After injuring his knee in the preseason, Danny Trevathan, the Denver Broncos weakside linebacker and defensive leader, returned to the team in week 5. Unfortunately, 2 defensive snaps into yesterday's road matchup vs the New York Jets, he fractured his knee.
It's the same leg as his previous injury, but whereas last time, the fracture was below his left knee cap, this time it's above it. It's a huge loss for a Broncos defense who seems to be hitting their stride.
Although the Broncos haven't released an exact time-table for his return, fractures typically take at least 6 weeks to heal. According To Mike Klis of the Denver Post, it won't require surgery, nor being placed on Injured Reserve.
In his place, the Broncos have been starting Brandon Marshall. He has excelled, but lacks the leadership qualities that Trevathan brings to the team. Yesterday, when Trevathan went down, Marshall saw every defensive snap in is place.
But in an interesting development, the rookie 7th round pick, Corey Nelson, saw 36 out of 63 defensive snaps and tied Marshall for the team lead in tackles. Nelson's insertion into the first unit came at the expense of Mike linebacker, Nate Irving, who only garnered 16 snaps.
Defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, obviously wants his linebackers to be fast and quick to react. Marshall and Nelson both fit that bill. And their speed makes them a better option in coverage, over Irving. What the Broncos did yesterday worked, however, as they limited the Jets to just 31 yards rushing and 204 total yards.
It'll be interesting to see how the Broncos choose to deploy these 3 linebackers moving forward. Against more run-heavy offenses, expect to see more of Irving. He's an excellent 2-down thumper.
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