ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Some in the Denver Broncos' first-year class have found ways to contribute to the team's historic 3-0 start, which has the Broncos leading the league in scoring to this point.
With that in mind, here’s the rookie report, a weekly check-in with how Denver's youngsters on offense are doing:
Running back Montee Ball: The Broncos have shown they’d like Ball to be a closer, the guy they put in the backfield to help slam the door when they get the scoreboard the way they like it. But to do that, Ball is going to have to hang onto the football. He lost his second fumble in two games Monday against the Oakland Raiders -- during the four-minute drill, when the Broncos were trying to bleed the clock -- which could certainly affect his snap count in the near future. That's especially true since Ronnie Hillman had one of the best outings of his young career in the victory over the Oakland (66 yards rushing on 7.3 per carry). Ball finished with 17 snaps on offense -- 18 fewer than Knowshon Moreno and seven fewer than Hillman -- and gained 61 yards on his 11 carries (5.5 per).
Quarterback Zac Dysert: Dysert was the No. 3 quarterback once again against the Raiders and thus one of the Broncos’ seven game-day inactives. Dysert continues to work extra, with backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, after each practice as well as before games -- all with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp looking on. He has shown progress because of that, flashing a crisp release and more passes in frame with the receivers than he did at times in training camp, especially with intermediate routes.
Running back C.J. Anderson: Anderson continues to make progress in his recovery from a severe medial collateral ligament sprain suffered in the days following the preseason opener. He has been a full participant in practice this week, but the backfield is already very crowded and his chances of getting a game-day carry are still fairly slim. Coach John Fox was asked this week if Ball’s latest fumble could open the door for Anderson, and he said, “C.J. doesn’t even have a uniform yet. We’ve just got to see that as we go.’’
Practice squad: Wide receiver Tavarres King, a fifth-round pick, and tackle Vinston Painter, a sixth-round pick, were waived in the final cutdown, and continue to work primarily as scout-team players. King has been one of the receivers running routes for Dysert in post-practice work and Painter has been among a small group of players, including Ben Garland and Winston Justice, who have worked with offensive-line consultant Alex Gibbs following practices.