Broncos Update Insider - 4/5

Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler went public with his displeasure over wide rewceiver Brandon Marshall's arm injury and ripped Marshall for his various incidents in his two Broncos seasons.

Jay Cutler doesn't want to worry about his top receiver, Brandon Marshall, getting in trouble or getting hurt off the field anymore.

So the quarterback went public with his displeasure over Marshall's arm injury, suffered after horsing around with his brother during a family vacation, and ripped Marshall for his various incidents in his two Broncos seasons.

"It was an accident, but still, things like that can't happen," Cutler said. "Hopefully this is the last. But like I told him, I said, 'Brandon, they're going to quit giving you chances around here and you're going to have to go somewhere else, and that's going to be a shame.'"

Marshall was arrested twice last year. One charge was dropped, but a DUI charge is still pending in court. Marshall said his injury was a wake-up call and is a sign he has to grow up, but Cutler wasn't convinced.

"I mean, the DUI was a wake-up call," Cutler said. "He's had many wake-up calls. He's been in (Broncos coach Mike) Shanahan's office many times and I've been up there with him. He said the same thing, 'This is wake-up call, this is the last thing that's going to happen, blah, blah, blah.' Until he goes out and proves it, we'll see what happens."

Marshall will be out up to four months while rehabilitating his arm injury, in which he lacerated an artery, vein, nerve, two tendons and three muscles. He said he will be back for training camp, but that doesn't sit too well with Cutler, although Cutler said he still supports Marshall.

The Broncos have a new passing game coordinator, Jeremy Bates, and Cutler wanted to work with his top receiver during the offseason camps on new plays, and to refine their timing. That won't be possible with Marshall on the shelf so long.

"He's not my favorite person right now," Cutler said.

--Bob Slowik is excited about another chance to run his defensive scheme.

Slowik took over as the head of the Denver Broncos' defense in January after Jim Bates stepped down. The first couple of months were hectic, first getting the playbook together with his assistants, then starting in adding to the personnel through free agency and draft preparation.

"Kind of been really grinding at it," Slowik said. "It's been exciting."

Slowik has had this role a few times. He was the coordinator in Chicago, Cleveland and Green Bay. He was given the chance to run Denver's defense because coach Mike Shanahan thought Slowik's tendencies matched what has worked for the Broncos in the past.

Slowik's first order of business is fixing a run defense that was ranked near the bottom of the NFL all season in 2007. Part of that was a lack of personnel, and the Broncos have tried fixing that by adding some defensive pieces in free agency.

Part of the solution was found in the second half of last season, when the Broncos went away from Bates' scheme and started using a safety near the line of scrimmage. That's what Slowik plans to employ this season.

"We changed with eight-man fronts and so forth, that part of it will stay intact," Slowik said.

Slowik also mentioned that Denver has to get better on third down. He won't blitz that much, but will send some extra rushers depending on the opponent. The cornerstone of the defense will remain on the perimeter, where Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly start at cornerback.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Chris Kuper, who started at left guard for the Broncos last year, appears to be the favorite to take over at left tackle for retired Matt Lepsis. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler said he thought Denver might draft a left tackle, but if not he felt fine with Kuper doing it.

"If we get one in the draft it would probably be high, if not then we'll get one of these guys to do it," Cutler said. "Chris can do it. I have a lot of confidence in him."

--Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall said he fell through an entertainment center and cut his arm because he was trying to avoid a McDonald's bag on the floor. Later on, he admitted he was trying to avoid the bag because he was wrestling around with his brother and was knocked off balance.

"We were just playing around like usual," Marshall said. "We always play around. Maybe it might be in my next contract not to horse play."

--The Broncos signed free agent quarterback Cullen Finnerty. Finnerty will compete with Darrell Hackney for the third quarterback spot.

Finnerty, who spent last season with Baltimore, led Grand Valley State University to three Division II national championships.

--The Broncos lost out on kicker Olindo Mare, who signed with Seattle. Right now Matt Prater is the only kicker on the roster, but the Broncos will sign someone before training camp. They are trying to replace Jason Elam, who signed with Atlanta.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was just horse playing. Just what brothers do."

-- Broncos WR Brandon Marshall on how he got off balance and fell through an entertainment center, injuring his arm.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY

1. Defensive tackle: Without much left in free agency, the Broncos could use the draft to add some depth on the interior line. The legal situation involving Marcus Thomas also could be a major problem at defensive tackle, which is already a position of need. Veteran Alvin McKinley should return as one starter, and Thomas will probably start if he's still with the team.

2. Safety: John Lynch is back for another season, but probably only one more. The team likes Hamza Abdullah at the other safety, but he's still inexperienced and will have to make strides this season. A veteran signee could fill the gap between the present and the future.

3. Linebacker: Once the Broncos add to their linebacking corps, they'll have a better idea if they can move D.J. Williams back to his natural outside linebacker position. Niko Koutouvides could be a replacement in the middle, and it's hoped Boss Bailey will win the other outside spot. Denver released Ian Gold, who was coming off a poor season, but that does make the Broncos a bit thinner at linebacker.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS --TE Stephen Alexander is very unlikely to be back, he will probably retire.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--LB Boss Bailey: UFA Lions; $17.5M/5 yrs, $4.35M SB.
--WR Keary Colbert: UFA Panthers: $7.3M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--LB Niko Koutouvides: UFA Seahawks; $7.5M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--S Marquand Manuel: UFA Panthers; $4.5M/3 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.
--S Marlon McCree: FA Chargers; terms unknown.
--C Casey Wiegmann: UFA Chiefs; 2 yrs, terms unknown.



PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Hamza Abdullah: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban: UFA; 1 YR, terms unknown.
--DE John Engelberger: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--CB Domonique Foxworth: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--TE Nate Jackson: UFA; $2M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--CB Karl Paymah: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--OT Erik Pears: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.
--FB Cecil Sapp: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

PLAYERS LOST
--K Jason Elam: UFA Falcons; $9M/4 yrs, $3.3M SB.
--S Nick Ferguson: UFA Texans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Ian Gold (released).
--LB Warrick Holdman (released).
--OT Matt Lepsis (retired).
--C Chris Myers: RFA; traded Texans.
--WR Javon Walker (released).



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