Marshall still go-to guy

In an offense that is designed to have no standouts, Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall seems to be the exception.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels' offensive attack is designed to spread the ball around based on coverage, but the ball still seems to find Marshall a majority of the time. As the Broncos go into December, starting Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Marshall will be the one leading the offense.

Marshall has 58 catches for 714 yards and six touchdowns this season, which is almost double the production of anyone else on the team. No other Broncos player has more than 31 catches, 394 receiving yards or three receiving touchdowns.

Marshall is healthy after having hip surgery this offseason and his explosion is apparent. Against the Giants on Thanksgiving, he made a couple of plays that showed he can make a play out of nothing.

Twice the Broncos threw to him in tight coverage against Giants cornerback Corey Webster, and he pulled in a one-handed catch.

"Those are catches that special people make," McDaniels said. "There's no question about that. When you go up there and do it one-handed, and keep running, there aren't many people in the league that can do that."

The first one was truly highlight-reel worthy. Marshall reached high over his head for a pass and snatched it out of the air as Webster looked around in confusion, not realizing the 6-foot-4 Marshall had pulled it down.

"Nothing looks good unless you have players like that, that do things when they have their opportunities," McDaniels said.

Marshall lobbied McDaniels for that opportunity. While the Broncos say that they don't worry about getting any player a certain amount of touches, sometimes the situation calls for a couple of shots to their best receiver. Early in the game against New York, Marshall wasn't shy about telling McDaniels that he needed to get the ball, even if the very capable Webster was on him in coverage.

"I went to Coach and got in his ear and told him I could make a play," Marshall said. TRENDING: The Broncos need to find ways to cause turnovers. They had one interception in six games and one fumble recovery in four games leading up to their matchup against the Giants. The Broncos forced three turnovers and beat New York 26-6. Denver needs to stay aggressive on defense because while the offense has been efficient, it isn't a big-play unit and needs a short field occasionally to take off the pressure.

UNDER THE RADAR: Even for an offensive lineman, Ryan Harris doesn't get too much attention. He was a first-year starter at right tackle last year, the same year left tackle Ryan Clady had a nearly perfect rookie season. But as Harris has been out of the lineup with a toe injury, it is becoming very clear how good he is and how valuable he is on the Broncos. Harris has missed four games and most of a fifth, and in those games the protection has often been shaky.

The good news for the Broncos is that Harris is nearing a return to the lineup. Had the Broncos played on Sunday in Week 12 and not on Thanksgiving, Harris might have returned, but he didn't have enough practice time to get ready. His inclusion back in the lineup will be a huge boost for the Broncos down the stretch.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--FB Spencer Larsen has grown comfortable with his role as Denver's lead blocker. When the Broncos use a fullback it is almost always Larsen, and he has done a good job being physical at the point of attack.

--TE Daniel Graham caught one pass for 17 yards against the Giants. He isn't a huge part of the Broncos' passing game, especially with Tony Scheffler getting extra looks in a few recent games.

--WR Jabar Gaffney had 48 yards on three catches against the Giants, including a 28-yard play. Gaffney is always a candidate to hit one big play a game, when coverage focuses on Denver's other weapons.

--LB Mario Haggan had a good game against the Giants, with a couple of tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Haggan, a career special teamer before this year, has had a solid season playing almost exclusively in the base defense and coming off the field on passing downs.

--CB Andre Goodman broke up three passes and intercepted a pass against New York. Goodman is having a good season opposite Champ Bailey, a spot that always sees a lot of targets.



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