Broncos Country can take a big sigh of relief. Brandon Marshall has passed through concussion protocol and has been cleared to play on Sunday Night Football vs the Kansas City Chiefs. He is currently listed as probable.
The Denver Broncos leading tackler is a key component on a defense ranked No. 2 in the NFL in stopping the run. As a former practice squader, Marshall was called on earlier this season to replace the team's defensive leader; Danny Trevathan, who had suffered a lower-leg injury in the preseason.
The leadership mantle, which includes relaying and making the defensive calls on the field, fell on Marshall's shoulders. Many questioned whether he was prepared for such a responsibility. But there were similar murmurings, back when Trevathan replaced Wesley Woodyard in the same role.
“Things have been different. They just expect me to know the whole defense in and out, which is not a bad thing. It's just a good responsibility because they trust me, so I'm just happy.” - Brandon Marshall
So how has Marshall done in place of Trevathan? He's amassed 94 tackles (74 solo), 2 forced fumbles and a sack. This has earned him a +9.6 cumulative grade via ProFootballFocus, which ranks him No. 4 for 4-3 OLBs.
Returning to the practice field with his teammates was just what the doctor ordered for Marshall.
“I felt great just being back with the guys again," said Marshall on Friday. "I was only gone a couple days, so it wasn’t too long.”
Defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, is happy to have his unit's leader back. And he appreciates how Marshall has filled in for Trevathan.
“We’ll take every healthy guy we can. Brandon has stepped in for [LB] Danny [Trevathan] and done a nice job for us," Del Rio said. "We’re preparing the other guys in case we have another pop up right in the middle of the game. So you continue to work your backup guys but him getting cleared is a good sign for us.”
Now, Marshall and his teammates have turned their attention to stopping Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs potent running game. Marshall's return came in the nick of time, as the Broncos were down to their third string linebackers, with Marshall out, and Nate Irving and Trevathan on injured reserve. Unlike Irving, Trevathan is "designated to return" and is eligible to return to game action in week 15; just in time for a trip to take on the San Diego Chargers.