Not only is Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall one of the more underrated linebackers in the NFL, but he is also under-appreciated by Broncos fans. For many, the name isn’t synonymous with last year’s team leader in tackles, but rather the name corresponds with the once prolific pass-catcher who is now a member of the New York Jets. Not even the mega search engine, Google, gives the formidable Denver tackler a break. In fact, it takes going beyond the first page of results just to get the guy’s Twitter handle.
But, despite being underrated and overshadowed by his counterparts, Marshall couldn’t play any more of an important role for the Broncos. His knack for getting to opposing offensive players is among the best in the game and is a natural at defending against the pass. Plus, with the implementation of Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense, his role will only grow larger.
All of which are reasons why the Broncos are anxious to see Marshall recover from the Lisfranc fracture he sustained against the San Diego Chargers in December and subsequently played through until the final whistle against the Indianapolis Colts in January.
The injury has a past of slowing guys down for a prolonged period of time. Left tackle Ryan Clady was hindered by the same injury last year and the former-star defensive back Champ Bailey was forced to call it a career due to the fracture. Marshall is known for a high motor and the injury could directly affect one of the most important aspects of his game. It will be an uphill battle for the Denver inside linebacker, but one he seems ready to take on as he has already set his goal for 2015 season: return completely back to pre-injury, 2014 form.
The best news out of the whole injury saga is that Marshall appears ahead of schedule. He was seen jogging in between stations in minicamp and moving about the trainer’s room with ease. Both signs are promising as Marshall was pegged to be 100 percent healthy by mid-August, but could easily be ready to get back to work once training camp rolls around at the end of July provided the trend continues.
If and when Marshall hits the field, nothing short of a defensive fireworks display should be anticipated. Phillips loves to be aggressive with his linebackers which is the perfect fit for Marshall’s attacker mindset while on defense. There will be no shortage of opportunities for Marshall to make a statement even with the likes DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and Shane Ray flanking him which makes him an early candidate to once again lead the team in tackles as well as exceed his previous career high in the category.
Although overlooked constantly by others, Marshall is the linchpin in the Broncos quest to dethrone the Legion of Boom as the top defense and make it back to the Super Bowl.
To put in simpler terms: Peyton Manning is to the Denver offense as Brandon Marshall is to the Denver defense.
Many players last year believed they wouldn’t make it back to the Super Bowl without him healthy. This year, don’t expect anything different.