AFC West: Brandon Marshall

DENVER -- After saying running back Ronnie Hillman looked “very good’’ in practice Friday, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox followed through Sunday by putting Hillman in uniform for the regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

It will be Hillman’s first game back in the lineup since he suffered a left foot injury Nov. 9 against the Raiders. Hillman had been a full participant in all of the team’s practices this past week.

Before his injury, Hillman had taken a turn as the Broncos’ lead back earlier this season with 100 yards rushing in the win over the New York Jets and 109 yards rushing in an Oct. 23 win over the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos will be happy to have his speed back in the lineup. Of the team's eight runs of at least 20 yards this season, Hillman has three – all three came in a three-game span in October. He’s also had two of the team’s three runs of at least 30 yards.

Hillman’s return comes at a good time since Juwan Thompson (knee, hip) was one of the Broncos’ seven game-day inactives, so Hillman is expected to be the No. 2 back behind C.J. Anderson.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall, who suffered a left foot injury in the Broncos’ win in San Diego, did not practice this week and, as expected, was also one of the inactives. Marshall did work with the strength and conditioning staff this week and would certainly benefit from the bye in the wild-card round the Broncos would earn with a win Sunday.

Safety T.J. Ward, who suffered a neck injury in Monday night’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, was limited in Friday’s practice and was also one of the Broncos’ inactives. Ward will be available for the Broncos’ first playoff game.

Also among the game-day inactives for the Broncos were: tackle Paul Cornick, tackle Michael Schofield, tight end Dominique Jones and defensive tackle Mitch Unrein.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Denver Broncos continued through their preparations Friday for the regular-season finale, the chances continue to increase that running back Ronnie Hillman will be part of the mix on offense Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Hillman
Hillman, who has missed the last six games after suffering a left foot injury Nov. 9 against the Raiders, practiced fully again Friday. It meant Hillman was a full participant in all of the team's practices this week.

Before his injury, Hillman had taken a turn as the Broncos' lead back with 100 yards rushing in the win over the New York Jets on Oct. 12 and 109 yards rushing in an Oct. 23 win over the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos will be happy to have his speed back in the lineup. Of the team's eight runs of at least 20 yards this season, Hillman has three -- all three came in a three-game span in October -- and he's had two of the team's three runs of at least 30 yards.

"He's got good burst, good explosion, same things you saw before the injury," said Broncos head coach John Fox following Friday's practice. "He looks to be back in that form and we'll see how that goes, he hasn't played football in six weeks. Get nervous a little bit about that, but he has a good week of practice."

Hillman was formally listed as probable for Sunday's game.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall, who suffered a left foot injury in the Broncos' win in San Diego, did not practice this week and was formally ruled out of Sunday's game. Marshall did work with the strength and conditioning staff this week and continues to progress.

He would certainly benefit from a Broncos win on Sunday, which would give the team a bye in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Safety T.J. Ward, who suffered a neck injury in Monday night's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, was limited Friday and listed as questionable. Given the nature of the injury and the way Ward plays in the defense, the Broncos may be inclined to hold him out Sunday.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (hip) was also limited Friday and listed as questionable, but is expected to play. Reserve tackle Paul Cornick (toe on right foot) was the only other player limited in Friday's practice.

Again the Broncos had lengthy list of other players with injuries on the report who took part fully in Friday's practice, including Peyton Manning (right thigh), left tackle Ryan Clady (right thigh), wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (right ankle), tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle) and running back C.J. Anderson (left ankle). All are listed as probable and expected to play.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tucked within a long injury report as the Denver Broncos prepare for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders was running back Ronnie Hillman taking part in his first full practice since he suffered a left foot injury Nov. 9 in the Broncos' first meeting of the season with the Raiders.

Hillman
It was also Hillman's first full practice since Nov. 7. Hillman has practiced at least some during the last two weeks, but has missed the six games since his injury.

And as defenses continue to pack the middle of the field to take away the Broncos' favorite routes in the passing game and crowd the line of scrimmage in the run game, Hillman's speed to the edge could be a welcome addition back into the offensive huddle.

"We've had a chance to watch him all week, participate and he's obviously further ahead than he was this time a week ago," said Broncos head coach John Fox following Wednesday's practice. "And the fact we're on grass, not on Astroturf, lot of variables, but I like what I see."

The Broncos have had a wave of illness go through the locker room in recent weeks with defensive end Derek Wolfe and quarterback Peyton Manning among those who have felt the effects.

Wednesday linebacker Lamin Barrow, defensive tackle Mitch Unrein and guard Manny Ramirez were all held out of practice because of illness. Linebacker Brandon Marshall (left foot) was also held out of practice.

Safety T.J. Ward (neck), who was injured in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss, took part in practice on a limited basis. Ward underwent X-rays at the stadium Monday night to go with some additional tests, including an MRI, on Tuesday after the team had returned to Denver.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (hip) and tackle Paul Cornick (toe on right foot) were also limited in practice.

The Broncos also listed 13 other players with injuries on the report who took part fully in Thursday's practice, including Manning (right thigh). Tight end Jacob Tamme, who has dealt with a rib injury in recent weeks, was listed with a foot injury and took part fully Wednesday.

Left tackle Ryan Clady (right thigh), wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (right ankle), tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle) and running back C.J. Anderson (left ankle) were also among the players who took part fully in Wednesday's practice.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

December, 22, 2014
Dec 22
11:55
PM ET

CINCINNATI -- A few thoughts from the Denver Broncos' 37-28 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

What it means: The Broncos have spent much of the season with their Super-Bowl-or-bust mentality out front. But once again, they showed that might be a pipe dream if they can't smooth out their exceedingly rough edges on the road. Denver's stingy run defense was creased repeatedly, and the Broncos snuffed out their own rallies on special teams, thereby allowing the Bengals to secure quality field position, which they turned into key points. Toss in a few dropped passes and four interceptions by Peyton Manning, and now not only are the Broncos out of the running for home-field advantage in the AFC, but they're also going to have to fight just to earn a first-round bye.

Stock watch: If you already crossed 1,000 yards receiving two games before the end of the season, it’s difficult to raise your game. But Emmanuel Sanders continues to do just that. His diving, one-handed catch for a 32-yard gain in the third quarter was just another right-time, right-place play in a season that has already featured plenty. Demaryius Thomas, with his ninth 100-yard game of the season Monday, is the unquestioned Alpha receiver in the offense, but Sanders has been everything the Broncos had hoped for (and a little more) when they targeted him in free agency.

Target acquired: The Bengals showed they did their homework when it comes to attacking the Broncos' defense. With linebacker Brandon Marshall out with a foot injury and Danny Trevathan on injured reserve, the Broncos have been forced to dive deep into the depth chart in some of their specialty packages. Todd Davis -- an undrafted rookie the Broncos claimed last month off waivers from the New Orleans Saints -- and Steven Johnson both took their turns as the inside linebacker in the Broncos’ six-defensive back look. Both were targeted by Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. Jackson used a variety of formations to get the two chasing in coverage. The Broncos are hopeful they can get Marshall back in the postseason, and Monday showed just how big a part of their defensive success he has been this season.

Game ball: Omar Bolden deserves a look for his kickoff return to open the second half and start a Broncos rally, as does Demaryius Thomas for doing what he so often does in creating problems for most defensive plans. But in the end, Sanders' catch was just the kind of play the Broncos needed at a point when they most needed it.

What’s next: The Broncos close out the regular season against the Oakland Raiders (3-12) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 41-17 on Nov. 9 in Oakland. The Raiders forced two early interceptions in that game, but the Broncos powered through to the win with a rally started by C.J. Anderson’s catch-and-run touchdown.
CINCINNATI -- With running backs C.J. Anderson (left ankle) and Juwan Thompson (knee, hip) having missed some practice time this past week, the Denver Broncos had some initial concerns about their depth at the position.

But with an extra day of rest leading up to Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Anderson and Thompson were both ready to play in Paul Brown Stadium.

And with Jeremy Stewart serving as the No. 3 back in the game, the Broncos made Ronnie Hillman (left foot) a gameday inactive and did not move Kapri Bibbs up from the practice squad, a move they likely would have made if Thompson had not been ready to play. Hillman has practiced the last two weeks, but he is still not all the way back from his injury and has now missed the last six games.

Also among the Broncos gameday inactives for the first time this season was defensive end Quanterus Smith. Smith, who is still looking for his first career sack, had played in the previous 14 games.

Mitch Unrein was kept active for Monday’s game with the Bengals expected to try and muscle up on offense and run the ball plenty at the Broncos' defense. The Broncos had four defensive tackles in uniform Monday -- Unrein, Terrance Knighton, Marvin Austin Jr and Sylvester Williams -- when they often go into a game with three.

Also among the gameday inactives for the Broncos were: cornerback Tony Carter, linebacker Brandon Marshall (left foot), tackle Paul Cornick, tackle Michael Schofield and tight end Dominique Jones.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was sent home Saturday from the team’s complex because he suffered from what head coach John Fox called "flu-like symptoms."

Sanders
Sanders did not participate in the team’s practice and was officially listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Bengals. However, Fox said Sanders will make the Sunday afternoon trip to Cincinnati with the Broncos and is expected to play in the game.

Sanders is the team’s second-leading receiver with 89 catches and 1,261 yards.

Quarterback Peyton Manning was limited in Saturday’s practice because of a right thigh injury he suffered in this past weekend's win against San Diego, and also listed as questionable. However, Manning, too, is expected to start. He threw in drills during the workout after participating in the team’s walk-through.

Other than when he missed the 2011 season following spinal-fusion surgery, Manning has not missed a start in his 16 other NFL seasons. Asked about Manning’s workload in Saturday’s practice, Fox said:

"(It was) fairly normal to the rest of the season ... He looked good in practice."

Manning also participated in the walk-through and threw in individual drills Friday. On Thursday, Manning participated in the Broncos’ walk-through, went through the team stretch and then went back into the Broncos’ complex to get treatment.

Manning, who played Sunday’s game with flu-like symptoms after getting four IVs Saturday night and Sunday morning combined, injured his thigh when he rolled out right to throw a 12-yard completion to Sanders with 5 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the first half.

Manning stayed in the game for the next eight plays, but left the field following a C.J. Anderson run for no gain on a third-and-goal from the Chargers’ 1-yard line. Brock Osweiler finished out the first half before Manning played the entire second half.

Also Saturday, linebacker Brandon Marshall (left foot) and tackle Paul Cornick (toe on right foot) did not practice and will not play Monday night. Marshall is the Broncos’ leading tackler.

Running back Juwan Thompson (hip, knee), running back Ronnie Hillman (left foot), left tackle Ryan Clady (right thigh), and cornerback Kayvon Webster (right shoulder) were also limited in Saturday’s practice and officially listed as questionable for the game. Clady is expected to start at left tackle, and Thompson and Hillman are expected to be available to play.

Hillman has not played since he suffered his injury Nov. 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

Center Will Montgomery (knee) and tight end Jacob Tamme (ribs) participated fully Saturday and will play. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (right ankle), Anderson (left ankle), and tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle) all took part fully in Saturday’s practice as well and will play.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was officially listed as limited in Friday’s practice because of a right thigh injury, but Manning threw more than he did in Thursday’s practice as the Broncos close in on Monday night’s game in Cincinnati.

Manning participated in the walk-through and threw in individual drills Friday and is still on track to start against the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium. Other than when he missed the 2011 season because of spinal-fusion surgery Manning has not missed a start in his 16 other NFL seasons.

Thursday Manning participated in the Broncos’ walk-through, went through the team stretch and then went back into the Broncos’ complex to get treatment on his leg. Friday he remained in the field for practice, throwing throughout the portion open for viewing.

“He’s improving, I thought he had good work out there [Friday],’’ said Broncos head coach John Fox, following Friday’s practice.

Manning, who played last Sunday’s game with flu-like symptoms after getting four IVs Saturday night and Sunday morning combined, injured his thigh on a rollout with 5 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the first half.

He stayed in the game for the next eight plays, but gave way to Brock Osweiler, who finished out the first half. Manning went on to play the entire second half.

Also Thursday, linebacker Brandon Marshall (left foot) and tackle Paul Cornick (toe on right foot) did not practice.

Running back Juwan Thompson (hip, knee), who was held out of Thursday’s practice, took part in Friday’s on a limited basis. Also limited were running back Ronnie Hillman (left foot), left tackle Ryan Clady (right thigh), center Will Montgomery (knee) and cornerback Kayvon Webster.

Tight end Jacob Tamme (ribs), who had been limited in Thursday’s practice, was a full participant in Friday’s practice. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (right ankle), Anderson (left ankle) and tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle) all took part fully in Friday’s practice.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

December, 14, 2014
Dec 14
7:20
PM ET

SAN DIEGO -- A few thoughts from the Denver Broncos' 22-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium.

What it means: For the first time in franchise history, the Broncos have won four consecutive AFC West titles. The victory also clinched the playoff spot that comes with the division title and keeps the Broncos, at 11-3, on the inside track for a playoff bye. The victory also gives the Broncos season sweeps over the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos have just one AFC West game remaining, against the Oakland Raiders, in Denver in the regular-season finale.

Stock watch: The Broncos continue to show they have the patience to play a run-first game and C.J. Anderson continues to show he has the mentality and physical strength to be the lug-it guy. Anderson, who missed some practice time this past week because of a left ankle injury, didn’t have any double-take runs against the Chargers' defense. Bu with quarterback Peyton Manning feeling ill before the game and leaving the lineup late in the first half because of a thigh injury, Anderson continued to grind away on a day when the Broncos needed him to grind away.

Depth tested on defense: Just when the Broncos thought they would finally have their defense back at full strength with Danny Trevathan back in the lineup, their depth chart was tested again. Linebacker Brandon Marshall, the Broncos' leading tackler, left the game late in the first half with a foot injury and did not return. That put Trevathan, who was playing in his first game since the Broncos’ victory against the New York Jets in October, back in the base defense. The Broncos had hoped to play Trevathan in the specialty packages in his first game back. Todd Davis, a player the Broncos claimed off waivers last month, was in both the base defense and the nickel after Marshall’s injury.

Game ball: With Manning not 100 percent physically, left tackle Ryan Clady out of the game with a thigh injury and the Chargers doing their best to slow the Broncos’ passing game, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas found a way to shake himself loose over and over again. By the time he scored on a 28-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter, he had his eighth 100-yard game of the season, which tied him with Rod Smith for the most 100-yard games in a season in franchise history.

What’s next: The Broncos find themselves tied with the New England Patriots with an 11-3 record, but a game behind the Patriots in the race for home-field advantage because of a head-to-head loss on Nov. 2. So a trip to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 22 in the "Monday Night Football" finale could be a must-win for the Broncos to have a chance at home-field advantage or a postseason bye week.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – After watching linebacker Danny Trevathan practice over the past two weeks, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said it’s “great to have him back in the mix.’’

Trevathan
 Linebacker Brandon Marshall said Friday he was “very eager’’ to line up alongside Trevathan. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr said; “Danny coming back would just give us the defense at full strength, and we've been playing good defense so that only makes us go up another notch.’’

And unless something unexpected happens in the team’s walk-through practice on Saturday, the wait will be over. The Broncos are expected to formally move Trevathan from injured reserve/designated to return to the 53-man roster Saturday before the team leaves for San Diego.

Trevathan is also expected to be in the lineup, on defense, Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos will have make a roster move to make room for Trevathan and were considering their options on Friday for that move.

The third-year linebacker has practiced with the team since Nov. 26 and on Thursday, Del Rio said; “I think he’s looked pretty good getting back the last couple of weeks to practice. It’s good to have all the healthy bodies we can. Danny’s obviously a good player and it’s great to have him back in the mix.”

Trevathan, who was the team’s leading tackler in 2013, has been on injured reserve/designated to return since Oct. 14. Overall, he has played in just two games this season because of two separate fractures in his left leg, the first suffered in training camp, the second in the Oct. 12 game against the New York Jets.

“I’m real eager, we’re both playmakers, we both have great instincts we both make plays,’’ Marshall said about the prospects of lining up alongside Trevathan. “To have him back would be tremendous.’’

If the Broncos want to ease Trevathan back into things, they could have him participate initially in the specialty packages, in the nickel (five defensive backs) or dime (six defensive backs). If Trevathan was to return to his full duties immediately and line up at weak-side linebacker in the base defense, Marshall would then play at the middle linebacker spot.

Earlier in the week, Trevathan said he was “eager’’ to return and that “I’m always ready to go out there and put on the best performance possible, especially with this defense we’ve got right now.’’

On the prospects of lining up Marshall, who leads the Broncos in tackles this season, and Trevathan at the same time, Del Rio said; “They’re both similar in that they’re instinctive guys, they’ve got good speed, [and] they’re playmakers. So it’s really been a tremendous job by Brandon stepping in when Danny was out and the fact that he’s been able to hold up and help us play at a real high level in a big role. Obviously, getting Danny back, who had that role to begin with, should strengthen us down the stretch here.’’
DENVER -- After having recovered just two fumbles on defense in their first 10 games of the season, the Denver Broncos kept offering up the bunch theory on such things.

That once they started to happen, they will happen a lot.

“We wanted to get those turnovers," said defensive end/tackle Malik Jackson. “And they’re just starting to come, so right now we just keep doing what we’re doing."

In their 24-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills Sunday, the Broncos intercepted Bills quarterback Kyle Orton twice and recovered a fumble by Buffalo rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins. It means in the past two games the Broncos have six takeaways combined -- their best two-game stretch of the season.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. had interceptions for the Broncos against the Bills while safety Rahim Moore recovered Watkins’ fumble. Those three turnovers resulted in just three points for the Broncos, but Harris’ interception came late in the third quarter at the Broncos’ 2-yard line and likely prevented a Buffalo touchdown.

Sunday's takeaways follow a game in which they had two interceptions and recovered a fumble against the Chiefs The cluster Sunday allowed the Broncos to roll to their 10th win of the season after three turnovers of their own -- two Peyton Manning interceptions and a Jacob Tamme fumble just before halftime.

“We just wanted to outplay their defense," said Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. “We knew the strength of their team was their defense, their defensive line. We wanted to get more sacks ... every time their defense made a play we wanted to make a better play."
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said he remembers every part of the hit that resulted in his concussion in last Sunday’s Broncos win over the Miami Dolphins.

And that means everything, even the parts that cause him to smile now.

Marshall
“I knew I was going to be OK after the game. I was able to drive," Marshall said after Friday’s practice “ … I didn’t have any headaches, everything was good. I just had to go through the protocol.’"

Marshall, who is the Broncos’ leading tackler, suffered a concussion on a fourth-quarter interception return by Denver safety T.J. Ward. After Ward grabbed the deflected pass, Marshall went to block Dolphins tight end Dion Sims, who is 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds.

“I tried to block No. 80; I hit him with the side of my helmet," Marshall said. “ … I remember everything, I was just dizzy. I couldn’t stand up, I tried to run and fell – twice. He’s like 270; I didn’t know he was that big. Damn, because it didn’t look like it fazed him at all. I tried to hit him and he just shrugged it off. I’m like, ‘Damn.’ I knew he was big, I didn’t know he was solid like that. It didn’t faze him, which was disappointing to me."

Marshall was cleared to begin light exercise before the team’s Thanksgiving practice and was then evaluated again following that workout by the independent physician – per the league’s concussion protocol – and cleared to return to full participation. As a result, Marshall took part fully in Friday’s workout and said following practice he expects to take his “normal" workload in Sunday night's game in Kansas City.

Marshall has played on 95.5 percent of the defense’s snaps this season since entering the lineup at weakside linebacker in training camp for the injured Danny Trevathan.

“We’ll take every healthy guy we can," said Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. “Brandon has stepped in for Danny and done a nice job for us. We’re preparing the other guys in case we have another pop up right in the middle of the game. So you continue to work your backup guys, but him getting cleared is a good sign for us."

Trevathan, who has suffered two separate fractures in his lower left leg this season, has been on injured reserve-designated to return. Trevathan began to practice this week and will be eligible to be moved back on to the active roster before the Dec. 14 game against the San Diego Chargers.

“It’s going to be great when we get Danny back," Marshall said. “It’s going to open some things up for us. Almost our whole corps of linebackers will be back … somebody going to have to split time, me or somebody else. I’m just happy because we have one goal this year."
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With a rather substantial list of defensive backs dotting the team’s injury report the Denver Broncos may have to adjust some things in Sunday night’s AFC West showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Following Friday's practice Broncos head coach John Fox said cornerback Kayvon Webster (right shoulder) is out for the game while cornerback Aqib Talib (left hamstring) and safety Quinton Carter (knee) are questionable. Webster did not take part in Friday’s practice while Talib and Carter were both limited in the workout.

Talib did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. If Talib and Carter are limited or don’t play, the Broncos will look to Omar Bolden, who has played both safety and cornerback, as well as cornerback Tony Carter.

The question on Talib will be whether or not the Broncos feel like he can make it through the game if they put him in uniform Sunday night. In the win against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, Talib left the game in the first quarter. He tried to return later in the first half, but didn’t play in the second half and the Broncos had made Carter a game-day inactive.

“We’ll decide how exactly it’s going to play out,’’ said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. “We’ll just let it unfold. We prepare all our guys.’’

Also Friday, tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle) took part on a limited basis for the second consecutive day. Fox said following the practice that Thomas looked “much better’’ Friday than he did last Friday.

Thomas did not play last week. The Broncos hope Thomas will improve before it leaves for Kansas City.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ win over the Dolphins last Sunday, was cleared by an independent physician as well as the Broncos’ medical staff to return to practice Friday.

Marshall, who plays in all of the team’s personnel groupings on defense, said he expects to play Sunday night in Arrowhead Stadium and take his “normal’’ number of snaps.

“Big game, everybody wants to win this game, this is the biggest game of our season so far,’’ Marshall said. “I’m just glad the concussion wasn’t too bad. I’ve been studying all week even thought I haven’t been practicing, but I’ve been paying attention. I’m just glad to be back out there.’’

As expected, Fox formally ruled out running backs Montee Ball (right groin) and Ronnie Hillman (left foot) for Sunday’s game.

Defensive end Quanterus Smith (ankle) participated fully in Friday’s practice and is expected to play.

Julius Thomas returns to practice

November, 27, 2014
Nov 27
4:30
PM ET
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, who suffered a left ankle sprain in the Broncos' Nov 16 loss in St. Louis, took part in the team’s Thanksgiving Day practice on a limited basis.

Thomas
Thomas, who played just 13 snaps against the Rams and was then held out of the Broncos' win against the Dolphins this past weekend, was receiving treatment following the practice, but it was the most activity he has had on the practice field since the injury. Linebacker Brandon Marshall, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of this past Sunday’s victory against the Miami Dolphins, did not take part in practice, but was cleared in the concussion protocol to begin some light exercise.

So, Marshall stretched with the team and took part in some individual dills during warm-ups. Marshall is the team’s leading tackler and has played 95.5 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season.

Asked if Marshall and Thomas had made enough progress to be on track to play Sunday night in Kansas City, Broncos head coach John Fox said; "I don’t like trying to predict the future, we’ll see where they are (Friday)."

Cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (right shoulder) did not participate in practice. Talib did work with the team’s strength and conditioning coaches during practice.

Running backs Montee Ball (right groin) and Ronnie Hillman (left foot) continue to be held out of practice. Hillman, who was wearing a walking boot on his injured foot last week, was not using one Thursday. The Broncos continue to hope Ball can return to the practice field within the next two weeks.

Defensive end Quanterus Smith (ankle) and safety Quinton Carter (knee) were limited in both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice. Both are expected to be available to play Sunday.

Thursday also marked a year to the day when Fox visited the team’s complex for the first time following his heart valve replacement surgery last season. Fox missed four games, and last Thanksgiving was the first time he spoke to the team in person following his return to Denver from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the surgery had been performed.

"It is amazing what a year brings and how thankful you need to be," Fox said. " ... It brings you back to earth for sure."
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – With Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs’ No. 4 ranked rushing attack waiting in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, the Denver Broncos’ injury issues on defense will require some attention.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall, who is the team’s leading tackler and has played 95.5 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season, did not practice Wednesday as he goes through the NFL’s concussion protocol. Marshall plays in every defensive personnel grouping, so his absence would require the Broncos to use multiple players to replace him.

Rookies Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson would be in that mix as will Steven Johnson, who is already filling in at middle linebacker in the base defense for Nate Irving, who is on injured reserve. Todd Davis, a linebacker the Broncos claimed off waivers just before they played in St. Louis, even worked some on defense in Wednesday's practice.

Fox
Fox
“We’ve got a long list,’’ Broncos coach John Fox said. “We’ve got some young guys … We’ll lean on Corey Nelson, Lamin Barrow, Steven Johnson. We got Todd Davis out there [Wednesday] a guy we acquired last week … He got a pretty good look. It will be from that crew.’’

Cornerback Aqib Talib (left hamstring) also did not practice Wednesday, and cornerback Kayvon Webster, who plays in some of the team’s specialty packages, did not practice because of a right shoulder injury. Talib was on the field during practice, dressed in sweats, but Marshall and Webster were not.

Also Wednesday, tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle) was once again dressed for practice, as he did last week, but did not participate. Thomas did do some work with the team’s strength and conditioning coaches off to the side.

Thomas dressed for practice each day last week, but did not practice and was a gameday inactive for the Broncos’ 39-36 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Running backs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) did not practice last week and were not on the field Wednesday. Hillman, who has been wearing a walking boot on his left foot, is expected to miss several weeks. The Broncos continue to hope Ball can return to the practice field within the next two weeks.

Defensive end Quanterus Smith (ankle) and safety Quinton Carter (knee) were limited in Wednesday’s practice. Both are expected to play Sunday.

Safety David Bruton, who had X-rays for a finger injury following Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, took part fully in practice.
DENVER -- When the Denver Broncos rolled into the offseason off their Super Bowl loss, they made a major investment -- in both free-agency dollars and draft capital -- to remake the defense.

That portion of the depth chart has already been tested some this season and will be tested even more in the coming weeks after another round of injuries in Sunday’s 39-36 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall suffered a concussion during safety T.J. Ward’s interception return in the fourth quarter and is now under the NFL’s concussion protocol. Marshall will be evaluated by both the Broncos' medical staff and an independent physician.

Marshall suffered the injury when he collided with Dolphins tight end Dion Sims during Ward’s return and was immediately taken to the Broncos' locker room following the play. At linebacker Nate Irving is already on injured reserve for the Broncos while Danny Trevathan is eligible to return to practice this week, but will not be eligible to play coming off injured reserve until the Broncos Dec. 14 game in San Diego.

That will put rookie Lamin Barrow, who played as the second linebacker alongside Marshall in the nickel, for much of Sunday’s game in line for more playing time. Rookie Corey Nelson could be worked into some of the specialty packages as well.

“Everybody has to get in there and be ready to play,’’ said Broncos linebacker Von Miller. “We get all the troops in there.’’

The Broncos could also have some juggling to do in the secondary as cornerback Aqib Talib, who has never played in 16 games in any season of his career, left the game with a hamstring injury in the first quarter. He tried to return for a handful of plays, but did not play in the second half.

The player the Broncos put into some of the nickel and dimes looks after Talib suffered his injury, cornerback Kayvon Webster, suffered a right shoulder injury as well. Both Talib and Webster are expected to get MRI exams Monday, but Webster was wearing a sling on his right shoulder following the game.

“On this defense we play everybody even when everybody’s healthy,’’ defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. “Guys get ready to play because they know we need everybody.’’

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