Broncos rookie report: Defense

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos rookies made the transition last week, from simply young players trying to make an impression on their more experienced peers, to young players who now carry the burden of day-to-day expectations they'll get the job done for a Super Bowl hopeful. That’s a big jump in the few days between the roster cutdown and the Broncos’ season opener last Thursday night. 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: The Ravens play a little more out of heavier two-tight end or two-back looks on offense, so the Broncos responded to that with their big lineup in the defensive front with Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton on the interior at two defensive tackle spots. That limited Williams’ opportunities since, at the moment, he plays more in their specialty looks on defense. Williams finished the opener with 16 snaps on defense, slightly less than half the snaps Vickerson and Knighton played, and did finish with one of the Broncos’ 10 tackles for loss in the game. Vickerson finished with 36 snaps on defense, Knighton 35.

Cornerback Kayvon Webster: The Broncos continue to look to the third-round pick for a variety of duties. Webster had plenty of situational work in some of the longer down-and-distance situations the Ravens faced on offense. Webster also filled in for cornerback Chris Harris when Harris briefly left the game with muscle cramp. Webster finished with 29 plays on defense and 22 snaps on special teams. He made one tackle and knocked away one pass when he was challenged in man coverage by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

Practice squad: Defensive end John Youboty, who spent training camp with the Broncos, played some outside linebacker for the scout team last week as the Broncos prepared for the Ravens’ 3-4 look on defense. With the variety of things defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio asks his defensive ends to do, showing he can play out of three- and two-point stances is something that will serve the rookie well moving forward.