiders held Fridays workout on their own fields. Buses were on standby to move the team, just in case. ... RT Menelik Watson (foot/ankle), WR Denarius Moore (knee/ankle), S Larry Asante (shoulder/quad) and TE Brian Leonhardt (concussion) did not practice and will not play this week. DT Pat Sims (shoulder) and LB Sio Moore (hip) are questionable. WR Andre Holmes (shoulder), CB Chimdi Chekwa (shoulder) and CB Neiko Thorpe (hand) are probable.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL ' ' '