Broncos Update Insider - Monday, August 13

Now that Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall has returned to practice, he can solidify his starting job. Marshall was a rookie last year and his impressive finish to last season increased expectations for him in Denver.

The Broncos needed receiver Brandon Marshall back at practice, and Marshall probably needed to have some encouragement to get back on the field.

Marshall had a quadriceps injury, but scar tissue made it painful. After studying the MRI tests, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan told Marshall to practice on Aug. 10.

Marshall said after an initial painful period where the scar tissue broke up, he felt good and participated in almost the entire practice.

"I was shocked; I was scared," Marshall said of Shanahan telling him to practice. "But that's what it takes. Coach has 30 years of experience, this is my second year. I have to sit back and listen and go with the process."

Denver has been counting on Marshall to start this year. As injuries at receiver kept piling up and Marshall kept sitting out, Marshall said he felt pressure to get back, even from teammates.

Shanahan sensed that Marshall was hesitant to return to practice because he had rarely been hurt in his life. Marshall said a knee injury he suffered in preseason last year was the first time he has missed football practice because of an injury.

"It's going to be sore, it's going to be a little painful, but it's something he has to work through," Shanahan said.

Now that Marshall has returned to practice, he can solidify his starting job. Marshall was a rookie last year and his impressive finish to last season increased expectations for him in Denver.

Shanahan said he wouldn't have prodded Marshall to return to practice if he wasn't sure he was not at risk for re-injury.

"These doctors have been doing this for a long time and they get a good feel if we're putting someone at risk or if it's the proper time to go," Shanahan said.

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

NOTES, QUOTES

--Receiver Javon Walker told HBO's "Real Sports" that he is still dealing with the death of cornerback Darrent Williams. Walker held Williams in his arms after Williams was shot on Jan. 1.

"Just let me deal with things my own way," Walker, who has not spoken to the Denver media about Williams, told HBO. "Being by myself. I don't need to see no counseling, I don't need to see none of that stuff."

--Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler dealt with right wrist tendonitis early in training camp. However, he did not miss any practice time.

--The Broncos drew 33,071 fans for training camp, the most since the team moved camp to its facilities in 2003. The old record was 26,827, set in 2006.

--Rookie defensive end Jarvis Moss scared himself and the team when he went down in a heap with a knee injury during the second week of camp. Moss did a spin move during a one-on-one pass-rush drill and went down in pain. Tests showed the knee was only bruised.

"It's not as serious as it looked," Moss said. "It was scary, especially at first, but I'm fine."

-- Mike Bell slipped from second to third on the depth chart at tailback, but he feels he's a better player coming into his second year.

"I think I've made a lot of improvements, a lot of improvement, from last year. I'm excited to see what I can do," Bell said.

--Safety John Lynch and tight end Nate Jackson represented the Broncos at former 49ers coach Bill Walsh's funeral. Lynch played for Walsh at Stanford. Walsh discovered Jackson at Division III Menlo College and suggested him to the 49ers, who signed him.

--The Broncos head to Dallas for a couple days of two-a-day practices against the Cowboys before their second preseason game on Aug. 18. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he will be closely watching the players on the bubble to see who responds well to practicing against another team.

"That will be a big part of our evaluation process," Shanahan said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was good enough to go out there and catch a few balls. So it's good enough." -- WR Brandon Marshall on returning to practice after sitting out almost two weeks of camp with a quadriceps injury.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Linebacker Warrick Holdman will miss at least three more months with a spinal-cord injury after the team and Holdman initially thought the injury wasn't that serious. Holdman, who was battling for a starting spot at strong-side linebacker, had additional tests and doctors told him to sit out a while longer. The Broncos will likely either put Holdman on injured reserve or get an injury settlement.

--CB Domonique Foxworth has been taking some reps at safety. Although he is undersized, Foxworth is very smart and could fill in if the Broncos got short at safety, like they did last year.

--OT Adam Meadows is working at right and left tackle. If Matt Lepsis gets hurt, the Broncos would probably insert Meadows with the starting offense at right tackle and move Erik Pears from the right side to the left.

--DT Amon Gordon has been rising up the depth chart. He is healthy after battling knee problems, and fits new assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates' scheme well.

--QB Darrell Hackney was listed ahead of Preston Parsons for the third-string quarterback spot. Hackney has picked up the offense well, and he has had a solid camp.

--WR Domenik Hixon is taking advantage of the extra snaps he is getting during camp. The Broncos are thin at receiver because of many injuries, but Hixon has been impressive.

INJURY REPORT: WR Rod Smith continues to rehabilitate his injured hip. He is a prime candidate to start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. ... G Ben Hamilton suffered a concussion and was held out of most of the second week of camp. The injury isn't expected to affect Hamilton in the long term. ... OT Matt Lepsis suffered a minor groin injury that knocked him out for a few days. The good news for the Broncos is his surgically repaired knee is doing well.



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