ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Brandon Marshall is putting his foot down – only not the right one, since there are two screws holding it together.
That starting spot at inside linebacker for the Denver Broncos? It will belong to him again once he’s healthy.
”I just believe in myself to the fullest,” he said.
Marshall led the team in tackles last season despite missing the final two games with a foot injury. He hurried back to the field for the postseason game against Indy only to hurt the foot again and need offseason surgery.
But he’s way ahead of schedule with his rehab. He thinks he will be close to full strength by training camp in July.
Good thing, too, because watching from the sideline this week at voluntary practice has been tough, especially since the Broncos are installing a new defense under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
At least Marshall has company, with fellow inside linebacker Danny Trevathan standing next to him. Trevathan is out of action as well after knee surgery.
Instead of going through drills, the tandem is offering pointers to Steven Johnson, Lamin Barrow and Todd Davis, who are filling in and gaining valuable field time.
”You don’t want them to take your spot. At the same time, you don’t want to be a (jerk),” said Marshall. ”When you coach somebody up, it gives you more knowledge, too.”
Recently, Marshall was cleared to return to the weight room.
Next up, running.
”I feel a lot better,” said Marshall, who will play the season with two screws in his foot. ”My foot feels a lot stronger. Just taking it one day at a time.”
That’s become his motto, especially since it took him quite a few years to even get his foot in the NFL door. A fifth-round pick by Jacksonville in 2012, Marshall was cut three times from the Jaguars before Denver signed him to the practice squad in September 2013. Three months later, the team promoted him to the active roster.
Marshall broke through last season by earning a job in the nickel defense alongside Trevathan. He was given even more responsibility with Trevathan missing most of the season with two fractures in his left leg. Marshall had 106 tackles going into a game at San Diego on Dec. 14.
That’s when an offensive lineman rolled onto his foot and it popped.
While he returned for the playoff loss to Andrew Luck and the Colts, he wasn’t the same.
”It’s unfortunate, but at least I won’t be out for the season,” Marshall said. ”At least we’ll deal with this thing right now and when training camp comes I’ll be ready to roll.”
Until then, he’ll brush up on his playbook and keep watching film. Just so he won’t fall too far behind.
”I have to learn through visual learning and just try to soak up as much information as I can,” Marshall said. ”When training camp comes, it’s going to come fast and I need to learn fast. I think I’ll be all right.”
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