Snap counts: Younger guys getting a chance

Snap counts: Younger guys getting a chance
December 18, 2012, 8:00 am
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Before Thanksgiving, Brandon Brooks hadn’t yet taken his first NFL snap.

But in the four weeks since that Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Lions, Brooks has slowly crept his way onto the field and has started to play significant minutes in the last two weeks.

The rookie offensive guard from Miami (Ohio) played 20 snaps (29 percent) against the Colts. The week before, he played 26 snaps (38 percent) against the Patriots.

“Brandon Brooks is making us better right now up front,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s playing really good. He’s going to play more.”

Antoine Caldwell has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury and has been inactive in recent weeks. Caldwell began the season as the starting right guard but slowly lost his spot to rookie Ben Jones from Georgia. But even after Caldwell lost the starting gig, he continued to rotate in at right guard with Jones.

Now, it seems that Brooks, with an increase in snaps, is filling the role Caldwell filled before his hamstring injury. In the two weeks before Brooks got his first NFL snap, Caldwell had 31 and 15 in consecutive weeks.

Brooks is one of the rookies to earn more playing time this season but he’s not the only one. Rookie wideout DeVier Posey, a third-rounder out of Ohio State, has all-of-a-sudden been on the field a whole lot.

On Sunday, he played in 35 snaps (51 percent), by far the most of his short NFL career. He wasn’t just on the field; he had three catches for 46 yards a game after he had his first NFL reception.

“I believe in the maturation of the player and growing and learning an offense,” Posey said after the game on Sunday. “I just don’t think it happens like that. I think it takes time and for me it did. I know my freshman year of college it didn’t happen for me like that. I was just trying to learn. That’s what I’m trying to do here, just learn more and more. We don’t have an easy playbook or an easy scheme to attack people. Just being able to understand what we are doing conceptually has helped a lot.”

But Posey hasn’t just been getting more snaps, he’s been getting a whole lot more. On Sunday, he had just three fewer than veteran Kevin Walter, who was held without a catch. Keshawn Martin had just offensive snap on Sunday. He didn’t have fewer than 17 in the four weeks previous. It looks like Posey has now passed Martin on the depth chart and is getting the snaps Martin once had.

“He deserves an opportunity to go out there and play,” Kubiak said. “He’s made plays. He’s been good at practice.”