|09-21-2007, 04:29 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
New Marshall in town
Second-year wide receiver Brandon Marshall has earned a starting job with the Broncos, and he's outplaying his fellow 2006 draftees
By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer
Six weeks ago, it didn't seem Brandon Marshall's world would be so good these days. The pressure was on the second-year receiver, who went through a rocky first two weeks of training camp.
There were whispers this kid with great talent might not be able to cut it. Would Marshall be ready for the season?
That was six weeks ago. The whispers have been replaced with loud proclamations. No. 15 is a player.
The first two games of the season have proved Marshall is ready to be a starting NFL receiver. With his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame, his run-after-the-catch ability and pure hands, Marshall is making defensive coordinators wonder how to stop him, and fantasy-league owners are scrambling to see if they can acquire him.
"I've always said he is a top-10 talent," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He has that type of ability. He can be a star."
Marshall appears to be a fourth-round draft steal. After two games, he has 10 catches for 134 yards and has been instrumental in the Broncos' 2-0 start. For now, questions about whether he can handle the job appear to be behind him.
"I know what I can do, and what I have to do to get there," Marshall said. "I've worked very hard to get to this point, and I'm not going to let anything stop me."
Marshall stopped himself early in training camp. In an offseason camp, he tweaked a quadriceps. The injury lingered, and days before the start of training camp he was put on the physically unable to perform list. The team expected Marshall would be on the list for a couple of days, but it turned into a dozen. Shanahan made it clear he wasn't happy Marshall was losing critical training time.
Finally, Shanahan told Marshall it was time to get back on the field. After his first practice, Marshall admitted he was nervous about returning, but the urging of his coach helped.
"Brandon understood that the team was frustrated, but Brandon was as frustrated or more because he wanted to be out there, too," his agent Fletcher Smith said. "Brandon is a guy with a lot of heart, and being unable to prove himself hurt him. He wanted to show that he could be counted on as a starter."
Marshall immediately flourished once he got on the field and performed well in a limited preseason role. Good enough to earn the starting job opposite Javon Walker.
With longtime starter Rod Smith out with a hip injury, the Broncos needed Marshall, and he has not disappointed.
The 2006 fourth-round pick from Central Florida has been spectacular at times in the first two games. His 22-yard gain to the Oakland 6-yard line in overtime Sunday was the Broncos' final offensive play before Jason Elam kicked a game-winning field goal.
Marshall's 2006 season took off when fellow rookie Jay Cutler took over in the 12th game. Marshall made several spectacular plays and that habit has continued this year. Shana- han has praised Marshall for his all-around play, noting his blocking skill in the running game.
"We always thought Brandon could be a special player," assistant head coach Mike Heimerdinger said. "He has big-time ability."
Despite getting out of the team's doghouse and in position to show he belongs as a starter, Marshall said he will not become complacent.
"I think I've shown I'm a hard worker, and I want to be great," Marshall said. "I'm going to do everything I can to be great."
|09-21-2007, 07:41 AM||#2|
Join Date: Aug 2005
I gotta admit I was getting really worried about Marshall with that preseason PUP stuff, especially after the taxi cab incident ... but the whole thing really turned out great. Sometimes you gotta push a guy with a lingering injury - especially a younger player like Brandon, and this example by Shanahan is Exhibit A for all those "you gotta play hurt" coaches who call soft players "she," and talk about running backs losing their diapers.
Doesn't always work though. On the flip-side, there's George Karl's eventually embarrassing handling of what in retrospect was Kenyon Martin's courageous efforts to play in the 2006 playoffs after missing much of the season recovering from microfracture surgery. Subsequent MRI's and a scope proved Kenyon was not in fact dogging it. Karl's tough-guy "dismissal" of K-Mart from the team after a lockerroom blowup was later smoothed over, and you rarely see those color=magenta Kenyon Martin references any more.
(Then he hurt the good knee, so maybe the magenta is back?)
|09-21-2007, 10:40 AM||#4|
True Orange & Blue
Join Date: Jul 2006
We need to start thinking about locking him up. The longer we wait, the harder it is going to be.