ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With a pile of injuries, some quality play of their own, as well as some mishaps by those in front of them on the depth chart, the Broncos’ rookie class has pushed for a little more playing time of late.
Certainly that was the case for running back C.J. Anderson, who finally got to suit up on game day for the first time this season as Anderson was in the lineup in Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins. So, with that in mind, here’s the rookie report, a weekly check-in with how Denver's first-year class is doing:
Running back Montee Ball: With Ronnie Hillman having been a game day inactive against the Redskins in the wake of his lost fumble in the closing minutes of the loss to Indianapolis, Ball was the No. 2 back behind Knowshon Moreno Sunday. Ball finished with 11 carries to go with his first NFL touchdown -- a 4-yard run with 7 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter. In all he played 30 snaps on offense, just behind Moreno’s 37 snaps. Ball also added three plays on special teams. But with the success the Broncos had running the ball in the win, they figure to keep the same rotation when they come out of the bye week.
Quarterback Zac Dysert: Dysert was the No. 3 quarterback against Washington, so ended up being one of the Broncos’ seven game day inactives against the Redskins. But Dysert figures to get some work this week as the Broncos will go through two practices during their bye week -- Tuesday and Wednesday. Peyton Manning is not expected to participate in the on-field workouts, so that will leave just Brock Osweiler and Dysert to work in the offense. It will be a good opportunity for Dysert to work through some of the playbook.
Running back C.J. Anderson: Anderson performed well enough in practice to convince the coaches he was ready to go when they were set to make a move on the depth chart at the position. So when they sent Hillman down, Anderson was moved up. In the end Anderson got 10 snaps on offense against the Redskins, a total that included four carries for 22 yards. Anderson had an 11-yard carry in the fourth quarter and overall showed good power and good balance in the middle of the field, something the Broncos had been looking for in the run game. His task now will be to stay focused and maintain the practice performance that got him in the lineup. He also played 15 snaps on special teams against the Redskins.
Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams: With the Broncos set to use a 3-4 look on defense plenty against Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III in the team’s read option attack, that meant there were just three defensive linemen in the lineup much of the time. So, Williams was a game day inactive for the second consecutive game against a run team. Williams sits behind Mitch Unrein and Malik Jackson in the rotation after the starters. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said last week he thought Williams was making progress, offering; “He’s actually, I think, over the last three weeks really taken significant strides … I think he’s worked extremely hard out here on the practice field. I think he has made improvement and I think, as we go through this season, he’ll have an impact for us.’’
Cornerback Kayvon Webster: Webster played in all of the defensive personnel groupings against the Redskins as Champ Bailey missed his sixth game of the season with a foot injury. Webster continues to show confidence in man coverage as well as the ability to move forward and make plays at the line of scrimmage in the run game. In all Webster played 42 snaps on defense, as he finished with two tackles. He also played 15 snaps on special teams. He briefly left the game after getting caught at the bottom of the pile on a play, but returned to the field one snap later.
Practice squad: After Tavarres King was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers, the Broncos have just two of their rookie class remaining on the practice squad -- tackle Vinston Painter, a sixth-round pick, was waived in the final cutdown, and defensive end John Youboty, who spent training camp with the Broncos. King was a game day inactive for the Panthers last week.