Thursday, November 14, 2013
Denver Broncos Rookie Report
By Jeff Legwold
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the season moves beyond the halfway mark the Denver Broncos' rookie class has had limited impact overall so far.
But with a division race still in play and the teeth of the Broncos' schedule staring the team in the pace with two games against the Chiefs to go with a trip to New England sandwiched in between, the Broncos want some of their younger players to step forward.
And with that in mind here is a weekly look at the Broncos' rookie class:
Running back Montee Ball: With reliability being the top priority, Knowshon Moreno got most of the work in the Broncos' 28-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers Sunday with 41 plays on offense. By contrast Ball played 19 snaps overall, a total the included five carries for 20 yards. Ball had a 12-yard run in the Broncos' first possession of the second half, tied for his second-longest run of the season. Ball did not get a carry in the first half, but when the Broncos opened the second half in a two tight end look, Ball got some work with that group. The Broncos would like to work him in a little more, but he has to be better in the passing game, including as a receiver and in pass protection.
Quarterback Zac Dysert: Dysert got some bonus work in practice this week when Peyton Manning sat out Wednesday's practice. Dysert got some of the snaps that Brock Osweiler would normally take, but Osweiler worked with the starters with Manning having taken the day off. The Broncos continue to like Dysert's progress in his work with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp, especially the time the two put in several hours before each game.
Running back C.J. Anderson: Anderson was in uniform for Sunday's game, but did not get any snaps on offense. The Broncos ran the ball just 22 times, their second-lowest total of the season behind their 20 carries in the loss to the Colts, so after Moreno's and Ball's work in the rotation, there were no carries left for Anderson. Anderson played 12 snaps on special teams in the game.
Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams: Williams was a game day inactive for the third time in the last six games Sunday. The first-round pick has been caught in the squeeze by the Broncos' desire to have plenty of defensive backs in uniform – the Broncos had nine defensive backs in uniform against the Chargers and played them all on defense at some point in the game. Jack Del Rio is still confident Williams will find his way into the rotation up front as the Broncos move forward this season. But at the moment he finds himself behind Kevin Vickerson, Terrance Knighton and Mitch Unrein on the interior. As Del Rio put it this week; “He's going to help us, he's going to be a very good player I have no doubts about that.''
Cornerback Kayvon Webster: Webster continues to lead the way in playing time for the team's Class of '13. The Broncos used a variety of combinations in the secondary against the Chargers, including various nickel packages for 42 defensive snaps in the game. In all Webster played 45 snaps on defense in the win to go with 17 snaps on special teams. Defensively Webster finished with five tackles and knocked away one pass.
Practice squad: Tackle Vinston Painter, a sixth-round pick, was waived in the final cutdown, and defensive end John Youboty, an undrafted free agent who spent training camp with the Broncos, continue to work toward keeping themselves in the plan moving forward. Painter has continued to work with Alex Gibbs, including some extra on-field time on Monday's with the other practice squad players, and projects to work his way into some kind of reserve role by next summer's training camp if he keeps improving at his current pace.