ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On the biggest stage of their still-youthful NFL careers, several of the Denver Broncos rookies got at least a small taste of what the postseason will feel like in last Sunday night’s prime-time game against the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
The Broncos won, 27-17, with several of the team’s first-year group afforded the opportunity to play. With that in mind here’s a weekly look at the Broncos’ rookie class:
Running back Montee Ball: Ball has moved firmly into the No. 2 spot in the running back rotation, but that hasn’t always led to more carries of late as the Broncos have leaned more and more on Knowshon Moreno to do the bulk of the work. Ball finished with 22 snaps on offense, including eight carries for 25 yards, to go with three receptions. Ball had two rushing touchdowns in the game, his second and third of the season. Ball and Peyton Manning did combine for a second-quarter fumble on a botched exchange -- Manning said following the game it was “my fault’’ -- but the Broncos were quick to get Ball back in the lineup following the play. The Broncos continue to say their plan is to find ways to get him the ball slightly more moving forward as long as he holds up his end of the bargain.
Quarterback Zac Dysert: Dysert was again a gameday inactive against the Chiefs. But he figures to get a few more practice snaps in the coming weeks if the Broncos keep their word and rest Manning for a mid-week practice from time to time the rest of the way this season.
Running back C.J. Anderson: Anderson was on the field for one snap on offense against the Chiefs and it was a touchdown play. The Broncos put him in the backfield, along with Ball, before motioning Anderson out wide right where he lined up as a receiver. Ball then plowed over the for score from the 1-yard line. Anderson added three plays on special teams. He continues to be the third back at the moment, ahead of Ronnie Hillman, but he will only remain there as long as he keeps showing the Broncos what they need to see through the week.
Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams: After being a gameday inactive against the Redskins and Chargers, Williams was back in the rotation against the Chiefs. He finished with 16 snaps worth of work. He continues to work at the nose tackle spot in the Broncos’ base 4-3 look. Interim head coach Jack Del Rio has said he likes Williams’ progress, but that the Broncos’ desire to keep at least nine defensive backs on the gameday against some of the more wide open offenses they face roster will impact Williams’ ability to get on the field at times.
Cornerback Kayvon Webster: He continues to be the busiest of the rookie class. With Champ Bailey’s injury, Webster has consistently carved out more and more playing time in a bigger variety of situations. Against the Chiefs he 48 played snaps -- 62 percent of the defensive plays. He finished with three tackles and knocked away one pass. He couldn’t hold his ground when Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe pushed him away just before Bowe caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. But all in all the Broncos like how he competes on every play, bounces back quickly from any mistakes and is willing to line up in man coverage against the best receivers the offense has to offer.
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. All of the practice squad players, including Youboty and Painter, have worked in an on-field workout of their own on Mondays as well as some extra time following practice each day.