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Team Still Confident in Injured Webster

Posted Dec 13, 2013

Kayvon Webster suffered a fractured thumb in the loss to San Diego. His teammates know when he returns he can step up to the challenge.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Broncos gathered to watch the video footage of their 27-20 loss to San Diego, Kayvon Webster was not among them. A fractured thumb suffered in the game necessitated afternoon surgery, capping a rough 24-hour period for the rookie cornerback.

The injury is "very similar" to the one linebacker Von Miller suffered two years ago, according to Head Coach John Fox. Miller missed a game, then played in a cast for the weeks after that, meaning Webster can play. He might not be as effective in hand-to-hand combat, but the rules against illegal contact, holding and pass interference mean there's only so much contact you can have with two hands, anyway.

When Webster sits down to watch the footage of Thursday's game, he won't like what he sees on the surface: six completions at his expense for 90 yards and a touchdown.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw directly at him seven times, completing six of the passes for 90 yards and a touchdown -- more than the combined number of times he threw at Chris Harris Jr. (two) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (four).

"We know how teams are going to attack us. They’re not going to try to mess with me and 'Jet' (Rodgers-Cromartie) all the time," said Harris. "So we know that whoever that third corner is, they have to hold up."

The distribution of Rivers' passes offers evidence that San Diego picked on Webster. He didn't see that as the case.

"I don't look at it like that," Webster said. "If they feel like that's where they want to go, I've got to put myself in a position to make the best play."

Rivers was scattershot when he threw at Harris and Rodgers-Cromartie, missing throws high and wide of his targets. But against Webster, he was on point, consistently locating throws to the outside shoulder of his receivers. Webster wasn't beaten by yards; most of the time, he was beaten by a step in man-to-man coverage.

During one sequence early in the third quarter, four consecutive plays -- all passes -- were in his direction. Never was he beaten badly; on the biggest play of the sequence, a 32-yard completion, he had to avoid getting caught in traffic as the receiver he was covering, Vincent Brown, cut outside, and was still within a step of the pass. On another play in that sequence, he read developing screen pass perfectly to tackle Ryan Mathews in the open field.

Nevertheless, in a bottom-line business, Rivers targeted the rookie, as so many quarterbacks have done to young cornerbacks before.

"When you’re a rookie, you’re at corner -- you’re thrown in the fire," said Harris. "We play a lot of man (coverage). They’re going to throw at you until you prove to them that you can make plays. That is just how it’s going to be."

Whether Webster returns in time for the Texans game or for the regular-season finale at Oakland, he says he'll be ready.

"I want them to keep coming after me," he said. "They're just making me better week in and week out."

Added Harris: "Teams are going to shy away from throwing at me and 'Jet', and that is what they’ve been doing. But we’re confident in (Webster) that he can definitely step up to the challenge."