Broncos vs 49ers: 5 Storylines To Watch

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Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall (right) and linebacker Steven Johnson against the San Diego Chargers during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


On Tuesday, the Broncos lost starting weakside linebacker, Danny Trevathan, to a fractured shin. He’ll be out 6-8 weeks, although he claims he can make it back in 4-6. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, it’s the next man up. And that man is “the other” Brandon Marshall.

Like Trevathan, Marshall was a mid-round pick in the 2012 draft, selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 5th round (higher than Trevathan).

His time with the Jags was up and down. After bouncing between the active roster and the practice squad throughout his rookie year, the Jags ultimately released him in August of 2013.

The Broncos later signed him to their practice squad, but ended up promoting him to the active roster in December, following the season-ending injury to Von Miller.

Marshall faces a stiff challenge in replacing Trevathan, even if it is only for a short time. Trevathan is a 3 down linebacker.

He plays the WILL in base package and stays in the game in nickel and dime sub-packages. In base, Trevathan is able to fly around the field and make plays in pursuit.

He provides run support on the weakside of the formation. And is usually responsible for covering the running back or tight end.

Trevathan’s value to the team especially comes to light in the sub-packages. He is excellent in man-coverage and is often times called upon to play zone, which he does well.

Trevathan also has the green dot on his helmet, which means he makes the calls on the field. It takes a very centered, knowledgeable player to be able to assimilate the call and translate it to the field. Communication is key. Trevathan does this well.

This is really the only area of concern I have with Brandon Marshall stepping in. He claims that he’s to a point in his development with the Broncos that he has the utmost confidence in being able to make the calls on the field. I hope he’s right.

Otherwise, as far as his role in the scheme, I think he’ll be able to hold down the fort just fine, until Danny Trevathan can return.

But it’ll be interesting to see how Marshall fits in and performs with the 1st team defense on Sunday.