Denver Broncos | News

Brandon Marshall into post-concussion protocol; Talib, Webster day-to-day

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Linebacker Brandon Marshall will go through the league-mandated post-concussion protocol, while cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster are "day-to-day" with hamstring and shoulder injuries, respectively, Head Coach John Fox said at his press conference Monday.

Marshall was injured on a collision with Miami's Dion Sims after T.J. Ward's fourth-quarter interception. must pass through the league-mandated post-concussion protocol, which includes examinations with an independent neurologist, before he can return.

His concussion could further deplete a position group that lost Danny Trevathan to a second leg injury this season in Week 6, and saw Nate Irving succumb to a knee injury four weeks later. If Marshall can't go, the Broncos are left with young, relatively untested options -- and the potential of expanding T.J. Ward's responsibilities in the box.

Since Irving's season ended with the Nov. 2, injury, the Broncos have made extensive use of Ward as a nickel linebacker next to Marshall. It's possible those duties could expand to see the safety work as a linebacker on every down if the need arises.

"It's shared coaching," said Fox. "He can be with [Linebackers Coach] Richard Smith or be with [secondary coaches] Sam Garnes or Cory Undlin. Von Miller is the same way; he's a linebacker on early downs, and he's an end on some third-down stuff.

"It takes a unique player to do those things. T.J., with some of the injuries we've had, has stepped in and executed that role pretty well."

Other possibilities from a potential shuffle include using starting middle linebacker Steven Johnson as one of the two nickel linebackers, and making use of rookies like Lamin Barrow, Corey Nelson and Todd Davis.

Barrow and Nelson both handled nickel sub-package work at various points in the last six weeks. Barrow worked alongside Marshall in the first half, and then was back in that role next to Ward after Marshall's injury. Davis, a Nov. 13 waiver claim from New Orleans, played only on special teams Sunday.

"We've got some young guys that we're rotating and giving them looks and hopefully they continue to improve," Fox said. "There's some options there."

But none as tested as Marshall, who leads the team in tackles and has become one of the league's best run-stopping defenders, with a plus-6.4 run-defending grade in the last six games, according to ProFootballFocus.com. With Kansas City's Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis looming, the Broncos need their linebackers to come through.

"I'm hoping for Brandon to be healthy, because we definitely need him," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "This game is going to be a lot of base (defense), so we expect them to try to come out and run the ball, so we're going to need all our linebackers this game. It's pivotal this week."

Check out the top shots from the Broncos' comeback win over the Dolphins.

A healthy secondary will also be crucial against the Chiefs' explosive offense. The Broncos played most of the game without Talib, who succumbed in the first quarter and made a brief attempt to return, and lost Webster later. Their injuries thrust Bradley Roby into every-down work, with Omar Bolden eventually rotating in as the No. 3 cornerback after Webster left.

"You need all your DBs in this league. But we've got to step up," said Harris. "Whether it's me, Rob and Omar, or T.C. (Tony Carter, who was inactive Sunday) -- I mean, we've still got T.C., so we still have great depth.

"But I remember last year we went to Kansas City, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn't play and Champ (Bailey) didn't play (the entire game) so it was just me, Kayvon and T.C., but we still got the job done. So, either way it goes, we should still be able to get the job done."

TREVATHAN SET TO RETURN TO PRACTICE

Trevathan will not be eligible to play until the Week 15 game at San Diego, but he can resume practicing this week for the first time since his Oct. 12 injury.

"We won't give him a lot of work because we're not getting him game ready yet," said Fox. "He'll be on scout team and we'll ease him back into it; he hasn't played football for a while."


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