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Broncos show off depth at pass catcher in win

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Posted Dec. 07, 2012 @ 3:43 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

During his time in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning didn’t necessarily need a copious amount of pass catchers. Often, he had two top receivers and two solid pass-catching tight ends. It’s been a similar situation in Denver, where WRs Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are putting up big numbers — Thomas is one of the league’s best receivers — and TEs Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen are commanding the middle of the field. Brandon Stokley has been rejuvenated as the team’s No. 3 receiver. That situation has kept WRs Matt Willis and Andre Caldwell from getting snaps.

In the preseason, we heard that the team liked Willis, who always impressed in camp, and free-agent arrival Caldwell. But there simply was no need to force either of them onto the field, and each has made mistakes. Willis’ apparent error on a route in Week Six led to an interception-return TD by the Chargers — he has made most of his contributions on special teams, and one daily team observer pointed out that drops were an issue early on for Caldwell, as well.

In Week 14's win over the Raiders, however, both players got a chance to play on offense, showing the depth Manning's new club has given him. With Stokley playing at less than 100 percent and Thomas injuring his shoulder (he later returned to the game), Willis and Caldwell each played 27 snaps. Willis hauled in a 19-yard catch, and Caldwell had an 18-yard reception. The Broncos haven’t needed the two on offense this season, but each showed in the win over the Raiders that he is ready if called upon. 

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