Who would have thought that in 2014, Brandon Marshall would be a key piece of a Denver Broncos division title and potential Super Bowl run?
Certainly not Chicago Bears fans.
Brandon Marshall — the linebacker — has been a breakout player for the Denver Broncos this season, leading the team with 94 tackles as well as stops, or plays that constitute a failure for the opposing team.
Marshall’s emergence this season has come as a result of injury to the guy he replaced, last year’s breakout player in linebacker Danny Trevathan. Trevathan was injured in the preseason, came back for a little more than a game, and was re-injured. While Trevathan hopes to come back by the time the Broncos take on the San Diego Chargers in a couple weeks, the present concern is that the Broncos will not be able to trot out Marshall on Sunday against the Chiefs due to a concussion he suffered against the Miami Dolphins.
Marshall’s emergence this season has been huge for the Broncos, but they know that the next man up mantra has been appropriate for the linebacker position over the last few years than any other, as guys have stepped up their game one by one to give the Broncos’ defense a lift.
Marshall has been instrumental this season, but the Broncos know they have young players that, given the opportunity, can fill his spot. Guys like Steven Johnson, Corey Nelson, and Lamin Barrow, who are young players as well, can come in and give the Broncos some snaps along with moving T.J. Ward into the box more often to allow for him to play that nickel linebacker role.
Recently acquired Todd Davis, who played most of this season with the New Orleans Saints, is ready to go if called upon as well after quickly getting himself acclimated to the Broncos’ special teams and defensive units. He can play middle linebacker or outside if the need is there, but like any other young player, the Broncos will have to suffer through growing pains.
With Marshall, the transition was smooth because he had anticipated the starting role when Trevathan went down in the preseason, so these guys will have to adjust on the fly, but there have been plenty of injuries this season that they should all be ready to go.
This is why the Broncos kept nine linebackers at the start of the season, in case you hadn’t figured that out already.