ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Nobody said the NFL life would be easy and the Broncos first-year class continues to wrestle with the expectations that come with being part of an NFL roster as well as the difficulty in getting those on-field chances with one of the league’s heavyweights.
The rookies are clearly finding they have to make an impact in a limited number of snaps to earn more and mistakes come with a pricetag. With that in mind, here’s the rookie report, a weekly check-in with how Denver's first-year class on defense is doing:
Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams: After playing just eight snaps in the Monday night win against the Raiders – he finished without a tackle – Williams found himself caught in the weekly gameday numbers game for the first time in his young career. With Champ Bailey already out for the fourth consecutive game as well as cornerback Tony Carter and safety Duke Ihenacho having been limited at least some in practice last week, and the fast-break Eagles on the docket, the Broncos elected to keep cornerback Quentin Jammer among the gameday 45. That gave the Broncos 10 defensive backs in uniform for the game and left Williams as the odd man out in the defensive front with Mitch Unrein in the rotation in the base look at defensive tackle and Malik Jackson playing on the interior in many of the specialty looks. Williams was among the gameday inactives while Unrein played 30 snaps and Jackson finished with 37. Coach John Fox made it a point Monday to say it wasn’t anything Williams did or didn’t do -- "no offense,'' he said -- but Williams is clearly down the depth chart enough to be among the gameday inactives. And if he isn’t in uniform against a more traditional looking offense in Dallas, it could be an issue because in the end Jammer played just one snap on defense against Philadelphia.
Cornerback Kayvon Webster: With Bailey out, Webster continued to get some work in the defense, playing in a smattering of nickel siuations. The Broncos played 63 snaps in the nickel against the Eagles, penalty snaps included, so there was plenty of work to go around. Webster played four snaps on defense to go with 23 snaps on special teams – only David Bruton and Steven Johnson played more on special teams (26 snaps each).
Practice squad: Defensive end John Youboty, who spent training camp with the Broncos, continues to play all along the defensive front for the scout team, lining up as an edge rusher at times and on the interior of the defensive line.