ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --As far as offseason days go, Wednesday was significant for the Broncos; it saw their first organized team activity, beginning a 23-day stretch in which most of their offseason on-field work will be compressed.
Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall did not take part; he's still recovering from foot surgery. But he took another step toward reaching his targeted return for training camp; he lifted weights with his teammates that morning, and he expects he will be able to run at some point in the near future.
"I think it will be fairly soon," Marshall said, "because I feel really good, honestly."
That was not always the case in the offseason, and certainly not after he injured his right foot against the San Diego Chargers last Dec. 14 and then played through the pain in the divisional-round defeat to the Indianapolis Colts 28 days later.
"It's kind of frustrating, because it was kind of a freak accident," Marshall said. "I was making a tackle, and the guy just fell on my foot, and it popped. It's kind of crazy how I played on it in a playoff game, which made me think it was okay, but I knew it was hurting in the playoff game."
The Broncos took to the field to begin OTAs with the season just a few months away. Here are shots from Wednesday's action. (All photos by DenverBroncos.com digital staff)
Marshall split time with Todd Davis during the loss to the Colts. Three and a half months later, with Marshall and Danny Trevathan both watching from the sidelines, Davis, Steven Johnson, Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson were among the inside linebackers seeing more work while the projected first-team duo recovers.
"I thought they looked good. And I sit here and try to help those guys out as much as I can," Marshall said. "I try to give them some technique points and different things like that, because I want to see everybody do good, honestly.
"Obviously, it's about winning a job, but to me, it's not about withholding information. I'd rather have a guy know as much as I know, and then we go battle it out mano a mano."
But make no mistake: the Broncos want Trevathan and Marshall, their tackling leaders from 2013 and 2014, respectively, back and together. Marshall stepped into the lineup last August at weakside linebacker after the first of three injuries Trevathan suffered last year. The transition was seamless.
The possibility of using both together late in the season was salivating, but only came to pass for a few moments before both were injured in Week 15. Now, the plan is to get them on the field at the same time, but with a slightly different role for Marshall in the new 3-4 alignment.
"From the looks of it, it looks like it's almost the same as last year. I'm just over a position," Marshall said. "If I could put it in terms of last year, instead of me playing what I played last year (weakside linebacker), I'm just playing the 'mike,' and Danny's playing the 'will.'
"We ran some fronts just like this. I'm just going to be where Nate (Irving) was at, essentially, and Danny's going to be where I was at last year. It's the same thing. I think I'll just have to deal with that guard that will come up [to the second level], but I think I'll be fine."
But until Marshall returns during training camp, he can only work out and watch.
"It's kind of tough, because while I'm out here, I need to pay attention; I need to watch more film, because when you do it more, you get a better feel for it," he said. "I have to learn through visual learning and just trying to soak up as much information as I can, because when training camp comes, it's going to come fast, and I've got to learn fast. I'll be all right.
"At least I won't be out for the season," he added. "At least it will be something that, okay, we've got to deal with this thing, now, but when training camp comes, I'll be ready to roll."