Broncos Update Insider - 9/1

Josh McDaniels couldn't let Brandon Marshall continue to undermine him in practice, so the Denver Broncos' coach sent the disgruntled receiver home for the rest of the preseason.

Marshall was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team through Sept. 5 for multiple actions. His situation boiled over on Aug. 26, when he was warned by the team he was close to being suspended, then acted out at practice again. At one point he punted a ball away instead of handing it to a ball boy during a drill.

Players knew McDaniels had to suspend the receiver, who has been upset with the organization all offseason.

"It's offensive a little bit," tight end Daniel Graham said of Marshall's actions in practice. "Everybody is out here working hard towards our ultimate goal. To have a teammate like that do what he's doing right now is disappointing to the rest of the guys. But we're still focused on what our goal is."

The Broncos can't be sure what they'll get from Marshall once he returns. They hope Marshall decides to act professionally, get up to speed with the offense and show he is willing to put his differences aside to help the team. At this point, that's no guarantee, and the Broncos are preparing themselves for the possibility Marshall won't be a big factor this season.

"When he's here, if we're working together and working towards helping this football team win, then we'll work him in," McDaniels said. "If that's not the case, that's not the case. We have good receivers here. We have good receivers here with him or without him, and that's the truth."

NOTES, QUOTES

-- Safety Brian Dawkins still hasn't shed the club cast he is wearing on his broken right hand. Although he says he can do everything with the cast, catching the ball in a game would be difficult. He said he isn't exactly sure when the cast will come off.

"It's kind of a week-to-week situation," Dawkins said. "It's how my hand is feeling every week. We'll see."

--Quarterback Ingle Martin didn't even get a jersey with his number on it for his first few days of practice with the Broncos. He was brought in because Chris Simms is hurt and the Broncos were down to two quarterbacks. Martin wants to make an impression but doesn't have much time.

"When you're a guy like me you just want an opportunity," Martin said. "Hopefully I can come in and show them a little bit of what I can do, and make myself stick. But it's going to be a lot of work in a short amount of time to do that."

--The Broncos were thrilled when running back Floyd Little was named as one of two finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame election by the Seniors Committee. This is Little's best chance at induction. He was an early star for the Broncos, rushing for 6,323 yards from 1967-75.

--Receiver Eddie Royal might be Denver's best option on kickoff and punt returns, but he is also developing into the team's top receiver with Brandon Marshall's drama holding him back. As such, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said he knows Royal won't get too much time returning kicks.

"I think he's involved in so much offense I think we have to keep an eye on that and how many reps he's getting," Priefer said. "If he could do all of it, I'd be jumping up on the table. But I was told on my interview back in January that Eddie wouldn't be doing as much as he has in the past, which I understand."

--Cornerback Alphonso Smith has been given every chance to win the kickoff and punt return jobs, but ball security is a concern. In fact, Priefer said if Smith can't secure the ball better, it could cost him both jobs.

"Absolutely," Priefer said. "That would be the No. 1 factor. He's got all the skills. He's got quickness, speed, toughness, he's got good enough size, but if he can't control the ball he can't be the returner, in my opinion."

--Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has a much different preseason plan than Mike Shanahan. Shanahan limited his starters' time, and didn't play them at all in the fourth game. The starters have played a lot under McDaniels, and they won't sit out the finale.

"They're going to play, I'll tell you that," McDaniels said.

--Jay Cutler, who returned to Denver as quarterback of the Bears for the third preseason game, had some kind words for McDaniels.

"I think he's going to be a good coach," Cutler said. "I think their offense is going to be fine, I think Kyle (Orton) is going to be fine. He's an offensive mind. Just the brief amount of time I was able to spend with him, he was impressive."

A rift between Cutler and McDaniels was the reason Cutler was traded to Chicago this offseason.

--The Broncos added three former Patriots players during a week period recently. They traded for defensive end Le Kevin Smith, claimed Antwain Spann off waivers, then traded for offensive lineman Russ Hochstein. In the Hochstein trade, Denver sent a seventh-round pick it had acquired days earlier as part of the Smith trade.

McDaniels, who was offensive coordinator with the Patriots before becoming Denver's head coach, said getting players that knew the schemes helped them contribute right away.

"The players are familiar with the style we play," McDaniels said. "Anytime you're going to try to acquire a player this late into the process, that familiarity is very important. If you get a guy that's never played in this system on either side of the ball then have only six or seven practices before the first game of the year, it's going to be a work in progress just to get him to be able to go out there and function."



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