View Full Version : Developing Their Own Brand

08-23-2009, 01:33 PM
By Chris Gentilviso

SEATTLE -- For 60 minutes in San Francisco, Tom Brandstater received plenty on his rookie plate.

He loosened his arm with Kyle Orton and Chris Simms. He actively participated in discussions with his coaches. Afterward, he watched his first sampling of live game film from his veteran counterparts.

Seattle brought a different dimension to the table: his own film.

Brandstater made his NFL debut on Saturday, completing two of four passes. He was also sacked four times, but that first feel of pro turf hitting his back didn't deter him from finishing strong.

"It was a decent little hit, so it's something I can build on," Brandstater said of the first sack. "The adrenaline was going so hard, it didn't even matter, I was just wanting to get on to the next play and then do better the next time."

That process begins by watching his own pro tape for the first time on Sunday. Brandstater cited his reads and the actions of the safeties post snap as two areas he can immediately remedy.

Those elements are "things that we talk about all the time." But the difference lies in seeing his own movements in the huddle and behind center.

"Now I can actually apply it directly to myself and my game and learn and see where we're at as a team," Brandstater said. "I can build on it and get better and get ready for next week."


Wesley Woodyard prides himself on being a player who sets a tempo for his team. On the opening kickoff, he knew he did something wrong -- losing five yards on an offsides penalty.

Woodyard didn't forget his mistake. He used it as motivation to help his team maintain a fast start against the Seahawks.

"I knew I had to do something good, go out there and make a play on special teams and contribute on defense," Woodyard said. "It was something that was in my mind, just continuing to make plays and give it all on the football field.

Two kickoffs later, Woodyard delivered, driving Seahawks receiver Deon Butler into the ground at his own 17-yard line. Leading 10-7, his play kept the field position balance in the Broncos' favor. Two series later, they had their longest drive of the night -- 15 plays and 86 yards, though it ended with an interception in the end zone on a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Woodyard was an active member of a linebacking corps that held Seattle to 72 yards rushing on 23 carries. D.J. Williams and Andra Davis paced the club with a combined 10 tackles and sack, while Woodyard had a defensive stop in addition to his special teams tackle.

As a rookie last season, kickoffs and punts marked where Woodyard first made waves loud enough to warrant a roster spot. While fully planted in the linebacker rotation a year later, he chose not to abandon the role that helped him shape his identity in Denver's defense.

"Last year, special teams allowed me to play, to make the team," Woodyard said. "I love special teams and I love being on the field. I'm one of the guys, I believe in setting a tempo. I'm out there on special teams every play trying to do something big.


Brandstater's first sack gave way to another rookie getting rid of his initial pro nerves.

Punting has been Britton Colquitt's football forte. Field goals never entered the equation, until Saturday.

Entering Qwest Field, Colquitt had attempted only one kick in his collegiate career and missed it. On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, he changed that statistic, drilling a 39-yard attempt over the crossbar.

"It started out kind of at the right upright, and I was like, 'Come on, come on, come on!' and it kind of hooked in," Colquitt said. "I drew it in like a little seven iron."

While Colquitt's thrill had everything to do with making the kick, it wasn't for a lack of practice. The rookie said he had kicked in front of special teams coordinator Mike Priefer at the NFL Combine in April. He also spent time during the latter part of training camp working on kicks with Matt Prater.

The ultimate goal was to help fulfill a role for the team, in any capacity.

"That's the biggest thing -- just anything they need, I'll try to do it," Colquitt said. "It was really cool to be out there and score points in an NFL game. It's still kind of surreal to me -- I was sitting on the sideline pinching myself."