We are now three quarters of the way through the regular season. Let's see how injuries and effectiveness have changed the utilization of different players on the Denver Broncos' #1 defense
With Sylvester Williams out, Antonio Smith, Darius Kilgo and Derek Wolfe have all gotten more playing time. Vance Walker got most of Sly's snaps against the P*ts, but Smith appears to have gotten more of them against the Chargers.
I'm really hoping that Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe don't wear out in the final four games of the regular season. Both of those guys are getting tons of snaps right now. Hopefully Sly's return to health and Kilgo's progression will lead to a lighter workload for them down the stretch so that they are fresh for the playoffs.
Demarcus Ware's injury thankfully coincided with Shane Ray's return to health so we haven't seen much of a drop (if any) in performance from our OLBs. Larentee McCray appears to have gotten some snaps last game to rest Ray or Von Miller with Ware's continued absence. Danny Trevathan's loss of time (concussion) against SD led to Both Todd Davis and Corey Nelson seeing more defensive snaps. Brandon Marshall continues to be the rock of our LB corps by seeing the greatest utilization almost every week. It would be nice to have a blowout down the stretch where he could get some rest and Nelson or Davis can get some more experience.
With T.J. Ward missing time with his ankle injury in games 11 and 12, David Bruton stepped up and played a huge number of defensive snaps. Kayvon Webster, who got more than 50% of the defensive snaps with Aqib Talib out, has not taken a defensive snap in the past three games. Omar Bolden was hurt during the Chargers game otherwise his snaps would have been higher. Josh Bush, who was resigned after a brief stint with the team early in the year, only took four defensive snaps (and one special teams snap) and was amazingly credited with four tackles and a forced fumble. That's the definition of making the most of your playing time.