Archive for the ‘Brandon Marshall’ Category

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Some things to watch for vs Dallas

August 18, 2007

Unfortunately, I don’t live in Denver or Colorado or any state nearby in fact. That means I don’t have local TV coverage of the Bronco’s. And that means I won’t be able to see our second preseason game tonight against the Dallas Cowboys until tomorrow afternoon when the NFL Network replays the game.

And since I want to watch the game before reading anyone else’s opinions or analysis, I will be imposing an internet-ban on myself from tonight until tomorrow evening. That means no surfing the net, checking email or blogging for 24 hours… ouch!

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Shanahan ORDERS Marshall onto the field

August 10, 2007

Marshall over ChampSo, Mike Shanahan finally just ordered 2nd year WR Brandon Marshall on the practice field today, despite the ailing quadriceps that has kept him out of camp for nearly two weeks.

“(Shanahan) said it to challenge me – to see if I was mentally strong. He knew that I was in pain, and that it hurt, but he also knows it’s one of those things where you have to get out there, push yourself and be mentally tough.”

— Brandon Marshall 8/10/07


And it definitely hurts, as scar tissue normally builds up as the muscle
heals. But Shanahan was convinced that team physicians were correct and it was time for Marshall to return.

 

“I told him this morning that he had to work through it. You have to fight through a little pain and scar tissue but that is just part of it.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/10/07

Marshall wasn’t at all sure, but as this injury is one of his first in years he listened to the coach. And as Shanahan expected, after some warming up, Marshall was able to not only participate in 1-on-1 drills, but stayed out on the field for some full team work. Marshall even made a ‘play of the day’ by snagging a pass in front of Champ Bailey late in the morning session.

“I was kind of hesitant at first, but as you can see… I’ve got a smile on my face.” — Brandon Marshall 8/10/07

As it turns out… coach knows best.

 

 

** photo taken by Andrew Mason **

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 5

August 2, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY FIVE OF TRAINING CAMP:

Warrick HoldmanDay Five is in the books, and it came with quite a scare. Warrick Holdman collided with teammate Mike Bell near the sideline early in the morning session. He suffered what is being called a ‘spinal cord concussion’ from the collision.

“He went numb for about 30 or 40 seconds out there and he got his feeling back — which is a good sign. I don’t know for sure, but normally when somebody gets that feeling back, it’s usually positive.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/2/07

While it’s a good sign, the team took no chances and Holdman was strapped to a back board, loaded into an ambulance and taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center. He will remain there over night for observation.

The eerie part of this report is how familiar it is to the one that followed the Seattle game when Al Wilson was injured. As both LB’s Al Wilson and John Mobley had their careers end due to this type of injury, it makes everyone involved concerned about Holdman tonight.

On a lighter side, Travis Henry may be the leading contender for the #1 RB spot, but that doesn’t mean he’s above the law. Today he was punished with running laps for jumping offsides during practice. And that’s not the first time our RB star has done laps after a camp session. The first time was because he wasn’t standing in the right place.

“They see it as you’ve got to pay attention to the little things. I respect that.” — Travis Henry 8/2/07

…well, you’ve been warned — No getting out of line boys and girls, or you’ll answer to Coach Shanahan! 🙂

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ATTENDANCE:

In addition to Holdman leaving the field on a stretcher, here are the other camp injuries…

WR Marquay McDaniel was held out again due to his hamstring injury. Chad Mustard was out with a right hamstring injury. Glenn Martinez was also out again with a right thigh injury. Marcus Thomas joined the group on the sideline today due to a left calf injury. Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, Rod Smith, Lamont Reid and Doug Niehuis were all still out. Sam Adams did not practice today because of a right knee injury but Shanahan said it was a part of the plan for Adams to sit out.

“He’s all right. It’s a game plan that we have—we’re going to make sure he’s in shape. We know he can play the game. When he played the first couple practices, he’s been very impressive but we don’t want to overdo it as well.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/2/07

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Walker and Brandon Stokley ran with the 1st Team.
den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.
den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.
den-logo.jpg O-line:
1st Team O-line was unchanged: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as the last couple of days with Jimmy Kennedy work in Sam Adams spot: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Jimmy Kennedy.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Unchanged from yesterday: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: D.D. Lewis took his turn at SAM today, D.J. Williams still impressing at MIKE and Ian Gold at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Returners consisted of WR’s Quincy Morgan, David Kircus and Domenik Hixon each fielded some kicks during the afternoon session. Both Brandon Pace and Todd Sauerbrun got reps kicked off.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 4

August 1, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY FOUR OF TRAINING CAMP:

Day four and away we go!

If the biggest news yesterday was Domenik Hixon’s shoulder injury, the top story today should have been his return to the practice field.

However, Javon Walker broke his silence today and spoke to a throng of eager reporters after the morning practice. Much to their chagrin, he didn’t discuss the Jan. 1st death of Darrent Williams. But that didn’t stop every sports media outlet from leading with the story “Walker still silent on slain teammate” — way to respect the man’s emotional recovery dill weeds!

In ACTUAL football news, Ian Gold made it back into the line up and Domenik Hixon muscled through his shoulder pain to complete the morning practice. Brandon Marshall, however, sat out again. Shanahan noted that and made some pointed comments about the importance of beating the injury bug and getting out on the field.

“When guys get hurt, it really hurts their chances of making the team. For a guy like Domenik to come in after a first-degree shoulder separation is pretty impressive. He worked through it, and that is what you are hoping a guy is going to do.”

“A guy that keeps getting hurt, we can’t waste repetition on a guy that’s not out there. We have to have guys who can stay healthy.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/1/07

And if Shanahan wasn’t blunt enough, Ted Sundquist also commented on Brandon Marshall today.

“We’re counting on Brandon. We put a lot of time and effort into coaching him, getting him ready, but ultimately on a Mike Shanahan team you’ve got to go out on the field and perform”

— Ted Sundquist 8/1/07

Brandon Marshall needs to get his butt in gear, deal with a little pain and get out on that darn practice field — SOON.

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ATTENDANCE:

WR Marquay McDaniel was held out with a hamstring injury. Kenard Lang and Chad Mustard did not participate and Glenn Martinez was sidelined during the morning practice with a strained leg muscle.

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Walker and Brandon Stokley ran with the 1st Team.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.
den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

den-logo.jpg O-line:
* 1st Team O-line was unchanged: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as the last couple of days: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams, but Jimmy Kennedy replaced Adams for some reps this morning.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Unchanged from yesterday: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: Nate Webster took his turn at SAM today, D.J. Williams still impressing at MIKE and Ian Gold back at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Returners consisted of WR’s Quincy Morgan, David Kircus and Domenik Hixon each fielded some kicks during the afternoon session. Both Brandon Pace and Todd Sauerbrun got reps kicked off.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 1

July 29, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY ONE OF TRAINING CAMP:

Bates at Camp

Last week Bates announced that he will be face-to-face with this players this year as he plans to troll the sidelines instead of hiding in the booth. During the first practice of training camp, players and fans got to hear how vocal Jim Bates will be come game day. After Sam Adams forced a fumble, Bates verbally blasted his players for not celebrating the accomplishment enough. Bates wants his troops pumped up. He wants them to display energy — and that includes feeding off the excitement of a great play. Have a coach yell at you in order to increase your on-field celebrations may be new for most of the Denver defense, but then your dealing with a group that has to be prepared for anything.

“This is a different individual that we’re dealing with. People always say to play this game you have to be a little insane, but sometimes it starts at the top. We’re all insane — it starts with Coach Bates, though.”

— Nick Ferguson 7/27/07

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We also have a fairly poor video from someone that somehow got a video phone into camp today.

VIDEO OF A WALKER’S CATCH

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Veterans that are on on-a-days include: Brandon Stokley, Matt Lepsis, Tom Nalen and Sam Adams. However, 15 year veteran John Lynch took part in both of the day’s practices. What can we say — he’s the Man!

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: SUNDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Other than Walker everyone rotated between teams.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
Daniel Graham remained the primary TE with Stephen Alexander and Nate Jackson both getting some reps on the 1st Team. Teyo Johnson worked exclusively with the 2nd and 3rd Teams.

den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
The surprise here was that RB Andre Hall (one of my favorite unknown Broncos) actually got some 1st Team reps today! However, Travis Henry had the majority of reps as expected.

den-logo.jpg O-line:
* 1st Team O-line was unchanged from minicamp: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears. (Note: In the afternoon session Eslinger filled in for Nalen, and Meadows filled in for Lepsis — both starting veterans are on one-a-days).

* 2nd Team O-line consisted of: LT Ryan Harris, LG Chris Myers, C Greg Eslinger, RG Montrae Holland and RT Adam Meadows.

* 3rd Team O-line featured: LT Cliff Washburn, LG Emmanuel Akah, C Mark Fenton, RG Kevin McAlmont and RT Jacob Rogers.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: SUNDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line included: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams. (Note: Elvis Dumervil and Jimmy Kennedy got 1st Team time in the afternoon session).

* 2nd Team D-line consisted of: DE’s Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder, DT’s Jimmy Kennedy and Alvin McKinley.

* 3rd Team D-line featured: DE’s Kenard Lang and Elvis Dumervil, DT’s Marcus Thomas and Amon Gordon.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil played DE and Ekuban slide inside to one of the tackle slots.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s: SAM Warrick Holdman, WILL Ian Gold, MIKE D.J. Williams
(Note:Webster got 1st Team reps at SAM in the afternoon session).

* 2nd Team LB’s: Outside LB’s Louis Green and D.D. Lewis, MIKE Nate Webster

* 3rd Team LB’s: Outside LB’s Wesly Mallard and T.J. Hollowell, MIKE Cameron Vaughn

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No surprises here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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Training Camp Starts Tomorrow!

July 28, 2007

Jump starting the training camp coverage, Andrew Mason has posted the full video of Mike Shanahan’s pre-camp press conference over on denverbroncos.com. He also has a break down of the conference on his blog over at Mason’s Morsels. Here’s a quick look at a few points of interest…

 

den-logo.jpg PUP (physically unable to preform) list includes Rod Smith, Tony Scheffler and… you guessed it, Brandon Marshall. Marshall is still recovering from his quad injury at mini-camp. And while ‘Baby TO’ has unbelievable talent and skills, he HAS to get on the field to get that #2 spot.

“It never helps you when you’re not practicing” — Mike Shanahan 7/29/07

The positive thing about this list is that Brandon Stokley is not on it. After he participated in drills at mini-camp, he has not had any set backs and is expected to take part in all of camp (although he will be among the veterans that are waved from two-a-days).

Mike mentioned that we have 11 guys at the WR position. And with 8-9 guys getting reps per session, he and the other coaches should get a good idea of who is progressing toward one of the final roster spots.

den-logo.jpg Leadership was mentioned in the wake of losing Plummer and Wilson (and with Rod still sidelined). Mike’s response was typical Shanahan:

“There is only one was to be a leader in the Nation Football League — and that’s you have to play well.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/29/07

Not that the team doesn’t have a slew of veteran leaders. Shanahan’s list started with John Lynch, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that watched Tampa Bay during the years leading up to the Super Bowl, when Lynch was the captain of the defense. Nick Ferguson and Champ Bailey were also noted as leaders by example. On the offensive side several O-linemen were mentioned (Matt Lepsis, Tom Nalen and Ben Hamlton).

And what of our new QB’s leadership?

“Jay Cutler will become a leader when he plays well… We’re all judged on Game Day — and he will be judged as well.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/29/07

 

den-logo.jpg Mike also had a few words for his former Super Bowl MVP, Terrell Davis, the day after it was announced he will be inducted into the Ring of Fame.

“A lot of people talk about ‘The System’ all the time. People don’t realize how great a back Terrell Davis was for this organization, and what type of person he was as well. To see him get into the Ring of Fame is really special.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/27/07

 

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Have a good night sleep tonight… we’ll have photos, video and news to go over from the first day of Denver Bronco’s training camp 2007 tomorrow!

 

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My Training Camp Questions

July 24, 2007

Everyone has their list of top Training Camp questions. The Denver Post, ESPN, FOX Sports even this complete dolt over at Yahoo! Sports. Jason Cole actually thinks our biggest training camp issue is that we will be abandoning our traditional Zone Blocking Scheme:

“For the first time in more than a decade, the Broncos are getting away from their traditional cut-blocking scheme in favor of a more traditional style featuring heavier linemen. The timing is unfortunate, as new RB Travis Henry would have been perfect in the old scheme. But because second-year QB Jay Cutler isn’t suited for the movement of the old system, change was essential. It will be interesting to see how it works out.”

— Jason Cole on Yahoo! Sports

Of course this is complete absurdity and Cole should be fired for writing such unresearched garbage — I would surely get sacked if I did my job this piss poorly.

Cole’s idiotic ramblings aside, most of the Training Camp questions poised on these lists are valid areas of concern. And narrowing it down to a set number (like a top five) is fairly difficult. And prioritizing that list is even more complicated. However, I have undertaken this daring feat and am reasonably certain that I haven’t embarrassed myself too badly — well, at least not as badly as Jason Cole did. 🙂

 

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Jon’s Top Five Training Camp Questions:

#5 O-line Work:

Matt Lepsis’ return is a big boost for the O-line that tended to struggle last year. However, I think for the first time in a long time, there is serious competition along the line as we rebuild the Right side. It looks like Pears and Meadow will be duking it out for the Right Tackle spot, while Chris Kuper and Montrae Holland will lead the fight at the Right Guard position.

However, my concern stems from the fact that at the same time we’re working on figuring out our new Right side for the O-line, Travis Henry is attempting to develop chemistry with the personnel upfront to maximize our ZBS. This could delay the development of that chemistry and might even mean a slower start to Henry’s ground game dominance (which I have no doubt about at all).

SUMMARY:

I would like to see a couple of guys step up early and maintain their lead along the Right side, so that Henry can begin getting used to their blocking styles and gap creation. I’d like to see Pears and Kuper excel. I’d also like to see our young rookies in Ryan Harris and Greg Eslinger develop into quality backups and/or practice squad projects.

#4 Overhaul on the D-line:

Many lists include adjusting to Bates new defensive scheme. Or D.J.’s move to the middle, but I don’t think either one is the highest Defensive concern. That honor going to our D-line. And while our new line will not be decided during Training Camp, I think we might get a highlight or two from a couple of players that could play into the coaches final decision. However, don’t expect to see anything significant until the preseason. At that point it will become obvious to both coaches and fans what rotations and combinations work the best.

SUMMARY:

We will get to see a heavy rotation during camp of all the D-linemen. I’m very interested in how our new linemen compete relative to the old pros we acquired. Look for Thomas to be the first of the rookies to see first team work. I think Bates & Johnson will give him a shot early to see what he can do.

#3 Making Special Teams Special:

Ok, I know I’ve harped on this quite a bit, but gosh darn it we stank last year in our coverage of kick off and punt coverage. We ranked 31st in the league in yards allowed on kick offs, and THAT has to change. We allowed almost 5 extra yards per return than the average kick off coverage teams last year. And when you multiply that by the 55 kick returns we faced last year, it means that we gave up 275 yards more than the average NFL team in 2006.

This year we have a new Special Teams Guru, Scott O’Brien. He has a great track record, so we’re all hoping that what we see on the field this year is much, MUCH better than 2006. Camp (and the preseason) is a place when players can make a name for themselves by excelling on Special Teams. We have several ST standouts who have made a place for themselves due to their contribution on Special Teams.

SUMMARY:

Look for most of the media to focus on the heated battle for kick off and punt returners. Those are glamorous positions with lots of attention given them. However, the coaches will be watching Special Teams practices for that one or two players that lay it all on the line (think Terrell Davis in Tokyo his rookie year). Those usually unsung warriors of Special Teams will be the ones O’Brien is trying to find to make his unit something truly special this year.

#2 Wide Open Wideout Competition:

We have several questions at play in the area of WR. Javon Walker is a clear starter. Much has been made regarding his mental state after Darrent Williams’ death, but I think Walker will turn those emotions into on-field drive and dedicate (even if not verbally) the season to D-will. After Walker the picture gets cloudy.

Every Bronco fan wants to see Brandon Marshall come into his own. We all want to see the true star he showed signs of becoming last year. And although Marshall has spent the off-season practicing and working on strength and conditioning, he still seems prone to injury. He was hampered at Team Camp and, again, was injured during Mini-Camp. He needs to stay health to make the #2 spot we all know he can fill. After Marshall, there is a slew of receivers waiting their turn.

Leading the pack (IMHO) is Brandon Stokley. He is ahead of schedule and was working on 7-on-7’s at Mini-Camp. If there are no set backs I would surprised if he doesn’t score the 3rd WR spot. Then there’s Kircus, whom I really like from last year. Domenik Hixon and Quincy Morgan, who have a good shot at the Special Teams returner position. We also have Brian Clarke, Marquay McDaniel and David Terrell.

And the widecard is Rod Smith. In my opinion, the question is not if he will return. The question is if he can return in time. Mike Shanahan will give Smith all the time he can, but I’m not sure how long that is. If Smith isn’t able to practice at Camp and then doesn’t get into any games in the preseason, Shanahan will be up against roster cut deadlines and he will be looking at this undesirable choice: Keep Rod or someone else that is needed elsewhere on the roster. That will be a terrible choice and my only hope is that Rod can make a meaningful appearance prior to those cut deadlines. That will give him some stock value and possibly give him time to fully recover before becoming a necessary casualty.

SUMMARY:

In Camp we should get a good feel for who Cutler is comfortable throwing to, and who is learning the system quickest. We won’t know who will be cut at the conclusion of camp as Shanahan always weights preseason play heavily into his final roster decisions. However, Camp should provide our first clues as the each player’s direction.

#1 Cutler’s Development:

My number one question leading into Camp still revolves around Cutler. I truly think that this team will go as far as #6 will take us and his development is critical to the success of our whole team. We’ve heard some great things from players and coaches about Cutler’s awesome work habits and desire to learn and grow this off-season. Camp is where we will get our first serious look at what he’s really picked up.

SUMMARY:

Many people have mentioned that Cutler has a great advantage working against our top notch secondary. And while I’m sure Cutler throws against Champ and Bly on occasion, the bulk of the first team offensive practices are against the second team defense. That being said, we have SO many players fighting for a spot on the D-line, that Cutler and his O-line will get plenty of pocket pressure experience. This will test both our repaired and rebuilt O-line, but also Cutler’s ability to complete reads and feel pressure in the pocket. And I would argue, we’ll also see some pretty good footwork from Cutler as he gets out and runs the ball when his protection breaks down. I think some people under estimate Cutler’s scrabbling ability. And after having the Snake behind Center, it might seem like that. But don’t think our new QB isn’t mobile. He’ll scrabble when necessary — you’ll see.

 

 

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That pretty much sums up my biggest concerns or questions heading into Camp. There are some other areas that will be great to watch for during Camp and the preseason. So, I’ll work up a list of interesting positions battle and other areas/players to watch this Camp tomorrow.