Broncos Update Insider - Monday, August 6

The Denver Broncos don't have a lot of candidates to start at wide receiver with Brandon Marshall and Rod Smith out with injuries and Brandon Stokley coming off an injury from last season.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall's inactivity in the first week of training camp hasn't been a good sign for the Denver Broncos or Marshall.

Marshall sat out the first week of camp with a quadriceps injury. He was expected to fill a starting role all offseason, but his injury might cause the Broncos to start looking at other options. Marshall, who is in his second year, missed most of the offseason minicamp practices with the same quadriceps problem. He reaggravated it in Denver's last minicamp practice in early July.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was pretty clear that he wanted Marshall to return soon.

"As I told him, a guy that keeps on getting hurt, we can't waste repetition on a guy that is not out there," Shanahan said. "We got to have guys that can stay healthy. Brandon has a lot of ability and he has a big upside and we'll have to wait and see when he's healthy what he can do and if he can stay healthy."

The Broncos don't have a lot of candidates to start. Veteran Brandon Stokley has made some plays in camp, but he is coming off a torn Achilles' tendon injury and has never been a full-time starter in the NFL.

Domenik Hixon, who missed all of last season with a foot injury as a rookie, had a good offseason but has never played in a NFL game. Brian Clark, David Kircus and Quincy Morgan are among the other options.

Denver's best-case scenario is Marshall heals, gets back to practice and shows off the talent he flashed at the end of his rookie season last year. Marshall is planning on that.

"I'm not worried," Marshall said. "I know what I can do when I get back out there and if I'm healthy enough, I'm not going to worry about it."

Marshall was expected to take over for Rod Smith, who also hasn't practiced in camp as he comes off hip surgery, in the starting lineup opposite Javon Walker. Marshall finished last season very strong, with 287 of his 309 yards in the final seven games of the season.

Marshall said he wasn't thinking about whether Shanahan was sending him a message early in camp by calling him out.

"I don't know," Marshall said. "I'm just staying focused and doing what I have to do."

CAMP CALENDAR: The Broncos started camp on July 29. The Broncos travel to Texas for joint practices with the Cowboys on Aug. 15 and 16. Their camp in Denver ends on Aug. 11.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Warrick Holdman lost feeling in his arms or legs for about 40 seconds and was carted off the field and taken to the hospital with a spinal cord concussion. Although the scene was scary, Holdman should return to practice soon.

"That's the risk you take," Holdman said. "I'm still going to play the same, I'm not going to think about that."

--On Aug. 4 the Broncos had a crowd of 3,089 for their training camp practice, the largest crowd the team has had for a practice since Denver moved its training camp to its facilities in 2003.

"The new guys get to appreciate what it's like around here," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "The fans are crazy."

--Broncos coach Mike Shanahan canceled two practices the first week of practice to give his players a respite.

"Coach isn't trying to beat us in the ground," running back Travis Henry said. "When we're on the field, he wants us to work and get better. If we're doing that, every now and then, from what I see, he'll throw us a bone."

--RB Travis Henry was limited to one practice a day to limit wear and tear on his body. Henry still suffered a minor hip pointer late in the first week of camp, but he didn't expect to miss much time.

"It's normal, especially at the running back position," Henry said. "Any play you can get nicked up."

--Before the first practice of camp, rookie 320-pound defensive tackle Marcus Thomas got the crowd and his teammates fired up by doing a cartwheel to a round off, then a full back flip.

"First time I've seen that, a big guy like that," Bailey said.

--Receiver Rod Smith is rehabilitating after having offseason hip surgery and is not ready to return. Shanahan said the team will wait for him as long as it takes.

"We're going to wait for him to get well," Shanahan said. "It may take all though preseason or it might not happen until middle of this season. I told him hey, you don't have a target date, you're going to be on this football team and you just work to get well. It may be the 10th game of the season, it may not be at all, but I know it won't be on account of effort."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The doctor said 'Hey, you shouldn't have played with that hip.' He couldn't figure out why he played. But he is so tough mentally that he wanted to play even though he was injured." -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on receiver Rod Smith's hip injury.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

--CB Jeff Shoate has been returning punts during practice. That versatility could help him make the roster.

--WR Quincy Morgan is still Denver's top kickoff returner. He has also made some nice catches on offense.

--CB Domonique Foxworth has practiced a little bit at safety. He is a deep backup at the position, but he did play it some last year.

--G Chris Myers got some time with the first team offense when Ben Hamilton sat out a few workouts with a concussion. Myers is valuable because he can play guard and center.

--LB D.J. Williams is doing well in his conversion from outside linebacker to middle linebacker. He is replacing longtime middle linebacker Al Wilson.

INJURY REPORT: WR Rod Smith has been running, but his return from hip surgery is still up in the air. Smith could start the season on the physically unable to perform list.

--TE Tony Scheffler could be ready to return from a broken foot in about a week. He still experiences some soreness in the foot the day after running on it.

--WR Brandon Marshall should return soon from a quadriceps injury. Marshall missed the first week of camp.

--LB Warrick Holdman shouldn't miss much time, despite suffering a scary spinal cord concussion injury. He could return sometime this week.



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