Marshall insists he knows Broncos’ playbook
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Brandon Marshall insists he’s comfortable with the Denver Broncos’ playbook and that his surgically repaired hip is no longer a concern.
The mercurial receiver said he doesn’t know why he is not playing more yet he’s willing to accept his role, whatever it may be.
“I think I’m good enough to be out there,” Marshall said. “It doesn’t matter what I think. All I can do is embrace it.”
Marshall was more forthcoming Wednesday than he’s been in a while, responding to questions rather than dodging them with cliches and one-liners.
Yet he made it clear he doesn’t want to keep harping on his eventful offseason, when he asked for a trade and skipped almost all of the Broncos’ workouts while rehabbing his hip, protesting his contract or serving a suspension for insubordination.
“You guys can ask all the questions you want – you’re all asking questions from a month ago,” said Marshall, who did not participate in practice Wednesday due to a cold. “That’s the past. Let’s move forward. We’re 2-0. The fans are happy. The players are happy. The coaches are happy. Everybody is happy. Every Denver Broncos fan is happy right now and I’m the same. A lot of good comes when you’re winning.”
Winning also helps mask frustration.
Marshall, who made the Pro Bowl last season, spent most of the second quarter on the bench against Cleveland on Sunday, sporting a baseball cap and watching the offense move down the field without him. He played more in the second half after Eddie Royal needed an infusion of IV fluids at halftime.
Marshall finished with three catches for 34 yards.
“Me being out there, not being out there as much as I used to be, it’s something I have to get used to,” Marshall said. “I’ve learned from trying to fight the system.”
Marshall had a tumultuous spring, missing most of the team’s offseason workouts while rehabbing from hip surgery. He also was upset over the way the team diagnosed his injury and with his contract. Marshall went as far as posting a farewell to Denver fans on his blog earlier this year after his agent, Kennard McGuire, said team owner Pat Bowlen had informed Marshall in a private meeting that he would try to accommodate his trade request.
Marshall then boiled over in camp, batting down passes during drills, all of which was caught on film. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels suspended him for the last two games of the preseason for his petulant behavior.
Last season, Marshall was an integral part of the Broncos’ offense, catching 104 passes for 1,265 yards.
While he leads the Broncos in receptions with seven so far, he’s yet to really develop a rhythm with new quarterback Kyle Orton, who came over from Chicago in the Jay Cutler trade.
“Brandon and I still have a ways to go,” Orton said. “We’re working on it and hopefully we find ways of getting him the ball.”
Although Marshall has yet to fully show off his separation skills on passing routes, he’s adamant that his hip is no longer a hindrance.
“Last year, I played the whole year with a tear in my hip,” he said. “This year it’s fixed. I feel great. My body is as lean as it’s ever been. Last year I was probably 10 percent (body fat). This year I’m 6. Faster, much healthier, ready to roll.”
Last month, Marshall said he wasn’t anywhere near learning the new offense, but he said Wednesday that’s no longer the case.
“I’m comfortable,” he said. “The past two games, I’ve made two mistakes. That happens. You want to correct those to where you don’t make a mistake at all. I only made two mistakes in two games. I did that last year in the last offense.”
Marshall didn’t play in Oakland last season, missing the opener as he served a one-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He said he’s looking forward to matching up against Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on Sunday.
“He’s a very smart player, athletically gifted,” Marshall said. “He just fights every play.”
Marshall appears to be missing his usual zest on the field, leading to speculation that he remains preoccupied with other issues.
Marshall insists that’s not the case.
“You always enjoy football when you’re winning,” Marshall said. “Right now, we’re undefeated. It’s a 16-round fight, and it’s Round 3. As long as we’re winning, it’s a great thing.”