Brandon Marshall benched for Broncos' season finale
Broncos WR in coach's doghouse again
1:26 PM MST, January 1, 2010
Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels discusses his decision to bench WR Brandon Marshall for the regular season finale against Kansas City. (January 1, 2010)
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DENVER, Colo. - A new year. A new Brandon Marshall controversy.
Denver Broncos head coach dropped a bombshell Friday, announcing that Marshall will not be active for Sunday's must-win season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.
McDaniels told reporters that his top wide receiver was being benched due a "coaches decision" not entirely related to a hamstring injury he sustained during Wednesday's practice.
"There's a number of factors that go into (the benching)," McDaniels said. "There's a lot of players that will play with things that are probably more difficult to play with than what he has."
"Our word for the week has been 'accountability' and we're looking to put the 45 guys on the field on Sunday that want to play together, want to help us try to win and qualify for the playoffs," McDaniels added. "We'll play without him and we'll play well anyway."
Marshall leads the team with 101 catches for 1,120 yards and ten touchdowns this season.
McDaniels didn't elaborate on what exactly led to the benching, but eluded to a lack of commitment on Marshall's part. He also wouldn't speculate on Marshall's status if the team were to qualify for the postseason.
"I pretty much knew (I would be inactive) Wednesday when I tweaked my hamstring," Marshall told reporters after McDaniels' press conference. "I made it through this whole year healthy and it's sad to come down to the last game and to have an injury that keeps you out of the game, especially a big-time game."
Marshall was asked about McDaniels' comment that other players who had worse injuries would play Sunday.
"I don't think coach ever played in the NFL. So for my hamstring to be feeling the way it the way it feels, it's tough for me to go out there and expect to play at a high level," he said. "I don't think my toughness is in question here."
While an MRI on Marshall's hamstring showed no tear, the wide receiver said concerns about the team's handling of a hip injury last season, which required surgery, made him apprehensive to play through yet another injury and risk more damage.
"I've played through injuries before. Last year, I was told that I was fine and, unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way. I had a tear in my hip." "You just gotta listen to your body."
Marshall, who demanded a trade after last season, was last benched during an exhibition game when McDaniels felt he was slacking-off during a team practice.
In order to reach the playoffs, the Broncos need to beat the Chiefs and get help in other games involving AFC contenders.
Kiszla: Exit time for B-Marsh
By Mark Kiszla
The Denver Post
Posted: 12/31/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 12/31/2009 01:09:59 AM MST
Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall before the teams game vs the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Joe Amon, The Denver Post (THE DENVER POST | JOE AMON)It looks like Brandon Marshall, nearly unstoppable when he wants to be, is running a fade route. His time in Denver is running out. Color him gone.
[B]Prepare to say your goodbyes, Broncomaniacs.[/B]Could this be the week in which the immensely talented, often-controversial, never-dull receiver grabs his second Pro Bowl invitation and catches his final pass for the Broncos?
However you feel about Marshall, you better tell him soon, before he wears No. 15 in orange for the last time.
As Marshall stood Wednesday at Dove Valley headquarters and humbly recognized his Pro Bowl selection as a blessing, the 25-year-old star who likes to be called Beast also reflected on a stressful year in which he overcame courtroom
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drama, money squabbles and a suspension by his team to make 101 receptions.
"It does feel good," Marshall said. "Coming into the season not even being a starter, not being on the field on third down, had a long wait, worked hard, overcame a lot of things."
And that's one major reason I think there's less than a 50 percent chance Marshall will play football next season for Denver.
For the Beast to fully escape the burden of his past, the only way out for Marshall is to leave town.
Credit both coach Josh McDaniels and Marshall for overcoming a rocky start to their relationship that caused many to wonder if it was possible to salvage after a disgruntled player demanded a trade.
The scene of B-Marsh and McD sharing a private, face-to-face moment in the locker room after the 6-foot-4 receiver's record-setting, 21-catch performance at Indianapolis could melt the heart of the coldest cynic who had bet this rookie coach and his NFL diva lacked the maturity to work together.
The clash between the Broncos and Marshall was all about the money, not trust or ego or personality. But, in the end, it will be money that tears the Beast and the Broncos apart.
Marshall wants to get paid at a
bad time, when labor strife in the league and a shaky U.S. economy have combined to put B-Marsh and more than 200 young NFL players, including Dallas receiver Miles Austin, San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman and Denver teammate Kyle Orton in a tough spot, facing the distinct possibility of losing the freedom of unrestricted free agency this offseason.
"If you get one crack at free agency as a player, that's what you dream of. How it stands right now . . . guys aren't going to be able to have that dream, to be a free agent," Orton said. "That's a shame for players."
The real shame for the Broncos is this situation seems destined to drive a wedge between the team and Marshall, whose leverage in contract negotiations now appears to be severely limited unless he wants hold out and hear all the old charges of being a selfish malcontent.
When I asked McDaniels if Marshall had earned the status as an elite player in the league, the coach did not hesitate to offer a salute.
"Consistent production, to me, is the key. That's really what he has done for a number of years now," said McDaniels, before drawing this conclusion: "Brandon has certainly put himself in the category of really the top receivers in this conference and in the league."
The compliment, however, doesn't mean Denver is prepared to pay Marshall the same $10 million per season earned by Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
B-Marsh might be a Beast, but he's not worth breaking the bank. Here's why:
Some of the blame for the Broncos ranking a mediocre 17th in the 32-team league with 6.8 yards per passing attempt must fall squarely on the broad shoulders of Marshall. He runs over defensive backs, not by them. B-Marsh is more comfortable catching the football with his back to the goal line rather than running toward the end zone for an over-the- shoulder grab. The man is a possession receiver who lacks true game- breaking speed.
If given the chance to receive compensatory draft picks in the first and third rounds to fill other needs by letting Marshall depart Denver, it's hard to fathom how the Broncos would bring him back to be an unhappy, underpaid camper.
The up-to-date statistics tell the story, good and bad, regarding Marshall.
Number of career NFL receptions: 327.
Number of playoff games won by Marshall: zero.
Do the Broncos really want to invest superstar money in a receiver who has never helped them get a sniff of the Super Bowl?
Or does the team go a different route?
The answer should be obvious.
[B]Prepare to say goodbye to the Beast.[/B]
Mark Kiszla: 303-954-1053 or [email]email@example.com[/email]
[QUOTE=Dimitri_0515;3429181]Or how bout Braylon for Brandon Marshall straight up. I'd do it.[/QUOTE]
I'd make that deal too. Either that or Cotchery and a late round pick for Marshall. Marshall is one of the best players in the game. 101 catches and 10 tds this season - 3rd straight year with 100+ catches. It's supposedly going to be an uncapped year so it's possible.
[QUOTE=Hitman Harris;3429187]I'd really like to see Cotch and Marshall.
Edwards cannot catch consistently.[/QUOTE]
True, but those two on opposite sides of the field would just be a menace to any defense. They are just so big and physical. Can't imagine how much better our already great run game would be with them there.