As good as the Denver Broncos’ defense has been playing over the last few weeks, it’s hard to believe they could get even better but as I wrote earlier in the week, they are really starting to gain chemistry and you can see the new guys getting more and more comfortable in their roles. Guys like T.J. Ward, who struggled early on in the season, is finally finding his groove in Jack Del Rio’s scheme.
With Brandon Marshall emerging as the Broncos’ top tackler this season and the non-pass rushing guy who is making the most plays behind the line of scrimmage, it’s been an added bonus that the Broncos either didn’t expect or certainly were a little bit surprised by. Marshall’s emergence has come on the heels of the Broncos missing linebacker Danny Trevathan, who was injured in training camp, came back for the Arizona game, and was injured again against the New York Jets.
Trevathan, when healthy, was arguably the Broncos’ best defender a year ago. He led the team in tackles, proved to be the team’s best coverage linebacker, and was always around the football, flashing speed he certainly didn’t have when his NFL Draft stock plummeted after a fantastic career at Kentucky.
Trevathan was a sixth round pick by the Broncos, but an awesome find and after the multiple injuries to his leg, he’s finally ready to get back on the playing field.
The Broncos are going to play it safe with Trevathan, who came back for just one game and was placed on short-term IR after initially stating himself that he would beat the doctors’ projections of a 6-8 week injury. You have to love the fire that Trevathan plays with, and that fire is going to be most welcome back on a defense that is starting to prove to the rest of the NFL that it’s elite.
The emergence of Brandon Marshall has given the Broncos an exciting group of linebackers as it is with Von Miller healthy and playing his best football in two years, but adding Trevathan will allow the Broncos some personnel groupings that we have not seen. It will also be interesting to see who Jack Del Rio decides to call the plays in to, the guy who will wear the green sticker on his helmet. Trevathan had those duties last year after all the injuries and shifting around the middle linebacker position, but Marshall has taken that role over this year for the same reasons.
Trevathan has obviously been watching very closely what’s going on with the progression Marshall has made this season after being on the practice squad last year, and he’s excited to see what’s going to happen when both guys are on the field at the same time. If it’s anything less than the “Bash Brothers” from the Mighty Ducks series Disney made in the 90’s, we’ll all be disappointed.
“We’re going to fit together,” Trevathan said. “That’s speed out there. That’s athleticism. And that’s what the league has come to now, that kind of a third-down linebacker, quick speedster, be able to make plays and we both fit in that category. It’s going to be something to watch when me and (Marshall) get together. That’s all I’m going to say.”
The great thing about both players is they are excellent in coverage. One area where the Broncos have really struggled in recent years is covering the tight end spot. With both Trevathan and Marshall on the field, the Broncos will have someone who can shadow running backs out of the backfield as well as play man-to-man against the top tight ends in the NFL. Combine that with the secondary they already have, and things are really starting to look great on paper for Jack Del Rio.
As we enter the home stretch of the season, adding last year’s defensive MVP for the Broncos will be an absolute treat to see, but it’ll also be huge for the team’s Super Bowl hopes.
It could be this week against San Diego, or it could be next week on a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but Trevathan will be back very soon.