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Rookie Linebacker Ben Heeney Looks To Capitalize On Increased Playing Time

Sunday afternoon, for the first time in his young career, Ben Heeney saw an extended run on the field.

The rookie linebacker played 38 snaps (53%) against the Lions, primarily in passing situations, which was the most live action he'd seen since the preseason.

"It was good," said Heeney Tuesday. "It was good. I just tried to take advantage of the opportunities I was given, so hopefully I get some more."

Considering his productivity against Detroit – 7 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and 1 pass defensed; it would stand to reason that he indeed would get some more run in the future.

"He [Heeney] plays hard," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said. "It was effort-filled performance. That's what we know about Ben; he's going to fly around. He's going to be on plays. He made a heck of a move to get that sack. For his first extended action, I thought he did pretty well."

As solid as Heeney's play was, there's always room for improvement – particularly for a rookie, and he himself acknowledged that there are things he needs to get better at moving forward.

"I made a couple of plays here and there, but there's always room to improve," Heeney said. "I missed a lot of plays too that I should have made, so just watching the film there's always room to improve."

Heeney's emergence becomes all the more important now, especially with fellow rookie linebacker Neiron Ball on the shelf – and the recent waiving of linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong.

After earning rave reviews throughout the offseason program, Armstrong saw his playing time gradually decrease throughout the regular season and as of late had primarily been just a special teams contributor.

Sunday against the Lions, Armstrong saw zero defensive snaps and just 15 on special teams.

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